During my first 3 years of traveling, I took advantage of the convenience of agency provided housing and furnishings. Since then, I’ve changed the system a bit. It’s not that the current system was broken, it actually worked well. The apartments and furnishing were always nice but excessive for a single guy. Did I really need a sofa AND loveseat? Did I really need a dining room table and 4 chairs? After all, in reality, I eat dinner on the coffee table, remote control in hand.
On average furniture rental runs $500 a month, which adds up to about $6000 a year. With this in mind, I decided to buy an enclosed travel trailer and haul around only the basic furniture needed to survive. I found a used 5×8 foot trailer on craigslist for $1600.00. Into the trailer, I fit a full size sofa, a queen mattress, fold-up tables and chairs, lamps, and a 36″ TV. I even mange to fit a guitar, golf clubs and camping gear. Everything serves a double purpose: empty plastic bins become TV stands, night stands and laundry baskets. Camping chairs become living room furniture. Throw a sleeping bag over the camping chair and it’s a Lazyboy! It is not the most elegant way to live but it works well and is great on the bottom dollar!
I’m able to tow my trailer with a Toyota 4-Runner. It’s easy to hitch and unhitch. When it’s empty, I can lift it easily and drop in onto my car hitch. You can’t take every household item with you, but you can include all of the necessities. If I am missing anything, it can almost always be borrowed or bought at Goodwill for 75 cents.
This won’t work for everyone, but it works for me and my wife. My original $1600 investment has saved me about $18,000 over the past 3 years.
How do you travel? Do you have any thoughts or tips you would like to share?
Wes Herdlein is a Traveling PT and Founder of HealthcareTravelbook.com