How I Afford to Travel

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I travel. A lot. The last few years I make anywhere from 15 to 20 international trips a year. I get a lot of people asking me how I manage to do it; no, I’m not rich, and yes, I fund my own travel. In this post I tell you how I afford to travel so much.


So just how do I do it? The answer is multi-faceted, but REALLY SIMPLE: I have made travel a lifestyle and create opportunities to see the world using my abilities and resources.

I’ve decided to do a post resuming just how I can afford to travel so much and compiled some information that can hopefully help you to do the same.
For starters, here’s a recent video I made a few of the methods I employ– for a more thorough explanation, read on!

Timing and planning

Timing and planning are SO important for me. I try to book my train/plane tickets way in advance while seats still tend to be cheaper. I avoid travelling during peak periods when I can, but since I am a teacher with fixed time off (during peak periods) this is often difficult. Instead, I use the inflexibility of my schedule to my advantage: since I know exactly when I’ll be on vacation, if I find cheap tickets, I just book them right away. No way I’m missing out on a deal!
When travelling in Europe and Asia I have used a variety of budget airlines and search engines to book my trips. I have listed a few below.
Asia: Air Asia, Dragon Air, Royal Brunei, Jet Star, Tiger Airways, Zuji, Nok Air, Peach, HK Express, Hong Kong Airlines
Europe:RyanAir, Easy Jet, Sky Europe, Edreams, Swoodoo, Norwegian Air, WOW airlines
Some examples of deals I’ve gotten: I’ve flown between Dublin and Edinburgh for £16 including taxes on RyanAir.  I’ve snagged train tickets from London to Brussels for £69 return. I only paid $600 USD for my ticket from Hong Kong to Seattle a few summers ago and $460 USD for a RETURN ticket from NYC to London on Norwegian Air (probably my best long haul deal to date!)

Financial matters/ management

There’s no secret or gimmick: I am good with my money.  In order to have enough money to travel I operate on a few basic principles:

a) I don’t buy anything I can’t afford to pay for IN CASH.

b) I rarely use my credit card; when I do, I pay the balance in full.

c) I pay all my bills first! After paying my fixed expenses (rent, phone bill etc.) I put a set amount of money into a saving account and DON’T TOUCH IT.

d) After putting money into my savings account after every paycheck, I take out a set amount of cash that I’ll use as spending money between paychecks. I try to use only this cash for my entertainment, transportation, food, and miscellaneous items. I like using cash for everything because it’s easy to monitor how much I’m spending. Doing things this way also mean that I don’t use my credit/debit cards very often.

e) I budget budget budget, and budget realistically! I’ve had stretches where I haven’t been working so it was crucial that I was smart with my money. I’ve always done a rough plan of how much I wanted to spend per month in these instances (when I moved to London in 2011 and didn’t work for 7 months that was about $1200 USD) and tried not to stray from that.



I don’t drink or smoke so I save a lot of money because of that.  I cut down on transportation costs because I’ve lived in cities like (Hong Kong, NYC, and London) where I don’t need a car. I walk places when I can, which means that I save on bus and cab fare- my two feet are free! Apart from my camera, laptop, and smartphone, I don’t own any fancy electronics.  When I lived in Hong Kong and owned a TV, I only had basic cable. I am the queen of the pay as you go phone, and use Skype to call friends and family abroad: I can call a land line in Canada or the States for as little as $0.02 a minute. I spend a lot of money on clothes and am a bit of a clotheshorse, but tend to shop at affordable places like H&M. I don’t mind spending, say, $400 on a leather jacket, because it is a classic, good quality piece that will last me for a long time.  The same goes for shoes. I spend more on footwear, but they are comfortable, timeless, and last long.   I eat out quite a bit, but cut corners here and there by skipping appetizers and dessert and ordering tap water.

Career path and work abroad opportunities

People, in particular my newest readers, often think that I travel all the time, but I have a day job that gives me a lot of time off to travel.  I’m a middle and high school teacher who has taught English literature and French in international schools around the world.  I chose this career path in part because I always knew I wanted to live abroad and have enough time to travel during my holidays, which are numerous. So far, I’ve taught in France, Mexico, London, NYC, and Hong Kong, and always extensively travel the regions that I temporarily call home. When I was teaching in London, for example, I took advantage of my prime location in Europe to explore the rest of the continent, often travelling every holiday and 2-3 weekends of every month!

To teach in an international school, you need a specialized degree/certificate that allows you to teach in public elementary and/or secondary schools in your home country.  In Canada, this teaching degree is called a Bachelor of Education, which is typically an 8-month to 2 year program typically done after completing a 4-year university degree.  In the UK, this degree is known as the PGCE, and in Hong Kong it is known as the PGDE. These programs can certify to teach basically any subject that is taught in schools, like Math, or Science, or Art.  One can get a generalist certification to teach primary grades or kindergarten.  I’ve always loved languages so I am certified to teach Grade 7 to 12 English lit and French.
Graduates of these programs can then apply to work in international schools. Recruiting agencies like Search Associates, Council of International Schools, and International Schools Services help qualified elementary/secondary teachers find jobs.

