How I Could Afford to Travel Before the Blog

I’ve traveled a lot for the most part of my life. For the last 10 years, I made anywhere from 5 to 10 international trips a year while living abroad. It comes as no surprise that a lot of people ask me how I manage to do this. 

I’ve never been rich, neither do I have a rich husband. My family has never taken me to any luxury resorts, in fact, we visited the same guesthouse by the Polish seaside every year. In this post, I tell you how I afford to travel so much.

How I Could Afford to Travel Before the Blog?

Some (probably most) people might assume that I get my funding from some sort of magic sponsors. As a result, they think they’ll never be able to do what I’ve been doing – travel the world. Leave alone study abroad. I must disappoint you, but traveling hasn’t always my job. At least not from the start.

While it’s possible to be paid to travel, it’s a totally different story than being paid to travel as a blogger when you actually need to do some work, instead of sipping cocktails on the beach all day long. Despite what you may read on some well-known travel blogs, who regularly go on press trips, not all of them are being paid for it.

As for me, I started blogging in 2010, but I only opened Anna Everywhere in 2014. It became my real full-time job in 2015. However, remember that I’ve been traveling on my own since I was 16…

My first solo trip - Egypt 2007
My first SOLO trip – Egypt 2007.

How Did I Travel Before I Started Blogging?

The most common assumption when you travel is that you MUST be rich. But if you buy good cosmetics or go to Starbucks on a daily basis, does anyone automatically assume that you’re rich? No. No one is also asking you who’s paying for all this, but traveling has some kind of financial stigma.

I simply always knew that I wanted to travel. Ever time I received some money for Christmas or birthday, I saved for later. While it wasn’t much, a dollar here a dollar there, and little by little it all cumulated.

One would think that it’s impossible for a teenager to save that much money. I’ve never been into beauty products (I did my first face mask at the age of 29 haha!) and wasn’t a fan of expensive clothes and I’m still not. Plus, I didn’t go out as much as my friends did.

Where I grew up, the legal age limit for work is 18. Hence, my working opportunities were limited to tutoring and anything that didn’t include being officially hired. I wrote essays for fellow classmates and I tutored younger kids. The moment I turned 18, I started working in hospitality after high school before heading to college.

In some countries (one of them I had a chance to study in), if you have good grades, you’re able to get a scholarship. Since the university is free I actually got paid to study! I was able to save more for my travels and I also found some jobs abroad. There are plenty of opportunities in this world as long as you aren’t picky.

I met some people who thought that working as a waitress or bartender during college was beneath them. I strongly disagree. After all, this isn’t a career you are starting, it’s just a way to earn money.

Bartending in London

During my postgraduate studies in the UK, I’ve always worked at a bar in the evening. With an internship on the side, I was able to buy my flights to Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in 2010. At first, my friends couldn’t understand why I was working so much. Even more so, why I wanted to go to Zimbabwe, but I knew it was going to be an amazing experience.

I never took out any loans either. I was always able to find a way to finance my expenses by working part-time jobs. But, I’m not going to lie to you: sometimes my schedule looked like this: 8AM-3PM internship, 3:30PM-5PM classes, 5:30PM-11:45PM bartending. It wasn’t fun, but in the end, it paid off.

I recently read an article that readers are getting tired of bloggers who claim that everyone can travel. Articles such as: ‘I sold everything I owned and bought a one-way ticket’, might not be very helpful to everyone. Not all of us have something to sell. I haven’t for instance. I started from zero: no car, no house, not even a regular job at the time I started traveling.

I had no car or a house to sell, and I didn’t embark on an adventure without a plan. In fact, I recently wrote an article on why I’ll never tell you to skip college to travel.

You don’t have to sell your belonging to be able to travel. You can manage to travel by working abroad, or getting a scholarship. Europeans, for instance, can do Erasmus Mundus exchange that will pay for your expenses to study abroad.

Why Didn’t I Want to “Just Travel”?

