Navigation Menu

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

Money Savings RF

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.

Helpful post: How to Save Money in Everyday Life so There’s More Money for Travel

Tip# 2: Do it Scared

Traveler female woman RF travel Venice

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.

Apart from saving you a headache, and being truly liberating, minimalist travel allows you to maximize budget airlines with strict baggage limits like Air Asia, Nok Scoot, Eurowings, and Ryan Air.

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!


Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

Mountaintop 65L Internal Frame Backpack

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L

Tip# 5: Pick an Inexpensive Region

Vietnam female traveler Meg Jerrard

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!

Helpful post: Want to Travel Overseas? Here’s How to Budget For It

Tip# 7: Subsidize as Many Costs as Possible

Ireland hostel

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.

Helpful post: How to Make Money While Travelling

Main Takeaways:

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!


Journeys of a Lifetime


100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas


World’s Best Travel Experiences

Annette is a YouTuber, blogger, and speaker that teaches others how to quit their 9-5 and make money traveling the world on her website, Chase for Adventure.

After years of wishing for a life beyond her soul-sucking 9-5, she and her husband quit their jobs, sold all of their stuff, & are traveling to every country in the world by 2023.

Their work has been featured on TourRadar, ABC news, and CBS 4. Follow their adventures on YouTube and Instagram!


  1. Traveling the world is beautiful and stressful at the same time people indeed see only the pics, I travel a couple of places and the amount of work and sometimes hustle get into the work exhausted us but indeed turquoise water can take the stress off… Thanks for sharing the tips I might apply some :)

    • Yes absolutely, every traveler needs to understand that taking it on full time is a lifestyle, and you’ll travel differently than you do when packing in a 2 week whirlwind trip :)

      Glad the post was helpful for you John – happy travels!

  2. Really great article and very useful information to act upon, especially since my wife and I are planning to get onto this highway too. Thanks for sharing and best of luck!

    • So glad the post was helpful for you Keith … Feel free to reach out if you have any questions in the lead up to your journey :)

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *