How To Travel Full Time (And Make Money)

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An RV driving through a canyon

Those who want to know how to travel full-time need to ground their expectations. Trust us; we’ve been there!

Full-time traveling has a not-so-glamorous side that full-time travelers seldom discuss. Breaking through this facade is key to knowing if full-time traveling is for you. Here are a few things to consider.

What you need to know before traveling full-time

Saying goodbye to normal life and adopting a new lifestyle of constant travel ain’t for the faint of heart. Before you change your entire life, take heed of these travel tips.

1. There’s no escaping responsibility

brown wallet and paper bills

If you intend to make travel a permanent part of your life, you need to be able to earn while traveling, which will almost certainly mean working and saving money.

Finding ways to fund your adventures, choosing affordable accommodation options, and keeping a budget is all part of full-time traveling, and these are big responsibilities that require meticulous planning. 

Do yourself a favor before leaving by saving extra money to build a travel fund to help make sure you’re financially secure on your travels. Finding a stable job and income on the go can be a hassle.

See Related: Must-Know Vacation Tips to Maximize Your Trip Experience

2. Loneliness can be an issue

lone traveler with orange backpack

Digital nomads know how to travel full time and have accepted potential loneliness as a part of the full-time travel lifestyle.

Unless you’re comfortable with being alone, loneliness can be a real issue for full-time travelers and location-independent people, especially those who are reclusive and less outgoing. Meeting people worldwide offers socialization opportunities, but you’ll probably miss your friendships at home. 

See Related: Essential Women’s Travel Accessories

3. Falling ill can be a challenging, even fatal experience

nurse wearing PPE uniform

Getting sick, especially without health insurance, can be a real pain. Fevers, stomach problems, swollen feet, food poisoning, and allergic reactions, especially when you’re all by yourself, can be a stressful experience – and potentially something that could bankrupt you.

This is especially true in destinations with poor healthcare.  Get yourself some international health insurance and travel insurance if you’re getting ready to travel full-time.

Two companies worth considering are SafetyWing and Insured Nomads. Both (despite their names) are completely unrelated, perfect for digital nomads, and both favorites at VT!

We’ll talk about them more later…

See Related: Why Are Flights So Expensive Right Now? Factors to Know

4. Your health will take a beating

empty hospital bed

With travel at the forefront of your journey, it’s easy to fall into the habit of choosing the most convenient and affordable food options – and they’re often the least healthy.

Most full-time travelers don’t have access to a kitchen to cook healthy meals, and gym memberships can be impractical and costly if you’re leaving for another destination in a few weeks. 

The same can be said for accommodation. It’s tempting to try and save a few bucks by roughing it or checking into somewhere cheap. But sleeping outdoors exposes you to the elements, and I could tell you about some cheap hotels and hostels that would give the CDC nightmares.

Don’t believe me? Globetrotter Lauren Juliff felt the full force of full-time travel’s health-affecting consequences, which prompted her to finally quit the nomadic lifestyle.

Full-time traveling is not for you if you don’t know how to make healthy lifestyle changes to fit your new nomadic life. 

See Related: Best Apps & Sites Like Expedia For Travel

5. It pushes you out of your comfort zone

woman jumping at a high altitude location

You’ll risk missing flights, falling sick, getting robbed, being lonely, or falling into a financial rut – the hard parts of traveling full time will undoubtedly teach you invaluable lessons that will change your life forever.

You also need to be able to afford to travel full-time before you leave for your journey. That comes with ups and downs. But being out of your comfort zone is good as it can push you to learn more about yourself intellectually.

If reading all of these doesn’t phase you, and you still want to know how to travel full time, congratulations. You may have the might and mettle to live as a full-time traveler! Now that the cons are out, here’s how to get started!

See Related: Things to Know When Flying with Cash

How to Travel Full Time and Make Money

camera, map and magnifying glass

Time to discuss the tricky part of traveling full time – making money. Before considering these options, heed this hard truth; if you have zero experience in the fields listed below, don’t expect to earn a six-digit salary. Even with experience, don’t expect to earn a six-digit salary.

The digital nomad lifestyle requires you to be able to afford to travel full time, but it is also best done with the right expense management. After all, it would be best if you still had enough savings to meet your personal finance goals for retirement – assuming you don’t want to work until you die.

