The Last Travel Planning Dilemma

The Last Travel Planning Dilemma


When I first started thinking about long-term travel with my family I had an endless list of reasons to put my dreams on the shelf and get content with the 9-5.  Any responsible parent worries about the unknown.

Many months later, after countless hours of research and long-distance chats, I have managed to stifle nearly every travel fear.  No longer do I have any concerns over safety, education, health.  There are no more borders.  We are ready for the world.

But there is still one huge issue that I just can't seem to shake.  One MONSTER problem that keeps gnawing away at my responsible gut.

What happens when we run out of money??

I have been dwelling on this for a LONG time.  Our family doesn't just want to take a year off and come back to the same, boring routine again.  That would be hell.  Nothing worse than having the world and then having to give it back.  Money is still a really an issue, and I think about it everyday.

How much do we have to save to pull this off?

Which nomadic career suits me best?

Can we really make money on the road?

Where we will go if we run out of cash and can't generate some income?

I want to find the answers to questions like these before we jump in with both feet, but I'm not going to.  The answers to questions such as these are nowhere to be found.

Folks on the web will tell you it costs anywhere from $20,000 to $120,000 to travel around the world for a year. They'll tell you that you can make a great living blogging from Mexico, trading stocks from a laptop, teaching ESL, working on cruise ships or even just writing travel articles.

But what is my magic number?  What is the right nomadic career for me?

In the end, someone wears yellow pants and someone wears jeans, but that doesn't help me much when I need to head over to the Gap and pick out some clothes for myself.


Let me ask you something.

How much does it cost to live in your hometown?

How much does a teacher make?

How long does it take to find a job in New York?

If I asked 100 people these questions they would all have a different answer.  I am the only person that can answer these questions. 

I am the answer to all my questions. 

Wow, that sounds really cocky and I kinda like it, but it's true, isn't it?

It's great to use the experiences of other travelers to build a gauge for your own travels, even for your own lives, but when you get locked into someone else's idea, you often forget about your own.

Did you have a magic money number you needed to reach before you had your first child?

Did you ever plan how much money you would need to make from your job before you could start living your life?

Is financial planning for a travel lifestyle really that much different than planning for the lifestyle you have now?


Here's some thoughts to help you determine if you're financially ready for long-term travel.

1) If you stopped working today, how much money would you need to live your current life for a year?  Figure out this number and it will cover you for a year of travel.

2) If you lost your job, could you find a new one in a year that would support your current lifestyle?  If yes, then you are ready for long-term travel.

3) Are you still listening to me?  Why?  Don't you get it?

There is no ready.  There is no answer.  There is no right time.  The day you really decide to go, that's the day you're ready.


Thanks so much for visiting us at The Great Family Escape.  Our family is learning how to turn our dreams into realities and we are really glad to have you along for the ride.

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'The Last Travel Planning Dilemma' have 16 comments

  1. August 25, 2011 @ 8:31 am Jenn Miller

    GO! GO! GO!!!! Finances are sometimes a bitch no matter how you live life... you figure it out on the road, just like you figure it out "at home." Getting over the mental bender is the hardest part!!! We're cheering LOUD for you guys over here!!!
    Jenn Miller recently posted..Mama Bus Math


    • August 25, 2011 @ 9:45 pm Justin

      I know you are. That's the Miller's for you, support all the way! And what is it, 2 days til Good luck to you guys.

      Finances are sometimes a bitch, this is true. Getting over the hurdle little by little. Thanks!


  2. August 25, 2011 @ 11:09 am Nancy from Family on Bikes

    You nailed it! Make sure you have enough to get started and then head out and see what life brings. Yes, you may find you need to settle down somewhere and get a job, but is that really so bad? If you look at it as though it's all part of the experience, then it's OK!
    Nancy from Family on Bikes recently posted..What to do with an old brown bathtub – *CONTEST*


    • August 25, 2011 @ 9:37 pm Justin

      No it's not so bad. It is so hard to think of all the aspects of other lifestyles sometimes, we have been doing this for a long time. It is probably similar to you getting off the bikes. It's a great, but different world. Thanks for the support!!


