5 Ways to Finance Your Family’s Travel Dream

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Have you ever dreamed about a month in Europe, wintering in the Caribbean, or hunkering down in a ski cabin for a few weeks? The trick is figuring out the time and money. As a family, we’ve done several trips like this and met many others who have done it as well. Each person and family figured out an approach that worked for them. If you want to break away from the rat race, explore a place you’ve only dreamed of and not break the bank, here are a few ideas to consider.

#1: Turn Your Home or Apartment into an Asset

Last year, we spent three months driving the Canadian Rockies and the Pacific Coast Highway, camping in such places as Banff in British Columbia, Yosemite in Northern California, and Joshua Tree in Southern California. We sublet our apartment to help pay for gas and campsite fees. Personally, we prefer to sublet to friends and friends-of-friends, but if it’s legal in your area, you can try the AirBnB thing. If you own your home, rent it month-to-month.

#2: Turn Your Car into an Asset

We’re currently traveling Europe for five months. We didn’t need our minivan for this trip, so we sublet it too. We put the word out to our Facebook friends. You’d be surprised who might need a basic car short term. We keep our insurance in place and our friend sends the agreed-upon rental fee through Venmo each month. They cover their own gas and tolls and oil changes. The bigger repairs, we cover. If there’s an accident, they pay the deductible.

#3: The Longer You Travel, the Cheaper it Gets

I helped a friend race his sailboat to Bermuda. Everyone else on the crew had to leave the day after the race ended. I was fortunate to spend six days in Bermuda. They paid $125 for a scooter for one day. I paid $250 for a scooter for six days. $125 per day versus $42 per day. A lot of the charges on rental items are one-time only charges, like cleaning fees on an apartment. Spread those costs over a longer period of time and they drop fast. Consider the value in staying longer.

#4: Consider a Leave of Absence 

How do you stay longer? A leave of absence could be the answer. It can be scary to walk away from employment to make a dream happen. When we started taking longer trips, though, I would ask for a leave of absence. I’d usually used up my two weeks of paid vacation on other trips, but I asked for more time anyway. My employer agreed to the time off. They didn’t pay me, but kept my benefits in place. My benefit contributions were paid from subsequent paychecks. My first “sabbatical” was a week. The next was two weeks, then a month, and then two months. Eventually, I quit and took my family sailing for a year, but leading up to that, it was nice to have some security as we learned how to travel longer.

#5: Buy, Then Sell

You don’t have to own something forever. While house-sitting in Hawaii for two months, we wanted to learn how to surf, so we bought basic surf boards the day we arrived and surfed for eight weeks. We sold the boards two days before we left for 65% of what we paid for them. The buyers got two lightly used boards at a bargain price, and we surfed multiple times a week for a fraction of the cost of renting boards.

We know it can feel impossible to travel with jobs, responsibilities, and kids. Yet we’ve seen countless families like ours (without deep pockets) — as well as couples and individuals of all ages — traveling foreign lands and exploring gems close to home. The right solution will be the combination that works best for you, but you should know: it’s more possible than you think. Happy travels!

You can follow the Ortons’ journey at Fezywig and in their new book.

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10 thoughts on “5 Ways to Finance Your Family’s Travel Dream”

  1. These are such creative ideas! You could also sell products online because it’s cheap to run (no rent and minimal expenses) and even easier if the items you sell are small like greeting cards or vintage postage stamps. I actually used to sell jewellery items as a side income and now also sell the Click little clear bags for it too!

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