Teaching English as a Second (or Foreign) Language is also a great option to go abroad. There are lots and lots of jobs in Asia, in particular, and lots of programs to get a TEFL or TESL designation certifying you to teach. Dave’s ESL Cafe is a good start for info and job postings for ESL/EFL teaching.

If you are a university student, you can also teach English in France; I did this back in 2006. Click this link for more information.

*I did a video a while back explaining the difference between teaching English as a foreign language and teaching any K-12 subject in an international school… check it out!

Not into teaching?  Why not see if your country allows you to apply for a working holiday visa so you can work in another field? Canadians under 35, for instance, can get a visa to work in France for up to a year.  I had a working holiday visa for the UK, which allowed me to work there for up to two years. For Americans, who get the short end of the stick when it comes to work visas for foreign countries, there are a number of programs run by BUNAC and AIESEC that help American nationals find work in different career fields abroad.

While I’ve chosen to focus on paid work opportunities, a number of volunteer and study abroad opportunities exist. A simple Google search will reveal them in their entirety.

Blogging and Freelance Writing

When I started this blog years ago I never would have imagined the opportunities it would yield! I started it out of a love for writing and travel, but now it has gotten to a level where it is a side business and extra income. I am sometimes commissioned by brands and tourism boards to produce content (blog posts, feature articles, photos, and videos) or advertise for them.  Payment for my services works in a variety of ways: sometimes it’s a straight barter transaction, where I am given accommodation, flights, and experiences in exchange for my services; other times I am paid cash; sometimes it’s a mixture of both.  People always ask me how to get paid to travel, but the truth is that the road is long and winding! I’ve been blogging for a long time, and have managed to make enough of a name for myself that brands (like Toyota, who hired me to shoot a bunch of travel-themed videos for a campaign) want to work with me.

Soooo, in conclusion…

With a few adjustments and considerations it’s possible to travel frequently.  The secret to living out your travel dreams lies in two words:  research and discipline.
Do you have any questions that I didn’t answer here?  Any info that I missed?  Sound off in the comments!

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  • says:

    This is so honest and I really appreciate and respect that quality in you. I completely agree with a, b and c of the financial matters and that is exactly how I deal with my money as well. The way I see it, if I haven't got any hard cash (not credit), I'm staying home.

    You've inspired me to TRY to spend less on the frivolous delights (like Afternoon Tea) and more on travelling. Love your blog, so keep the posts coming! See you soon!

  • Deidre says:

    Good for you! I try to save as much as possible, but the truth is, I just don't spend a lot of money. I shop for clothes probably once a year! My biggest expense is yoga.

    I love reading about your life my dear! You're an inspiration.

  • Afromorena says:

    Great post! Those airline savings are awesome! I'm definitely taking notes. I live a similar lifestyle as you to save money, however, my income the last couple years have been quite abysmal. However, that should be changing soon. Great thing about teaching abroad is that I will be able to do a little traveling while paying off these blasted student loans.

  • Afromorena says:

    Sorry that should be *has been quite abysmal

  • Anonymous says:


    Not only is your hair hype, but life is darn hype as well girly. It's always a joy to see young women with good commonsense. Preach sister Oneika, preach. Can I get an Amen somebody? So happy to use you and your blog as my couch airplane to see the world. I feel like I am travelling with you mane.


  • B says:

    Awesome info in this post. I hope soon enough I'm able to travel alot too!

  • Jamee Pritchard says:

    Hi! I'm a new follower to your blog and I absolutely love it. I'm an avid dreamer when it comes to travel, yet I don't know how to make those dreams come true. Thanks so much for the money saving and work abroad tips. I read your blog from your first post to the most recent post. Fascinating! It really reads as a novel. Maybe you should write one…

  • Kourt says:

    Love the post, I am the biggest supporter of affordable travel. You do not have to be rich to travel, just have travel smarts and thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I always tell people to travel off season and book ahead. That is how I traveled around Europe, I went during the winter (did not mind the snow) and took cheap flights, trains and even buses…it was quite an experience and I would love to do it again…actually I will do it again.

  • Nailah says:

    This article was well times for me as I'm planning my travel dates/ budget for 2012. Quick quesiton, you mentioned Jet Star…what do you think of that airline? They came up in a search on airfares between Tokyo and Sydney, but I've never heard of them before.

  • Try Anything Once Terri says:

    I hear you. I've been thinking about writing something similar. Before getting married, I arranged my finances around travel. I had a special travel savings account and line item budget for savings just for travel. What I think you prove that incorporating travel into your lifestyle is about being intentional. 🙂

  • WinterSundays says:

    @ Oneika: Thank you for this post!! It answers all the questions I've had re: living and working abroad. Now I have a road map! I've read other articles on this subject but none of them resonated with me. Thank you, thank you.
    @ Try Anything Once Terri: I have been looking for a word as my "theme word" for 2012. Intentional sums up what I want to achieve this year. Thanks!!

  • Ashley says:

    Kudos for this. I certainly don't travel as much as you, but I try to make at least 2 to 3 good trips a year (domestic or international). People are always asking me how I afford this, I tell them, "If it's something you truly love to do, you'll find a way to do it." People just don't want to hear the cold hard truth: save your money!!! Also, I always find ways to cut corners when traveling: couchsurfer for life! And you are SOOOO right about use your own damn feet to get around. People. are. lazy.

