How to retire early and travel the world

There is more than one way to retire early and travel the world. This is how we did it, but the road map for your path might look way different.

Our early retirement

We lived below our means and we didn’t waste money on needless things.

We saved, we invested. Tedly started years before Ellen, and magic of compounding and long bull market multiplied his holdings.

Tedly always found the best deals from groceries to gifts because he is a talented, shrewd shopper. He still finds the best prices in town – only now he’s shopping in foreign countries.

We continue to own a modest home in the USA. It is a comfortable, efficient, rehabbed property in Cleveland, Ohio. It was paid off years ago, and is now rented long term, netting us about $700 a month in passive income.

A modest home in Cleveland, Ohio, used as a rental property
Our modest property in Cleveland, Ohio.

We chose not to have children.

We didn’t buy or lease new cars every few years. Today, we don’t own any cars.

We didn’t buy expensive jewelry, clothing, or home decor.

There are many more examples of how we made intentional choices that led to early retirement. We could write a book. Maybe one day we will.

We are not financial advisors, and we don’t give investment advice. But we encourage everyone to truly understand their spending, saving, and investment decisions.

Our travel budget

What we spend each month varies on where we are in the world. Places like Mexico and Vietnam are less costly than Italy or Montenegro.

Our budget goal is to keep monthly expenses under $2,000. Accounting for the $700 monthly rental income, that means we need less than $1,500 per month from our savings.

Some months we exceed the budget. Thankfully, we have that flexibility. But $2,000 outflow is the goal.

We were able to retire early and travel the world

BUT– that doesn’t mean we stay at five-star resorts and eat at white-tablecloth restaurants. Comfortable living accommodations in exotic places, delicious food in foreign countries, experiencing incredible sites on Earth all are possible because we live within our means.

This lifestyle would not have been possible if we had stayed in the U.S.

We are open about our expenses

We break it down even more

And speaking of health care…

We really should write a book. But at this point, that feels like too much work. After all — we’re retired!

We pay out of pocket for routine medical care, and we currently have an inexpensive year-long travel insurance policy, which provides emergency medical and evacuation coverage.

Two people in front of the iconic twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - how to retire early and travel the world
Tedly and Ellen in Kuala Lumpur, December 2018.

We also write about money-related topics in addition to health care and budget breakdowns. Such as:

  • What phone service should you chose?
  • What’s the best way to pack to avoid airline fees?
  • How do you cross borders on visa runs?
  • How can you find good – and cheap – street food?
  • Which sites are best to find apartments?
Benefit from our experience. Get answers here.
A long boat in Thailand sails across the sea at sunset against mountains - how to retire early and travel the world
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