Whenever I tell people I’m off travelling for a year at a time, the first question everyone wants to know is ‘How can you afford this?’, and the answer is simple – ‘The same way you can afford to go out every weekend and buy that ridiculously overpriced jumper in Topshop.’

By working really hard! I also don’t buy anything I don’t absolutely need.superthumb

Here’s some of the top ways I saved/earned money to go travelling:

  • 1. Take part in clinical research. This is nearly always my starting point, as you receive a lump sum for just a few days of being poked and prodded. You will be put up in a comfortable ward, have free wifi, an extensive choice of TV channels, three meals a day plus a bedtime snack, board games, dvd collections and a lot of free time to catch up with reading, writing, blogging, research and work. I have made some really good friends from participating in medical trials, who I still keep in touch with today. People are generally initially put off because of the horror stories of trials gone wrong, but most drugs tested are just a tweaked version of something already on the market. Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials are safer than Phase 1 as it means the drug has been tested on humans before and the research company are legally obliged to tell you every side effect reported – related or not, so you can gage the risk factor from this. The last trial I did I received £1650 for a 3 night, 4 day stay. Reputable research companies are: Quintiles, FluCamp, Hammersmith Medicines Research
  • 2. Move back in with your parents – this will save a lot of money in rent (and probably food & laundry costs too)
  • 3. Work for agencies – I am signed up to about 10 different hospitality and promotions agencies. The pay is always fairly good as holiday pay is included in the rate, you will be able to fit a lot more shifts into one day that any contracted job (for example, I would do a promotion/sampling job at a London tube/train station from 7-10am then go on to do a cleaning job from 12-4pm and finish with a bar/catering job from 6-12pm), you can pick and choose the jobs you want to do and the days you want to work (which gives you time to arrange visas, jabs etc), you get to meet loads of likeminded people, and get to work in different locations almost everyday at fun and interesting events. Also, you can just start back where you left off when you return from travelling. Some recommended agencies are: Twist London, Hel’s Angels, Beautiful Minds, Sense, Kreate and MG Promotions
  • 4. Put every £2 coin you receive in a piggybank (preferably one that has to be smashed open when full to avoid ‘borrowing’ from it). £2 coins aren’t so common that it’ll bankrupt you to save everyone you receive – but they do quickly add up, and before you know it you’ll have a few hundreds pounds saved towards your trip.
  • 5. Babysit/dogwalk/house or car clean for neighbours and friends or put an ad up in your local shop window. Try and put this cash in your piggy too.
  • 6. Market research – a little less invasive than clinical research, Get paid for your opinions! Find focus groups near you here: PondegoFocus4People, Angel Fish, FocusForce
  • 7. If you work in hospitality, try to live off your tips and save your wages or the other way round.
  • 8. Quit buying unnecessary things! Like coffee and magazines. Get a friend to paint your nails to save on costly manicures or do it yourself. Always carry a bag for life, a reusable water bottle, some snacks, a packed lunch from home so you don’t have to buy convenience items whilst out. With regards to shopping, if you are not going to use it/wear it whilst travelling – don’t buy it!
  • 9. Unsubscribe to tempting ‘deal of the week’ emails. It’s good to know whats going on but don’t be tempted into theatre tickets because they’re 2 for 1 if you weren’t planning on buying them beforehand.
  • 10. Cycle/walk at least part of your journey to cut travel costs.
  • 11. Sell unwanted/unneeded items on eBay/Depop/Gumtree – that said, resist temptation to buy whilst on these sites! I sold my car, expensive camera lenses/kit that I wasn’t going to take with me and loads of clothes!
  • 12. Cash for Clothes– Is another way to receive cash for old unwanted clothes. Paid by weight.
  • 13. Reduce phone contracts to lowest tariff possible – connect to wifi where possible to save your data even if you do get deemed a ‘wifi wanker’ by your friends for asking for the password in every establishment you go to!


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