If you’re wondering how to travel the world in 2022 or beyond but perhaps have some concerns around Covid or just general travel challenges, fear not!
I’ve been traveling for the last 11 years even through the pandemic, (albeit necessary travel and more limited), am currently based in Phuket, Thailand, and am planning in the next few months, to pack up my MacBook, put on my walking shoes and once again head out to traverse the globe!
Here’s why I actually think the next few years are going to be the best time to start traveling the world;
Perhaps at first glance that sounds a little petulant, but it’s true! If you want something badly enough, nothing, not even a worldwide pandemic should stop you from going for it. Sure you may have to make some adjustments to your plans. There will need to be workarounds and more hoops to jump through, but that all just adds to the excitement!
Reframe it in your mind from the stress of extra paperwork, visas, vaccine passports, etc, to the fun of working through the processes and taking the extra steps many won’t bother with to achieve your dreams!
Due to the fact many won’t bother, there will be fewer tourists. Terrible for the poor local economies, great for travelers.
Here in Phuket, the local economy has taken a heck of a hit so they’re currently welcoming people in with open arms! By traveling you’ll actually be helping local economies so you’re not only seeing the world, you’re contributing to it!
I have never seen airports so incredibly quiet. When I traveled from Thailand to the UK in April 2021, I only bumped into staff members! Going through customs was a dream!
It depends where you’re traveling to obviously, but fewer people at the airports and on the planes definitely enhances the experience!
The next 20 – 50 years will probably be the most change we’ll see in our lifetime. AI is moving fast, augmented reality, 3d printing, cryptocurrency, currency debasements, breakthroughs in medicine, climate change, space travel, the aftermath of the pandemic, and massive civil unrest all point to a volatile and unpredictable future.
I for one would like to keep my feet on the ground and be at one with nature as much as possible by exploring new destinations, connecting with cultures, broadening my mind further, and experiencing life in its truest form!
For the long-term travelers amongst us, travel comes with tax benefits. Many western countries demand too much tax to be paid to defunct and corrupt governments who use far too many tax dollars for nefarious purposes.
Each individual situation is different and it all depends on where you’re from and how far you’re prepared to take it (ie relinquishing citizenship for example), but if you’re considering long term travel be sure to get some tax advice as the chances are you’ll be better off.
As a fan of ‘the mask’, I have never been healthier! Since the pandemic started and I’ve worn a mask in enclosed spaces, probably washed my hands more often than before and public places are being regularly sanitized I haven’t caught so much as a common cold!
Don’t get me wrong, no matter where you go, whether to your local supermarket or across the world, the more you cross paths with others the higher chances you have of contracting the virus, but it’s amazing how effective a mask and some hand sanitizer can be!
It’s up to you whether you vax or don’t vax, but just be aware, not vaxxing will make it more difficult to travel.
But Covid aside, all the extra health precautions give you a better chance of not even catching the basic flu bug from the guy sneezing 3 seats behind you!
Let me preface by clarifying I am not a psychologist, but I firmly believe traveling improves your mental health on an unprecedented scale!
Viewing the world from a different angle, meeting different cultures, and experiencing varying standards of living, broadens the mind and promotes tolerance, understanding, and gratitude.
Emotions that seem sadly lacking in today’s society.
Once you’ve seen some of the things you’ll witness while traveling the world you’ll never unsee them and your new broadened mindset will change the way you view the world forever.
Whatever the reason for taking the leap and traveling the world, there is truly only upside! As Saint Augustine said;
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page!
Table of Contents
Back in 2010 my partner & I had the privilege of visiting some friends in Cyprus who were running an online business. Fed up with life in the UK following the recession of 2008/2009, and with failed offline businesses behind us, when our friends went traveling and invited us to housesit, we sold everything we owned inside of a week, rented our house out, and jumped on a plane (with, by the way, our 4-year-old daughter, about $1000 & a couple of credit cards).
We really haven’t looked back since. Some 11 years later, we’ve visited 30+ countries and my daughter has mainly been raised here in Phuket, Thailand, where she’s attended school.
If I had my time again, we would have visited a lot more countries and she would have been world schooled, but that’s another blog post!
Come next June when she finishes her IGCSE’s, we’ll be off on the road again, pandemic or no pandemic.
I wouldn’t necessarily advocate the way we started our round the world trip! You have to be very comfortable moving outside of your comfort zone and flying by the seat of your pants, which isn’t for everyone, but let’s explore some of the best routes for planning, financing & making the most of world travel!