    HA, sorry I had my own rant 🙂

  • Kalyn @ bucket list nation says:

    Love this post! I have been trying to budget lately to live my travel dreams. The hardest part is turning down friends to go out on the weekends.

  • Naomi says:

    Awesome tips! Admittedly, I'm not the type of person to pay with cash over card, as I actually wind up spending more if I have cash on me (it makes it so much easier to fork over that 1 or 2$ for little impulse buys) but I love the idea – and, if you pay all in cash, you further support the business by not making them pay a percentage to the credit card company! 😉

  • Monique says:

    Glad that you've informed people that it's a lifestyle and about choices. Instead of always choosing the newest and shiniest item of the moment, you choose to travel. Great post.

  • kimvan says:

    girl I was reading and kept being amazed that you do the same things I do. I tell people these same things. They are always puzzled at how I afford to travel. Budgeting and prioritizing. Awesome post.

  • caribbelle says:

    I'm so glad you did this, I'm passing it along to many of my friends that ask about how I travel. I've done the most of it through study abroad programs because I wanted credits for it, but there are always options if you plan and budget.

  • Oneika says:

    I feel the same way! If I don't have the money, I'm not going. If I do have the money, but feel like something is not worth my hard-earned cash, I'm not spending! But don't stop doing Afternoon Tea, I love reading your posts about it!

  • Oneika says:

    Once a year! You're really good! I'm really trying to quell my shopaholic-ness and have been doing a lot better since I moved to London! Thanks for your kind words!

  • Oneika says:

    That's why I'm all about working abroad- I get to make money and travel at the same time- two of my favourite things!!

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks Jules!! As I always say, save up and come with me!

  • Oneika says:

    Soon come!!

  • Oneika says:

    Hi Jamee, thanks for reading! Hope you didn't get too bored with all the reading.. :-0 I love the idea of writing a novel but I don't know if I'm disciplined enough to do it for real!!

  • Oneika says:

    I agree that it's all about being smart with the money you do have and being realistic!

  • Oneika says:

    I flew it to Singapore and found it nice enough! It's actually an Australian airline and they have a great customer service team (I had to converse with them because I had an issue with my ticket and they were just lovely). Fly them!

  • Oneika says:

    Travel is my hobby so I naturally funnel money toward a travel fund! Besides that, I just love knowing that I have a few $$ tucked away for a rainy day.. :-0

  • Oneika says:

    Twas my intention to create some sort of outline so I'm really glad that you liked it!!

  • Oneika says:

    I get the "how do you afford to travel" question all the time and I think that people are fairly disappointed with the answer that I just prioritize travel and save my pennies… LOL Couchsurfing is a great way to save money on accomodation, but I've never tried it yet! No worries about the rant, dearie, it's nothing that I havent ranted about before!! :-0

  • Oneika says:

    I forgot to mention it in my post but I almost never pay entry to get into a club! Forget that! I'll go early when it's free or have my own little dance party at home with Liebling LOL.

  • Oneika says:

    Hmm, never thought of it that way! I'm the type of person for whom spending on a credit card means trouble: I'll just spend spend away and not pay attention to how much I'm spending!! You're really good though!

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks, Monique! I don't really do trends and I'm tech stupid anyway so all those new expensive iPhones and all that don't really interest me!

  • Oneika says:

    It really is simple, isn't it?! I didn't own a credit card until I was about 23! My greatest satisfaction lies in paying off all my bills- such a great feeling to not owe anyone anything!

  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent tips! I'm presently unemployed and just wonder how you managed to continue to travel whilst you were out of work for 7 months?

  • Oneika says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! Study abroad programs are definitely a viable option, although I wanted to focus on avenues that would make you/save you money and also allow you to see the world simultaneously!

  • Beauty Soul says:

    Great post. People always think that you have to be balling to travel but its all a matter of priorities.

  • DebbZ says:

    Wow…..very inspiring post!
    I just found your blog today and I really love it.
    I think I will enjoy my time reading all previous entries 🙂

  • Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} says:

    Ryan air= awesome!

    Loved this post, and I couldn't agree more, you just have to plan and make it a priority…if you don't sacrifice financially or in your lifestyle for what you love…it's never going to happen!

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    WOW this is one hell of a post! I hope this goes viral. This is SO inspiring and this exactly how I afford to travel as well. It's all about priorities. LOVE your pics!!!

  • Emily in Chile says:

    Great advice! Obviously you have an advantage in terms of your work schedule, but the first two big points apply to anyone. I think that for expats the idea of traveling where you are is so important too. We're not going to blow money on going to Asia or Europe from Chile when we know it'll be cheaper and easier from the US, so for now trips within South America are our priority.

  • Fly Girl says:

    Exceptional post. It's always helpful to learn how other people manage a travel lifestyle. I teach at the university level and have a class every semester so my time to travel isn't as flexible but as a travel journalist, I take advantage of every press trip that fits my schedule.

  • Jamaica My Way says:

    That's awesome, I could have said almost all of those! I'm the cash-only girl too. Hey that picture of you on the dock with mountains in the distance looks exactly like our cabin in BC. Nice shot.