I never had any intentions of heading on a long never-ending trip around-the-world trip. I’m generally not a big fan of these sorts of journeys (apart from the fact that I had not much to sell in order to afford it).

During my travels, I saw so many young people who embarked on an adventure to figure out what they want to do and see where things will take them. Not surprisingly, none of them found the answer.

I’ve always wanted to have a backup plan. Especially, because at some point every traveler wants to stop somewhere and settle down, and I didn’t want to be left with no opportunities. It might not be in a year, maybe not in your twenties, but look at how many fellow travel bloggers get a base somewhere at some point in their lives.

Right before graduating from college, I realized that instead of spending my money on “just traveling around”, I could also use my education and internship opportunities to travel while doing something beneficial for my future at the same time.

I went to Argentina because I got an internship there, I studied and worked in the Netherlands, I taught English in Mexico. It might seem less fun than drinking and partying in hostels, but by doing what I did I had a chance to actually get to know the culture of every place I lived in. I didn’t just pass through these countries by seeing only tourist attractions (again, nothing wrong with that per se if you want to enjoy your holidays!).

As a result, I was always earning money and my piggy bank of savings was used towards short trips in the meantime. And I still partied a little 😉

My method of traveling wasn’t very unique or innovative. Many people do it and you can as well. Your situation may be different, but if you really want to travel, you can always find a way to do it and even save money on the side.

Holland 20141
You can plenty of fun activities when you’re studying or working – like flying Cessna in the Netherlands!

Did I Ever End Up With No Money?

YES, because I’m a huge risk-taker. In 2011, due to some personal reasons, I had to leave Mexico and move back to Europe. Living on a Mexican salary in Mexico wasn’t a problem, but saving money to live elsewhere was a challenge.

As a result, I got back to London with only 80 GBP to my name. I stayed at my friend’s house for a month, quickly found two jobs, and worked day and night for the first month. Thanks to that, I rented my own place and lived pretty comfortably. 2 months later I flew to Rio de Janeiro for the Carnival.

I’m not saying that you need to always work extremely hard to travel, but if you set your goals and work towards them, everything will work out.

I’m actually very glad I came to London with no money, as it made me more confident. Now I know that I can dig myself out of any situation.

In Rio de Janeiro in February 2012!
In Rio de Janeiro in February 2012!

How Did My Blog Help Me Financially With My Travels?

I recently read a discussion between travel bloggers about the possibilities of sponsored travel. What I read there was horrifying. A lot of bloggers demand to receive everything for free all the time like they’re at least a royal family and refuse to pay even a little bit for anything.

I must agree with an article Liz Carlson wrote that unfortunately, the gimme attitude has become a common thing for travel bloggers. As I’ve done an extensive amount of traveling before the blog, I don’t always write about sponsored trips. Therefore you can find sponsored and not sponsored content on my blog (these days most isn’t sponsored by choice).

I can also recommend a bunch of excellent blogs that won’t feature the next stay at Radisson Blue or touring Phuket beaches again, but can give you tips on hiking in Ethiopia, visiting Kyrgyzstan or any other less Instagrammable spots.

I still have to eat even if my activities are sponsored...
I still have to eat sometimes even if my activities are sponsored…

Do I Make Money From My Blog?

Since November 2014 I’ve become a full-time blogger. Ironically, not by choice, but since I was traveling and leading a nomadic lifestyle I just had to make my blog a proper business.

Before you make a ton of money from your blog, there are tons of side things you can do as a blogger: freelance social media consulting, implementing affiliate links, Google Adsense, sponsored posts and many other things.

Read more about monetizing a blog and how do I make money these days here. However, there are many non-blogging ways of making extra income.



The honest truth – I never have the money I need to travel, but I buy the ticket anyway 🙂

53 thoughts on “How I Could Afford to Travel Before the Blog”

  1. I used to work day and night shifts during summer times to save money for my travels and once I went travelling I would still work or volunteer to cut the costs. If there is a will there is always a way. There are so many programs out there like au pair or working holiday that will allow anyone to travel!