Remote work is location-independent work. It usually doesn’t pay as much for beginners, but if you earn your income from multiple sources, it’s possible to make just enough to fund your travels.

Take note: most full-time travelers take on multiple gigs to tide them over. 

  • For example, globetrotter Lindsay McKenzie of FollowYourDetour.com is a blogger, consultant, freelance writer, and virtual assistant all at the same time.
  • Then there is travel enthusiast Alex Reynolds of LostWithPurpose.com, who does graphic design and occasional web development and manages a blog to make ends meet. 

If you want to know how to fund full-time travel like our compatriots here, you’ll have to diversify – know that juggling multiple projects at once can be even more demanding than a full-time job!

See Related: Best Carry-On Essentials for Travel

1. Try Online Freelancing

Flexjobs Webpage

Online freelancing is probably the most popular option for those wondering how to travel while working full-time. There will always be someone in need of a website designer, travel writer, or content editor.

Freelancing platforms like Flexjobs and SolidGigs are treasure troves of remote work opportunities for full-time travelers. The only requirement to take on most projects is a demonstrable skill in a particular area. 

Beginners without credentials or a proven track record may find it difficult to win their first project. However, finding a steady stream of work becomes easier once they finally take on a few jobs and collect positive feedback from clients. Some of the most popular projects in freelance marketplaces include:

  • Writing
  • Translation
  • Editing
  • Content Writing
  • Web design
  • Data entry
  • Editing photos
  • Editing writing

2. Be a Travel Blogger

Woman on laptop holding cup of coffee

It should come as no surprise that most full-time travelers also become travel bloggers. Traveling the world allows you to generate tons of content that travel-oriented readers love. In a nutshell, travel blogging is the act of traveling the world and then writing about it on a blog.

The greatest spots to visit or news about well-known tourist sites may be found on a variety of other travel blogs as well. You may get first-hand knowledge about a destination from any of these blogs.

Consider writing and taking great snapshots of your journey, and then follow the best practices for building a travel website. You must consider it a business, meaning your travel blog is your job and career.

Travel blogging can be lucrative if you have the right focus and determination. It’s not easy, though. Your blog income will be highly variable depending on the niche of your travel blog. You can easily start a travel blog in minutes in today’s age, and for incredibly cheap, a good starter plan is Bluehost, where you’ll get a free domain and pay as little as $3.95 per month.

You’ll have high and low traffic periods if you focus on seasonal destinations. You can monetize your blog in several ways, including affiliate marketing, pay-per-click ads, display ads with Ezoic, or sponsored posts. As you build your travel blog, you can use it to parlay it into free travel by partnering with hotels, tourism boards, and other brands around the world.

Not so much money, but the reader’s requirements should be your priority. Your blog income will rely on interesting partnerships, often about which of your posts are read and visited by many netizens.

See Related: Friend Vacation Ideas

3. Work as a Translator

Lessonface homepage

While polyglots and masters of their language can find several projects in freelance marketplaces, finding temporary gigs offline is possible. Native English speakers may check with schools for temporary job openings.

Taking a TEFL course may increase your chances of finding work.  If you speak French, check with the Alliance Francaise to see if they have any projects for you.

German-speaking travelers may inquire at the local Goethe Institute for opportunities. You may also consider visiting libraries and universities for translation opportunities. 

Outside freelance marketplaces, you’ll find several independent websites where you can work as a translator, including VerblingSpeakt, and Unbabel

4. Share Your Knowledge

TEFL courses website

It’s possible to make a good living by being a tutor, especially if you’re very good at what you do.

Here are some of your options: 

  • Teach how to play an instrument: A great way to make money on the road is to teach others the art of music. Websites like LessonFace hire online tutors for various musical instruments, including guitar, violin, piano, horn, and even voice. 
  • Teach a subject: Are you a math wiz? TutorMe hires math tutors and tutors for various other subjects, including physics, biology, calculus, chemistry, geometry, and accounting. Or, want to teach English in a foreign country? You can easily find English tutor jobs on Preply or FlexJobs to start teaching English in an international country.
  • Become a consultant: Companies may be looking to hire you if you specialize in a particular field.
  • Sign up for Flexjobs and connect with clients looking for experts! 
  • Create a course: Making money out of your skills is the secret to how to travel full-time.

