Tips for Selling Everything & Travelling The World
It seems like a dream to be able to say I sold everything to travel the world. I often talk to people who say they would love to do the same, but it’s terrifying. With jobs, mortgages, friends and relationships, it can be hard to just drop everything to travel. But, this opportunity has completely changed my life! If you have been dreaming about traveling the world, I promise it is a do-able task. It may seem scary and like a huge life changing decision (well, it kind of is!) but it is absolutely worth the risk. One of the toughest parts of this process was selling everything. You’re basically trading possessions for memories that will last you forever. Some possessions are of great meaning which of course are a must keep but I learned that a lot of the things I was holding on to I am totally fine without. If you have been thinking about selling everything and traveling the world, here are a few of the things I’ve learned to get you started. And if you’re anything like me and you love checklists, check out my Digital Nomad Starter Guide in the Shop :)
Selling Your Home
Selling the place that you call home is not an easy task! It can take days or maybe even months and if you’re in the same situation I was in - this is your safety blanket. Since I work as an independent contractor, my house is my retirement fund, so this was a big factor stopping me. However, I rationalised that selling would take stress off while I am away. Not only would the income from the sale be part of my travel fund but I also didn’t have to worry about keeping up with it. Depending on where you live, keeping up with the weather and yard work can be a hassle, not to mention expensive! It will alleviate some extra stress and let you travel without a big weight on your shoulders knowing that isn't on your plate anymore.
If selling your home is just not an option for you, consider putting it on AirBnb or renting it out for the amount of time you will be traveling. This will ensure you have a place to call home when you get back but also cover your mortgage and possibly give you a bit of income while you are traveling. If you do go the Airbnb route, make sure you have everything in place - cleaners who can be available on short notice, a lock box or someone to do the check-in, and maintenance/repair contractors. If you opt to rent long-term, you will save yourself the hassle of constant check-in and check-outs but you may not be making quite as much profit. In the past I have rented out my house long term and with the right tenants, it was one of the easiest ways to manage the house without selling.
Selling Your Stuff
This goes hand in hand with selling your home. One of my favorite parts of this process was lightening the load: I went through closets, drawers, the garage, and every room - getting rid of any and everything I hadn’t used in 6 months, wouldn’t be taking with me, or didn’t hold any value/personal attachment. Plus, the best part was I made a good chunk of money that went straight into the travel fund. If it is clothing or accessories, Poshmark, Ebay, and Thred Up are great sites to check out. For any other household items, check out Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Letgo and Ebay. It's a great way to make a few extra bucks and clean up at the same time.
Depending on where you are traveling to, you may need to get immunizations before you go. This will all vary depending on how long you are going and areas you are travelling to. A great place to start searching is the CDC website and find a travel clinic in your town - be aware that not every clinic offers every vaccine! ( I had to go to the county health department and a travel clinic - also note price differences because the health department will be a good bit cheaper). Be sure to ask about any symptoms or reactions that can occur. Sometimes, you can get a poor reaction to them like getting a fever or feeling nauseous. Also - they may tell you the shots don’t hurt, but my arm felt like I got punched for about a week after the yellow fever vaccine :).
Make A Plan
One thing I highly recommend is planning out your route before you go. Planning where you will start your trip to where you will be staying will help you budget accordingly. It kind of forces you to figure out how long you will be staying in each destination and where you will be going to next. You’ll get an idea of which places will be more expensive and where you’ll be able to spend a bit more time. I'm all about budget travel and squeezing in as much as I can into a trip so looking into everything before you go is incredibly helpful. Make a night of it! Order in some pizza, grab a bottle of wine and start researching. If you don't know where to start, that's okay. Write down a list of places you want to visit and just start looking into them - it may spark some inspiration.
This may seem like a no brainer but seasons play a huge part in planning travel! They make prices fluctuate all throughout the year and the weather can be so different depending on what season you go. Every season has it's pros and cons so it's important to think about what you want to get from this adventure of a lifetime.
For example, I knew the first part of my trip would take me to South America, and there were a few specific spots I wanted to hit at specific times of the year (Patagonia just before fall, Bolivian salt flats in April, and Antarctica just after peak season). My reason for these times were budget and photography driven :) Patagonia in the summer is incredibly expensive and crowded, but prices start to drop just before the slow season kicks in; the salt flats in Bolivia provide some of the best reflections right after the rainy season; and Antarctica is most affordable towards the end of their summer. Let’s add to this that we’re talking about the Southern Hemisphere so it took a good bit of researching, mental switch and planning to pull it off.
When planning life on the road, budgeting is SO important. Is it likely I'll go over budget? Yep, already done! But doing all this planning ahead of time forces you to really think about what areas you want to spend money on. If you are a big foodie, maybe you want to go to the more expensive restaurants or eat out for every meal to experience all the delicious food your destination has to offer. If you love sight seeing, maybe you'd rather cook some meals in your AirBnb and spend money on some incredible tours. Think about what's important to you! Of course, save money while you can. Maybe instead of getting an Uber or a taxi, walk to your next activity if it’s close enough! This will not only give you some exercise and stretch those legs after all of the travel but help you see even more in the place you are visiting.
The biggest lesson from life on the road is to keep expenses low! If I have the choice between a 2.5 hour flight for $200 or a 20 hour bus ride for $70, I can tell you I opt for the bus. It may seem crazy but I’ve started to look at that as $130 dollars towards the next accommodation. Plus an overnight bus means 1 night accommodation is taken care of as well :). It is a very different lifestyle when one day you are finding yourself in an expensive country and the next in one of the cheapest. I tend to extend my time in cheap places and always try to leverage skills I have for any possible discounts. For example, providing a tour operator with professional photos in exchange for the experience or a %off.
A big part of leaving everything behind is getting ahead of your health. I have had plenty of experience being ill in some off the beaten path places…and let’s just say, going to a clinic where the guy in front of you drops his machete off at the entrance isn’t necessarily the experience you want to have. So the very first thing you should do before heading off on the adventure of a lifetime, make every doctors appointment possible. Once you have a clean bill of health, look into some travel insurance or digital nomad health insurance. Which one you opt for will be determined by your plans - travel insurance will only cover emergencies for the length of your trip including cancelled flights etc. Health insurance will give you health coverage wherever in the world you might end up.
Checklists are lifesavers!
These are just a few tips for selling everything and traveling the world. If you are planning a big trip, and you want a more step by step guide to selling everything and a handy checklist of what to pack for an extended trip, you can check-out my guide here. It breaks down the time line I followed, everything I packed into my backpack, and an overview of transitioning to a digital nomad career from your current 9-5.