    I use my blog to channel my photography , sort of like portfolio and it did score me quite few cool jobs since I started it. So even though I don’t earn any money from it (yet) it does help me out a lot and helps me save money while travelling, just as yours 🙂

  2. Honest and nice post. I like that. Many people think that if you travel and also have a blog you get everything for free. It is effort to save money for traveling!

  3. I’ve had similar experiences. For some people is unbelievable that you can cut out expensive cosmetics, new clothes, the best gadgets, and you didn’t go out as much as your friends just to afford travelling. People are asking why you are doing this when “you will probably never have what you want”. And they think travelling is only for rich people, while it’s not and like you said, you can do something beneficial for your future at the same time. When you belive in something you can do it, but like someone said before, you have to make an effort! 🙂

    • Yep, and what’s more important is that you don’t have to be a backpacker – you can stay in nice places and enjoy your travels when you work on the way 🙂

  4. It is really nice post. A lot of people think that traveling is very expensive and that everybody who travels has a lot of money. If you buy a new car or brand new TV or other stuff, nobody is asking where do you have the money from, but if you travel a lot, everybody asks about money. Yeah that’s weird.

  5. I love how accurately this represents the hard work and dedication that people with wanderlust commit to their travels. People sometimes ask me, ‘how did you afford to live in london for a year?’ well remember all of those nights out that I didn’t go to, they add up. And I also worked my ass of in London just to pay rent. I think travelling is quite glorified when in reality, it’s hard work to get there and do it!
    So refreshing to read something so real!

    • Yep, I totally get that as I used to spend a lot of nights in in London. Actually to be completely honest I was also just tired of drinking every day… I don’t think anyone has to go out and get drunk every day to be happy in London 😛

  6. Very inspiring post Anna!

    I also see myself as a travel addict.

    New Zealand (work & travel), Dominican Republic (teaching German), Europe (using up all my savings), Vietnam living on my websites, finally.

    Did you try affiliate marketing on your site Anna? My website income took off when I changed from Amazon to Clickbank giving me the chance to travel through Asia now (Laos, outdoor climbing next).

  7. Ok, I just don’t agree with one sentence: Nobody is going to pay you to travel the world as a blogger unless you’re also a brand manager or hotel reviewer for a magazine or something like that.

    It’s not true. I did get paid as a travel blog to travel. They sent me to Venice region to write about it and actually paid. The same happened one more time.

    And I know travel bloggers who go for few days or weeks to some places to promote it and they do get paid by tourism boards to do this.

    • Maybe I forgot to add “all the time”. I guess I’m just annoyed at people saying “oh, if you want to travel, but you have no money just open a blog”. Well, no matter how good you are you still will have other expenses to pay when you’re on a trip, right? 😉

  8. Congrats on your success! Some really good alternative suggestions. I guess it comes down to how determined you are. Really enjoyed this post

  9. Fascinating read Anna and I appreciate your honesty.

    Like you I am very cautious with money and wouldn’t bet the farm to take a high risk strategy of heading off into the sunset without a back up plan.

    Admittedly I am fortunate that in my professional life I travel anyway. As a result I’m not receiving accommodation or experiences as freebies in exchange for a mention on my blog. In fact I’ve paid for every hotel stay I’ve ever reviewed rather than been offered it by a PR company/brand. I’ve even bought products myself which I’ve then reviewed. – I’m losing money rather than making money with my reviews!

    I hope that readers appreciate that and see why my reviews are not influenced by other pressures, they are genuinely my opinions.

    I’ve never been on a FAM trip, never looked for one and think I’ve only ever once been offered a free hotel stay which I declined.

    After two and a half years blogging I’m certainly not where you are financially in terms of blog income. I may make typically £10-£20 from my blog a month. This barely covers the cost of hosting and extras etc. Don’t even begin to think about the theoretical cost of my time – hours laboured over the blog would equal less than the average income in many poor countries.