    "my two feet are free" <<< This is what I always tell taxi drivers when I travel LOL.

  • Shells says:

    Great info, Oneika! I've lived in Europe for over 10 years and while I have travelled some I now realize how stupid I've been to waste all the opportunities I've had to travel to some amazing locations. I may have been living on the budget of a student mostly, but I had lots of time to explore, at the very least, Europe and Asia if it had ever occurred to me. And to be honest, it probably wouldn't have broken my back to do so. I lived a relatively comfortable life as student and the money I spent on foolishness could've likely taken me around Asia for several months. Sigh … when you're young and moronic … lol

    Reading your blog (and others) over the past few months have opened my eyes to so many travel opportunities I've squandered and or I took for granted. Now its too late because my job/s keep me way too busy to go jetting off whenever I want, and its likely I'll be moving back Stateside in the next couple years. Not mention the number of responsibilities I have that deplete my travel budget…

    Nevertheless, where there's a will there's a way. Until I move back to the States, the older and wiser me will be doing as much travelling as I can. Moreover, having solo travelled all my life, I was also starting to feel awfully lonely on my trips (especially when you see those touchy feely mushy kissy tourists), but you ladies have boosted my confidence tremendously! Now I can't wait for my next solo trip in April! I've got you and Nicole and April and a whole bunch of fearless ladies to thank for that so Thanks! 🙂

  • Tom says:

    Hey Oneika – great post and lots of really useful information here.

    I hear you on transport and lifestyle costs – I walk as much as I can and will take the cheapest transport that will get me to my destination on time. I'd rather sit on a train for 3 hours having paid $20 than sit on one for forty minutes having paid $55 if the destination is the same!

    Drinking…alcohol can eat up so much money. I drink, and it does leave a dent in the wallet – I swear I spent half my budget in Sydney on alcohol! I notice that if I don't go out drinking/clubbing for a month, the wallet is considerably fuller.

    Time is key as well – book your holidays at work in advance or, if they're fixed for you, then just book the tickets! I always book my holidays as far in advance as I can so that I can get the cheapest deals possible (not always easy to come by in South Korea!)

  • withinireland says:

    I think you've just created your new top post!

    maybe i should start with the cash-only deal… i just seem to squander it all right away. do you take your max amount out at the beginning of the month and then dole it out as you go?

  • Stacy says:

    This is wonderful advice! I totally do the same type of financial management. When travel became more of a priority for me, things like shopping or eating out every meal became much easier to give up. I can rework my clothes from last season if it means I get to add another stamp to my passport 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks Oneika for sharing all of these resources. Another point is that you don't have any children or dependents, a very big cost savings!

  • Myne Whitman says:

    This is a great resource! Thanks for sharing.

  • Chizzy D says:

    hey gal, i heading off to eastern europe in a couple of months, could you plz tell which site to check out for cheap flight?
    thx gal

  • Chizzy D says:

    oh sorry, i'll be coming from the united states.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post. I was able to do a little travel while teaching in the states, and now, thanks to your post, I want to get back into it with my 2 weeks vacation from my day job.

  • DD says:

    You are my travel hero!! I was feeling good about a big international trip once or twice a year…but you go girl!

  • Naphtali says:

    Stumbled upon your blog and have been hook since. I am not a teacher, I work in health care and found a way to travel with low expense. I too book tickets way in advance, but I couchsurf abroad. I did it last year for a month in Italy- it was amazing!
    I will try your budget technique. I do think teaching is the best way to travel with a constant money flow… maybe I should go and get certified-my degree is in health and human service (psychology minus the masters). Anyway, I love your site and does inspire me to keep traveling.

  • Oneika says:

    I knew that I'd be transitioning work wise as well as travelling, so I made sure to save money leading up to leaving my job. I had a good amount of savings, and out of that I decided to designate about 6,000 USD to last me 5 months, only spending about $1200 USD a month. I found that it was easy to stay within my budget when I travelled in Guatemala last summer, because food, transport, and accomodation are extremely cheap. Other places, like New York City (I went last summer for 6 days) and Toronto (I went for about 3.5 weeks) were pretty expensive, but the cheapness of travelling in Central America really balanced it out!

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Naphtali! I've never tried Couchsurfing but everyone I know who's tried it rave about it. Let me know if you need any more info about getting a teaching certificate!

  • Oneika says:

    Awww thanks! Even one international trip is a big accomplishment- many don't travel at all!

  • Oneika says:

    Yay! Are you able to schedule vacation around national/public holidays? Or work remotely? That's also a great way to get more out of your vaction time!

  • Oneika says:

    Where in Eastern Europe? And where are you coming from in the States? I would recommend flying into a major hub like London, Paris, or Frankfurt, then taking a cheapie European airline onward to your destination in Eastern Europe.

    Delta has cheap flights from the US to London typically, but Iceland Express, IcelandAir, and AirLingus usually have cheap flights that land in Reykjavik (Iceland) and Dublin. From Europe you can then book a Ryan Air/EasyJet flight to where you're going. Also check out SkyEurope and Wizz Air- they service a lot of destinations in Eastern Europe.

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks for reading!

  • Oneika says:

    LOL you're right!! Kids are expensive!

