Frequently Asked Questions
Since people found out just how long we’re going away for we’ve received a lot of the same questions over and over again. We decided it would just be easier to have a page dedicated to these questions people can look at. It will be updated regularly with new questions so if there is something you’re wondering about and it hasn’t been addressed in the post, just comment and ask!
How long do you and Breada plan on being away for?
One year is the goal, though we’re very confident we can stay longer should we choose.
We have accomplished our goal of one year!! When it’s all said and done we will have been away a little more than 14 months. That will be followed by two months of living back in the US, and then we’ll head back to Vietnam and live as expats for an undetermined amount of time.
What do you pack for a trip that long?
Funny you should ask. We each have posts explaining just that!
Where do you plan on going?
All the countries the USD goes furthest! This includes pretty much all of Southeast Asia, India, Eastern Europe, and parts of Central and South America. Western Europe is a little too expensive for our budget, but if we can get short-term jobs or Workaways then we may make it happen.
Who knows though! Our plans are very open-ended and we may change them at any given time. The farther out itinerary wise, the less likely it will go according to plan. We may love Southeast Asia so much we may just spend a year here and never leave! That’s one of the beautiful parts of having a flexible itinerary.
Why do you want to travel this much?
We always find this question kind of crazy, but the people asking me usually think we’re crazy as well. In short : we love to travel! We love meeting people, trying new foods, learning the histories of far off lands, experiencing different cultures, all of it. Traveling is the greatest thing on earth. If we spend every last dime I have traveling, which we plan to, we’d be perfectly content.
What about your jobs?
We quit them! We both work in restaurants, and those jobs are a dime a dozen. They’ll still be there when we get back. People show up to the US every day with nothing but the shirt on their backs and make it work. We both have our bachelors degrees and a good support system of friends and family to help us out. We’ll be ok.
What about all your stuff?
We sold most of it! As some of you know one of my many hobbies is collecting sneakers (Anthony ). I had to make some hard decisions and sold out most of my collection, but it was worth it as the money is going to more important things. Anything we couldn’t sell we either gave to friends or donated. The rest, which isn’t much, my parents were generous enough to let us store at their house.
On your site it says “on the go with no dough”. How so?
I guess the tagline is a little misleading. You do need SOME money to travel, but not as much as people think. We booked our flights to Thailand using frequent flyer miles accrued on our credit cards. The total out-of-pocket costs for the one way Boston – Bangkok flight was just $26 a person. Once you arrive ( wherever it may be ) traveling cheap is very easy, so long as you’re willing to make certain sacrifices. We don’t stay in fancy hotels, we stay in hostels. We cook when we can to save money, though in Thailand right now it’s so cheap that sit down restaurants are actually within our budget. In any case, we try to go the cheapest route possible without seriously affecting the quality of our trip. One example is we try to avoid taking taxis or public transportation. We usually walk whenever possible, which not only saves us money but also gives us a better feel of the area ( and a pretty decent workout ). Right now (April 2016) we have a scooter rented to get around our current location ( Koh Lanta, Thailand ) but the rental cost just 200 baht ( about $5.70 USD ) a day, split between the two of us. Even factoring in gas, that’s still much less than if you were to take a cab, tuk-tuk, Uber, whatever. Plus it’s fun! We also rarely go out drinking. We’re kind of over getting bombed at the bar on a regular basis anyway, and it’s the fastest way to eat up a budget. If we do drink, we buy the booze from a local convenience store or market where it is much cheaper.
Even if all of that was still too expensive for you there are options. One is Workaway , a website used to connect hosts with potential volunteers/short-term workers for all sorts of odd jobs. They can be anything from working in a hostel to babysitting someone’s kids, or even working in a movie theatre! The standard deal is about 20-25 hours of work a week and in return your accommodation is covered and even sometimes other things such as food and free drinks. We met one girl last week who was doing a Workaday babysitting and not only did her host cover her room and board, but also cooked for her every night, did her laundry, and would regularly show her around the city. Not bad for part-time work!
How did you earn the miles for these flights?
Miles and points can be racked up in any number of ways, but the easiest is sign-up bonuses from credit cards and regular credit card spend. The typical sign-up bonus for a good points earning credit card is anywhere from 30,000-100,000 points, and regular spend can add thousands of miles each year. We put anything and everything we can on my cards, and which card we put it on depends on what the purchase is. Some give bonuses for restaurants, some for gas, as well as a multitude of other categories. Putting the spend on the right card can mean a big difference in terms of points. We’ve earned hundreds of thousands of points this way. More than enough for all of the flights we will need for our one year ( again, hopefully longer!! ) away, and many of those flights planned are business and first class.
We even take is a step further and practice what’s known as manufactured spending. This is essentially putting spend on your credit cards to earn points, without actually spending any money. This is a little more advanced and takes more research and effort, and unfortunately many of the best opportunities for this are now dead, but it can be a great way to build up a cache of points even when you don’t spend a lot of money. Manufactured spending helped us go on a vacation to London and Lisbon last year for almost nothing.
One very easy way to manufacture spend is to ask your friends and family if they’re making any big purchases in the coming future, and if they are, ask if you can put it on your card and have them pay you cash. Obviously you can only do this without people close that you trust, because you don’t want to be left holding the bill for something you didn’t receive, but you can easily earn thousands of miles this way without doing anything. (Anthony) My family, fully knowing my miles addiction, always comes to me before making a large purchase. That, and because I’m also a deal junkie and will help them find the best possible price for anything.
How much do you expect to spend for a year abroad?
We each have budgeted $40 USD a day each for the whole year, which is $14,600. We also had to factor in some other expenses such as travel health insurance (~$650), student loan payments, plus an emergency cushion. In the end the budget is about $20,000 each.
People think that is a lot of money, and it is, but then think about how much you make in a year and how much you save at the end. You’re more than likely spending more than $20,000 each year just being at home.
What would you tell someone who wants to do what you two are doing but doesn’t know where to start?
Start putting money away. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but put away as much as you can each week. It may be $100 or it may be $5, but save something every week. Make it a priority. If this means eating rice and pasta for a while so be it.
Next, go online and start doing research. The internet is a great resource for finding almost everything you need to know, and I find travelers are always more than willing to help out fellow travelers. There are a lot of good forums out there and the information is waiting, you just have to find it. Some websites we use regularly are :
Also, Facebook has plenty of groups out there for travelers to chat it up in. Before we visit somewhere new, we search out FB groups relating to travel to that particular area. For example, we’re in a few “backpacking Thailand” groups right now and have gotten plenty of good information out of them.
Just do it! It’s a little scary, we know. We both had mild panic attacks the day before we left. We knew we would miss our friends and family but it’s all worth it. As soon as you get to wherever it is you want to go, your fears and anxiety will be gone and you’re going to ask yourself “what took me so long to do this”. We’ve both noticed in our years of traveling that this is a systemic problem in American culture. To our friends and family, we’re considered crazies and weirdos for doing this, but for just about every other culture this is a norm. A rite of passage almost. We meet people every day doing similar trips, or even longer! We always joke for a country with 23 million people Australians are EVERYWHERE. Who’s running the country?
People all have different goals in life. For some it’s to own a home, retire early, start-up a business. etc. For us, it’s traveling the world. Currently we’re living that dream and it’s the happiest we’ve been in our entire lives. Like we said earlier, if we spend every last dime we have traveling we’ll be perfectly content.