Whether your course is in text or video format, you can host it on a website like Udemy, one of the largest marketplaces for online courses. 

See Related: How to Find Mistake Fares [Complete Step-by-Step Guide]

5. Work Part-Time at a Hostel

woman in gray doing yoga

The hostel you’re staying at may be a great source of gigs, as hostel owners tend to be more open-minded about staffing than hoteliers.

Volunteer to teach yoga, organize events, give massages, do cleaning, or cook meals. Strike a deal with the owner to work in exchange for a free stay, or go the traditional route and negotiate payment. 

See Related: Things I’ve Learned From Becoming a Digital Nomad

6. Sell Your Photos

bearded man holding camera and taking a photo

Are you a travel photographer? One of the best ways to travel full-time and make money is to sell your photos on websites like Etsy, Shutterstock, and 500px. These sites take a cut out of your earnings, but they’re a great way to earn passive income. 

If you like the travel blog route, you can also pair your travel photography with your website to earn money online. Even one great post with great images may set you up for a few years!

See Related: Where Should I Travel for My Birthday

7. Go Busking

man with guitar busking on the street

Are you good at any performance art? Busking is a great way to earn extra cash if you can sing, dance, or play the violin, guitar, or piano.

Before starting, however, check your city laws to ensure you’re not breaking any rules.

8. Dog Sit

Rover website with cat and dog

Travelers with a natural affinity for animals may consider cat or dog sitting. When you travel, it’s a terrific way to save money on hotel prices by using this method. Not only do you get to enjoy free accommodations worldwide, but you also have the opportunity to care for lovely animals while you do it.

Sign up for websites like Rover and get connected with dog owners. Meowtel is a great resource for people looking to cat sit or looking for kitty sitters.

See Related: Family-Friendly Spring Break Ideas

9. Look for Full-Time Remote Jobs

SolidGigs landing page

Wondering how to travel with a full-time job? SolidGigs frequently posts and sends a variety of full-time job openings from different companies looking for virtual assistants, account executives, social media copywriters, and the like directly to your email inbox. 

Thanks to the pandemic, the ability to work remotely is far more common in today’s age than in the past – and it’s probably here to stay!

10. Sell Goods Online

Shopify green landing page

You can sell goods online to make money by selling them on your website or through a marketplace like Amazon. You’ll need a good-quality camera, and you can use that to take pictures of the items you want to sell.

We recommend using eBay as your platform because it’s an established marketplace with a large community of sellers and buyers, making it easier to find buyers interested in your products.

You can also use Amazon or Shopify if you have an existing store (or want to avoid the hassle of setting up an account).

See Related: Best Sabbatical Destinations

11. Answer Surveys and Market Research

Depending on what kind of work you want to do, you might be able to find survey companies that will pay you for conducting surveys online or even answering research questions about your hobbies or interests. These kinds of companies are great because they offer flexible hours (many of them are 24/7).

With these companies, you’ll get paid for sharing your opinion about products, services, and companies that interest you (which could be anything from makeup brands to restaurants).

Even if the income is far lower than that of a travel blogger, this form of work might help you save enough money to cover your basic needs or at least afford beers on Friday.

12. Publish an Ebook

Amazon marketplace homepage

There’s a very simple way to travel full time and make money: writing an ebook. Ebooks are a great way for people to earn extra income, and they’re even better if you can offer house-sitting or pet-sitting while on the road.

The best part is that it’s easy! All you need is an idea, access to the internet, and some free software (like Microsoft Word), and you’re ready to go!

You can write about anything that interests you—from self-help tips to how-to guides—and publish it online. Once your ebook has been published, there are so many ways people will find it and read it—Amazon has some incredible distribution options available right now!

See Related: Best Food Presets for Photography

13. Become an Influencer

influencer taking a photo

Influencer marketing is a great way to make money by sharing your expertise with the world. With influencers, you get exposure for your content as well as cash from brands willing to pay for it. You can make money by selling your products or promoting others’ products and services.

