Full-Time Family Travel On an Ultra-Low Budget

Many people think that they could never afford to travel full-time with a family, but what if I told you that you that it can be done for less than $1,000/month? Suddenly, it doesn’t seem quite so unattainable, does it? This week, Christie from Soul-Treks is joining us to show just how possible it can be!

Take it away, Christie!

Full-Time Family Travel On an Ultra-Low Budget

Believe it or not, my family and I travel on an ultra-low budget of $1,000 per month or less. We have been able to keep this budget for the last 6 years.

Before I made the decision to start traveling full-time with my children, we were living a very meagre life. I could barely pay the rent and keep food on the table. That year, I had to sit my children down and tell them we wouldn’t be able to celebrate Christmas because I didn’t have money for gifts.

I decided to put an ad online seeking a school bus that we could convert and live in. I knew that if we could get the chance to convert a school bus into a motorhome, things would be easier. We wouldn’t have to pay rent or utilities.

I was able to get the bus and we converted it into a motorhome using things I found for free online or through bartering. In a few months, the bus was converted enough that we could move in and take it on the road.

When we left on the road, I was making very minimal money, from my online job of teaching English to foreigners. As long as we had internet, I could continue making money to pay the bills.

We loved our time in the bus. To this day, we still talk fondly of that time. We have so many great memories from our year of living in our bus.

Our ultra-low budget lifestyle started out of necessity. Now I choose to keep our ultra low budget lifestyle because it is much less stressful not to have to make a lot of money each month. I know we can live well on $1,000. By keeping this small budget, I have more time to spend with my kids. To me, this is important.

We now travel internationally. This makes living on our ultra-low budget more manageable. I can make our money go further by going outside of the western world. My children and I get to experience the culture and the people of the country we are living in a unique way.

An example of our budget is as follows:

Rent $200 Rent is usually well below this rate.
Food $250 This includes everything such as cleaning supplies and toilet paper as well.
Phone $50 I get a local SIM card and do pay-as-you-go
Transport $50 We use local transit
Internet $50 I either use an internet centre or internet in the house if possible.
Activities $100
Savings $200

How Does She Do It

You’re scratching your head, and asking yourself HOW? I get asked that a lot. No one believes that we live on an ultra-low budget of $1,000 per month for everything, for one adult, one teen, one child and one preschooler. I’m going to give you 8 of my tricks that allow us to do this and live well!

1. Find free accommodations. Workaway and couchsurfing are a few ideas. We rarely pay for a place to rent. We either work in exchange for rent or we couchsurf. Especially if it is only for a few days or so.

2. Live like a local: We live like locals in every place that we go. We rent a house long-term in a local lower-income neighbourhood. We eat like the locals and use the local market to get our food. This keeps our costs down a lot.

3. Use coupons and Free Days: We rarely pay full-price for attractions. We use coupons and utilize free-admission-days to things like museums and other attractions.

4. Eat where the locals eat: To cut down on costs of eating out, we eat where the locals eat. It’s usually cheap and really good!!

5. Find free things: I scour the internet every week for free activities wherever we are. Free barbecues, free festivals, free clothing exchanges, etc. We rarely pay for activities. If we do pay for an activity, it is at a reduced rate because we learned about it from the locals.

6. Make a budget: I make a budget every month. I include all the necessities such as rent, phone, internet, transportation etc. I also include $200 per month for future flights. Since we stay in one location for a few months or more at a time, I have time to save for our next flights. I like to send myself the money we will need for the month via www.xoom.com to save on transaction fees at the bank. I put the money into a lock box and hide it in our house. When the money is gone, that’s it.

7. Make friends with the neighbours: This can be a lifesaver, especially if you are a single parent. If you have local friends, you have someone to help out if you get sick or need someone to watch the kids for a bit. I really enjoy our local friends and I cherish them as my tribe. The locals can help you learn the culture and most are eager to learn about you.

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8. Be creative in how you can make an income while traveling. Think about your skills and passions and how you can make them work for you. There aren’t many traditional jobs that allow you to live this nomadic lifestyle but if you’re creative, you can make your own job!

