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5 Tips To Work More Travel Into Your Life (From A Full-Time Travelling Canadian)

photo credit corey van der laan

Calgarian Corey van der Laan just made a very big move. The 35-year-old just quit his job, sold everything he owns including his condo, and packed a bag. For the next 400 days he’ll be hitting up dozens of different destinations across the globe with Contiki Travel Tours. Besides investing in a seriously comfortable pair of shoes, we wanted to know what advice Corey has for travel-obsessed Canadians wanting to explore more of their own country as well as others. How do you start making travel a bigger part of your life? Corey has some advice:


Develop a realistic budget

“I had one year to achieve my savings target,” says Corey, “but it was an aggressive plan that wouldn’t be sustainable for many people. Instead, build a plan that is specific to you and your goals and give yourself enough time to be successful. Your dream trip might be travelling for 6 months… and it could take 3 months to save up or 3 years. It all depends on how much you can save and how much you will need. A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need between $100 – $150 per day depending on where you want to travel and you can get away with a lot less if you’re staying in hostels or spending a lot more if you want to live in luxury.”


Save it and forget it

“People tend to spend within their means, and the more money they make, the more they spend. I found it extremely beneficial to artificially reduce my net income by redirecting 25 per cent of my pay directly into my savings account. I effectively lived off 75 per cent of my salary for the entire year, and while I understand that might be impossible for many people, allocating 5 to 10 per cent could be a good way to get started. I was fortunate my employer’s payroll system manages this process for me, but if not, most banks allow you to set up automatic transfers that you can use to move your money at regular intervals. Over time, the money really starts to add up and you’ll be glad you started today and not 6 months from now! However, don’t overextend yourself financially and be sure to speak with a financial advisor if you have concerns.”


You can’t take it with you

“For the entire year, I lived by a key rule that would maximize my savings by minimizing my expenses. This self-imposed rule dictated that all purchases needed to have a place in my backpack or else I couldn’t buy it. This discipline changed my internal narrative to ‘needing’ things as opposed to ‘wanting’ things and pushed me to sell or donate my belongings as the year progressed. When I bought new clothes, I had to ensure they weren’t made of cotton, and any electronics had to be rugged enough to withstand being thrown around in a backpack. Fortunately, this purchasing behaviour has conditioned me to be much more cautious with my spending and will continue to encourage me to stay within my budget while on the road.”


Make money on the road by developing skills at home

“I’m a novice photographer and an even greener videographer, but the ability to chronicle my journey is a critical part of my plans. But not for the money. The odds of making a decent income from an online platform is incredibly small. But I am still excited to share my journey with others, knowing that few people will experience this incredible adventure for themselves. And one day — years from now — I can also look back on my journey and relive it once again. For those who do want to make money while travelling, there are many options available. Obtain TEFL certification and teach English as a second language, apply for a working visa in a country you’ve always wanted to visit, earn a bartender license that will let you work virtually anywhere, or become a digital nomad and work remotely on your own schedule. You don’t need as much money as you think once you no longer have housing or car payments showing up on your balance sheet!”


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Stephen Ave #calgary

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Take advantage of travel rewards cards

“There are numerous online resources that will help you identify which travel rewards card is the right fit for your spending mix. The concept behind rewards cards is that you accumulate points for every dollar you spend and these points can be redeemed for future travel expenses (such as flights, hotels, or cruises). I carry multiple cards and I’ll pay with the card that will generate the highest reward depending on the particular purchase type (such as dining, groceries, or entertainment). The amount earned is very small (0.5 to 2.5 per cent for most cards) but with patience, your points will continue to accumulate and you’ll be surprised how quickly it can add up! The are other perks too, such as a card I have that grants me access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world. These lounges treat me to free food, beverages, Wi-Fi, and even showers!”

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