There are two main types of influencer marketing: paid and earned. Paid influencers receive compensation for their work, while earned influencers do not charge for their services (but may accept payment in the form of a product or service).

This way of becoming a digital nomad has sponsorships and partnerships with different brands that either pay cash or with products, allowing an influencer to travel.

14. Trading Stock Options

Monitor shoring trading stocks

Do you have experience in the stock market? Day trading can be done anywhere in the world, and it’s even feasible to make a living. Using apps like Robinhood can help you invest and trade on the go and is a decent place to start.

Investing in the stock market is another option to generate money online and while traveling. You may make money rapidly if you know what you’re doing and have some spare cash.

The higher the return, the more risky the investment. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it can be worth the risk – maybe even enough to offset travel costs.

If you’re good enough, you might even find yourself debt-free or able to pay for your next trip!

See Related: Top Most Beautiful Cities in the World to Visit

15. Video Blogging or Vlogging

Youtube search page

Join the trend of video blogging on YouTube by producing tutorial videos for your audience – or just videos of whatever. It’s amazing what millions of people watch. How do you make your living? Another option is to tie videos in with your travel blog if you have any.

When you have built up a devoted and active following, you can collaborate with businesses willing to pay in exchange for having their product mentioned or reviewed by you.

The majority of a YouTuber’s revenue comes from the money they make from the advertisements that appear on their channels. The number of times an ad is clicked on determines how much an advertiser is paid.

16. Affiliate Marketing

two men shaking hands

Travel bloggers may easily make money through this method. Companies often seek blogs where they may advertise their products and services, as well as blogs where their products or services are mentioned and promoted.

Hotels, resorts, and casinos have been known to pay bloggers to use their services in exchange for a favorable review on their blogs. If you’ve observed closely, at least one product or service is usually featured in vlogs or travel articles. There is a good likelihood that you will be compensated for this.

How to Extend Your Earnings

woman holding wallet with cash and cards

Those who know how to travel full time understand that every penny counts. Here are the best ways to extend your earnings as a digital nomad.

1. Visit Affordable Destinations

woman traveler wearing a backpack

This is probably one of the most important tips on this list. If you’re looking to extend every dollar, select destinations that are easy on the pocket – and even then, travel on a tight budget. 

To extend her earnings, globetrotter Alex Reynolds travels through South Asian countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Nepal, which she considers manageable to visit for $15 per day.

You must have enough money to continue traveling. Imagine going to your first destination and running out of money. Yeah, that’s not how you become a full-time traveler.

If you dream of living the digital nomad life, you should only visit what you can afford to travel.

2. Stay in Cheap Accommodations

Clean and Modern Hotel Room

Hostels, motels, or even a friend’s house in another country are great places to stay if you want to extend your budget. It’s even better if you’re traveling in an RV

You could also consider striking a deal with a hostel owner and working in exchange for a free stay, or try “workamping” at a national park to get free space at a campsite. 

The digital nomad life is not always glamorous, but that’s the point. You’d rather work and explore at your own pace than sit under fake lighting and report to some mid-level manager! Full-time travel requires being local, independent, and not always showing off.

See Related: Proven Ways to Get Free Hotel Rooms

3. Use a Budgeting App

Personal Capital Webpage

Those who want to know how to travel full-time need to understand the importance of budgeting to save money. Apps like Empower (Formerly Personal Capital) and Wally can help you tally your expenses and take full control of your finances to help you track if you’re over budget. 

In order to become a digital nomad, you must first afford to travel. Money saved is money gained.

4. Downsize Your Lifestyle

Small white house with picket fence

If you attend once a month, why waste money on a gym membership? Smoke less, drink less, and you can even cook your meals instead of eating out (even worse, have it delivered to your home, which tops an extra charge to your total bill!)

Most of these costs are just a waste of your hard-earned cash. It’s especially important if you’ll be on the road much longer than usual. Eliminate some of these costs. Cutting back on expenses will free up more of your income.

By reducing your expenses, I’m willing to bet you can afford an inexpensive vacation for a week and even save more money to lengthen your days of being away, even after a few months!

See Related: Cheap Shopping Destinations in the World

What to Include in Your Luggage

women packing a gray suitcase

What do you pack when you’re looking to travel the world full time? The short answer: a little bit of everything – emphasis on little.