    Maybe I’m doing a lot of things wrong, maybe I’m still waiting for that viral article. I don’t know.

    Wishing you continued success and thanks as always for your honesty.

    • Thanks for your kind comment The Guy!
      I think I’m just surprised that a lot of travel bloggers started their blog just for the money… it’s a bit terrifying to me to be honest…

  10. I can relate to what you’re saying about traveling. When I was 16 years old, I got a job at a restaurant. I also babysat on the side, and did yard work. I paid for my own trip to England, Scotland, and Wales with my own hard earned money. Since I was a minor, I had to go to the UK with a friend of the family. Some of the girls my age that went were spoiled went with their parents, and their parents paid for everything for them. The spoiled girls didn’t appreciate all of the history and significance of each place, but I did. I paid for my own trip. I expected to see everything. I loved traveling so much, I ended up taking a few more trips to Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Turkey – all paid for by MEE… I loved every minute of my travels. The only reason why I didn’t end up a travel blogger is probably because I had my darling daughter. I couldn’t take her with me so I ended up a food blogger instead. I love my little girl. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think what you’re doing with your travel blog is great. I hope your travel blog has so much success and more and more of your posts go viral. I think you should take lots of pictures and write a book about your travel adventures.

  11. Hi Anna!

    I read only your ‘About me’ page and this article and I must say that I have already decided to follow your blog.
    My way of thinking is similar to yours in terms of blogging and traveling the world. I have recently started my own blog (1 month 1/2 ago) and not planning to earn money from it yet, just want to share experiences and connect with more like-minded people. I’ve started traveling abroad when I was 17 years old in 2006 and since then I’ve lived in 3 places and visited 19 countries, all while doing stuff abroad: internships, studying, working, visiting friends or traveling on my own.
    It’s not that hard to achieve this and save money when one of your top priorities is traveling and experiencing different cultures. I enjoy very much spending more time in a place, getting to know the local lifestyle better and even do what locals do. Short trips are great too, but nothing beats the feeling of being a local yourself 🙂

  12. Hey ANNA. I would like to talk to you about something called “livefree” and “livetours” it gives you alot of discounts from 10 to 40% and alot of things. I would like to talk about it with you if dont mind ofcourse

  13. Anna! Thanks for your honesty when you describe the travel blogger lifestyle. It’s true that most of us don’t entirely live from our blogs, that’s a misconception. But I know a few that get paid to travel almost all the time, but they’re less than 1%.
    Congrats on your rapid success! It takes a lot of work and dedication!

  14. Hi Anna,

    My wife and I have been travelling pretty much our whole lives. We started our blog two years ago and after dozens of articles and countless hours of editing, we have not really succeeded in making it into a money venture. It does not matter though. At times, i feel that fellow bloggers are only after audience and followers rather than sharing experiences and posting photos that can be artistic or inspiring.
    Whatever happened to living to do some good in this world?
    Your articles are like a breath of fresh air. You write with such honesty and simplicity that it becomes easy to relate. Thank you!

  15. Hi Anna, how did the potential employer look at your resume when you were applying for a job? I want to start a full time travel while working in different countries, but I am a bit concerned how my resume will look like. I know that having multiple short time jobs can be a trigger for some companies. What is your outlook on this? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Anya, it all depends of your age, country etc. While in Europe the longer you stay at one job can be seen better, in the US it’s the opposite.

  16. Hi Anna!
    I am completely new on your blog but so far I really enjoyed what I have read.
    I have a question if it comes to becoming a ESL teacher when you are not a native speaker.
    Could you tell me more how it happend that you taught english in Mexico?
    Did you take any particular course before that? Can you reccomend some courses? Did you need any certifications or Did you go through an agency?
    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Dominika! Every place is different, but I did TEFL/CELTA course in Mexico City – they checked my accent and vocabulary in order to accept me as a non-native English speaker. I didn’t have a problem finding a job, but since I taught business English I was being sent to different companies. Here’s the website of the school: . Back in 2010 you could also arrange your FM-3 visa in the country, but nowadays you have to present your job offer at the Embassy in your home country in order to get the work permit.
      I have friends who’re teaching in China as non-native speakers as well, but they completed a teaching degree in the UK.

