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How to travel for a year without going broke

·4-min read
Hot air balloons flying over Cappadocia, Turkey.
Go see the world, people. (Image: Getty)

Many Australians look out the office window on a long Tuesday afternoon, wondering if this is all there is.

But a small minority do make it out of the rat race and travel the world, showing the rest of us that it's possible to taste true freedom – if only for a while.

The average generation Z person has only $10,116 in their bank account, gen Y has $19,752 of savings and gen X have $34,257 in reserve.

None of those amounts will last long while travelling and with no income coming in.

So how do you chuck in your job and travel for 12 months – or even longer? How do you do this without sending yourself broke?

Here are some ways you can make the dream come true.

House sitting

If you're willing to live in and take care of someone else's house – with maybe some maintenance obligations like feeding a pet or watering plants – it's a cheap way to travel for a long time.

There are many reported examples of younger couples – usually with fewer commitments like children – living full-time as sitters, travelling and saving money along the way.

But there are also older couples, like Ian Usher and Vanessa Anderson, who have travelled non-stop for several years by finding house sitting gigs along the way.

"We do get told we are living the dream. But, as with any lifestyle choice, you have to make compromises," Usher told Domain last year.

"Yes, we do get to travel, but the flipside of the coin is that we don’t have a home base and we don’t have regular contact with family and friends."

Rent out your home

If you own your home and the mortgage repayments are manageable, this is an excellent way to attain constant cash flow to travel long-term.

The current historic-low interest rates will mean many home owners will have minimum repayments low enough to be covered by rental income, plus have some left over to travel on.

There are also neat tricks to maximise rent, like converting the home into multiple dwellings.

For example, I bought a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house then segregated off a part of the house to create a one-bedroom self-contained granny flat. I rented this out, which covered the home loan repayments, then rented out the two-bedroom section that provided the income to travel for a year.

After flying out with the plan to be away for one year, I ended up staying overseas for 18 months.

Working holiday

This is a popular choice for younger Australians.

Some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada, allow Australians below a certain age to live and work while visiting.

Whether the type of job allowed is professional or blue-collar depends on that country's visa terms.

If you set up a base in one of those countries, you can also see a lot of the surrounding region. For example, living in Britain would allow you to do weekenders to continental Europe, while an address in Canada could open up North America for exploring.

A secondary benefit of the working holiday residence is that some host countries, like the UK, will allow the visitor to apply for permanent residency – or even citizenship – once they are established for a certain length of time.

Remote Year

Remote Year is a travel organisation that sends professionals on a one-year adventure of living in a different city each month. There are also shorter six- and four-month programs.

The organisation takes a monthly fee for arranging the accommodation and activities, while the participant must bring their own job that can be performed remotely.

"Participants join with their current jobs work remotely while living in different cities around the world for a month at a time with a community of other professionals from various industries and nationalities," says the Remote Year website.

"The cost of the program covers having all of your bookings, experiences, workspace membership, and more arranged for you."

The same group moves around the same cities, providing community support. There is a discount for couples.

"I would wake up, work out, go to the workspace/work from home, have lunch with different friends from my group each day, explore in the afternoon/early evening, dinner with friends, possibly go to a bar," said freelance illustrator and designer Barbra Araujo.

"Some days I would explore in the morning and work after lunch – it just depended on the day."


If you already have a job or a business that allows telecommuting, you don't really need Remote Year to take off. Those who freelance or work for themselves are in prime position.

You can fly out now and you're already ahead of most people – income is coming in while you travel, provided you can be disciplined about maintaining work hours.

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