Money – how do we finance the trip or where do we get the money?

August 23, 2008  
Topics: FAQ

Money – where are they comming from? this is one of the most popular questions which we are asked by the people following our trip. However, the same we are questioning other long-term travellers we meet on the road.

It is really an interesting topic, so we have always been talking about this openly and without any tabu.

Before bringing all the details, worth to mention that we do not invest our savings into a purchase of a car, an appartment, flat screen TV, good fridge or similar touchable object. In other words, our material property is very poor. And it is like that, because every cent we invest into travels.

Alright, let’s start with the concrete numbers:

In 2005 for 8 months Augustas was working at Aalborg University in Denmark. The salary after taxes was roughly 2000 EUR. After covering all the debts (which were caused by the trip to Africa in 2004), following the advice of one friend, the rest of the money we have invested into Investmend Funds managed by a Swedish company “East Capital“.

From July 2005 to January 2006 we have invested about 6400 EUR. When we started the trip, we also had some savings in our personal bank accounts. This amount was near to 1500 EUR. To sum-up, we had around 7900 EUR ($10’000) when we started the trip in January 2006.

When the personal bank accounts were running out, we started to withdraw money from the investment funds. We were “sucking” money from the funds for two years, till March 2008. Now this source is dry. Total amount withdrawn was 8360 EUR. It is not difficult to calculate that in 2 years invested “money made money” by 30%!

Our primary savings will be supporting us till mid 2008. Besides that we are earning few dollars by other means as well.

Already during the second month of our journey, in Mexico we got to know Kathy, who is a co-owner of the job portal. She has heard our story and immidiately offered to start writing $50 blogs for their page. We certainly agreed! Since then every 6-8 weeks we are posting a short story from our trip to the “Cool Works”. The articles for this portal most of the time are written by Katja. And here is the link to the cool works blogs:

Augustas is time to time working on different website programming (PHP + MySQL) projects. By the end of 2007 the total 2-year income from such projects reached almost $4000. The most intensive project he is working on is personal finance portal. Working with this site allows us partialy support our trip.

Since July 2007 we have one more source of income. It is a Lithuanian travel magazine “Kelioniu Magija” (“The Magic of Travels”), where Augustas periodicaly publishes 4-pages stories from our trip and gets almost $95 per article (210 LTL).

To summarize, during the first year of our life-journey (2006) our daily expenses were 5 EUR ($6.50-$7.00) per person per day. Actually it is a lot, as initially we planned to fit into $3-$5 per day budget. More about our expenses read here.

Links to the articles which have been published on the CoolWorks blog you may find here.

Income 2007 (total $5700):
$600 – Writing articles about our trip
$3700 – Programming websites
$1400 – Other

About carying the cash?

We started our trip by having lots of cash money, which we have hid in a few random places: in backpacks, neck pouches (here also we keep passports), narrow EagleCreek money belts with an inside zip where we place dozens of folded banknotes. During the trip in Africa we had a lot of hidden places in the stitches of the trousers, where we pushed lots of banknotes rolled into a piece of plastic. Of course, besides the cash we also have couple of credit cards, which are very usefull now, when we do not carry much cash anymore.

We always try to keep bunch of dollar banknotes with small nomination ($1 and $5). They sometimes help when crossing the border and having no official money exchange place (we try to avoid money changers on the street) for the first day or so. However, the most convenient is to have lots of $20’ies, as higher nomination banknotes would bring more suspision for beeing fake, as well as not everybody will have a change for that (if it is a country, where US dollar is an official currency, e.g., Panama, Ecuador, etc.).

We do not have traveler’s checks, as the commissions for the operations related to them are too high, sometimes reaching up to 13% (yes, that was the rate somewhere in Southern-East Africa). Moreover, it is sometimes very difficult to find a place, which would cash your traveler’s checks… Finally, we are not so rich yet for having so much money to carry.

Do not hesitate to contact us or write comments if you have more additional questions or suggestions.


  1. Teun says:

    Good stuff. Enjoy, inspire and be aware of the wonderwul impact you have in the world.


