Living the life of a nomad can be very attractive and addictive. Just imagine you are on the road, traveling around the country, exploring all your favourite destinations…and there are no responsibilities or limitations that can stop you. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?
Whether you are ready to retire, or just want to live your life on the road, there are ways you can make this dream a reality. However, one thing that can hold people back from living as a full-time nomad is working out how to finance the lifestyle, in terms of the money needed for expenses like petrol, site rates, car and caravan maintenance, as well as the daily necessities like food.
While having the necessary finances is essential, there are different ways you can easily budget and plan so you spend your money in the most effective way, as well as finding ways to earn money while on your travels.
Below are some tips to help you take the leap into the life of a full-time nomad:
1. Make a Budget:
The first thing you need to do is to have a practical and realistic budget in place. Sit down and write a list of all your expenses, from fuel, to daily site fees, to the cost of groceries.
Then, add 25% to the overall budget that you have calculated. This will help you to avoid any hassles and stress when those unexpected situations arise. The price of accommodation and food can fluctuate, especially in peak season, so adding a little bit extra to your overall budget will help you to deal with these unexpected costs.
Having a true understanding of the expenses involved in being a full-time nomad will help you decide on the locations to travel to or activities you do, you can see where you can cut down on unnecessary costs, and whether a bit of work here and there is required on your journey.
Once you start living the nomadic lifestyle, there are many items you now own which you simply won’t need anymore. Decide on the items which are essential and keep these, and sell everything else you can which has monetary value. This will not only help free you up from the material possessions you leave at home (which you may need to put in storage which comes with monthly costs), but will help boost your bank account to finance your journey. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Gumtree and LetGo are great options to sell your unwanted items.
3. Become Debt-Free
It’s not easy to enjoy the freedom that life on the road gives you if you’re financially tied down with big loans or credit card bills. Wherever you have racked up your debt, try to minimise it or eliminate it completely before you go.
Even if you are debt-free, it is best to have a cash surplus for that little bit of added financial security. So start putting aside money whenever you can – the more you save now, the longer you can enjoy being a nomad.
Learning new skills and DIYs will help save you a lot of time and money when you are on the road. Skills like teaching yourself how to do simple maintenance jobs on your car or caravan are invaluable, as they save you not only money but the inconvenience of being delayed in a town while waiting for them to be worked on by a local mechanic. Blogs, forums and YouTube channels can provide you with step-by-step guides and how-to’s so you can learn how to undertake these tasks yourself. However, if the repair is a serious one or you aren’t confident in your skills to undertake the job, make sure you take your caravan or vehicle to a professional as you don’t want any unnecessary accidents to happen – and the safety of you, your passengers and other people on the road is always the number one priority.
You have been on the road for a while, and it can happen that you start missing the creature comforts of home. House-sitting is a great way to experience the comforts of home while saving you money. Many homeowners need house-sitters as they don’t want their house to be empty while they are away, or perhaps they have animals which need feeding, so this can be a great opportunity for some free accommodation and a short break from life on the road.
6. Become a Minimalist:
Even though it may feel like you are on a never-ending vacation, you aren’t. Remember you are now a full-time traveler so you need to behave like one. No more purchasing souvenirs at every gift shop you see, or going out to expensive restaurants – it is time to spend your money on the essentials only.
7. Free camping:
Also known as freedom camping and boondocking, free camping means finding a place in nature where you can legally camp for free.
Just remember that there are limited facilities at free camping areas so don’t forget to take your essentials with you. Make sure that you have a full water tank and also an empty tank for grey water. Also, have your caravan batteries fully charged so you don’t run out of electricity. A great option to ensuring you always have the power you need is to invest in a solar blanket [add link to solar blanket on website].
8. Make the most of free offers:
Living as a nomad and watching every cent you spend doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy life during your travels. There are many free and fun activities around for you to participate in. Many places have beautiful botanic gardens to wonder through, weekend markets where you can see the talents of local artists, and you can also go to watch a local sports match or a matinee movie. If you are over 60, don’t forget to take your Seniors Card with you so you can take advantage of discounted rates on things like restaurants and public transport, as well as movie and tour tickets.
9. Cook Yourself
While it can be very tempting to eat out every night, this can quickly become an expensive habit.
Head to the supermarket or local markets and buy seasonal and local goods. Keep an eye out for what’s on sale and stay stocked up on canned and dry food. Search for new recipes so your meals stay interesting. Cooking your own meals is not only economical, but is often healthier too.
Always keep snack and sandwich supplies on board so when the hunger hits you aren’t tempted to give in to fast food.
10. Seasonal work
Even if you are retired, earning a little bit of cash is worth it when you are a full-time nomad. Not only will seasonal work benefit your wallet, but you will also have the opportunity to connect with people who enjoy the same nomadic lifestyle. There are many work opportunities for full-time nomads, like working on farms or at a holiday parks. You can also look for part-time or casual jobs, where you can earn some money but still have plenty of free time to enjoy your nomadic lifestyle.
Another perk of doing seasonal work is that a free power hook up is often offered during the length of your employment, especially when you are working on farms or in holiday parks, so not only will you be earning money but saving on accommodation costs!
11. Take Days Off
Living life as a nomad means taking your ‘normal’ life with you on the road. So like at home, take days off to relax, and to clean and do the laundry. Go for leisurely walks, play board games, or simply sit outside and read a book. Don’t feel as if you constantly need to be sightseeing and spending money to have an experience.
Sometimes the best experiences come from the natural environment you are in, so enjoy a day on the beach, take a hike, go on a nice bike ride, or have a picnic in the park.
Remember, the best things in life really are free.