New York City, NY

#TravelTruths: Cost After 3 Months Of Non-Stop Traveling

Teejay Hughes

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WHAT ARE TRAVEL TRUTHS?

Travel Truths (with Teejay) is a series that actually started on my personal Facebook—Do ya’ll still use that? haha. But I used these mini #TravelTruths updates as a way to be more honest with myself, my friends, and family about what it’s like to travel full time. If I’m going to be deadass real with you, the nomadic life isn’t always as glamorous as my instagram may appear.

I wanted to do a better job of reflecting on both the ‘highs and the lows’ of full time travel in a more casual medium—because sometimes I just don’t have time for all the formalities. So, I’m bringing this series here. I want to be more transparent about my life and give ya’ll the REAL about my travels.

These might be annoying long or hilariously short, it’s honestly just about sharing my perspective and seeing if other people relate. Which brings me to my first point, talk to me. I want to know your opinion. I want to know if you got those same feels. And most of all, I want to know if you can relate with me. Please talk to me, I don’t want to be here alone with all my truths 😭.

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SO HERE WE GO, TRAVEL TRUTHS 1: REFLECTING ON COST AFTER 3 MONTHS OF NON-STOP TRAVELING

After 3 months of traveling full time, I have visited 3 countries, taken 10 planes flights, and slept in 15 cities over the last 90 days—and yes I track all those things as well as every penny we spend on excel 😂.

Time seems to be flying by faster than Kylie’s Lip Kits on launch day… if y'all didn’t get that, it means it’s going fast. Anyways, there have been a lot of ups and a few downs, but it’s been a dynamic learning experience for both me and my partner at the time (we're not longer together). Our main (personal) focus has been trying to find a balance between our:

  • Work Life (blogging, vlogging, and social media-ing)
  • Life, Life (booking travel, being social, exploring cities, etc.)
  • Relax Life (sleeping, having days off, staying off the internet, finding hobbies, etc.)
  • and our Love Life (date nights, talking about emotions, staying sexy for each other, and creating couple goals).

Balancing all those factors while living in one place isn’t easy, so doing it while worrying about where you’re going to sleep tomorrow adds an extra layer of stress. Especially when you’re having to constantly check the calendar to make sure your visa hasn’t expired—trust me, you don’t want to pay those infringement fees or get a ‘red x’ on your passport.

I guess I should get into the budgeting part… it’s probably the main reason why you clicked. So after traveling in the Philippines for 28 days, in Singapore for 5 days, and in Malaysia for 60 days I’ve come to the conclusion that Southeast Asia is fu*king CHEAP compared to the USA. I’m not just talking about cheaper than living in NYC. Our monthly average for everything (flights, accommodation, food, entertainment, and those random massages/facials) was ~$35 a day, per person. That’s just over $1000 per month, and it’d be even cheaper if we weren’t flying around so much. If we maintain that expense average all year, our total traveling costs would be less than $13,000. That’s like getting paid $6.25 per hour, 40 hours a week. You’d shock me if you could name a place in the USA where you can live like that—I guess you could if you lived in the middle of nowhere and farmed your own food, but who has time for all that?

Just so you can’t say I lied to you, here’s the exact amount we spent over 90 days of traveling: collectively we spent $6,179.66 together, which is $3,089.83 per person.

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SO LET’S BREAK THIS DOWN.

The fact of the matter is, traveling full time is achievable. That only holds true if you’re not paying off tens of thousands of dollars in student debt or credit cards you racked up from shopping sprees—but even then with an aggressive budget and A LOT of discipline, you too could travel full time within a few years. .

HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW:

  • Southeast Asia is cheap, especially if you’re not paying rent in the USA.
  • If you keep to your budget of $35-$40 per day, you’ll need $13,000 - $15,000 for the whole year.
  • If you’re flexible about your departure you can save a lot of $$$$. Round trip tickets can be as low as $600 USD during off season.

Given the above factors, you have two options. You can either save up a lump sum of money or find a way to make income online while you’re traveling—I recommend doing both for more piece of mind. Maybe I should write a blog about how to make money while traveling, what do you think?

WAIT, BEFORE YOU BOOK ANYTHING…

Make sure you stop and think about all the things you’re sacrificing by choosing the nomadic life. That low cost of living has to be worth it in the end, right? Here’s some things to consider, as I’ve gone through them over the years:

  • You’re away from friends and family. Having a bad day? Well… your family & friends are thousands of miles away and are living 12 hours behind you. You’re going to have to wait until they’re awake.
  • You no longer have a “home.” Given most places only allow you a certain amount days in their country, you’ll always be on the move.
  • You’re staying in budget accommodation. Your room might not have a window, a/c, or even towels. You better be able to adapt!
  • You’re hitting pause on your career and life. Well, this may or may not be true if you’re planning to build an online business, but I’d argue that traveling the world makes for a better employee—but that’s a whole other blog to write.
  • And the hardest of it all, you’re living out of a backpack (+one personal item, as airlines might put it). But basically you have to pack light and carry it around with you. That’s harder for some people more than other, especially if you like fashion like me.

All in all, my first 3 months of non-stop travel have been a learning experience, and I don’t think that feeling will end any time soon. Hopefully you took something from my truth rambling. At minimum, you at least got a rough goal of how much you might need to save if you want to travel Southeast Asia for a year.

See you on the next Travel Truths!

Cheers, Teejay.

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Hi There, I'm Teejay and I've been helping people & brands make better content through photography, video, and writing. My goal has always been to inspiring creativity, radiating positivity, and teaching people how to create their best work through photography, video, and writing.

New York City, NY
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