Buy a house or go travelling? How to do both

Buy a house or go travelling? How to do both

So I’m really not a big believer in saying you have to do one or the other. That’s why I don’t think you should chose between buying a house or going travelling, instead you should come up with a plan that allows you to do both.

In this article I’m going to tell you how to do both (based on my own experience) and how to use your home as an asset to help you travel more.  I’m not going to lie it isn’t easy to do and it will mean limiting your travel plans (but still getting in some travels) for a couple of years. But when you get the keys to your own home it is completely worth it.

Get saving

Start by looking at your out goings and if there are any quick wins. I cut out spending on things like magazines and reduce the amount I spent on take away coffee.

I was also in the position where I could move home (thanks mum and dad) which saved me a fortune. Now for lots of reasons you may not be able to do this but you may be able to reduce you’re rental costs. Could you do without the spare bedroom or could you move into a shared flat to reduce your bills. Although it may not be your ideal living situation (trust me living at home with the parents when I turned 30 wasn’t mine or theirs!) but it is worth it in the long run.

Set yourself a monthly budget and stick to it, not only will it help you work out how much you can save it will be great practice for when you’ve got a mortgage to pay.

I spent about two years saving for my deposit. This was longer than I planned as I bought a new build off plan, which meant I had to wait for it to be built.

Do you think I can move in yet? #newhome #newbuild #property #instalife

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Outside help

Saving up the up to 20% for a deposit is a huge task, so it’s time to look for some help. There are a few help to buy options out there which are worth looking into as it could mean you only need to save up a 5% deposit.

Or it may be that you can borrow or be gifted some money from you’re family, it is worth having the discussion to know what your options are, even if you don’t end up needing it.

Additional income

If you’re a first time buyer you should have a look at first time buyer ISAs*. It might not be right for you but it is tax free and the Government adds an extra 25% cash. I didn’t have one as it wasn’t available when I was saving.

Sell stuff you don’t need. I try to declutter every now and then and I’m always amazed how much stuff I find that I don’t need. I always sell it through websites like music magpie, ebay and gumtree. I then just put the cash in my savings account.

Use cashback sites when shopping online, for example topcashback or quidco. I only buy things I’d planned on buying anyway but I normally get a couple of hundred pounds cashback a year.

Take on a part time job. This one isn’t possible for everyone but you may be able to get a weekend job working in a bar or restaurant or casual event work.

Budget travel

I knew there was no way I was going to be able to go two years without leaving the country! So I decided to look at cheaper places to travel, there were whole parts of Europe I hadn’t been to so there were lots of places to see.

I travelled during off peak for a lot of it to keep costs down and used things like the Ryanair Farefinder and Kayak to find cheap flights. While saving for a deposit I went to Montenegro, Croatia, Italy and Iceland (not a cheap one but I really wanted to go).


Since buying just over a year ago I’ve been to Krakow and Porto.


Don’t max out your mortgage*

When starting to look for a mortgage don’t automatically go to your own bank, as they’ll only recommend their own products. An independent mortgage advisor isn’t as expensive as you’d think, mine only cost £100 and was money well spent.

You’ll be told the maximum amount you can borrow but I’d advise spending less than this if you can. I picked my mortgage based on the maximum amount I wanted to pay monthly, which meant my total mortgage amount was less. I know if I went above this it would make being able to afford travelling a lot harder.

Furnishing your new place

It is really easy to run into IKEA and buy everything in sight but you’re credit card bill will be huge. Start by asking friends and family if they’ve got any furniture they don’t need anymore, you’ll be amazed what people have lying around.

My coffee table is an old suitcase I found in my grans attic.

Second hand shopping is a great way to save money too, have a look in local shops or on gumtree, Facebook or shpock.

If you do need to buy anything new work out an essentials list and start there, after all you can pick up cool things from your travels to make your house feel like a home.

I got lots of amazing things from around the world, my favourite is this kava bowl from Fiji, which was my first big trip abroad.

Your home is an asset

Great you’ve got your new place now it is time to make some money from it. I bought a two bed flat as I knew I wanted to be able to rent out the spare room to make some extra cash. If you want to have a guaranteed amount a month the best thing to do is to get in a lodger. There are lots of websites you can advertise rooms on including spareroom which I’ve used before.

Another option is to use Airbnb, renting out your spare room during peak periods to make the most money possible. This still gives you  the flexibility to be able to not book the room when you’ve got friends and family coming to stay.

If you want to go travelling for a longer period you can rent out your whole property, just remember you’ll need to check with your mortgage company and get landlords insurance.

Although it took me a couple of years to get my place my mortgage is a lot less than I’d pay in rent so I now have more spare cash.