  3. August 25, 2011 @ 12:06 pm Lori

    agree that the mental hurdle is the hardest. once you've lived off the main path, it's so much easier to see how much possibility is here. we have been self-employed forever, and we are the most sanguine people we know about money. there's always a way.
    Lori recently posted..tinkering


    • August 25, 2011 @ 9:24 pm Justin

      Thanks Lori! I agree, I try to think that way all the time. But it is hard when you are all twisted up in the mess. Once we are out and have more time to work, the ideas and opportunities will flow.


  4. August 25, 2011 @ 1:28 pm Yanna Seabra

    Your money will finish some day, don´t worry! You´ll figure out what to do when the time comes.. Maybe you´ll be fed up of going from one place to another, for sure many experiences on the way might change drastically all the ideas you have by now, including some great idea to became rich (:)).

    Each thing on its time. Let it flows. Life is done only through nows.. anything else is just unuseless conceptualization. You´re doing good.. try to enjoy the present!!


    • August 25, 2011 @ 9:33 pm Justin

      This really helps Yanna! Thanks for the support! Yes, the present is good. The present is good. The present is good. I am drilling it in.


  5. August 25, 2011 @ 6:02 pm Rebeca

    I think this weighs a lot heavier on my husband than it does on me. I grew up in a "poor" family, but there was always plenty. (Not plenty of money, but we never lacked for what we needed.) Somehow I know it always works out. It will for you too.
    Rebeca recently posted..Dare to Not Compare


    • August 25, 2011 @ 9:21 pm Justin

      I kept thinking we are going to lose something, but there is nothing to lose. What are we going to lose? 2 streams of income. 2 jobs we don't like. An overpriced city condo. We can make up for all of that I think!


  6. August 25, 2011 @ 8:21 pm Colin Burns

    Hi Justin,

    Great conclusion... I liked your "how much money do you have to have before you have a baby?". The answer is if you wait, you'll never have enough. You will always want a bit more money to be secure. If you have some savings behind you, back yourself! You will find something on the road that will make you the money you need to live.

    What is the worst case scenario? You head back home and get a salaried job again. Although it is not ideal, it is still a lovely fallback to have :)

    Good on you, I can't wait to see where you guys plan to go.

    Colin Burns recently posted..Avoiding budget airlines woes


    • August 25, 2011 @ 9:18 pm Justin

      Yeah, you just have to go for it. That's how it has to be. There really is no other way unless you strike gold or something.

      Another thing is - I can't really comprehend how much extra time we will have to write and start any sort of business. We are gaining a total of 20 hours a day between the two of us. If we use 6 of these hours we will be good. Hard to imagine.


  7. August 28, 2011 @ 5:00 am GotPassport Family

    We used to be a dual-income family also.

    We thought we had it figured out with J's "secure" adjunct on-line classes with two US colleges only to find that within a month of us moving to Chiang Mai, the college he has been with the longest (10 years) took away his classes. Yep, he prepped the classes on-line while we were in Laos. Just like that the classes were gone on the following Monday, the day school started.

    It's not easy, but we HAVE to believe that things do and will workout for the best.

    It's a leap of faith. And when you do leap, you'll be gaining so much more than you ever thought possible as a family.

    Remember that you're being role-models to your children no matter where you are and what you are doing in the world. They are looking up to you.

    Live your dream. Live it, and have faith that everything else will fall into its place in its own time. (This is the hardest thing for me to do).

    We are sending positive vibes your way and looking forward to how your plans unfold.

    Best wishes from Chiang Mai!

    GotPassport Family recently posted..In Pictures: J’s 7 flights in 10 days


    • August 28, 2011 @ 8:35 am Justin

      Thanks guys! Positive vibes are good!

      I think the hardest thing is the faith. Faith isn't easy, but you are so right. It helps to see that if you guys can do it, so we can we.



  8. August 29, 2011 @ 1:15 pm Billy

    Justin, I got ahold of something you may really like, finances wise. I can probably send it to you via email or something. It's a course we both just started on how to make a passive income online, but it is actually good. It looks really promising. It deals with marketing Click Bank products ( affiliates) online and how to nail SEO for the sites, goes into keyword research, etc.
    Billy recently posted..Work At Home Guide


  9. September 1, 2011 @ 2:32 pm Elizabeth

    hey Justin, I don't know if you got Billy's comment on here, but what we have decided to do is called finance through affiliates. There is a place called Keyword academy that we are using and something called Google Sniper we got online. Anyhow, we just wanted to share that with you for whatever you end up doing abroad!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Coffee in Phuket


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