First, it’s a good idea to decide what kind of world traveler you want to become. Determining your travel goals, ensures you create the right plan, do the right research, and have enough money to go where you want and do what you want to do.
- Perhaps you simply want to do one complete trip around the world and then settle back down in your home country again.
- Maybe you’re looking at budget travel and want to travel the world with a backpack and a list of hostels.
- You might be considering house sitting or pet sitting your way around the world.
- Maybe you’re dreaming of traveling the world for free!
- Perhaps you’ve had enough of your own country and want to take a one way flight to ‘destination anywhere.’
- Or, the best route and the one I personally recommend is a combination of the above, exploring all of the worldwide opportunities via long term travel as a digital nomad. (And if you think becoming a digital nomad is ‘only for the kids’, think again. We’ll explore this topic in more detail later in the article.)
Once you have an idea of the kind of travel you’ll be undertaking, it’s a good idea to create a bucket list of destinations.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, far more planning will now be involved in choosing and visiting countries, but it doesn’t hurt to start with a list of all the foreign countries you’d love to visit!
Eventually, countries will become more accessible again, so write down your dream destinations and begin planning your routes to get there.
The days of jumping on a plane and going where the wind will take you have been temporarily suspended right now so creating a list of ideal places to visit, planning your route, and making notes of the various travel restrictions and paperwork needed will go a long way to helping you achieve your travel adventures!
Here’s how I’d go about it;
- Where do I want to go?
- How long do I want to stay there?
- What are the travel restrictions? What paperwork do I need?
- Do I need a visa? What kind of visa do I need?
- Have I got the right travel insurance for the trip I’m planning?
- How much will it cost?
For number 6 it all depends on the type of travel you’re embarking on. If you’re going to be house sitting, now is the time to start joining house sitting groups. If you’re looking for free accommodation, start trawling through sites like worldpackers.com. If you’re on a tight budget, start exploring cheap accommodation options of which there are many on ‘Airbnb’ and sites like ‘booking.com’.
However, as I said above the best route to total travel freedom is by starting your own lifestyle business and traveling the world as a digital nomad.
Since 2010, my husband & I have been generating all of our income online giving us the freedom to work and live anywhere in the world.
Over the past few years, the online landscape has changed dramatically making it easier than ever to launch, grow and build a successful business entirely online without the need to be in any one place for any length of time.
If the thought of starting a ‘business’ sounds a little overwhelming, the fastest route to achieving your travel dreams is to become a freelancer.
Within a few days, you could start generating what you’re currently earning in your job, except you can work on the go from anywhere!
You can check out my step-by-step guide to becoming a freelancer here.
Other options are to;
- Start a travel blog or become a travel writer
- Start any blog to be honest in your area of interest
- Open your own online store and sell print on demand or physical products
- Become an Amazon FBA seller
- Start a podcast or become a YouTube influencer
The online world is truly your oyster. No matter what passion or interest you have, if there are others out there who share your passion you can create a business out of it.
Here are 189 online lifestyle business ideas to help you get started.
When people talk about traveling the world for free, they usually mean by volunteering for free accommodation or Couchsurfing and living on other people’s sofas, or working for a free stay somewhere, or travel hacking credit cards and getting free flights via points, etc.
That all sounds like a lot of work to me!
I’d rather spend my days doing something I love (like writing this blog) and generate the income needed to continue traveling the world as long as I want to. Sometimes staying in budget accommodation, sometimes spending time in expensive hotels.
That to me is the true meaning of traveling the world for free. Doing something I love to do when I want to do it from wherever in the world I happen to be!
As I’ve already mentioned, the brand new kid on the block when it comes to travel planning now is trying to keep up to date with travel restrictions.
Unfortunately, things change so fast it’s almost impossible to stay on top of it completely, but here are some great resources to help you;
App in the Air is a great app to plan your forthcoming trips. With the options to check flights, & hotels, it also gives up to date information on travel restrictions to your chosen country. It also launched a web page allowing you to enter your ‘from’ and ‘to’ countries to get the latest updates on transit restrictions. Very handy tools.
Rome 2 Rio is another similar app, allowing you to check flights, buses, driving routes, etc and hotels, while also giving you the latest travel info for your selected countries.
Sherpa, a company with a vision to help people travel more freely, has a free tool which allows you to enter your from and to countries to get the latest info, plus the webpage gives daily updates of recent government announcements with regards to changes to travel restrictions. It’s an excellent resource!
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Centre website gives you the option to add your personal & travel details to get health advice and travel restrictions for your destination country.