  • Oneika says:

    I agree 100%!

  • Oneika says:

    So true!!

  • Oneika says:

    I may have! LOL. Seriously, though, I do it just like you say! If I'm running low or over-spend it's easy enough to see, so I just curtail future spending!

  • Oneika says:

    I'm the same: if I have the time and it costs way less I'm all for long bus/train/plane journeys! As for alcohol, it always shocks me how much my friends will spend on a night out. If you must drink, pre-game before you leave the house!

    Are there any cheap airlines that service SK, though?

  • Oneika says:

    Shells, you seriously rock for this comment; it's people like you who continue to inspire me to write and share my experiences travelling! I understand that you may not have time to travel, but seriously, living in Europe you should really think about doing weekend trips! We, being in Europe, have the advantage of short distances and cheapie airlines… I just got back from 36 hours in Paris and did a two day trip to Brussels a few weeks ago, and you can do the same!

    I travel a lot now with Liebling but still do solo trips (I went to Brussels on my own just a few weeks back!)… I actually sometimes prefer it because I can sightsee on my own terms!

  • Oneika says:

    Taxis in North America are SO expensive that it's a reflex for me to refuse them when they call out to me!

    The pic was taken at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala last summer!

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks Rosalind! I think the key phrase is "taking advantage of opportunities"! Why, just yesterday a friend of mine working in India invited me to come visit- you better believe I spent the better part of an hour researching tickets- who knows when the opportunity will present itself again?

  • Oneika says:

    Awww thank you chica!!! I think that you know as well as I do that it's about making certain choices in life and aligning your life plans to make travel work for you!! Thanks so much for your continued support!

  • Oneika says:

    Exactly! I knew I wanted to explore Asia, which is why I found a job that would have me based there. Now that I'm in Europe I'm discovering the region as much as I can.

  • Oneika says:

    You speak the truth! I think that most of us have the money to travel but just spend it on other things that we deem more important. Focusing on channelling funds to achieve a travel goal takes discipline but can be surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it!

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks DebbZ! I hope you'll continue to stick around!

  • Shermika says:

    Great tips! The sis and I have traveled a bit and as you said, it's all about saving and being very disciplined.

  • Melissa says:

    Just to chime in with the crowd great post! I am decently disciplined with my money but I can always tighten up the budget and be even more diligent with saving.

    On the flip side of booking way in advance sometimes last minute booking can really work in your favour although it can be tricker. Over the years I've gotten some great deals with booking last minute, if you have the flexibility then it can work out pretty well.

  • sprite says:

    Great tips with loads of commone sense!
    I would love to travel more in the near future and will be incorporating many of these. I especially like the tip about paying only with cash; it really helps to keep track of your spending!
    Not sure if it's because I am now a bit older (30's) but I'd rather travel in comfort which means the likes of Rynair will be avoided on the whole save for shorter distances/city hops.

  • Anonymous says:

    Another secret admirer here…

    I suspect that Sky Europe is no longer operating.

    Love the blog, keep up the good work!

  • Kanika Ameerah says:

    Great tips, Oneika!

    I gotta ask- How do you do the teaching thing? For some reason, the very thought kind of terrifies me…LOL

  • catae says:

    This is such a great post!! It's incredible how much difference an organized budget can do. most of my friends always asked how i traveled so much. It never compares to your standard of "many" trips but I tried to get out of town even if it was just driving to miami for the weekend. I don't do it as often now that i'm married but i used to visit my friends all the time. Not paying hotel was the biggest saving. Buying the plane tickets in advance was the key. I also stopped eating out while I was in town. I do have a problem with credit cards and shopping. Lately I've been better bc i have someone watching me walk home with my bags. I also drive the same car that I've had since college. I would happily give it up completely if I could use the bus or some other form of public transport. I had to slow down because buying plane tickets for 2 and hotels is usually a lot more than we want to spend in a long weekend. Plus If we stay with friends that means late night outs and we don't want to do that anymore…

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Oneika,

    I'm new to your site and love it! I'm planning on flying to London in Nov. (solo!!) and wanted to find out cheap airlines from the states & reasonable places to stay. Wondering if you have any tips…

  • Erika says:

    Not much else to say besides: thanks, awesome, and I love the photo above "career opportunities." Stunning!!!

  • Felicia S. says:

    Thank you! The next time someone asks me about traveling, living and working abroad I'm going to send them directly this post. You're an amazing young woman I wish you only the best and continued success!

  • Lola says:

    Solid post Oneika! It definitely requires a lifestyle redesign, cutting out expenses, planning, time management, and everything else like you laid out. People need to know that managing a travel-filled life isn't as unreachable as it may first appear.

  • Wayne says:

    I would only add that it seems you are paying your passions first. I find that this is the biggest obstacle to realizing our dreams. I have people asking me the same questions. How can I afford it. Aside from the practical advice you offer, my real answer has gotten to be how can I afford not to live my passion.

  • CReed says:

    I'm an educator, and am limited on when I can travel…but tend to fail to plan and therefore end up paying tons for a ticket. Case in point…I knew I was going to be off of work in December…but I still waited until the last minute to book a trip to Rome. The trip was worth it, but I sure could have saved some money. Runs to look at work calendar NOW! lol.

