Destination Unknown: Traveling as a Lifestyle and How to Afford It

April 2, 2013 Satu Vänskä-Westgarth

Traveling as a lifestyle I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown
Sometimes the line between everyday life and travel gets little muddled. Between me and my husband  our calendars fill up with dates of who’s where and when, and friends frequently re-check what address wedding invitations or thank you cards should be sent this time. However, these days “oh, you are still there?”, has been the typical response we get when we tell where we are, for the moment.

That’s right. We are still in Norway after two and half years. And even though we are kind of settled down, I would still claim that we continue traveling, as a lifestyle. Not in the hardcore way as some of our friends do with location independent lifestyles, where they keep changing locations according to the seasons or exciting job offers, and work for themselves from the road. Instead, our jobs in the travel industry take us traveling abroad and around our “new” home, Norway. And when it is not the job, it is the desire to see new places, or the need to visit the places and people where we used to live, or stay, for extended periods in the past. And all this in an extent that not a month goes by with us not having some kind of travel plans to a destination or two.

For us, this is everyday life. Mundane in a way, but exciting and satisfying at the same time albeit tiring at times too. Still, I understand that many consider travel as luxury, hence I often get asked how we can afford it all. Katja recently gave her 15 tips on how to travel more. And here is how we do it.

Affording traveling as a lifestyle

1. Career choices. When you work in the travel industry, traveling is part of your work tasks, simple as that. Of course business travel is not always all that exciting, but if and when you have the chance to extend your stay in the location or combine it with a holiday, business travel immediately gets a lot more interesting.

My husband checking his emails while having breakfast in the Italian Alps. 

Traveling as a career I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown
2. Saving where needed. We own our own apartment. We have two cars. And we put away bit of money every month “just in case”. But we do not live in a mansion, nor have fancy new cars, nor do we shop in designer boutiques or have the latest and greatest of electronic appliances at our home. We live comfortably, but we rarely invest in possession that would just be on the way, if we ended up packing it all up again.

3. Traveling independently. Package holidays cost a lot of money. Cheap flights don’t. If you make smart travel choices you can stay extended periods in a location, or do few smaller trips for the same money you would spend for one package holiday.

4. Staying in apartments, friends and family. In the past year I have been converted to staying in apartments. As we have been traveling with our baby turned toddler, apartments have been easy, fun and practical way to travel with the whole family. And of course when possible, we stay with friends and family, go camping or sleep in our van. Needless to say, our place is always open for visitors too!

Enjoying a dinner with a view in Ericeira, Portugal, where we rented an apartment through Wimdu.co.uk. 

Renting an apartment in Portugal I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown
5. Looking for authentic experiences. There are so many things you can do in a foreign destination and they don’t all have to cost a lot of money. We often look for the outdoor experiences and these are largely free. But even if you are in a city, you could plan your visit so that you can hit the museums when they are open for free, look for local events that are affordable or don’t cost anything, or travel in the off-season when prices tend to be lower in general.

6. Do what the locals do. When in Italy, drink wine instead of beer. When in Paris, find out where the locals eat instead of having the overpriced lunch right next to Louvre. This of course takes bit of detective work, but is so worth it! Especially if you get to know locals who will show you around their favorite spots!

Anything you would add in this list? I would love to hear more tips and experiences on how to travel more or how to afford traveling as a lifestyle!

destination unknown, travel blog, adventure travel

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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth

Satu Vänskä-Westgarth decided to take a year off from her nine to five marketing executive life in Finland early 2009 to travel with her kayak, bike or skis and sometimes without. "One year" turned into a new lifestyle as a travel writer, accompanied with a not-so-British entrepreneur husband from Britain, who seems to spend more time outside the borders of his homeland than within, and their baby, who has already spent more months outside Norway than at their home in Norway, where the family resides at the moment. For more stories from the road, visit Satu’s blog Destination Unknown and connect with Satu on Twitter @SatuVW.

Comments (5)

    • Satu Vänskä-Westgarth

      Thanks Leigh!! Same here, even though sometimes I still feel I have too much “stuff”. But relatively speaking probably not after all… :)

    • Satu Vänskä-Westgarth

      Thanks Wes!!! And speaking of which, off on travels again tomorrow :)

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