The TripIt Traveler Resource Center offers links to public health & safety officials, plus travel provider guidelines for airports, airlines, hotels etc.
Even with a lifestyle business or side hustle bringing in regular revenues, it’s a good idea to save a bit of money for a rainy day! As we’ve discovered over the last couple of years, anything can happen and you could suddenly find yourself stuck in a country you only planned to live in for a few weeks with dodgy internet and expensive hotels!
If you’ve planned well, it’s highly unlikely you’d let yourself get into that situation but it’s always best to have a risk management strategy and for travel that’s a few bucks in the bank to back you up!
When we left to travel the world, we had about $1000 and a couple of credit cards. It was quite dicey for the first couple of years, but we traveled through countries far cheaper than our own allowing us to gradually build up a bit of a nest egg.
That is a strategy worth considering. Rather than attempting to save tons of money before you leave and potentially never leaving as you never have enough money, simply put two or three months’ worth of what you think it will cost you aside. Embrace budget travel for the first 6 months or so, travel through cheaper countries, and save as you go!
Now you’ve done all your planning, have a side hustle or small lifestyle business you’re growing and are chomping at the bit to get going, it’s time to start researching your hotels, transportation options within the country, connecting with other travelers via forums and groups and finally booking your first trip!
Depending on who I’m traveling with or what our long term plans are I have a couple of different booking strategies.
For example, when I go on short 3 – 4 week exploration trips with my Sister, we generally start with a rough itinerary of the places we’ll be visiting, including bucket list items in each destination, like hot air ballooning over Bagan in Myanmar, or Scuba Diving with Manta’s in Bali and then book the first flight and one night’s accommodation.
That’s it. We have no idea if the area we’ve chosen is where we want to stay or how much we’ll love the country. So the less we book upfront, the more flexibility we have once in the country.
If I’m planning longer term travel with my husband and daughter, we’re more likely to again start with an itinerary of the places we want to visit. Book the flights for the entire trip in advance and book hotels/accommodation for the entire trip.
When we start to travel again next year, we’ll most likely book flights in and out of countries, but only secure a few days’ accommodation until we get there and decide where we want to stay.
Hot tip! If you’re going to be doing a lot of car hire, take out car excess insurance. It’s well worth the money as car hire firms can charge astronomical damage excess fees. Car excess insurance ensures you’ll only ever pay up to the amount of excess you’ve agreed upon and the car hire insurance company will pay the rest. We use reducemyexcess.co.uk.
A top priority when planning your round the world trip is to ensure you always put safety first, especially if you’re thinking of going solo!
I can’t speak much about solo travel as I’ve generally always been with my family or sister, but be sure to read travel guidelines about each country you’re going to visit.
But don’t just take your own government’s word as to whether a country is safe to travel or not. If we did that we’d never have lived in Thailand all these years!
There are enough travel blogs online now to read in-depth reports on every country around the world. Bold travelers who have already taken the plunge are writing amazing tour guides for a multitude of destinations.
Read as much about a country as you can before you go, including the local traditions, a bit of history, what its government/economy is like and learn some basic local language like hello, where’s the toilet and one beer please!
Always use common sense when traveling. Don’t walk down dark empty streets at night, don’t flash expensive jewelry unless on a private yacht sailing into Cannes, keep your bags close to your body, try not to look like a total tourist where possible, and don’t venture into areas or neighborhoods with bad reputations.
The local tourism office is always a good start when looking for local maps and must-see places vs no-go areas!
The more you can educate yourself on a country before you visit the better.
My preferred route to traversing the globe is via a lifestyle business however there are many other options for you to explore other countries while having fun!
- Become a volunteer. Sites like worldpackers.com offer opportunities for you to apply to work for your accommodation and food. Anything from picking fruit, painting and decorating, teaching or running social media campaigns.
- Get a job overseas. Rather than traveling to many different locations, perhaps there’s just one country you’d love to move to for a time. If that’s the case, start applying for jobs in your country of choice. Teaching English is potentially a great option.
- Become a Wwoofer! Wwoof.net stands for ‘world wide opportunities on organic farms.’ Choose your destination, make contact with the hosts and your price for accommodation is learning all about organic farming. Instead of spending money you’ll be saving money, while doing an active job, learning new skills and connecting with fellow travelers and discovering a new country!
- Go couchsurfing. Couchsurfing pretty much does what it says on the tin. People offer up couches, airbeds, spare rooms etc to travelers and many actually take their guests on tours of their cities/local areas. If you’re looking for free room and board, while roaming the world, this is a great potential option.
