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Can You Afford to Be a Travel Writer?

Can you become a full-time travel writer? – taken from

I live in one of the most expensive places to live in North America. Human resources giant Mercer has ranked Vancouver as the 63rd most expensive city in the world for relocating expatriates (only Toronto at 61 and New York at 33 rank higher in North America). The survey, conducted annually, measures the comparative costs of over 200 items, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

So, how does one survive in one the most expensive cities on the planet, and on a travel writer’s salary to boot? Here’s what one monthly budget looks like for someone living in downtown Vancouver:

Total Monthly Expenses :

Rent or mortgage payment – $1100

Strata Fee – $350

Utilities – $200

Phone and Internet – $50

Food / beverage costs (dining out and groceries) – $500 – $1000

Travel costs (including car insurance, gas, tune-ups) – $50

Health and / or other insurance – $100 for two

Clothing and other – $150

Total = $3000 for two – $1500 per person

Here’s a general budget of how much money I would need to earn if I was to work full time as a travel writer/photographer:

$1500 of expenses/$25 per article = 64 articles a month
$1500 of expenses/$35 per article = 45 articles a month
$1500 of expenses/$60 per article = 26 articles a month
$1500 of expenses/$100 per article = 16 articles a month
$1500 of expenses/$500 per article= 3.2

I’ve never wanted to pigeon hole myself by choosing one job career wise; and by the looks of this monthly budget, I won’t quit my day jobs. On top of being a travel writer, I’m also a teacher of English as a second language and yoga. I’ve considered putting all other work aside to write full time, but I have a hard time only working in one area of interest. Too much time spent on any one thing alone can’t be good for you.

Writing around 40 or so odd articles a month is doable, considering that I could receive financial support from my spouse, but it’s more a matter of do I want to be doing just that… only writing…and nothing else? The answer to that very important question for me is, no way. Would you?

Read more about the world’s most expensive cities:

3 comments on “Can You Afford to Be a Travel Writer?

  1. passionfruitproject
    July 19, 2012

    Yea, when you break it down like that, it just doesn’t add up, no matter how much you want it to. I would love to be a full-time travel writer … or at least I think I would, they way I have the lifestyle idealized in my head. But not only would you have to write articles, you would have to pitch them and have them accepted. I think that part is harder than the actual writing …

    • Lindsay Anne Williams
      July 23, 2012

      Hey passionfruitproject…thank you for your comment 🙂

      • Minato
        January 30, 2013

        Your tips on finding a prtafoible niche are great, and most likely true, but what about passion? Shouldn’t you narrow it to areas you are truly interested in, or do you think you can write about any topic if you try hard enough?

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