    I also thought that I had to be a big time businessman making tons of dough to get to all the places that I want to see…this article is refreshing.

  • Oneika says:


  • Oneika says:

    That's so true! is such a great booking website, but since I travel during peak I can't do that 🙁

  • Oneika says:

    True enough! Most of those budget airlines don't do long hauls anyway. But if I have the extra money I'll definitely go for comfort where it counts!

  • Oneika says:

    Haha! It's not as bad as you think! Exhausting at times, but working with kids is great!

  • Oneika says:

    You'd be surprised how much you can save with just a little discipline!

  • Oneika says:

    Cool!!! Try Iceland Express or Delta- they are usually quite cheap! For accomodation, a friend of mine just tried Air BnB here in London and was really pleased!

  • Oneika says:

    haha thanks!

  • Oneika says:

    Awww thank you for saying that!

  • Oneika says:

    It's true. I think that many people just automatically assume that travel is out of their reach. Not so. It's all about what you value and what choices you make. That iPad money could be used for a plane ticket, if you really want to go somewhere.

  • Oneika says:

    That's a great way to phrase it!

  • Oneika says:

    I'm glad that you liked it! For us teachers the time off can be a blessing and a curse. The rigidity of our holiday schedules can make it daunting to make travel plans.

  • adel says:

    hi how are you ?,i really love your blog,it's the best one i have seen yet !,because i love traveling i thought about becoming a flight attendant after i finish high schoolif there is a chance,to travel the world and because i love aviation in general,do you think that is a great idea ?,or should i get a degree in college first then work as a flight attendant ?,thank you so much,have a great day.

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks adel!! I definitely think that becoming a flight attendant is a great way to see the world- I would love to have the opportunity to be one, but haven't been in the right time or place yet… 🙂 I think that getting a college education is of the utmost importance, BUT nobody says that you have to go right out of high school! In many countries, it's common for high school grads to take a year off (called a gap year) and go explore the world before going to uni!

  • adel says:

    thank you so much for your replay,i wish there was a gap year in my country,and also have the money to travel,i actually started to read everything about becoming a flight attendant,and i love it more every time i read about it and think about it,wish our wishes come true,have a great day.

    and your photography is excellent.

  • angst of a mad black woman says:

    Hi Oneika,

    I recently found your blog and I think it's wonderful. You are such an intrepid spirit, I hope to be able to live vicariously through you. Even more impressive is that you respond to every comment. Good job.

  • Oneika says:

    Hi!! Your words are making me blush! I really enjoy when people leave me comments so I try really hard to answer every one of them!

  • liveletlive says:

    not sure if I commented on this already but I wanna say great post! lol
    And I had to add to your ridiculously huge post count!

  • Afro Fly says:

    very inspiring, i'm myself a young african woman(i don't even know if I can call myself "woman" lol) I want to make travelling a big part of my life. i've started learing japanese at 13 in the dream of moving and meet people there. but it's so hard to find a job for then saving money 🙁 for the moment i think i will "live the crisis" in london, uk and see if I can't find a job easier. i went to egypt last year and when I came back in france it was so hard to refind a job for travelling again. my first priority is to find a couch, after that I hope for 2013 i will be able to travel in west coast africa. then asia and so on.

  • Afro Fly says:

    i'm reading every single article since last night *-*
    If you can give me some tips about my job issues, and also i have another question. do you have "closed" friends? sometimes i think that if I don't live more than one year in a city i won't make closed friends.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is an awesome story. I just stumbled on your article and boy! Do see myself all through you. I so aspire to travel abroad and get paid if I can. My first trip I'm planning is Madrid Spain this year. I have a question for you, do you ever worry about safety in these countries you visit?

  • Sarah Thériault says:

    This is great! I want your life and this is going to be very helpful in guiding me towards it! I briefly considered being a teacher for the holiday time but eventually worked out it wasn’t for me. I’ve been lucky enough to do a bit of travel in my time and I think it’s because of a lot of the things you listed. I appreciate the tips and hope to put them into use one day!

  • Marianne says:

    Oneika, I love your practical tips on how to afford travel. I have a friend in NYC who travels to Europe every summer and she does this by being smart about how she spends her money since she has a modest income. There are so many lifestyle choices that will save a ton of money. One of mine is I don’t have a cable bill and that saves $1200 a year – the cost of a wonderful vacation.

  • Diolis says:

    Great Post! Money is an obstacle but I decided a long time ago not to let it stop me. Last year, My friend Zack decided to take the leap and become completely location-independent. Now he’s an expat entrepreneur, his story’s inspiring:

  • lee laurino says:

    i have been asking “how others pay for multiple trips” for years but no one has outlined it so fully.
    without a job, budgeting takes on a new meaning but there are many ‘mature’ travelers who are in the same situation:
    thank you for all the great links. can i post (repost) your comments on my blog?
    in addition to all your suggestions I found NEVER eathing lunch out during the week saved more than $100 to 150 us a month! i tell others is they are willing to do this, eat out almost never, no cable, movies at home, those alone will save you as much as 300 to 500 per month and who can not travel well on $3.5k to 6k? i dont go first class but i can travel for 6 weeks or more for that amount!

    on a 3 month trip (living in italy) i canceled all magazine subscriptions, no cable, no movies, etc and afforded this experience without ‘charging’ everything. But when i had a job with business expenses the frequent flyer miles from the credit card did send me business class for a trip,

    next will you share housing tips for trips?

    lee Laurino:

    • Oneika says:

      Please re-post if you like!! Glad you liked the post! I’ll definitely think about doing a housing/accommodation tips post!