- House/Pet Sit. A great way to practically travel the world for free is to house sit and look after people’s pets when they go away. There are entire online communities now dedicated to pairing house/pet owners with travelers. If you love pets and can be flexible with your travel times, this could be the option for you.
Here are some travel tips to help you make the most of your travels;
Apps are an absolute godsend! These days you can plan & book flights, hotel stays, walking tours, car hire, tour guides, trips, train travel, rail passes, etc, all on apps on your mobile phone.
You can use apps to help you research, plan, book & track your world adventures. You can even use apps to both make and save money!
Here’s a list of my favorite travel and money apps to help you achieve your travel goals;
Forums have been a lifesaver for us. These days it’s forums or FB groups we use. But I guarantee no matter what country you’re visiting there will be umpteen forums and groups with super helpful people willing to answer any and all questions.
Local events/meetups are a great way to meet and connect with other travelers/people with like-minded interests. Simply download the meetup app and search for events happening near you. Facebook events are another great way of seeing what’s happening in your area.
These days someone has already been where you are and written about it! Google your destination and preface with phrases like ‘ what to do in X’, or ‘best 3 day itinerary in X’ or even ‘tips for traveling safely in X’. Everything you need to know is at your fingertips!
If you are growing a lifestyle business or working as a freelancer, you’ll find it easy to get caught up in your work rather than explore the place you’re visiting. Be sure to balance working with exploring! Give yourself time to take a few days to focus on work and a few days to sightsee. Even change your accommodation options, staying in plain and functional rooms to focus on work with no distractions and then beautiful oceanfront apartments/hotels to relax and have a good time.
Even if you love your work, we all still need some downtime to connect completely with where we are.
When my sister & I backpacked through India, we decided to go vegetarian for the duration of the trip to avoid deli belly. It worked! Not only are the Indians primarily vegetarians, which made it super easy to follow this diet, but we didn’t experience any tummy discomforts whatsoever.
Here in Thailand, they’re famous for cooking and eating street food, but does that mean you should do also? Well, when in Rome as they say, you want to be trying the local dishes and truly experiencing the country’s cuisine. It’s one of the highlights of traveling, however only you know how sensitive your belly is to foreign foods, so be sensible.
Never be afraid to ask what’s in a dish, learn the local words for no spice or no sugar or no msg, or no meat/bones, etc, if that’s important to you and do your homework. Find out what the best local dishes are, read other travelers’ experiences and respond accordingly.
Try as much as you can, but don’t get ill doing so!
By the way, Thai street food is the BEST!
Travel insurance is a must, particularly now with Covid cover! Many countries may stipulate that as a condition of entry. As a family, we use Cigna Global and they’ve been amazing (especially when I needed oxygen chamber treatment after suffering from decompression sickness.) They aren’t cheap, however, so here are some other players on the market;
One of the best ways to see a city is to walk it! I’ve walked Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Melbourne, Hong Kong and loads more. There’s no better way to take in all the sights and sounds, experience markets, boutique shops, street foods, street performers, and all sorts.
I still remember a food cart my sister & I came across in smoggy Beijing selling toffee-covered strawberries! It was the highlight of our day.
All across the world, there are free walking tours available. Just google ‘free walking tours’ and the City you’re in. Most will simply give you a time and a place to meet and it’s up to you to turn up. The fee for a ‘free’ walking tour is the tip you choose to give the tour guide based on how great the tour was.
One of my favorite ways to explore a city!
Most big cities offer Hop On/Hop Off Big Bus tours. Tours usually come with a pair of headphones you can set to your language and as you ride through the city, a recorded voice tells you what great sights you’re passing along with some history of the buildings and the culture as you go.
What I have learned about cities on big bus tours! You also have the option to hop off at different destinations around the city and hop back on at a different stop. It’s an amazing way to explore and hear the best stories of a city’s history and culture!
A ‘tuk tuk’, otherwise known as an auto-rickshaw is a major mode of travel through many Asian, African, and Central/South American countries. It’s basically a three-wheeled carriage attached to a motorcycle chassis. It’s generally open-air and here in Thailand, many are ‘blinged up’ with multicolor disco lights, loud music, and a cheery driver looking for a good tip!
They’re a cheap (and generally pretty nifty) way of traveling through a city or town, zipping in and out of traffic, dodging traffic lights and allowing you to see all the sights as you pass by. Definitely worth a ride!
