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Our mission is to serve the 50+ traveler who's ready to cross a few items off their bucket list.

How To Know If Full-Time Travel Is Right For You

should i travel full time

  • Full-Time Travel
  • Types of Travel

To those not doing it, full-time travel can sound like “living the dream.” And while it can be a dream life, it isn’t always easy. It definitely isn’t an endless vacation.

In 2017, I quit my job to travel the world. Thus far, I’ve been to six continents and over 25 countries. For those of you contemplating full-time or even part-time travel, here are some ways to determine if this life is the right one for you.

Fish at a market in Vietnam.

1. You Love Trying New And Strange Foods

I’m lucky that I’ve always been adventurous with new foods.

From the time I was 16, I lived with a French host family. My host brother, one day, offered me a taste of the sheep’s brain he was eating. I recoiled in horror. Fortunately, I realized I had no right to an opinion until I tasted them. So, I did. I can now experientially say that I do not care for sheep’s brains. The important part is that I tried them.

As you travel the world, you’ll constantly encounter strange foods whether it’s meat, fish, fruit, or vegetables. More importantly, you’ll find it difficult to find foods you’re accustomed to. For example, peanut butter is often not readily available. Potato chips in other countries are flavored with bacon, barbecue, spices, and flavor combinations you’ve never considered. Trying to travel the world on a very specific diet can add frustration to the journey because the more you limit your food choices, the harder it will be to find them. Insects can be on the menu, as can innards. If you’re hosted by a family for any part of your travels, it could be considered insulting if you don’t eat what they serve you. Being open to new foods is an essential part of traveling full time.

2. You Can Handle Different Beds Every Night

Have you ever gone on vacation and, as you traveled back home, said, “I loved my vacation, but I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed!” You’ve no doubt purchased a mattress you love, broken it in, and enjoyed a good night’s rest. When you travel full time, you don’t get to come home to that bed anymore. You have to adjust to a new mattress, different pillows (sometimes made by stuffing clothing into a pillowcase), and different bedding (a top-sheet is not part of many cultures) every place you go. While this may seem trite, full-time travel can leave you missing the comforts of home; from your bed to street noise and more, you’ll constantly adapt to new places as you lay your head at night.

Two bags of the author's luggage.

3. You Can Live Out Of Your Suitcase

Depending on where you stay and how long you’re there, you may or may not have space or interest to unpack. Your life becomes a series of packing and unpacking every time you change locations. I find that if I’m in a place for a week or more, or if there are drawers and a closet with hangers, I happily unpack. Oftentimes, however, I’m in a spare room with none of the aforementioned luxuries, so I pull things out of my suitcase and try my best not to make a mess. Whenever it’s time to pack again, it amazes me that I can never fit the same amount of belongings into my bags the way I did on my first trip!

4. You’re Prepared To Pack Light And Carry Your Luggage

Unless you’re traveling first class, or with an RV, you’ll be carrying your bags. This can be from trains or bus stations to youth hostels, and it can also be up the stairs to your room in a budget hotel.

Being able to afford full-time travel for more than a few months means staying in places that don’t offer luxury services. You’ll learn, very quickly, that you don’t want to travel with more than you have to. I’ve donated clothing and more to charity, or gifted items that were too heavy to new friends as I’ve traveled. Unless it’s extremely hot, I wear the same shirt two days in a row. After months on the road, if I get tired of a shirt, or it’s seen its last wash, I’ll donate or toss it in exchange for a newer one.

It’s important to note that full-time travel is not glamorous. You won’t have much use for makeup, and you won’t have space for fancy clothes or your dancing shoes.

5. You’re Courageous When It Comes To Personal Development

One of the things that surprised me during my first year of travel was how much I learned about myself. My journey felt like an adult vision quest. It wasn’t always fun.

Along your travels, you’ll face new situations, be challenged, and be pushed outside your comfort zone. These are the experiences that help you grow and become the person you want to be. Sometimes, you won’t enjoy what you learn. Other times, you’ll be delighted to discover how resourceful you can be. The important thing to realize is that when you travel full time, you no longer have the daily distractions of an office or friends and family to keep you from discovering yourself. It takes a degree of courage and perseverance to do this work. Make sure you’re up to the challenge before embarking on a full-time travel journey.

6. You’re Prepared To Do A Lot Of Planning

When you go on vacation, you may feel delighted to pick a location that excites you, book your travel, reserve your hotel and tours, and go! When you travel full time, planning itself becomes a full-time job. Every time you want to move to a new place, you’ll have to sort out how to get there, where to stay, and what to do. The more frequently you move, the more planning you’ll have to do.