  2. Tess says:

    I’ve been thinking of where and how to travel for sometime now. I recently met someone willing to travel with me. I have been saving and am planning to leave in November. This will be my first longterm travel and also the first time I think I’m ready for it. I’ve loved your articles so much and am looking into something similar for my own travels. The insite you’ve given me into how to save and earn while I travel is priceless and I can’t thank you enough for it. If there any encouragement you have for a 24 year old newbie I’m all ears! Thanks again for your wonderful story and I’ll continue to follow you along your travels. Hope to run into you along the road someday!

    • Hi Tess! Happy to hear that information on our page was useful to you. Money – is very interesting topic among travellers, but not many like to share about it.
      If you will be in Europe this year – we might meet! 😉

  3. Julian Munoz says:

    hola katja and augustas.
    i dont know if you’re gonna read this message, but anyway….its very interesting everything you tell here, eventhough you wrote this a year ago and not many people has commente about it. Im colombian by the way, and i like to travell. my idea of travelling is similar than yours, i think. i like to travel saving as much as i can, but lately i’ve been experiencing something like a mental block. Im afraid to take the risk and leave my routine. My last trip was to Ecuador, when i staid for 7 months, and befor that i traveled for europe for 4 moths and north america for ten months. When i came back from ecuador i made a promes: that i was not going to make other trip as a foreing until i know my country first. well, im about to acomplished this and i dont know what to do. One of the problems i found is the money. Along this 3 years knowing my country, i started a business and i faild, now i think “without he maney, you cant do nothing”. I used to finence my trips doing somethin along the trip, like play the guitar and piano, doing origami….stufs, but now im 27 and this seems to be very far from present. my question is (and i know i have write too much, apologies): ?have you ever experience anythig like this? and if you did, what did you do? what can you advise me and suggest?…..sorry for bothering you, but i really admire and envy your spirit. thank four your answere

    • Hi Julian, there is no reason to think about age because it is just one component in life on the way to death, while death means in our opinion the accomplishment of our very personal task life has given to us with our birth. We believe that as long as you follow your feelings and intuition, you are on the right way and everything else around you will sort out itself. This thinking of “achievements” and finances is just created by our modern society. There is no reason to “achieve” anything but to be happy in life. If traveling is what makes you truly happy, then better continue doing so. If you favor another way of life, go and realize it. Money is one thing in life, but by far not the most important. Enjoy what you do in any moment of your life and remember – Be happy! 😉


    • Carolina says:

      I’m afraid I disagree with Katja and Augustas. You can’t just wait for things to aort themselves out.

      I am a traveller too and sometimes I think about what I will do when I go back home to sustain myself and, of course, fund future trips. People are all different and some need some kind of financial security, especially as you get older, because you are not always going to have the same energy and live out of a backpack and the bunker-bed starts giving you a backache and you start thinking about having a family and sending the kids to school… so yes, you will need to think about finances for the longer term. It’s easy to fund travels if you just work in the developed world and spend it in poorer countries, but having a back up plan for when you go back home is good too.

      My suggestion would be to get as skilled as possible. It can be in one profession like Augustas and his computing or acquiring a variety of skills. For example, while I’m travelling, I participate in activities that I can learn from, e.g. WWOOFing (working in organic farms), volunteering, teaching English, doing short courses, exchanging languages… all experience is valuable and you can apply some of these skills in paid jobs on the road or when you get back home.

      I think that way not only you’ll get some money and see foreign countries from a different perspective, but you will also enrich your life.

      Happy travels!

      P.S. I totally support Katja and Augustas’ thinking of living a simple life, without all the materialistic rubbish that publicists want us to buy and I admire their way of giving back to society. Keep it up, guys!

  4. Angelo says:

    Very useful article. Before leaving on my trip, i pretty much had the idea of earning around 15k before leaving. After reading this, i think it’s very much reasonable. Some months more and i’m there =)
    Good luck and happy travels!!

  5. Lidia says:

    Hola Katja and Augustas!
    Hope that when you read this short note, you’re safe and well. Just wanted to thank you for posting your experinces about Money, Expenses and Equipment, it really gives me an insight into planning my own adventure. I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels and wish all the best! Lids