Tricycle taxis or cycle rickshaws are big in the Philippines and thank goodness they are! The traffic in the bigger cities is so bad, getting a taxi is rarely a good option, unless you want to sit for 3 hours to only go a few kilometers.
We also got a cycle rickshaw in India to travel through the old Delhi markets, had a hair-raising ride in the magical city of Nepal, and got totally ripped off, (albeit a fab experience) on a tricycle in Vietnam.
It’s a fabulous way to see the world around you, but be sure to ask how much upfront!
We jumped on a bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai and almost got completely scammed going from Delhi to Jaipur.
On my bucket list is taking the Trans Mongolian Express from Beijing to St Petersburg and the Indian Pacific Train going from Sydney to Perth.
Jumping on a train in a foreign country is a unique experience all on its own, a great way to see a lot of a country and well worth doing.
Just decide that you’re going to. Sounds kooky, but so much of what you want to achieve in life is simply deciding that you want to.
For the more analytical amongst you;
- Decide the kind of traveler/trip you want
- Create a bucket list of destinations
- Create a plan
- Start a lifestyle business/side hustle
- Save money
- Keep up to date with travel restrictions
- Research and start booking your travel
My recommendation is to turn your passions into profits and start your own lifestyle business. Whether you become a travel blogger or influencer, sell products or videos, become a coach or consultant, or freelance for other businesses, the online world is your oyster!
That completely depends on how you intend to travel. If you’re grabbing a backpack and are doing a hostel tour travel costs will be hugely different than if you’re planning to stay in nice hotels. Similarly, if you’re volunteering or house sitting you may have minimal accommodation costs throughout your trip.
The best thing to do is put together a monthly budget, researching and factoring in your likely costs for travel, food, entertainment, etc, and then work towards ensuring you have a few months in the bank before you go, or can earn money as you go either from your lifestyle business or paid work.
I’m not one for saying something can’t be done as nothing is impossible, but to travel completely for free is a bit of a misnomer as even if you can cover your accommodation and flights costs you still have to eat right!? However, by volunteering, working on organic farms or couchsurfing, you’ll certainly minimize travel costs.
My favorite way to essentially travel for free is to earn more than it costs. To do that I recommend starting a lifestyle business doing something you love to do! Then, it doesn’t feel like you’re working at all. You’re earning while traveling and indulging in your favorite hobby as you go! It doesn’t come much free-er than that!
There are two main ways to get free flights. If you’re already traveling a lot, you can join a frequent flyer program and generate points as you travel, which as they build up will results in enough for a free flight. Or you can get a couple of credit cards that offer rewards points as soon as possible and ensure all your purchases go through those credit cards, once again building up enough points to buy a flight or two!
My personal favorite is to start and grow your own lifestyle business. You’ll be traveling around, like I am, doing something you love every day, generating an income and seeing the world! Failing that, you can join sites like upwork.com or freelancer.com and freelance your way around the world. Or you can become an English teacher or get odd jobs as you go!
There are so many ways to make money as you travel. Particularly now in the digital age we’re living in. It’s easier than ever to generate an income online! Here are my top 10 ways to travel the world and make money;
- Become a freelancer
- Start a travel blog
- Become a travel influencer
- Start an ecommerce business selling print on demand or physical products
- Become an Amazon FBA seller
- Become a videographer/social media guru and offer your services to hotels as you travel
- Start a podcast, build an audience and sell sponsorship and advertising
- Build a niche site (in anything there is a passionate market for) and generate income from ads/affiliate marketing
- Become a course creator and sell your courses on udemy or skillshare
- Sell printables on Etsy
To travel the world is one of the greatest privileges of the 21st Century.
Other than being able to explore distant lands, experience different cultures, climates, foods and meet amazing people along the way, travel & tourism has also opened up developing countries and stimulated economies that would otherwise have struggled.
It’s incredibly sad to see, just here in Phuket, how much of the local economy the pandemic has decimated. People from all over Thailand come to work in a busy tourist destination like Phuket, sending money home to their families in the poorer farming communities.
When the pandemic hit many headed home to their farms but many had nowhere to go and have been relying on charitable donations just to eat.
Thailand is one of the wealthier developing countries so I hate to think what this has done to other neighboring regions.
If you have the chance to travel, to explore the world and to have a positive impact on the local economy in any way you can, take it!
If by chance you’re a travel blogger, influencer, or writer and are telling the stories/shining a light on these countries then I commend and applaud your efforts.
Get off the beaten path. Take the road less traveled and see where it takes you. Perhaps like me, it will completely change your mindset and your life!