The New Urban Nomads: Rent Globally, See the World


Urban nomadFor Rachel L., the executive editor of Busy Mommy Media online magazine, the only to see the world with kids is to rent. A mother of three, Rachel, her husband and children, ages 2, 4 and 6, have spent the past six months traveling across Utah, Nevada and California, renting off-season vacation shares and foreclosed homes while her husband applies for consultant work throughout the nation.

"We sold our house in Utah last June and with the markets they way they are right now, we've been paying about a quarter of our monthly mortgage to rent vacation homes," says Rachel. "If you think outside the box a little bit, this is a very cheap way to travel." Rachel supports her family by working as a freelance writer and editor while on the road and homeschools her children. Requiring only an internet connection to set up shop, she can work from anywhere, teach from any town and incorporate travel into her family's daily lives without having to take time off.

"My kids are the ones who love it because they think it's exciting," she admits. "It's a good way to see things as long as you don't want to be settled."

Rachel isn't the only one choosing to travel by renting. There's actually a large community of graphic designers, consultants, teachers, performers, nonprofit CEOs, writers, computer engineers and other home-based workers who forego the benefits of a steady home and community for the ability to maximize their travel time.

"I work for myself and can't really afford to take time off, so literally moving to a new location is really the only way I can see new things," explains Jason Adams, a 31 year-old software engineer who's currently living in Sydney, Australia for the next few months. "When we want to go somewhere, my girlfriend and I find a furnished apartment on Craigslist or through a local real estate agent, buy a plane ticket and stay there for several months."

What modern nomads like Jason and Rachel lose in time spent away from their families, they gain in money saved on travel expenses. Since both spend what would have been mortgage money on rent in a new place, housing costs nothing extra. Adams adds that if they find a particularly good deal or they land a house sitting gig through sites like Mindmyhouse.com, the rent savings could cover transportation costs as well.

The only caveat, Rachel adds, is that modern nomads who don't have a permanent home to return to, have to be extra wary of crooks. "We try to find places through rental agents or free local classified ads to avoid scammers," she says. "It's always best to go directly to whoever owns the place rather than through a middleman."

Modern nomad wannabes or those just looking to save a buck on vacation this year can start the search for furnished pads at Craigslist.org or Sublet.com or can simply contact local rental agents to see what's available.

"People think my girlfriend and I are crazy for doing things this way," says Adams, "but I think it's crazy to spend your money on hotels."

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