Authored by Annette Fortner
There’s nothing like having the freedom to travel full-time; cliff jumping into lush, tropical waterfalls and spending afternoons lounging on turquoise waters just watching the waves roll in; every day is truly a dream.
Most people work the entire year to score their two-week vacation just to get a glimpse of what living in paradise is like… but what if I told you that you could travel for longer than two weeks?
That you could travel full-time on a budget and wake up excited to be alive every day? Or that you could spend two weeks on just trying to figure out which is the best Pad Thai in Bangkok?
To travel full-time on a budget, you need to have some insider knowledge, strategy, and gumption. We’ve got the insider knowledge and strategy for you today … do you have the gumption?
How to Travel Full Time on a Budget
Reality is Negotiable
To be honest, when I first took the leap into full-time travel, I had NO idea what I was doing. All I knew is that I was sick and tired of dreading Mondays and counting the days until Friday!
I knew that there had to be more to life than just living for the weekends. With nothing but a dream and some will power my husband and I have managed to sustain our travels around the world for over a year and documenting our adventures on Chase for Adventure.
In the last year, we’ve gone cliff jumping into gorgeous waterfalls in Bali, and Jetski Island Hopping in Malaysia. We’ve hiked to the summit of Mt. Fuji, and found Nemo while scuba diving in Gili Trawangan.
Our life has literally become something out of our dreams.
“Okay, Annette, I get it! You are living the dream… good for you! But how do you travel full-time on a budget?”
I’ve got you, friend! With the travel budget tactics I’m sharing with you today, I’ll shed light on how you, too, can be a backpacker and afford to travel full-time as we do!
But I’ve got to warn you, you’re not going to like the first answer…
Tip# 1: You’ve Got to Put the Work In
I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. We worked really freaking hard to get to where we are today. To go on this trip, Daniel and I saved $15,000 in 8 months.
We did that by ending our lease and moving into my in-law’s house, selling everything we owned including both cars, and worked over 70 hours a week for eight months.
What?! You read that right! We worked our fulltime jobs starting as early as 4 AM so that we could spend our evenings finding babysitting gigs well into the night. There were weeks where Daniel and I wouldn’t see each other at all.
People watch our YouTube videos and tell us what a glamorous life we must be living! I can’t help but laugh because they just don’t know how much hard work we’ve put into it before we left, and how we continue to work along the way.
I don’t tell you this because I want to discourage you, I tell you this so that you can go into it with the right mindset. You don’t have to be a trust-fund baby, or rich to make your dreams a reality, but you do have to hustle and find a way to make money on the side.
Tip# 2: Do it Scared
If you’re waiting for the fear of full-time travel to escape you before you buy your tickets, you’ll never leave your house. Fact is leaving everything you know behind is scary, but it is SO worth it!
We discovered that there is a huge community of travelers abroad that are happy to show you the ropes, and even take you in! My recommendation: Buy your tickets even though you’re scared.
I promise, as soon as the plane lands in your final destination, your fear will be replaced with excitement!
Tip# 3: Sell Everything
I know, I know. You probably think I’m crazy, but I’m okay with that, friend! It may be the single hardest thing you do on the journey to full-time travel, but it’s worth it.
Not only will selling all of your stuff seriously pad your travel fund, but it will also help you save hundreds of dollars on luggage fees at airports! Click here for our ultimate guide on how to sell your stuff quickly!
Tip# 4: Travel Carry-On Only
If there is one tip you really take to heart from this post, let it be this one. Traveling carry-on only has saved us over a thousand dollars in the last year in luggage fees.
We travel with Osprey 55L backpacks and keep them on the empty side so that we never run into baggage issues. If you want to know exactly what we take with us on our full-time travels click here.
For those times that your bag is a little over-stuffed click here to read our guide on how to get through security with an overpacked carry-on!
BACKPACKS WE RECOMMEND: CLICK FOR BAG INFO ↓
Tip# 5: Pick an Inexpensive Region
If you want your money to go far, you need to go to a region in the world where your currency is worth more.
If you’re coming from any western country, great regions for you to explore include South America, Eastern Europe, and our favorite, South East Asia.
These are regions where you can find accommodations for as little as $3 per night, meals between $1-$4, and transportation from one country to the next for as little as $10!
South East Asia is a great place to start your full-time travels because it is a well-trodden backpacker region and English is widely understook just about anywhere!
Tip# 6: Remember, You’re Not on Vacation
As a full-time traveler and backpacker, this is your life now. That means that you are not going to be able to splurge every single day as if you were on a vacation.
To travel full-time on a budget you need to think about your purchases. If you go out drinking every single night of the week and shop at the markets every day, you are going to go broke. Combat this by keeping a travel budget.
Daniel and I live for between $30-$50 a day when we’re on the road, and are able to sustain that long-term. If you want a copy of our travel budget, and a downloadable travel budget spreadsheet, click here!
Tip# 7: Subsidize as Many Costs as Possible
The world works very differently outside of Western countries. You will often be able to walk up to a hostel and ask them for a free stay in exchange for some receptionist or housekeeping work.
In Bangkok, Daniel and I worked at a noodle shop for an hour in exchange for a meal! Other options for subsidizing costs is Housesitting and WWOOFing; two great websites that will offer you food and accommodations in exchange for your time.
Image: Barnacles Budget Accommodation (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Tip# 8: Make Money on the Road
To truly travel full-time on a budget, you have to find ways to make money on the road. When you are running low on money, you are able to take advantage of working holiday visas around the world!
Working holiday visas allow you to find work in a country so that you can continue to fund your travels. Countries that allow US citizens to find work are Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Ireland.
Travel is seriously the most amazing, life-changing, and educational experience a person can have! It may be scary at first, but you will soon be experiencing the beauty of what it’s really like to travel full-time.
- Stick to your travel budget
- Travel carry on only
- Pick a cheap region
- Use working holiday visas to replenish your travel funds!
Now go an book your flight! I’m rooting for you the whole way!
THESE BOOKS WILL INSPIRE YOU TO TRAVEL! ↓