Financially Sustainable Travel: My Cost of Full-Time Travel in 2014

What does it cost to travel full-time? That answer varies, as it has for me over the years. Here's my cost of full-time travel in 2014.

Financially Sustainable Travel: My Cost of Full-Time Travel in 2014 Financially Sustainable Travel: My Cost of Full-Time Travel in 2014

Letters From Colombia: The Safety, The Food, The Life

Learn about Colombia through two weeks of letters written back and forth with my Dad, who was initially none to thrilled at my choice of destination.

Letters From Colombia: The Safety, The Food, The Life Letters From Colombia: The Safety, The Food, The Life

Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom

If you want to live and work abroad, check out Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom, at special intro prices!

Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom

It’s almost a given that as a tourist, you’re going to overpay for things. This rule is exacerbated in countries where you stand out as a foreigner. But you don’t have to succumb to inflated tourist prices across the board; here are a few things to beware of, and how to avoid falling into (too many) tourist traps.

(See also: How Tourists Cripple Local Economies)



I have a thing about taking taxis in foreign countries; they’re not always safe, and if you’re in a dodgy taxi, you might be taken the long way around and overcharged. It happens all too easily if you aren’t familiar with your destination.

How to avoid overpaying for taxis? Ask a local or the staff at your hotel how much a taxi should cost to your destination before you go. Confirm the rate with the taxi driver before you get in.

And of course, the best way to avoid overpaying taxi drivers is to take public transportation.



At only a couple of bucks a pop it might seem innocuous, but buying water while you’re out and about takes a hit on both your pocketbook – and the environment. Bottled water is a pet peeve of mine, and I refuse to buy it. Instead, I carry a reusable bottle and fill it up wherever I can. If I’m in a country without potable water, I have a SteriPEN handy.

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Since 2010, I’ve published my cost of full-time travel; an uncensored breakdown of all my expenses for the year, demonstrating that full-time travel often costs less than living in one place. (At the end of this article you’ll find links to cost breakdowns for previous years).

What I Did in 2014

Here’s a quick summary of what 2014 held for me:

(See Also: 7 Countries and 34,000 miles: This Was 2014)

  • Two weeks in Panama
  • Three weeks in south Florida
  • A two-week personal retreat in mid-Florida
  • Five weeks in north Florida
  • A quick trip to Toronto Canada, enroute to:
  • Three months in Peru
  • Seven weeks in and around Toronto, Canada (with a quick trip to the Florida Keys in there)
  • Two weeks in the south of Spain
  • A week in Pesaro Italy
  • A few days back in Canada enroute to:
  • Four more months in Peru

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Dan McElroy has been a full-time traveler for almost two years. It all started with a three-month backpacking trip to Europe after he lost his career job in Houston, Texas. He became addicted to traveling and decided to look for more sustainable methods of traveling. He met a Canadian girl (Jess) in Spain while traveling and they both became TEFL teachers (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in rural China. Please enjoy this week-in-the-life of Dan, living in rural China and teaching English!

(See also: Earning Income Abroad by Teaching English)


Day 1: Monday

7:30 am – Jess and I wake up in rural china. We get out of bed and stretch the kinks out of our backs from sleeping on a hard-board mattress (common in China). We get ready quickly in our large yet plain apartment and go down five flights of stairs to get outside.

8:30 am – 5 minutes later we arrive at the International School that we’ve worked at for a year and a half. I go into my classroom and begin setting up for my first class, while Jess does the same in her classroom.

9:05 am – The first 45-minute class begins. I go over vocabulary, play games, and sing songs with my 4th graders. I have three classes this morning, each with 45-50 students.

12:00 pm – After the morning classes a few of the teachers cram into a Tuc Tuc (a box on the back of a scooter) and we head to our favorite noodle restaurants that we have deemed “Peanut Noodles.” Inside, people laugh, point and stare unabashedly at us while we eat. It has become normal for us by now and we try to ignore it as best we can.

2:00 pm – I have three afternoon classes and during my 2nd one, a student throws up in the back row. The smell sends students in all directions creating a comical blend of shock, disgust, and hysterical laughter. My sick student is okay, but I am struggling to keep the students’ attention after such a display.

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Why I Have Nothing to Write About Costa Rica

03 | 30 Costa Rica

It’s not that I didn’t like Costa Rica – in fact, I loved it. But here’s why I have nothing in particular to write about it.

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A Week-In-The-Life of Tom: Making a Film in Iran

03 | 23 Week-In-The-Life Series

Here’s a culture (and snow) filled week-in-the-life of Tom Allen as he travels through Iran shooting a film about the Karun river.

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Financial Travel Tip #124: Saving for Retirement While Traveling

03 | 16 Financial Travel Tips

Readers often ask how (or if) I save for retirement while traveling full-time, especially with a varying income. Here’s what I do, and how I do it:

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A Week-In-The-Life of Will, The Broke Backpacker

03 | 09 Week-In-The-Life Series

Writer and photographer. Adventurer and vagabond. Budget travel expert…here’s a week-in-the-life of Will Hatton, The Broke Backpacker, in Antigua!

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A Curious Bubble in Boulder, Colorado

03 | 02 links

Boulder Colorado is an interesting place that begs to be poked fun at in some ways, honoured in other ways, and criticized in other ways. Here’s my take:

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A Week-In-The-Life of Nat and Rob: Love and Road

02 | 23 Week-In-The-Life Series

Here’s a week-in-the-life of Nat and Rob of Love and Road: budget travellers, newbie bloggers, and sun seekers, in Turkey.

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