For recent graduates still repaying student loans, being completely debt-free isn't always possible. Slavin managed to continue making his monthly student loan payments even while on the road, largely because he minimized all of his other expenses, including cancelling his cell phone and other monthly expenses. "If you're in debt, you have no freedom," he says.
Live simply while on break. Slavin's entire six-month motorcycle journey cost only $13,000, not including the bike purchase. He also continued contributing 20 percent into his retirement savings up until the day he left home. He paid about $30 a day for accommodations plus food. "I was living on a budget but I wasn't completely dirt-bagging it either," he says.
At the same time, Blake warns against being so frugal that you don't take full advantage of the break. Because she's using the time for a self-funded book tour, she's not skimping on plane tickets or restaurant meals. "I want to enjoy and make the most of it," she says.
Likewise, Danny and Jillian Tobias budgeted $100 a day, but they let themselves exceed it when it came to going on an African safari or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
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Bring in extra cash. Blake is subletting her condo while she's on her book tour, and she's also earning money with her coaching business and speaking gigs. "That makes me feel relaxed," she says, to know she has some income.
The Tobiases' travel website, ishouldlogoff.com, brought in a total of about $3,500 while they were on the road—not enough to live on, but enough to help offset some costs. Now that they're home, they continue to grow the site.
Use the break to shift careers. When Slavin returned home, he says he realized he was ready for a new challenge. He did some design work for a local motorcycle accessory company. Then, in response to requests from his blog readers, he returned to the road to create a how-to video guide for motorcycling through Mexico. "I saw a need for this and an opportunity to empower others," he says. He continues to work for the motorcycle accessory company while he promotes his film.
Danny Tobias, who worked as a business consultant before his trip, decided to return to his home turf in southern Florida to become a financial planner and join his family's business. His money management experience while traveling contributed to that decision. In addition to the budgeting website he and Jillian created, he figured out how to convert his 401(k) into a Roth IRA and pay taxes on it during a year he had no other income. "All that feeds nicely into my new career," he says. He is currently studying for his certification in financial planning.
Don't wait until you can "afford" it. "We'd been thinking about it for ages, but when we hit our financial goal, we just sort of looked at each other and said, 'It's time to fish or cut bait,'" says Danny Tobias. And so they took off for their round-the-world adventure.