  • wrldtrvlr3341 says:

    You are a young lady after my own heart. I aim to visit every country before I croak….hopefully that will not be too soon as I have only accomplished about 1/3 of the 192 countries of the world so far. Keep traveling. It is one of the best classrooms and learning opportunities I know of.

  • Natalie T. says:

    Great post! I’ll need to talk to you more about living and working in France. Thinking of taking the teaching English in France route!

  • Anitra says:

    Your are such an inspiration to the people of color world wide. And, you coudn’t have said it better that travel is a life style. Please keep being our inspiration! As a travel professional, our agency in the city of Philadelphia and part of our focus is to get people of color traveling MORE! Part of the problem is that, people think they can’t afford to travel. But as you have outlined, with just a few simple sacrafices, all things are possible.

    Thanks and keep traveling!

  • Donni says:

    Hey girl hey, you forgot to mention that you save on gym costs, too, because you run and hike outdoors. Imagine how many meals-in-an-alley you’re able to partake in around towns without that monthly fee…. much less a personal trainer! I guess this tags onto your rule of “discipline”.

    Loving this blog, honey. Be sure to let me know when you make it to the exotic South Floridian region of the planet… if I’m still here <<>>


    • Oneika says:

      LOL! Thanks for the comment Miss D! Definitely save on the personal trainer costs with my DIY gym style 🙂 . I have tons of family in Fort Lauderdale and Miami so will ring you the next time I’m there!!

  • Xena says:

    Smart tips and fabulous lifestyle! I so enjoy reading your blog. 🙂

  • Ruth says:

    Good post Oneika! I enjoy detailed posts like this one. Wow, 7 to 10 international trips per year. That is fantastic. Cheers for many more years of travel.

  • Naomi says:

    Some great budgeting tips, I’m usually good with money but I do have spontaneous sod it moments which usually set me back. I’ll try putting some of your tips into action and we’ll see how it goes!

  • kyle says:

    You make it a priority! It’s the only way!

  • Emily says:

    Awesome info! Many people have the belief that you have to be rich to travel the world, but you put it into perspective. There are so many affordable ways to travel.

  • Anton says:

    I really really admire you. Keep it up! 🙂

  • Love, love, love it!!! Thanks for the information…I am a Certified Teacher, and Certified Educational Diagnostician(evaluate children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities). What are the possibilities for employment for me abroad-preferably in my current field of evaluation for learning disabilities…

  • Great post – inspirational.
    We have a “mantra” when we are travelling that keeps us on track
    Do we need it?
    Do we want it?
    Will we ever have the chance to do this again?

    It’s that last one that, with the planning you describe, means we leave with no regrets

  • to says:

    Hello there. I uncovered your blog using bing. It becomes an really logically prepared post. I am sure to book mark that and also return to find out more of your beneficial details. Was looking for write-up. I will certainly return.

  • Jennifer M says:

    Hi. Thank you for posting an inspiring life style you live and work for. I’m from Australia and wanna trvel to many places around the world, been to a few already but want to travel in a new way, yet to figure that out hehee. I mean not the standard hotel way and luxuries. I traveled with family too, so this time i need to depend on ALL my own money. Any ways i wanted to know do you have a back up savings for the ‘unexpected expenses ‘ ? or do you already take that into account in your lump sum of travel money?

  • Sowayfarer says:

    This is the right way to do it! Defently! Here is my own post on how I afford traveling if you want to read:

  • Kat Griffin says:

    I recently stumbled upon your website as we have so many traveled placed in common. I too, recently stayed at the Shang Ra La in BKK and I have traveled all over Egypt and a few other places as well. I share the love of travel but have 2 questions. 1. do you use frequent flyer miles? I don’t own a credit card and pay for everything via cash as well. Thus, I love your method! But was wondering if you rack up flyer milage like others. A part of me felt as if it wasn’t worth it, but then a part of me thought it was. I average a big trip (over seas and I am from Chicago/USA) about once every 2 years because i pay for it in full.

    and 2. I recently retired as a teacher (14 years) and high school guidance counselor. Would there be guidance counseling positions abroad just as there are teaching positions? Are those positions more challenging to obtain when compared with teaching English? I am just curious and I am sure that there is some sort of process in place for counseling abroad.

    Some how, I got bit by the travel bug and that’s all I want to do anymore. I feel alive when I am on a plane heading to a new destination but feel dead when the destination is over and it’s back to the daily grind. Thanks for sharing a piece of your life with the world. Congratulations on your engagement and I hope you share more pictures!