  17. Amazing and inspirational sharing as it gave me a glimpse into what I can do, and answers to some of the questions I have always been wondering about travel blogger.

  18. Thank you for being so honest and candid about your life as a travel blogger. It’s great to hear a humble, realistic viewpoint on being a full time blogger. Life is not all glossy, edited experiences and huge endless paychecks. That’s what makes it so important that you’re doing this for the real reason – the love for travel. As someone who is starting her own travel blog to help motivate herself to travel more – I appreciate this post a great deal. Keep it up 🙂

  19. Thank you, Anna. Loved reading your article on the “cenotes” in Mexico, and then reading about your hard work to be able to travel and become a full-time blogger, who lives from this activity. My respects to you. I am definitely of an older generation than you, and have been travelling every year, to many places, for more than 30 years. I was lucky to marry a man who, like me, loves to travel. My friends joke and call me “Rickina”, as I share my photos and relate the fun adventures from each place we visit. They call me and ask for advice on travel info. I even do whole trip itineraries for them (with walking tours, maps, day to day activities, recommendations for restaurants, etc.). They keep telling me that I should start a blog, but I do not have the stamina it must take to do this work. On the “cenotes” article, since I have a vacation house in Tulum, Mexico, I visit “cenotes” every time I go to Tulum. I can add a couple of nice “cenotes” to your list. I recommend these to people who rent my villa in Tulum. Cenote Yax Kin is an open-air “cenote”. It is just north of Tulum, off of highway 307. The “cenote” has very nice vegetation all around it, has an area for families to do a pic-nic under a “palapa”, and has a couple of BBQs people can use. The other nice “cenote” is Cenote Hubiku. This is located very near the town of Temozon, just north of the city of Valladolid. If your readers visit the Ek-Balam Mayan ruins, visiting this “cenote” is a good option. Hubiku also offers lunch of Yucatecan cuisine under a giant “palapa”, and there is a Tequila Bar where people can do tequila tastings. The place is nice and clean. Keep working hard and progressing with your blog. The best to you.

  20. I try many times to save money for travelling, but I am not able to do it. When I go to the market seeing something, I insane for buying it. I learn from your story how you endured suffering to save money. thanks

  21. Hello Anna!
    I must say first I am greatly inspired with your blog.. and i actually find your blog the easily best around here for young travelers..
    I just wanted to know how the job of bartending is like? I am a girl of 18.. and I want to do some earning.. which i am going to try for the first time along with studying. Which one would you say between bartender and waitress is better?

  22. Hello Anna!
    I must say first I am greatly inspired with your blog.. and i actually find your blog the easily best around here for young travelers..
    I just wanted to know how the job of bartending is like? I am a girl of 18.. and I want to do some earning.. which i am going to try for the first time along with studying. Which one would you say between bartender and waitress is better?

  23. I think a lot of people who are stunned that someone can travel internationally for cheap probably live in the US. It is very expensive for us to travel to anything that isn’t North America or South America!

  24. Wow, you are such an inspiration to like minded people who don’t have a lot of money, but find travel so important for a healthy life and outlook. My wife and I are super frugal and while our friends are out at fancy restaurants and shopping at Department stores we are eating take out chinese and researching our next trip. Now that we can take our kids and expose them to the world the experience has bloomed exponentially. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story, you have such an incredible can-do spirit, best of luck continuing your adventure! 🙂

  25. I totally agree with your point of view Anna. My traveling is always been in a fixed budget (not too lavish) but i didn’t miss a single joy. One should know how to make a budget for their traveling plans.


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