* Please note I’m not a financial expert and all of the opinions in this article are my own and based on my own personal experience. If you’re looking to buy a house make sure you get proper financial advice, as it is a big commitment.

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  1. 22nd March 2018 / 10:09 am

    This is such a great post! I’m in that situation at the moment (I already own a house) but still, trying to figure out how to still be traveling like I want to, has been very difficult. For me, it’s definitely the saving money-part that is hard.

    • 23rd March 2018 / 9:45 am

      Definitely look at airbnb if you’ve got a spare room it is a great way to make extra cash and you can always let it out while you’re travelling 🙂

  2. Kris
    22nd March 2018 / 3:02 pm

    I bought a home and travel more than ever. My mortgage is so much cheaper than rent would be. Now my problem is that my condo has appreciated in value so much in the three years since I bought it that it’s super tempting to sell it and quit my job to go travel lol.

  3. 22nd March 2018 / 6:13 pm

    this is such an interesting and inspiring post.. so far, my savings are only enough for me to choose either traveling or buy a house since i suppose my paycheck is not sufficient enough to do both comfortably. however, i really hope one day when i get my career developed and all that, i can eventually do both as you’ve done. thank you so much for such an inspiring post, and also thanks for sharing! 🙂

  4. 22nd March 2018 / 9:43 pm

    This is so very helpful and informative! I’m in a similar position right now – wanting to buying a house but not wanting to give up traveling! Thankfully, I also know there are tons of tax incentives for first-time home buyers and you don’t necessarily need a 20% down payment (although that is always ideal!).

  5. 23rd March 2018 / 12:11 am

    Owning a place and travelling…respect! You clearly have a great deal of discipline. We keep accidentally booking more holidays and spending too much on them, but then we are only saving a little. We have one of those help to buys ISAa. Even if you don’t end up purchasing a property, the interest rate on the ISA is very good so it could be a good plan either way.

    • 23rd March 2018 / 9:48 am

      I defiantly went through the accidentally hitting book phase, still sometimes do!

  6. 23rd March 2018 / 12:34 am

    Great post, I was actually thinking about this a few days ago so it’s nice to read someone experience and see that’s it’s not impossible. Besides, imo it’s more interesting to put your money toward something you’ll actually own than in a rental so it’s worth the saving time just have to travel closer ahah.
    Also, I love your coffee table! 🙂

    • 23rd March 2018 / 9:49 am

      Good luck you’ll get there 🙂 . My coffee table is one of my favourite things

  7. Maggie
    23rd March 2018 / 10:28 am

    This is a really creative post! I’m not in that position as I work full-time and only travel a couple times a year. But I’ll keep these tips in mind if ever that changes!

  8. 23rd March 2018 / 11:38 am

    100% agree with this article. I brought my first home last year and I only got to travel four times which is low for me. I tend to go somewhere at least once a month. However, now I am paying less than rent and if my boyfriend and I want to head off for 6 months we can rent out our home and have a few hundred pounds extra a month to fund! It takes patience but in the long run, worth it.

    • 23rd March 2018 / 11:54 am

      Congrats on buying your first home! It isn’t easiest but I agree it is about patience and focusing on the long term

  9. 23rd March 2018 / 3:51 pm

    A refreshing spin on combining a normal life with traveling! I get so tired of all the “I sold everything to travel the world, and you can do it too!” posts. I think most people would like to have their own homebase, and not depend on living in hostels, campgrounds, and other people’s living rooms. You’ve offered some very practical ways to save money and find the best deals. (I love the fact that you found an antique travel trunk to use for a coffee table!) We own our home, and my husband works full-time. Everything I make from my two part-time businesses pays for our travels, so we are on the go often. It’s great to travel and it’s also wonderful to come back home. The best of both worlds!

    • 23rd March 2018 / 4:11 pm

      Thanks. I love travelling but I’ve never wanted to put everything else on hold to do it. I’m always looking forward to the next trip but I also love coming home, sleeping in my own bed and seeing my friends and family

  10. Lindsey Mitchell
    23rd March 2018 / 4:33 pm

    Thanks for the post! We’ve done this too and will definitely be encorporating some of these to find that balance!

  11. Lewis Noll
    6th June 2018 / 3:58 pm

    Thanks for this article.. WAs inspiring. I have finally come to the end of saving for a house (took me longer than planned but I still did a bit of travelling while saving)…

    My plan is similar to yours in the sense that I want to get a two bedroom and air bnb the spare room while I am there.. but am planning on going away for 6 months. Have done a lot of looking at looks like I could get lodgers while I am away to cover the mortgage, as long as its still my only place of residence and I spend at least 6 months of the year living there… which means I would get to escape the winter..

    Hopefully it will all work.

    Thanks again for your post.

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