I'm Amanda. I'm a business and marketing coach for ambitious entrepreneur who want to create a freedom lifestyle. I travel around the world full time and spent most my days in Thailand, Vietnam or Bali. I'm a strategy and systems girl and here to help you scale your business and become unstoppable.
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Becoming a digital nomad, traveling the world, working from the beach…it sounds like a dream. But it could be your reality, with a little practical planning! Learning how much money you need to save before moving abroad is the first step.
Regardless of if this is a short term or long term move, planning a budget for moving abroad is very different from saving money to travel. The good news is that it’s not necessarily super expensive to move abroad. You just need a clear goal to work towards.
Follow these steps to calculate your specific moving abroad budget, so you can get back to planning the fun stuff like browsing AirBNB and looking at viewpoint hikes on Pinterest!
Want help turning your dream into reality? Download the Laptop Lifestyle Blueprint, a FREE 30 day guide to building your online business and starting a digital nomad lifestyle.
If you’re still debating between the lush rice paddies of Bali and the gorgeous beaches in Mexico, you can pick a few locations and fill out a cost estimator for each city on your list. Need help getting started? Check out this list of the Best Digital Nomad Destinations in 2021.
You can also read one of our more in-depth digital nomad guides for the destinations below:
Once you choose a location (or several!), you need to determine the estimated monthly cost of living. Some great resources for comparing different locations are Nomad List, Numbeo, and blogs of people who have lived in your desired new location. For example, check out this post on the cost of living in Chiang Mai, Thailand or watch the video below!
More destination-specific cost of living guides:
Regardless of how much money you need to save to move abroad, flights will be one of the your biggest expenses, especially if you insist on bringing #allthethings and have to pay baggage fees.
Tip: Pack everything you think you need to move abroad, and then take half of it out of your suitcase. No matter where in the world you’re moving, I promise you need less than you think.
The key to saving money on flights is planning ahead and being flexible. For example, if you’re moving from Texas to Thailand, you might find a super cheap flight from LA to Hong Kong and then book a cheap flight from Hong Kong to Thailand.
It can take some diligence and planning, but normally is well worth it. Use sites like Google Flights to find the best deals.
I’m a huge budgeter, so I always recommend having a safety net. This essentially means keeping a certain amount of money set aside, separate from your estimated costs of moving or travel (ie. How much will you keep in savings?).
This looks different for everyone and is more important to some than others. However, I highly recommend saving at least $2000 USD as a safety net (and most likely more depending on where you’re moving to). Obviously you will need to save more if you’re moving to Paris than if you were going to Vietnam!
Depending if you already have a remote job or online business, you want to make sure you have a cushion of savings to make the transition easier. Your safety net could be used for an emergency flight home, a spontaneous weekend trip or simply your move costing more than you anticipated. Sh*t happens no matter how much you plan, so plan for sh*t to happen.
Depending on your job and home country, this category will vary significantly. But no matter where you’re coming from or where you’re moving, it’s an important expense to account for. Looking at your options in advance is the best way to save money before moving abroad.
One of the most highly recommended insurance options is Safety Wing, which is what I personally use. They provide reliable coverage and great rates for digital nomads!
Note: Check with your doctor for specific health advice before traveling, including up to date vaccine information.
This category is easy to overlook because you’re likely very focused on everything that will be a part of your new life abroad. Make sure you don’t forget about all of your remaining “home” expenses, including anything that you will still be paying for that is not tied to your move abroad.
For many this might include student loans, credit card debt, a storage unit, phone plan, car payment, or subscriptions such as Netflix. (Hint: eliminate as many of these expenses as possible!).
If you’re taking your business on the road, business expenses will be an important factor in how much money you need to save before moving abroad. For me, this includes things like my domain name, hosting for my website, and paying my team members. If you’re a new entrepreneur, just include your best estimate of startup costs.
Once you’ve done your research, try plugging your numbers into the formulate below. I personally found that this provides a most comfortable living amount, with a little extra to allow for any errors:
(3 x Total Monthly Savings) + Flight Expenses + Safety Net Amount + first month of all estimated expenses = ideal minimum amount to save
Then input your numbers into a spreadsheet like the one below:
Remember that when you move abroad there will be many, many unseen expenses. This formula provides a cushion on top of the actual estimated amount of money you’ll be spending. Ultimately, that extra planning can be the difference between you living out your dreams abroad or running out of money and having to head back home!
Budgets aren’t the sexiest topic, but it’s well worth your time to figure out how much money you need to save before moving abroad. A few hours of research will save you major headaches down the road!
If you followed the steps in this post, all that’s left to do is start saving and book your ticket! For more digital nomad lifestyle tips, make sure you check out my Youtube channel and join us in the Laptop Lifestyle Entrepreneur Facebook group, where we talk all things travel and business.