The ultimate costs savings plan - don't maintain a household. For the right person, traveling for a living may be the answer to financial worries. The road warrior lifestyle eliminates the overhead of having a residence, freeing up income to pay down debt and bulk up savings.
What Does It Entail?
Industries from IT consulting to sales often send workers from one client location to the next. Business travel overall may be down right now, but there's only so much that can be accomplished via conference call or web meeting. Some work simply requires in person contact.
Organizations touting work/life balance may require travel during the week, returning home on weekends. Others schedule a block of travel for weeks at a time. The ultimate road warrior travels 100% of the time.
Here are some cccupations that may require 100% travel.
- Business Developers
- Regional/District Managers
- Product Managers
- Motivational Speakers
- You can pocket big savings by eliminating housing costs (no mortgage or rent, utilities, property taxes or maintenance fees).
- Travelers have few personal monthly expenses beyond maintaining car insurance, a cell phone and wireless internet access.
- Most companies pay travel expenses either per diem or by reimbursing workers for travel related expenses (hotels, car rentals, some meals, etc.).
- Unreimbursed travel expenses may be tax deductible.
- You get to see the country or your region.
- The work is often flexible, allowing for built-in vacations or personal time.
- Road warriors meet a lot of people and make many networking contacts outside their original town.
- Travelers rack up frequent flyer miles and affinity points at hotels and car rental agencies. (Are travel rewards as great as they seem? Read Drawbacks Of Travel Reward Programs to find out.)
- Mortgage interest income tax deduction is lost if you don't own a home. (You may be missing out on some tax credits. Check out 10 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions.)
- Travelers spend a lot of time in airports, train stations or on the highway.
- It's difficult to maintain relationships long distance.
- Participating in community events must be tediously scheduled.
- Work often requires traveling into a town, working all day and leaving, without ever really enjoying the new town.
- The average tenure of road warriors is low (2-3 years).
How Do You Do It?
- Find the right travel job that matches your skills.
- Consider the job temporary and plan your next career move in 2-3 years.
- Sell your home or lease it.
- Sublet your lease (if allowed) or negotiate with your landlord to release you due to new employment arrangements.
- Get a post office box.
- Get rid of your stuff. Put it in storage, sell it, give it away or ask a family member for space in their basement.
- If you won't need your car, sell it or loan it to a friend for storage.
- Find friends and family members to visit on those few occasions when you are not traveling for business.
- Setup wireless communications: wireless internet access, and a cell phone or blackberry service with a robust plan to accommodate travel.
- Setup an online bank account. Have your check direct deposited into checking or savings accounts.
- Set up an automatic investment account to put money that would have gone toward housing to work for you. (Read Automating Your Bill Payments to learn how this free service can reduce the stress of paying your bills.)
The Bottom Line
Traveling for a living is easier if you have few commitments (you're single or divorced with no dependents living with you). These jobs are most suitable for autonomous people who enjoy spontaneity and embrace perpetual change. It is the perfect opportunity to escape from household expenses. (To learn about other alternative career options, check out Freelance Careers: Look Before You Leap.)
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