The trick to packing well is packing smart. Packing lists differ from traveler to traveler, depending on their needs, but here are a few must-haves.

Packing tools

camera, bag, book, and map

A rolling suitcase, like the Eagle Creek Gear Wheel Trunk, is one of the best choices for people looking to travel for long periods. Use several organizational packing tools like these multi-functional packing cubes to separate your clothing. 

To hold your cash and cards, you need something secure. A tamper-proof, water-resistant purse, daypack, or wallet with RFID protection is ideal for long-term travel. 

Clothing

Set of winter clothes

Your clothing should be versatile, comfortable, durable, and weather-friendly, so research your destination’s climate.  Clothes with lots of pockets, like the Gihuo Travel Vest and Match Men’s Cargo Pants, are fantastic options as they allow you to lug around essential items.

Convertible clothing like these hiking cargo pants that double as shorts is an exceptional option for long-term traveling.  Be warned; if you’re flying around the US wearing cargo pants, your chances of being “randomly selected” for a pat-down and luggage search skyrocket.

Try to pack at least two of each garment to ensure you have a change of clothes while you launder your used items. 

Footwear

pair of sandals on the sand

Your footwear choice distinguishes between a smooth sailing adventure and utter pain. Of course, your choices depend on the activities in your itinerary, but if you’re packing smart, you only need two types of footwear: sandals and active shoes. 

Teva Sandals are known for their durability and are great for beach trips and walking around town. Merrel’s Hiking Shoes are great for almost any athletic activity, as they’re breathable and moisture-proof!  Watch out for army boots. They may be hardy and reek of military chic, but again you will likely be “randomly selected” for searches.

Toiletries

brand new red toothbrush

Get yourself a great toiletry organizer, like the BAGSMART Toiletry Travel Bag, to make packing and unpacking easy!

Items to stash in your toiletry bag depend on your individual needs, but make sure to include a travel towel, face wash, shampoo, soap, moisturizer, sunblock, a razor, toothbrush (with toothbrush cover), toothpaste, and floss. 

Planning Your Accommodation

Two single bed hotel room

1. Airbnb or VRBO

blue headboard bed with lamp

If you’re traveling with a family or another group, you may want to consider renting from online home renting marketplaces like Airbnb or VRBO to save on hotel fees.

Airbnb and VRBO operate in residential areas, so their accommodations do not pay taxes as hotels do. This allows them to offer cheap rates to travelers.

2. Living with a Friend or Family

happy kids with parents

Do you have any friends living in destinations you want to travel to? If you consider yourself particularly close with this person, consider offering to pay a share of the rent or bills in exchange for a stay at his house or apartment.

Using your connections can be a great way to save on accommodation

3. RV, Caravan or Trailer

man in vest camping in an RV

Those who have learned how to travel full-time know that living in an RV or trailer is one of the best ways to do it.

Full-time RV travel and living in a travel trailer full-time allows you to cook your meals and sleep in the same vehicle you travel with – that’s hundreds of dollars saved on eating out and staying in a hotel! 

This is one of the best ways to explore Southeast Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, and the US on enormous road trips.

4. Hotel, Motel, or Hostel

clean white bedroom with blue pillows

The trick to booking hotels, motels, inns, or hostels is to use the best online booking portals for the best deals. Websites like BookingGetawayPricelineExpediaHotwireOrbitzHotelTonight, and Hilton Honors give you access to the best prices to better extend your budget. 

You can also think about working at hotels. You get to feed your bank account and get your bed, provided by the hotel!

See Related: Best Girls Trip Destinations Around the World

Getting Around

1. Planes

Passengers inside a flight

Planes are the quickest way to jump from destination to destination, allowing you to turn a 12-hour bus ride into a trip that only lasts an hour. Unfortunately, they’re also the most expensive.

Those who know how to travel full time know that planes are the worst choice when factoring in their finances, so they should only be used when you have a very short vacation period or want to get somewhere quickly.

If you really must go on a flight, don’t forget to use online booking portals like GoingOne TravelSkiplagged, and Skyscanner. For even more savings, use airline credit cards to earn rewards for free hotel stays!