  • Echo says:

    Great blog post. I am also an avid traveler. I became addicted when I was in college and never stopped. Not even AFTER having 2 children. In 2013 my children saw 4 countries and 3 continents. (I went to a 5th trip without them). We went on an African Safari in South Africa and a live Sumo Tournament on Tokyo. I budget and I’m also a teacher. It’s our greatest bonding time and the best education I can give them. If you have time please also check out our blog at
    Happy travels,

  • Lynn says:

    Any concerns about safety on those low-cost airlines in Europe and Asia? I’ve read that the FAA has issued warnings for a number of Eastern European companies. Do you have a go-to source to keep track of things like this?

  • Opal says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I’m considering teaching English in Germany and wanted your opinion. What are your recommendations if any?

  • GQue says:

    So what kind of money do you spend on lodging when you travel?

  • KizzyAnn says:

    Really enjoyed your post. Thanks so much for sharing – great points especially on the financial management.

  • Elley says:

    Agree with the planning & having discipline to save money.. Thanks for sharing your tips.. I really enjoyed reading it..

  • Susan says:

    I love this post! I’ve always wondered how people can just travel the world and afford it! ALL my family lives overseas in Europe now thanks to my mom remarrying so I haven’t seen anyone in over 4 years. I keep trying to save but things like car and emergencies come up. So my plan now is to look into teaching! I am in school pursuing my bachelors (not sure in what yet) but have ALWAYS thought about teaching – now I have another incentive to consider! 🙂

  • Susan says:

    P.S. Do you have any advice for little ol’ me still in school? 🙂

  • Kalena Bee says:

    OMG. I’m so happy that I was introduced to you through the Google group. This article (and website) is so informative, easy to understand and fun to read. You’re an amazing woman and I hope to meet you face-to-face one day. I hope that where ever you are in the world today that you are safe and happy!

  • Ray says:

    Common sense, but love how it needs to be reiterated from time to time. Hope you get to see every country if that that is what you ultimately want to do!

  • A very informative and interesting article. I did a TEFL certificate and now I am teaching in Thailand. It is definitely a great way of travelling and earning money.

  • Steve Bobula says:

    I like the way you do things here…so honest and if done right…very do-able I will try learning from the best here

  • Tierra says:

    There are amazing pics (and excellent pointers of course!). What camera do you have?

    • Oneika says:

      Thanks Tierra!! The pictures in this post were taken with my Lumix digicam but I also own a DSLR camera ( the Canon 600D).

  • hurricanekerrie says:

    Thank you so much for your blog! I’ve been looking everywhere for a sensible travel blog that does not tell me to collect credit cards and use those points to travel. I just don’t see how I can realistically rack up points with the way I spend my money. I have a teaching job as well and don’t plan on quitting just to travel. I think this is one of the few realistic blogs for practical travelers– especially those like me who have to really plan and budget their trips. Thank you so much!

  • Tikia says:

    Thanks i love this post! What is the average amount you spend when travelling for flight and hotel? Also do you prefer all inclusive hotels, hotels, hostels, or host families? How much spending money do you bring on trips? I have to live this life!

  • Denise says:

    wow what an inspiration thank you so much for sharing I love to travel as well I lived in Europe for a while as an army dependent and I only travel back once I sure do miss it you’ve inspired me to continue my travels now that I’m retired I’m going to find a way to do those fantastic trips that I’ve always dreamed of.

  • Monica says:

    i so wish to learn more about traveling and to meet other people, my problem i am shy. i wish to meet you when you come to my country. you are a good inspiration.

  • Deena says:

    Great article, Oneika. So many people put up barriers to traveling and living abroad, when really it’s only a matter of changing your mentality and, obviously, your lifestyle. You’ve made travel seem realistic, I think, and I appreciate that.

  • Kathi says:

    I also try to live by cash only – it makes keeping an overview so much easier! Great tips – maybe I should look into teaching German abroad 🙂

  • Marceau says:

    We are outing together a group of 30s to 40s year old straight guys looking to travel somewhere in Europe maybe in august of this year (2016) but we are trying to tie down a couple of cities that we can have a guy trip and have some fun. We’ve all done the Caribbean trips, Mexico and looking for something different yet safe and fun. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  • Marceau says:

    We are PUTTING together a group of 30s to 40s year old straight guys looking to travel somewhere in Europe maybe in august of this year (2016) but we are trying to tie down a couple of cities that we can have a guy trip and have some fun. We’ve all done the Caribbean trips, Mexico and looking for something different yet safe and fun. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  • Saundra says:

    I simply LOVE the way you offer practical and easy to implement tips to help people achieve their goals. Great job!

  • Alwina Oyewoleturner says:

    Thank you for sharing! I first heard you on the Happy Black Woman podcast with Rosetta Thurman. I’m looking forward to becoming a travel bunny very soon!

  • cocaine says:

    Thank you for sharing, June. We hope you will find this resource useful. The Interactive Guide will be on the site in January – the evidence-based guide will include tools and expert videos that you may find helpful. We recommend signing up for the newsletter to be notified of updates, and have emailed you the link to the newsletter subscription. You may also find some of the information that we post to Twitter and Facebook useful, if you???d like to follow us there.

  • Cmangrum says:

    Just found your blog and loving it! Looking forward to hearing more about your travels.

  • Lannie_g says:

    Hello Oneika, thank you for sharing such useful information. Your blog is an inspiration. I’m an aspiring world traveller and maybe one day we will meet while on an adventure.

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