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How Much Money Should You Save Before Traveling The World? | YouTube Live Q&A

I would recommend saving up …

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PRAGUE, Czech Republic- The Monday YouTube Q&A session went well. We had a nice crowd who asked some pretty intriguing questions, the leading ones being:

  • How much money should I have before I hit the road again?
  • Why, how, where did you choose “Ghost Cities” as your topic to write about in your first book?
  • What sort of experiences do you think allowed you to cultivate the skill of “asking questions” and interviewing people?
Watch here:

While I’m in Prague I will be doing these live Q&A shows every Monday at 10am USA eastern time on my YouTube channel. If you have questions for next week’s show, feel free to ask via the comments below or join me for the live broadcast and ask then.

Walk Slow,



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Filed under: Money, Travel Help, Vlog

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

12 comments… add one

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  • Jack March 6, 2019, 11:04 am

    Yeah, ten grand sounds about right. Then you can chill out for a while and then find work on the road as needed.

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    • Wade Shepard March 6, 2019, 11:11 am

      Right on. You can always add to the coffers when traveling. Just always be on the lookout for opportunities.

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  • Wendy March 6, 2019, 1:53 pm

    I don’t know if I would feel comfortable with that little amount of money. Then again, I like to ENJOY my travels and not just try to save money all the time. Also, who wants to work when traveling!?! Sounds dumb. Travel just be for fun, not work!

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    • Wade Shepard March 6, 2019, 2:05 pm

      But working on the road can be fun too — and educational. Traveling just to travel, while it sounds fun, tends to get a little boring after a few months. People need to DO things.

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    • Jack March 26, 2019, 8:44 pm

      Wade’s advice is spot on. I’d only add one thing: do you need to to throw down $1000 on a computer to do video editing? You might find something closer to $500 that can do the job, albeit slowly. I’ve been looking at laptops in the $600 range that can handle video editing. I ended up not going with it because I still prefer my MacBook Air for work including basic video editing. If I need something more powerful then I use my Desktop(8th gen Intel, 12 gb, Radeon 560 4gb video card, and SSD). Granted I am not on the road all the time so this works for me.

      There is something to be said about starting out with cheap but decent gear and working to the limits of that gear. It sure makes you appreciate better gear and be able to take full advantage of it.

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      • Wade Shepard March 27, 2019, 2:07 pm

        Hmm … in my opinion what computer that’s needed for video editing often depends on the codec you’re shooting in and the complexity of the videos you’re making. If you’re going Prores, RAW, BRAW, etc, you’re going to need minimum 15 gigs of RAM and a high-end processor (or video cards or an external GPU, like Jack does). If you have a lower end consumer camera shooting in a highly compressed codec then maybe you can get away with a cheaper computer. However, I have maxed out the capacities of many computers even while editing video shot in more compressed codecs, and I know of few things worse than having a video editing program crap out every 5 min because the computer can’t handle the file sizes. I tossed my Macbook Air for no other reason than this — it just couldn’t handle it.

        My take on giving gear advice is generally closer to recommending buying a suit that’s a couple sizes to big for a growing boy rather than what fits you perfectly in the moment. It sounds contradictory, but I’ve wasted so much money buying cheap gear. Needing to upgrade prematurely has led to me spending way more money than just getting something good to begin with.

        However, I also shoot on high-quality cinema cameras which most people don’t do and often edit docs in the 15 to 60 minute range… so that should probably be kept in perspective.

        If you only want to make simple, short videos for web distribution shot in a highly compressed codec then you can edit them on a phone or pretty much any cheap laptop.

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  • Georgiy Romanov March 6, 2019, 6:33 pm

    Wade, from the height of your experience please help me with my strategy. In conditions of limited resources, what would you be the first to invest your money: in a trip, in a camera gear or computer. Now, what I want most is a faster computer for convenient video editing. However, when I hold $ 1,000 I present new tickets in my hands, not a new computer.

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    • Wade Shepard March 7, 2019, 9:02 am

      Hello Georgiy, Excellent question. I will answer it in the next live Q&A on Monday but will also give a quick answer now.

      Basically, you need to decide what your goals are. Do you want to just travel for fun or do you want to be a traveling content creator who is eventually able to fund a portion of their travels with the content they collect and distribute? If it’s the former then, of course, just go travel. But if it’s the latter not having proper gear is going to make everything way more difficult — and in some cases impossible. You’re going to miss opportunities, the quality of your product is going to be less than what it otherwise could be, etc. I mean, it’s a business, and all businesses demand some degree of investment in equipment, training, etc, so having at least a baseline of adequate gear is essential — i.e. a computer with 16 gigs of RAM and a decent processor, a decent camera (at least a GH4, Sony a6400, a6500, or A7iii, or BMPCC, and a GOOD MIC!!!!!!!!!). The other side is that it is incredibly difficult making any money as a traveling creator even with all of the best gear … so keep that in mind, too. There is nothing wrong with just traveling for fun. Being a traveling creator means that you spend 10+ hours a day working. Few people really want to do this and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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  • trevor March 7, 2019, 9:10 pm

    Am sure the Q “”Why, how, where did you choose “Ghost Cities” as your topic to write about in your first book?”” is a far better one than mine…

    how come ur last posts dont appear of the HOME PAGE? When i hit the VBJ logo the first feed is the LIVE YOU TUBE: Is the world….. feed from days ago ????

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    • Wade Shepard March 8, 2019, 11:10 am

      Hello Trevor, no way, man, your question was the lead! Try refreshing the page in your browser (shift+refresh buttoon).

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      • Trevor March 10, 2019, 9:04 am

        cleared history. fixed the issue…. ))) i google too much lol

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        • Wade Shepard March 10, 2019, 12:25 pm

          Yeah, those browser caches are annoying. I don’t understand why they don’t check to see if the page has been updated before giving what’s essentially an expired screenshot.

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