2. RV

camp trailer in the dessert

RVs aren’t the only transportation options. They offer places to live too. This makes them one of the most economical and budget-friendly transportation options. If you don’t have your own, consider renting one from rental services like RV Share.

3. Trains and Buses

back side of train in Chicago

Trains and buses are some of the most affordable transportation options, making them the go-to mode for those who can travel full time.

The affordability comes at a price, however, as trains and buses are often brimming with people, and multiple stops can extend the duration of your travel. Long and bumpy rides can be uncomfortable, but as long as you get where you need to, right?

PRO TIP: If you’re staying in Japan for more than a week, the JR Pass gives you the most value while giving you access to all of the country’s non-bullet JR trains!

4. Sea Travel

cruise ship resting at sea

Boats, ships, and ferries offer convenient ways to travel over the sea, and their prices can vary depending on how luxurious they are.

Seasickness can be an issue here, but if you aren’t seasick, they’re a great option if they allow you to get to your destination faster than other modes of transport. 

PRO TIP: Feeling Seasick? Your brain is disoriented! Get out on the deck or look out of a window. Just make sure you can see the horizon – this will help almost immediately.

See Related: Best Places for Bachelorette Parties

5. Car Services

row of parked cars

Depending on the car service, transportation fees may vary from affordable to expensive. Hiring an Uber, tuk-tuk, or another taxi service offers more comfort and less crowding with strangers. They’re also generally a faster way to get from place to place versus public transport. 

In most cities, however, car service fees are still more expensive than train and bus options, so they’re not a recommended form of everyday transportation for full-time travelers. If you’re staying at a destination for a few months, renting a vehicle is also an option!

PRO TIP: In some large cities (particularly European or Japanese), driving around the city center can be a nightmare due to congested traffic and smaller streets – consider ditching cars altogether!

6. Biking and Walking

man in orange riding a road bike

If safety and time permits, always opt for walking and biking. These are the two most practical modes of transportation for full-time travelers.

It’s earth-friendly and doesn’t cost you a penny! Always have a map with you; if you have no bike, consider renting one in your location! 

See Related: Best Hiking Trails in the Worth You Must Visit

Tips for Ensuring a Safe and Comfortable Long-Term Travel

Sign up for Travel Insurance and Health Insurance

Those who know how to travel full time understand the dire importance of travel insurance. If you’re on the road often, the unexpected is bound to happen. You can get robbed or lose your passport, belongings, or checked-in bag.

Your bookings can be canceled, or you may encounter medical emergencies, especially if you have pre-existing conditionsTravel insurance can help with all these matters, making them an essential purchase for all travelers. 

Travel insurance companies like TravelInsurance.comWorld Nomads Scuba Diving Insurance, and SafetyWing (our favorite for digital nomads) offer wide coverage and offer the most bang for your buck.

See Related: Best Health Insurance for Visitors to the USA

Get a Travel Credit Card

Lugging around paper money can be impractical and dangerous, so credit cards are often the choice of travelers who know to travel full-time. 

If you’re averse to using credit cards, you may opt for a prepaid currency card like the Travelex Money Card, which may be topped up with over ten currencies.

This card may be used at millions of locations, particularly establishments with the Mastercard logo. The American Express Platinum Card is another favorite among us at VT.

FAQ

What is the best way to make a living while traveling?

Every traveler would love to work remotely and become a digital nomad. The nomad life can bring plenty of free time to your hands and even make you generate more money minus the stress of being in a corporate position.

To afford to travel full time, the best way to make a living is through stock trading, working part-time at a specific location, looking for permanent remote jobs, and selling products online.

Is there a job that pays you to travel the world?

Workers on cruise ships, flight attendants, and tour guides are all examples of people who are paid to travel for a few months in their line of work. These occupations frequently include restrictions on when and how long an employee can travel. Therefore, there is far less flexibility than with digital nomad work.

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Joshua Lagandaon
WRITTEN BY

Joshua Lagandaon

Joshua Lagandaon is a writer from the Philippines. He has been writing professionally for more than a decade after taking a Creative Writing degree at the Philippines' prestigious Ateneo de Manila University. He writes for local travel, fashion, and lifestyle magazines while dabbling in theater and the arts.

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