How to Finance Travel

finance travel

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Financial Requirements

Here are my financial requirements:

  • Toward the end of 2016 I need $150,000 cash (for the boat)
  • From 2017 on:  I’ll need about $2,000 per month (to be comfortable)
  • If I want internet connectivity (and I do) it’s an additional $1,000 per month
  • Safety net of $5,000 at all times, starting 2017

I plan on sailing about 5 years – the minimum total cash I’ll need is $215,000 for the trip.  Of that I expect to (conservatively) recoup about $90,000 from the sale of the boat when I return.   If I want Internet connectivity the cost increases – it’s $275,000 and the same amount recouped when I return.  Bummer, that’s a boatload of money and a big goal.

To increase the complexity of this – I want to have some appreciating assets to offset the massive expenditure I’m about to have. Once again – a big goal… But I refuse to give up, this is a very first-world problem and can be solved.  So, the question remains – how to finance circumnavigation?

How to Finance Travel – Brainstorming Some Ideas

So I’ve been thinking, and here are my revenue options (that I know of):

  • Start a website that makes money (travel blog, membership, or ?)
  • Record the trip and monetize it somehow (movie, book, podcast, or ?)
  • Allow friends/family to donate (not something I’m fond of)
  • Sell spots to come spearfish with me while I’m traveling (very limited market)
  • Sell partial ownership of the boat to offset the boat expense (iffy on this – partners complicate things)
  • Offer freediving training while I travel (have to become a better diver and it requires planning/coordinating)
  • Use Kickstarter as a means to finance a film series that I promote (I’m going to write about this, I’m open to ideas here)
  • Get trip sponsors from lifestyle companies (Costa Glasses, Riffe Spearguns, or ?)
  • Invest in Real Estate (but that requires a manager, and doesn’t have huge cashflow unless you invest huge $)
  • Start a company and sell it for a bunch of $ within two years (or be able to operate it virtually part-time)

finance travel

(Photo credit: jakeandlindsay)

I’ve started some things….

So far, I’ve taken a couple of steps toward some of the above.  Here’s what I’ve done to date:

  • Started 3 blogs (including this travel blog, and it’s a TON of work) – I’ll link to them soon, I’m switching domains now
  • Started a software company with a co-founder (AutoProjex – don’t judge too harshly, it’s in beta)
  • Been looking hard for a four-plex (the market is really hot here in Austin)
  • Kept my full-time job (but the sheer amount of work is taking its toll)
  • Let one person commit to buy-in on the boat (I’m not sure if I’m going to let anyone else do it)

On those blogs…

  • I have one that I’m centering around business growth (I know enough about this to make a solid start) – I expect to put AdWords on this one and generate a small amount of money from this.  Hopefully a little from affiliates too.
  • I have one that I’m centering around freediving training (I know enough to train any new or mid-level diver) – I expect to gain a following, rank up in SEO and then deliver actual online training via video for a fee (membership).
  • I have this travel blog that I’m centering around my trip, the prep, etc and I hope to be able to document my thoughts and journey well-enough that it’s valuable to a certain audience, some sponsors, or ???

On the software company…

  • We’re creating a way to automate construction management for SMB construction companies (and eventually all contractor-based companies)
  • I expect to work a minimum of 50-70 hours a week on it, and I’ve begun outsourcing some of the work that is time consuming
  • We’re developing it based upon the Lean Methodology, but we have an Ace in the Hole – we have access to some pre-developed project-management software
  • I don’t know what I’m going to do when I leave for the trip – if we survive that long I’ll worry about it then.  Ideally I’ll have my portion of the work down to 10-15 hours/week (when I’m traveling) and when I get back I can work the way I like to work – 70(ish) hour/week sprints.
  • If I can’t do that, I’ll work out someone to replace me in the day-to-day and I can work in the SkunkWorks department when I want to come home and work hard.

On finding sponsorship or creating a series of videos/podcasts…

This is going to be challenging, especially considering my work schedule right now.  But, my thought is that if I can video a big chunk of the trip – including underwater, remote villages, epic spearing/diving – I should have some pretty damned unique content.  I don’t know of a single other person (in the world) that’s doing anything similar – and certainly no travel blog that could compete.  Hopefully the volume of original content will be worthy of some sort of viewership or monetizaton.

A tactic I plan on using here is to invite top-notch freedivers, sailors, adventure travelers, travel bloggers, or spearos out from time-to-time to do interviews and to guest-star.  I work best in a collaborative environment, and I think some of the people I contact will be pretty hard-pressed to say no.

Do I expect this to finance travel?

Short answer:  I have no idea.

Long answer:

  • I expect the software company to be generating a fair amount of revenue by 2017, but it’ll be really dicey the first two years.
  • I expect the combination of all blogs to (hopefully!) generate $1k/month or so – so I can justify having an Internet connection on the boat.
  • I hope to get a couple of sponsors to provide a monthly stipend (how much?) if I include them in my content
  • I hope to use Kickstarter to finance pieces of the trip (by offering as rewards – co-hosting the content, name mentions in content, or even a week on-board in a certain area).  I have no idea if this will work, but it’s a thought.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m still very much in the “ideation phase” so please – share any ideas you have.  And subscribe to the blog if you want to stay in touch!

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