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I can't be the only one that gets upset reading about trust fund babies traveling the world and claiming they're "photographers," which is why stories like this one are so refreshing.
Anna Mazurek, a thirty-something professional photographer, travels the world nonstop while working as a freelance photographer and making around $30,000 a year.
A quick look at Mazurek's Instagram tells you she's the real deal, a true digital nomad. Splayed across the top of the page are stories, each labeled with a different location. Bali, Thailand, and Medellin catch my eye.
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Lagos, Portugal // After a week, I’m already totally in love with Portugal! It literally just gets more amazing every day! I can’t believe it took me so long to visit. In an ideal world, I’d spilt my year between Austin, Thailand, Buenos Aires and now, Portugal. // 📷 : @rmelendez94 ____ #Travel #TravelLikeAnna #bucketlist #Portugal #Algrave #Lagos
Mazurek has been freelancing, writing articles and photographing for websites like Rolling Stone and the Wall Street Journal, for the past 10 years.
She estimates that on average she has earned $30,000 every one of those years.
Editor's Tip: Starting a photography business? Save money and buy quality used gear. You can save hundreds if you buy a used camera and used lenses, and apply those savings to investing in other gear. Better still, a great way to watch your bottom line is to sell or trade in your old gear that you no longer use. Doing so minimizes how much gear you have to keep track of, and if you sell or trade in your gear, you have some spare money to put towards upgrading your kit. It's a win-win!
So, how does she travel the world nonstop?
She saves 50% of her income for travel.
But, more than that, she knows how to travel.
Tips for Budget Travel
1. Travel across countries
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The thing I miss the most about Mongolia is Boris, our blue Russian van that we called home for 12 days. Has anyone else been to Mongolia? What was your favorite part? ____ Check out my latest blog post about how I never paid a single bank fee while I was in Mongolia & how you can do the same on your next adventure: travellikeanna.com/photo-blog/ ___ #travel #travellikeanna #mongolia #Gobidesert #Gobi #wanderlust #bucketlist #Throwback #tbt
What's cheaper: traveling from Argentina to Colombia over 6 months or flying from Thailand to Italy to Iceland?
I'll give you one guess.
I always get home from travel and wish I had had more time to spend in specific towns on my vacation all the time. Mazurek's advice is to give yourself that time.
Explore each country intricately, over longer periods of time. You'll save money and be able to truly say you experienced the culture.
2. You Should Have No Bills
Mazurek recommends renting out your apartment on AirBnB while you're traveling because she believes you shouldn't have any bills while traveling long term.
Cut out streaming services, internet, gym memberships and cell phone bills.
Side note: don't ever use your cell phone internationally because buying a SIM card in the country you're visiting is guaranteed to be cheaper.
3. Never Skip Travel Insurance
I know I've been guilty of this one, especially when I was too broke to be traveling at all.
But, Mazurek has a pretty good rule to live by when it comes to travel insurance: insure whatever you couldn't afford to replace.
For me, that includes myself and maybe some of my more expensive photography equipment.
But, not all of this insurance needs to come out of pocket. Mazurek, for example, refuses to purchase rental car insurance because her Chase Sapphire Reserve card has really incredible coverage (also something I wish I knew previously).
So, take a good hard look at some of your credit card policies before shelling out for additional insurance.
4. Dave Ramsey Is Right About Something-a Cushion Fund
Mazurek has saved a year or two of her salary in a cushion fund, but it was a mere few thousand when she first started.
When you inevitably decide to go home for some period of time, you'll either need to have a job already lined up or some savings to cover living expenses while you search.
Plus, it's a good idea for freelancers to have a cushion fund anyways because you never know when a client will no longer need your services.
5. Track Your Spending
This is one of those examples where traveling and vacationing differ. When you vacation, the budget sort of flies out the window, but when you travel you need to have an even tighter understanding of your budget than when you're at home.
Mazurek uses the Dollarbird app; I use Trail Wallet. The important thing is that you use some free app to keep track of every dollar you spend.
6. Buy Expensive Travel Clothing
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#AlfredtheGnome and I reached the summit of Mount #Kilimanjaro yesterday around 8 a.m. It was the hardest, coldest and most amazing thing I've ever done. Alfred thinks he might be the first gnome to the summit. (This is continent #6 for me and Alfred and country #47 for me!) More photos to come! ___ #TravelLikeAnna #bucketlist #Noregrets #Tanzania #mountkilimanjaro #africa #lemosho
This one seems counterintuitive until you think about fast fashion: all of our clothes are built to break.
A lot of gear meant for the outdoors comes with lifetime warranties. One of the straps on my $120 backpacking bag got ripped out when it got stuck on the escalator at the baggage claim in Peru, and the company paid for me to ship it roundtrip so they could replace it.
Plus, you can still save money while investing in expensive clothing and gear by buying out of season. I haven't bought a winter coat outside of July in years.
7. Do Your Bank Account Research
Banks love to stick you with fees, especially foreign transaction and ATM fees.
Do your research and find one that doesn't. It will save you dozens of dollars each month.
If you want to read more about how Mazurek is living my personal dream, you can pick up a copy of her new book: "Good With Money: A Guide to Prioritizing Spending, Maximizing Savings and Traveling More."
It's only $15, so we promise it won't break the bank.