Building Income Sources to Finance Travel

If you plan to live a life of travel, or extreme early retirement, then start building your small to moderate income streams. Over time, these really add up, especially if:

– you are spending efficiently (either in a cheap country or because you spend your money wisely in your home country)

– you are investing that money so it keeps growing.


– a $300 column you write for a publication once every 2 months ($1200 a year)

– $30 a month in Amazon commissions from your website or websites ($360 a year)

– A side hustle, like usertesting for websites, $50 a week ($2600)

– Signing up for 1-2 valuable credit card offers for year (up to $800, more likely around $400)

– Using a cash back credit card. For example, the Barclays Arrival Mastercard is 2% cashback but has an annual fee after the first year. A BoA travel rewards Visa gives 1.6% cashback but no fee ($160-200 if you spend $10,000 year).

– Working recurring events that you enjoy e.g., contributing as an election day worker if you enjoy participating in the democratic process in this way. Working festivals would be another example. Most people term these types of one offs “gigs.”

Once you’ve got a start, you can optimize

It’s intimidating to get started with small income stream, but the first $10 a month is the hardest $10 you’ll ever make, and then after that, the process of optimizing your income sources is much more fun. For example, optimizing your Amazon links to increase your average monthly commissions by $10 a month / $120 a year.

These income sources aren’t flashy but after a few years you’re likely to find that building them becomes almost like an unconscious habit. Some of your income sources may dry up over time but if you keep up the habit, then you’ll have new ones that take their place. Over time you can really build a surprising amount of these little side sources of income.

Try making a spreadsheet so you can see the last 12 months income from each of your location independent income sources (you could possibly do less e.g., 3-6 months). Break it down by month, then work out the average. To keep it simple and not intimidating look for how you can increase each income source by 10%. For example, there might be a bill that is currently paid automatically from your checking account or a non-cashback credit card, that you could switch to being paid from a cashback credit card.

Again, there might be a learning curve with optimization to start but once you practice and get the hang of it, you will take off.

Photo Credit: Craig Chew-Moulding under Creative Commons license.

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