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When S**T Hits The Fan: Traveling with No Income

travel no income

Feeling massive burnout? Daydream of quitting your job and traveling? How can you travel without an income? I took a mini-sabbatical and traveled for months with no income and without draining my savings.

Here’s what lead me to take time off to travel and how exactly I was able to travel with no income.

This is part one of how to travel with no income. Here’s part two.

First, what lead me to massive burnout was about one year ago, last August, I had what I’ll refer to as a “family emergency.” S**t really hit the fan in a way I never imagined. It has been a year since the “family emergency,” and my God, I can’t even say, write, or admit what happened because Lord almighty I’m living in denial.

My natural response to s**t times: give to those in need.

For example, friend was opening a business: I was there multiple nights til’ midnight painting to help her open up shop. My brother had a baby: I drove three hours to paint the baby room and when the baby arrived I whipped up scratch-made lasagna and dessert and bought groceries for them.

The theory to give of my time, money, and energy to serve others above myself had worked in the past. I was excessively throwing myself into the busyness of giving to others. It wasn’t working anymore. I reached a breaking point and was DONE.  

Not in a self-centered, entitlement-kinda-of-way. It was quite the opposite: after years (or perhaps an entire lifetime) of self-sacrificing and giving til’ it hurts my cup was empty.

There was absolutely nothing left to give.

When s**t hits the fan something’s gotta give. You’ve gotta make sacrifices, take on the side hustles, or do the very thing that you don’t want to do.

In an odd way the very thing that I never did was take care of myself guilt-free. My something’s gotta give wasn’t cutting one more bill: there was nothing left to cut.

It was past due time for me to give to myself.

Months prior I went to the ER after randomly vomiting for a year, fainting, and bleeding. Come to find there was no medical reason except I experienced burnout and stress. The universe and my body forced me to stop and slow down.

It was time to recharge in the mother of recharges: time off for r & r plus travel. The big catch was I didn’t want to tap into savings or work. It’s now been four months of traveling with no income and not draining my savings.

Here’s part one of how I’ve been traveling without an income and without tapping into savings.

Let’s talk bills. Destiny Child’s style, I’ll give you the breakdown of my bills. bills. bills.

Can you pay my bills? A fifth grader babysitting once a week could cover my fixed expenses because my bills are soooo low. The number one reason I’ve been able to take off so much time to recharge is because the bills that I have are nonexistent or minimal.

Total Monthly Debt: $0

I used to pay $560 a month for a car payment (crazy, I know #neveragain). I also had student loan payments of $135 a month.

That debt is looonng gone and when those suckers were paid off I said: no mo! Here’s how I eliminated almost all my monthly bills and how I haven’t had a car payment in years.

Rent/Mortgage: $600 All bills paid; then $0

I did find a steal with rent: $600 allllll bills paid. We’re talking water, electricity, gas, internet, insurance, and cable. The whole enchilada was $600 and here’s the best part: it was month to month! I didn’t have to double pay for accommodations. I’ve only been paying for my travel lodging without rent.

Cell Phone: $25

I’ve been living the last ten years of my life in the cell phone rat race where a new iPhone comes out and magically my current one starts dramatically messing up. We’re talking basic functions like making a phone call don’t happen. Then there was that one time I slammed my trunk door closed on my month old phone. Here’s what I did when my phone broke and I was in a contract!

My contract was up and I said: screw it! I’m done with the iPhone rat race of chasing after new, better, and more expensive phones. I went to Wally World to get a non-iPhone on the cheap and pay month-to-month on the cheap. It’s been over six months and working great.

Car Insurance: $45

I decided to plan my trips around walkable destinations and occasionally rent a car or use Uber/ Lyft. Therefore, I lowered my car insurance for bare-bone coverage.

The most significant bill left is my health insurance and since I had no income, the premium is very low. This trip would not be possible if I had a mound of debt, an expensive mortgage, and a fancy pants phone. Stay tuned for the next part on how I’ve paid for travel expenses without working or tapping into my emergency savings. Hint: it involves one hell of a garage sale.

All in all, if you want to travel with no income get rid of your bills or fixed expenses that you pay each month.

P.S. Want help cutting your bills? Let’s work together for a money coaching session. Get the details here.

best money class ever carly michelle

Hi! I'm Carly

I’m a Finance grad and creator of Best Money Class Ever, a 4-week live virtual personal finance class. I paid off $35,000 of debt and saved a nest egg of over $100,000 by age 26 (earning only around the median household income!).

If I can pay off debt and build savings at a young age, anyone can with a little education and solid plan.

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