It’s Closer Than You Think

You don’t have to win the lottery to travel full-time with your family. You simply need to have a desire to make it happen! You can travel full-time with your family on a relatively low budget. In fact, you can easily live traveling full-time on much less than you do in your conventional life.

If you have no mortgage or rent, car payment, insurance payment for the car, or utilities for the house, you will need much less to travel on. I spend less traveling full-time per month than most spend on a week vacation for their family. I do this by slow traveling and staying in one place for a few months at a time, depending on visas of course. I can get a local house to rent for less than $300 per month. I can’t possibly rent a house in our home town for that low.

Sit down and make a plan. Make a list of everything that you need to do before you can set off on your adventure. As you complete things on your list, cross them off. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to the airport for your dream adventure! You can do this!

And there you have it!

A great, big thank-you to Christie for sharing her family’s experience traveling long-term! It’s people like you who keep us inspired and motivated to keep working toward our travel dreams!

Do you already have online revenue streams in place? If not, do you have any money-making ideas running through your mind? If you are dying to travel long-term and are stuck, trying to figure out how you could make even $1,000, Christie offers services to help people find their way to location independence.

For the last two years, I have been making it my mission to help as many families as possible get started traveling full-time on an ultra-low budget. I want everyone to know it is possible.

I now do online one-on-one coaching to help you get started. I will also take you on location to the destination of your choice and show you the ropes. I will show you how to find a place to rent, where to shop, how to make money while you’re traveling, how meet the locals and everything else you will need to know to succeed!


For more information visit Soul-Treks.com or connect on Instagram at   soultrekkingmom.

28 thoughts on “Full-Time Family Travel On an Ultra-Low Budget”

  1. Wow – I can’t imagine traveling on such a low budget myself, much less with a family! They’re really making it work!

    1. Yes, there are definitely parts of the world I would avoid, but there are good, kind people everywhere. Some of the poorest places in this world are also home to the most humble and friendly people. It sounds like she does her research ahead of time and then relies on Mother’s Intuition.

  2. Wow, I didn’t realize how cheap it can be to travel as a family! Typically, I travel on my own (or with friends, who pay for themselves), but it seems a family can travel for a good price, as well! This is amazing. 🙂

  3. I am a travel bug myself and I totally agree with you that travel can be low budget and don’t have to be far. I also like how to discuss about making friends with the local or neighborhood. Only by doing so, we learn about people and their lifestyle and hence their culture. I am glad you have show us so many tips on travel on budget. This is what I like to know.

    1. Thank-you! And I agree! What’s the use of traveling to a different country if you’re not going to experience the culture and get to know some of the local people while you’re there?

  4. This was really insightful, you are proving travelling doesn’t have to be hugely expensive and you are living the dream! 🙂

  5. These are really some great tips and ideas to travel on a low budget. Travel can get so expensive I agree and only thinking about that sometimes changes the mood to not travel. Staying with the locals and eating/grocery shopping at the local market can make such difference in the experience as well as budget.

  6. Wow, where is that pool? It’s amazing how $1000 can get you far, I appreciate the breakdowns. Living like a local seems to be the key strategy and the idea excites me!

  7. You are amazing – proof of determination and resourcefulness!! Bravo to you and your family for choosing to LIVE and see the world, and creating ways to help others do so as well. <3 xo Evelyn, Path of presence

    1. Yes she does! Isn’t she amazing? We’ve decided to be sure of a little more monthly income before we embrace location independence, but isn’t it nice to know you could live and travel on so little?!

    1. Yeah, I think it’s easier to find those free things around home, but seems like it could take more research while abroad. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing where to start looking. I’m sure Christie would have some good suggestions for that ?

  8. Thank you! Some of these tips are great. I’m going to check out workaway and see what that’s about. I can’t imagine low rent for long term in low income area. I dont know where those even are. I can budget the rest. I did want to visit 12 states with my kids this year. I’m used to scouring for free activities, events and festivals locally but find it a little harder when it comes to other places. I feel extra motivated after reading this and hopefully can come up with something fun for my family.

    1. Awesome! I’m glad you were able to find motivation and ideas here! I agree that it can be harder away from home, but it must be doable. 12 states sounds fun! I hope you can find some good ideas for you and your family!!

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