Even though deals for RTW trips abound, traveling long-term can take a toll on your wallet. Flights, train tickets, accommodation, and insurance…it all adds up. But there are ways that you can save up before you go. Whether selling your possessions or fundraising, check out the following resources to make your RTW trip possible.
What to sell, why, and where
Deciding what to sell will depend on what you have. From your house or apartment, to your car, to your desktop computer and other electronic gadgets, clothes, accessories…you can put everything up for grabs. Again, depending on how attached you are to your belongings, selling them will be more or less easy. If you particularly like holding on to things but know that you need to sell them, consider reading The Benefits of Selling Everything You Own. The author argues that a clutter-free home equals a clutter-free mind, and numerous people who commented below further attest to the liberating effect of selling your belongings.
Here are some websites where you can post the items you are selling:
- Craiglist. Available in most U.S. cities. You can post anything and everything. Furniture and technological gadgets such as televisions are particularly suitable for selling on Craigslist. If you need to sublet your apartment, you can do so on Craiglist as well.
- eBay. The world’s largest online auction portal, which also offers fixed-price auctions. You can post any item in any category. There are numerous eBay-specific seller guides, such as the one available on Man vs. Debt. Every once in a while, eBay offers discounted or even free listing fees – if you are a member, be sure to look out for emails advertising those kinds of deals.
- Amazon. Did you know that anyone could now sell on Amazon? You create your own Amazon store page to sell new and used products of all kinds. Those interested in self-publishing their success story, memoir, narrative or even photo book should consider CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing platform.
- Etsy. Vintage clothing, hand-made jewelry, and accessories are best sold on Etsy.
- Framt. Allows you to create your own online store. While the number of visitors is fewer than those on eBay, you’ll be able to save on listing fees – they are free of charge on Framt.
- eCrater. Similarly allows you to create your own online store, with products submitted to Google Product Search. Note that you are responsible for your own SEO.
- Buy.com’s Garage Sale app. This app enables you to create a listing on your Facebook page, meaning that you can buy and sell to people you already know on Facebook.
The possibilities to sell abound. Start listing items now and see where it takes you. If you’re selling online, be sure to find out where your buyers are. On sites like eBay, you can offer shipping worldwide (be sure to indicate how much that is, and whether you or the buyer will be responsible for paying it). Other sites like Craiglist or Simply Listed are orientated towards local purchases – for example, once another person in your hometown has expressed interest in one of your items, you might have to show it to them before he or she buys it.
In addition to online resources, you can set up a Garage Sale. Check out these tips for what to sell during a Garage Sale and how to market your event. In fact, marketing your goods is essential no matter whether you are selling online or off. For the latter, be sure to take good pictures (people are all about the visuals) and enter keywords so that people find your items, too. Last but not least, simply telling people around you about what you are selling can help. Word of mouth has, after all, always been a successful marketing move.
Those who have worked at an NGO will be familiar with grant writing and other ways to raise funds. While it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a background in grant writing, it isn’t essential if you want to start raising funds for your personal RTW trip. Real Gap, a gap year tour operator, offers some comprehensive advice on fundraising and budgeting for your time abroad. Whether it be through a local bake sale, car wash, or by starting your own dog walking enterprise, you can get creative in terms of how it is that you want to raise funds.
No matter what you do, a clear strategy will help you lead to success. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to raise funds on or offline?
- Will my fundraising event or enterprise incur any initial costs? How will I pay for them?
- Will I be fundraising alone or with others?
- How far in advance will I be planning my fundraiser?
- How will I market my fundraiser? Think about online and offline strategies, from paper posts to Facebook event postings.
- What am I good at? And how can I use my skills to my advantage during my fundraiser?
- Will my fundraiser be season-specific (e.g. a Christmas bake sale)?
Sponsored events, that is, getting people to bet on whether you can undertake a certain venture, are always popular fundraising initiatives. While marathons or runs are what is most common, you can also get creative and have people sponsor you to bungee jump or sky dive. In addition to contacting your friends and family, you can get in touch with local businesses to make them aware of your event. Businesses are always looking for philanthropic ventures (where they can deduct their taxes), so be sure to highlight what you are offering to them.
If you need some online help, consider the following donation and fundraising portals:
- GoFundMe: Easy online fundraising with personal donation websites.
- Crowdrise: Helps create and market personal as well as group fundraising campaigns.
- JustGiving: Allows you to create a personal or company page, which you can then share on Facebook, for example.
- PayPal donate button: The online payment portal offers
If you want to fundraise and donate your funds to a local or international NGO, check out the following post on Mashable for a series of websites specifically orientated towards NGO donations.
Keeping track of your budget
Staying on top of your personal finances, including all that income you plan to make via sales and fundraising, doesn’t require that you get an MBA. It is possible to travel the world just knowing the basics of accounting.
If you’re a beginner, start by noting down your incoming and outgoing payments. A notebook can be enough to do so at first, but if you want the get a better overview, or start performing more complicated transactions, you should at least be familiar with Excel spreadsheets.
Whether you are still at home or already on the go, you can also resort to apps for some further help. Expensify, for example, allows you to keep track of your expenses wherever you are, while Billtracker will remind you of when your bills are due.
Depending on which bank or credit card you use, look into whether they have an accompanying app. If so, you can manage your accounts as well as credit cards on the go. Another option is to go about it vice versa: look into which banks or credit cards offer lower fees or even rewards when you use them abroad. Be sure to read the fine print – initial descriptions are frequently too good to be true, but if you take the time to look around, you can find an option that works for you.
If you need to make payments on an international level, you can always resort to PayPal, the most popular online payment portal. Mobile payments, too, are becoming increasingly popular, with Visa, MasterCard and many others launching initiatives in that respect.
Do it for free
Nevertheless, before you become too worried about spending, selling, and fundraising, be sure to check out activities and services that you can get for free. A simple online search can lead you to numerous things you can do for free in a certain destination (see this example for 10 free things to do in Madrid). Taking a RTW entirely for free will be difficult, but if you plan ahead, cut your costs, sell and fundraise, you’ll be ready to go sooner than you know it. And if you need to fill up your wallet on the road, there are always opportunities to work abroad, too.
Every week, on “Round the World Wednesday” we share tips for planning, budgeting and selecting a route, plus advice on where to go and what to see and do all around the world.
Photo Credits: cassidy, enviziondotnet, Jeff Belmonte, oscarparadela.com