Interview with a Savings Expert: Charli Moore

For over three years now, Charli Moore has been traveling the world as a professional nomad. She hardly ever pays for lodging by using one of her many cost-cutting tricks, and she doesn’t buy a return ticket. What she does do is write about her excursions in vivid and inspiring detail on her blog Wanderlusters, as well on the Huffington Post and WildJunket Magazine. She’s with us today to demystify her enviable lifestyle, and teach us how we too can become wanderlusters ourselves.  

Charli, we’re very excited to have you with us today. You and your partner Benjamin have been traveling the world for over three years straight now, chronicling your experiences on Wanderlusters. What compelled you to take the first steps on your one-way ticket journey?

Curiosity. Travel had always been something both Ben and I had dreamed of, but with myself at university and Ben a project manager for a large multi-national, we just didn’t have the time. It wasn’t until I had graduated that we began to contemplate exploring the world. Having researched the best ways to finance a 12 month stint on the road we had come across ‘digital nomads’ who were travelling on their own terms and experiencing life in all four corners of the globe. Realizing that long term travel was achievable, we invested our time into formulating a plan that would see us relinquish the lives we had always known and become nomads ourselves.

How would you describe your style of travel? Do you spend prefer to spend more time in a single destination, or move around a lot?

Our style of travel is definitely akin to that of the tortoise, not the hare. We like to spend the full term of our visa exploring the country over land rather than hopping about from one country to the next.

Could you elaborate on your process of making travel plans? What happens from the instant you have the idea to pack up and move to when you finally settle down in your next destination?

Over the last three years it has been our house-sitting assignments and visa restrictions that have defined our itinerary. We wanted to take the opportunity to visit both Australia and New Zealand on working holiday visas, and so had to activate both before the age of 31.

As we approach the end of our year in New Zealand, we had a short bucket list of locations that we want to visit in the next 12 months. I’ve no doubt that we will continue to structure our travels around the house-sitting assignments we secure. The concept enables us to subsidize our cost of living and will ultimately assist in financing our travels for longer.

How do you manage to make a living while traveling all over the world? What pays for airfare, lodging, food, and transportation?

We invested our savings wisely when we left home and are conscious of every single dollar we spend. This, along with our reduced living costs during house-sitting assignments means that we can live on a relatively reduced monthly budget.

Our blog Wanderlusters is starting to assist in generating a small amount of income, and I’ve started to pick up some work as a freelance writer.

Do you set strict rules on yourself when traveling so that you don’t go over budget?

No. We just monitor our monthly spend and always look for the best deal. Just as we did when living at home, we want to get value for money and ensure we won’t find the same product/service cheaper elsewhere.

One of your articles examines the detrimental effects traditional tourism has on the environment. What’s really going on when conventional tourists travel, and how are sustainable tourists doing things differently?

The conversation about sustainable travel is one that raises a lot of questions. For me, travel is not a sustainable act. The fact that you have to burn fossil fuels to transport yourself and your luggage around the world negates the value of any counterargument. What I do believe is that there are steps you can take to reduce the impact you have on the location you visit.

Being a responsible traveller means supporting local culture and industry, conserving natural resources, and making a positive impact on the location you visit rather than assisting in its exploitation.

When you travel, you take advantage of “house sitting assignments,” a topic you wrote about for us just a few months ago. Could you tell us more about these assignments, and if there’s anything our readers should be aware of before accepting an assignment?

House-sitting is essentially an exchange of services. Home-owners offer accommodation to house sitters in exchange for property and pet care.

We’ve had 17 assignments to date in locations across the world. Costa Rica, Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand. We tend to apply for “sits” that involve pet care as that’s one thing we miss being on the road 365 days a year. We’ve looked after horses, alpacas, cats, dogs, and fish!

The one thing we would recommend to new sitters is that they research the location of an assignment before accepting it. It might sound like paradise, but you’ll want to ensure that you will be comfortable with the climate/environment/locale during your stay.

Airfare is often where the bulk of travel dollars ends up going. How do you minimize the cost of getting from point A to point B?

Ultimately we minimize the amount of flying we do by staying in a country for the full term of our visa. We also use flight comparison websites and accrue credit card points that we transfer into air miles.

One tendency among tourists when traveling is over-indulgence, which can lead to a lot of regrets upon return. What are three or four tips you’d have for travelers that are looking to stay as healthy as possible?

The first is to rid yourself of the holiday mentality. Don’t overindulge or deviate from your usual diet.

Next, look for ways to incorporate exercise into your day. I tend to get up and go out for a swim in the pool or run along the beach before breakfast. Exercise reduces your appetite, and I seem to choose healthier meal options afterwards!

Finally, stay out of the sun where possible. Everyone likes to get a healthy holiday tan, but getting yourself burnt on the first day away is not good for your skin or your holiday photographs!

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today, Charli. Before you go, is there any parting travel wisdom you’d like to leave our readers with?

“If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space.” - Stephen Hunt

Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with a Savings Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #SavingsExperts to @CouponPal!

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