Life-Style vs. Vacation

A lot of people ask me how I’m able to travel so much for very little money… or even how I’m able to live without a steady income… The most simple, yet most accurate, answer I could possibly give is this:

To me, traveling is a life-style, not a vacation.

This might seem like a very vague answer [and I can feel some people’s eyes rolling right now], but let me explain the difference…

DSC01604 #2-1000
Private Bungalow in Laos… Cost: US$2.50 per night
When things are cheap: relax, enjoy, and stay longer!

When most people go on vacation, they do not worry about money; they mainly worry about the lack of time they have to enjoy themselves and when they need to get back to work.  People end up going out to eat and ordering anything they want to eat/drink without a care in the world about the price because, well, “this is my vacation.”

On the flip side, I travel to the same places that people go to on their vacations, but I go there to LIVE for a little bit… and I’m able to do this because:

  • I go during the off season [easy to do without a job]
  • I eat where the locals eat and not at expensive places
  • I save my leftovers for a meal later that night or the next day
  • I don’t buy things I do not need in order to survive
  • I hitchhike instead of taking buses and trains
  • I stay with locals instead of hotels [which is the biggest money-saver]
If you treat your free time like a vacation, then that’s all it is… just time off from something less exciting…  However, if you alter your life-style and try to save money in little ways every day, you can live the life you’ve always wanted and travel on a whim with no job or expenses to look back to!


Below is a table to compare how I live to most other people


Now, with that being said, I want to explain in a little more detail…

Some of you reading this might think “wow, this person is extremely cheap and I don’t want to live like that…”   On the contrary, I’m not cheap at all… I’m frugal.   I buy pretty much whatever I want, but I just do it in a smarter way than most…

And I don’t pinch pennies on everything:

  • I buy only organic food which can cost up to five times the price as the hormone injected and pesticide sprayed garbage…
  • I spend money on snowboarding [often] which costs anywhere from $40-$125 per DAY…
  • I’ve spent $12 on a beer [and have one of them instead of $3 on a beer that tastes like dirty water and have 10 of them]…
  • I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on traveling [but I do it for as cheap as possible, get to live like a local, and see the world]…
  • When not traveling, I always have a gym membership [somewhere in the world]… I know I can work out without belonging to a gym but, well, I just don’t… The gym motivates me.  So a few extra bucks per month for me to be healthy is worth it, to me…

You can’t NOT spend money on anything… You can’t miss out on things that are REALLY important to you, or else your quality of life will be nonexistent.  You need to figure out what in life is important to you and then try to limit your spending to, mainly, those things.

For me, my important monetary-things happen to be traveling, health [when possible], snowboarding, good beer, and good coffee while doing hours-worth of work….

The transition from your life now to a new frugal-life will be the most difficult part… but once you get there, trust me, it will be well worth it!  Have much more money doing only things you love!

If you change how you live, you can live however you’d like…

Live. Learn. Change. Be Happy.




  1. Two things make you an awesome traveler: creativity and organization. You also have an openness to adventures that most of us have to learn. Thanks for some great advice.

  2. In many places the tourist office can put you in touch with locals. In the Netherlands years ago, a program “Get in Touch with the Dutch!” invited you to have lunch in someone’s home. We had dinner with a lovely family in Croatia who showed us so many interesting things about a typical home there. Many places do this and will match your interests or occupation. A typical thing would be to bring flowers, which you can usually easily find in the local markets. This makes for an authentic experience and a home-cooked meal is always better than anything else!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.