Member Story: Hop Creative – How to afford to travel

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For Trevor and Anna, turning their dream of travelling the world permanently into a reality didn’t happen overnight.

Like anything, it took planning, preparation, and a bit of faith.

We spoke to the Atlantic Canadian couple from the desk of their Airbnb in Bali to get the low down on how they afford to travel.

* This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Honest Money: Tell us about yourselves.

Trevor and Anna: Anna’s from the (Annapolis) Valley, while I grew up on the other end of the province. We met working together at a local publication in Halifax. I could have climbed the corporate ladder, but wanted to see what a startup would be like. Watching my team get laid off gave me the idea to start freelancing so I could be in control of my own career path. I began years before we decided to travel the world.

HM: What do you mean by ‘travel the world’?

T&A: Right now, we’re in Bali, but we plan so we can spend half of the year travelling and half of the year at home in Halifax. Typically, we return around the summer months. Travelling in two three-month intervals at a time, we stay at more affordable places for two months and a more expensive place for one month. Since we’re not hostel people, sticking to hotels and Airbnbs can be pricey. Planning helps us keep the costs low.

HM: It sounds like a never-ending vacation. Do you still work?

T&A: Every day. Together we freelance web design. Our company, Hop Creative, is about 10 years old and our main source of income. We also really lucked out with this whole influencer thing. What started as documenting our travels has really come with some added perks.

HM: How did you afford this lifestyle?

T&A: We worked hard to save up a comfortable amount before we even decided to travel. And we’re still always working—even if it’s from a new place. We also save where we can, while taking in various forms of income. Fast internet helps us freelance and edit our videos on the road, while renting our condo in Halifax lets us have more cash on hand.

HM: Living on the road must come with some financial challenges.

T&A: The most challenging thing would be clients wanting to pay us in cheques. We have an app that accepts paper cheques, but we don’t have access to the same systems while travelling. There are ATM fees, it can be hard to find an ATM, plus, we have to consider conversion rates wherever we go. In South East Asia, for example, everything is priced in the millions versus back home, so currency can get confusing.

HM: What do you do when money gets tight?

T&A: The same thing we would do if we were at home! For us, being on the road means we have to be responsible about how we’re spending. There’s no routine, so you have to be disciplined. We have an emergency fund just in case. You have to spend your money wisely, the same you would if you were generating a consistent income on a bi-weekly basis.

HM: What would you tell someone looking to give up their current lifestyle to travel?

T&A: You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Of course, have a plan and have some money saved up—the rest will work itself out. Abandoning the security of a two-week pay cheque can be scary, but it’s totally worth it.

Looking to make a financial plan to see how you can afford to travel? Visit your local credit unionto talk to an advisor.

Two tourists posing in front of a building.

Image courtesy of Hop Creative.