Needless to say, 2020 has brought about a lot of unprecedented restrictions on travel. Numerous countries around the world (as well as the EU) have implemented restrictions on visitors from certain areas; some counties have appeared for most of the year as if they may not be safe to visit; and individuals are asking new questions about travel that complicate the matter (and in many cases make it seem easier to just push plans to 2021).
All of this is unfortunate for busy travelers, digital nomads, and others who typically have reason to bounce about the world. But while travel itself has largely been stalled this year, the desire to travel is clearly alive and well. Articles exist all across the internet proposing tips on how to strategically plan for trips in the coming year, and it’s likely that the most visited countries have never looked more appealing. Throw in the simple fact that people have largely been stuck at home and will be eager to get back out into the world when they perceive that it’s safe to do so, and we could indeed see quite the travel rush, perhaps by the latter half of 2021.
Of course, the other factor complicating matters is finance. In addition to interrupting travel plans, the unfortunate conditions of 2020 have impacted a lot of people financially, which can make it more difficult to justify travel moving forward. That, however, is something you have some degree of control over as a traveler. You can start a trip savings plan, start hunting early for bargains, or — if you really want to be enterprising about it — start putting together an investment plan that will work alongside your travel routine.
To help with this, we’re recommending four specific types of investment that can suit the regular traveler or digital nomad. Any one of these may just help you to offset the costs of your next big trips — and possibly even help you profit while you’re on them.
1. Property Rental
Property rental has become one of the more sensible investment ideas for people who travel often, or live abroad for long stretches at a time. This is due to the simple fact that there are now more services than ever that make it easy to rent out your own property on a temporary basis, and at your own discretion. Platforms like VRBO, Airbnb, and other similar counterparts let you list your property, schedule renters, and essentially turn your home into a source of income whenever you’re not in it. Naturally people have varying degrees of success with this based on the quality of the property, its location, and how well it’s managed. But the average monthly earnings for those using Airbnb, to give you some idea of the potential here, tend to be a little over $900 a month. That can certainly offset some travel costs.
2. High-Yield Savings Accounts
A high-yield savings account is a straightforward option for saving and earning money, but one that doesn’t always appeal. The concept is easy enough to grasp: Generally, a high-yield account (or a certificate of deposit) asks that you leave your money put for a particular length of time. You can earn more upon withdrawal than in an average savings account, but you have to wait until the end of the arrangement’s duration. To some, this lack of flexibility can be problematic. But if you’re traveling, and you’ve budgeted out your trip, you can likely manage to stash away some money in a savings account such that it’s ready for collection upon your return home, or after a year of travels. Leaving it alone shouldn’t be an issue if you’ve planned your travel finances well, and the account will ultimately yield a return that will make up for at least some of your costs.
3. Gold Funds
Gold may come to mind for some travelers for two specific reasons: You can trade it from anywhere and at all hours (meaning it’s easy to check in on an investment while abroad), and it’s an asset that’s often trusted to gradually gain value over time. These are pretty good reasons to consider gold as an investment specifically while traveling — though we’d go a step further and instead suggest that gold ETFs may be the better options. Typically, an ETF is a fund that trades a bundle of different investments as a sort of package deal. In the gold trade, an ETF is solely focused on gold, but on different specific assets such as gold futures, leveraged gold prices, stock in mining companies, and so on. The best gold ETFs take some of the hassle (and fees) out of gold trading, and can ultimately land you a greater return over time. And as with a typical gold investment, you have both the option of largely leaving it alone while you travel, but also the ability to check in on it from anywhere and at any time.
Cryptocurrency carries some of the same perks as gold for travellers. It can be bought and sold at any time and from almost anywhere in the world (though there are some countries that make it more difficult to deal with cryptos). Additionally, there’s something to be said for more long-term investment, given cryptocurrency’s penchant for large swings in value. It’s conceivable that you can put a chunk of money into cryptos, travel for a year, and then withdraw your funds with a 30% or 40% gain. That said, we’d also stress that there tends to be more risk in cryptos than the other assets and opportunities discussed here. The style of investment attached to cryptocurrency is appealing, but those large swings can be negative as well.
With a bit of luck and some responsibility around the world, we’ll all be able to travel again before too many more months have passed. Hopefully, when that time comes, these investments will help you get back to wandering the world without worrying too much about the financial side of it all.