I’ve learned to let go of planning every moment and focus instead on transportation and lodging. As far as tours and sightseeing, I let that unfold the moment after I arrive. That takes a lot of stress out of the process.

7. You Won’t Give Up Just Because You Can’t Access Wi-Fi 

If you’re planning to work or blog while you travel, you’ll quickly find that Wi-Fi is the bane of your existence. The signal may be weak, non-existent, or shared with so many people that uploading a photo is either impossible or takes hours. Try having a video call and after numerous call drops, you’ll turn off the video, and curse the network gods.

Consider bringing a Wi-Fi hotspot or a phone that allows you to tether, and purchase a local SIM card. Local SIM cards offer data rates that are significantly less expensive than roaming with your US carrier.

A view from the author's hotel window in Posadas, Argentina.

8. You Accept That Boredom And Burnout Are Par For The Course

The same way you get burned out working applies to full-time travel. As previously mentioned, this is not a full-time vacation. Once you’re living the travel lifestyle, you’ll have moments of boredom, disappointment, and burnout.

Here’s an interesting remedy: When I started my travels, I used to move approximately every three days. Several months in, I found myself in a small town in Argentina with no tourism. I booked a three-night stay and asked to add on three more. I then added another few days, and finally, ended up staying for two weeks. The joy of being able to avoid packing, planning, and being able to feel like I had a home base for an extended period was just what I needed. If it happens to you, know that it’s normal. Go with the flow and plan to relax until the burnout subsides.

9. You’re Prepared To Be Viewed As An Ambassador For Your Home Country 

While it’s not an official appointment, you’ll meet people along your travels who have never left their own country. For some, you’ll become their view of your country. Your behavior will become the basis for them to judge other people from your country. I was fortunate to live with a host family as a teenager. I learned to speak fluent French because of them, and in my travels, I learned that Americans who travel and expect everyone to speak English are not always well thought of. This prompted my obsession with learning the local language of every place I traveled to. 

It’s essential to respect local cultures and tune in to how people live, do business, and address one another. American culture often finds us insisting on exemplary customer service and complaining if we don’t get it. Outside of America, I’ve found many cultures move at a much slower pace and tend to be much less demanding. Understanding layers of formality and courtesy is essential. You’ll have much deeper experiences with locals when you respect their ways, rather than argue or try to change them.

Full-time travel is, in my opinion, an experience everyone should have, even if only for a few months. It will change you in extraordinary ways. However, it’s not for everyone. Make sure you set your expectations before embarking.

For more resources on traveling full time, click here:

  • 9 Key Safety Tips For Full-Time Travelers
  • 7 Key Things To Consider If You Dream Of Traveling Full-Time
  • 10 Reasons I Love Traveling Full Time

Image of Heather Markel

Heather is a full-time travel coach who is passionate about helping professionals seeking more freedom and flexibility to ditch their desk and discover their destiny through full-time travel. She provides her clients with the path to the mindset, money, and mastery to make a full-time travel lifestyle possible. Since quitting, she's become an international best-selling author and is about to do her first TEDx talk! Learn more about Heather's travel adventures on her website, Heather Begins.

9 things I learned in my first 6 months RVing full-time

Katie Genter

Almost four years ago, my husband JT and I gave up our apartment and sold or donated almost everything we owned. Then, we hit the road as global digital nomads . We didn't have a home base for about three years while globetrotting. But, when we returned to the U.S. amidst global lockdowns last March, we had nowhere to call home.

We initially self-quarantined in a family member's unoccupied lake condo. And then we spent a few months living with family members. But as the pandemic continued, it became apparent we wouldn't quickly be resuming our global travels. So, we knew we needed a place to call home.

Put in the same situation, most people would have rented an apartment or booked month-long hotel stays . But after relocating an RV from Los Angeles to Dallas last July, we decided to buy the same RV model in August. And then, we moved into the RV full-time on Sept. 1, 2020.

Before our rental over the summer, we'd only done one previous RV relocation for $1 a day . So we had a lot to learn about RVing . Today, I'll share nine things I learned in my first six months of full-time RVing.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG's free daily newsletter .

There are many ways to RV

should i travel full time

Before we started living out of our RV full-time, I had some preconceived notions about RVing. But, I quickly learned there are many ways to RV. And, what works best for one traveler may not be best for another.

For example, there's no set price that you should pay for campsites. Sure, it's possible to pay very little for campsites. After all, you can often camp on national lands for free or cheap. And some businesses such as Cracker Barrel and Walmart may allow you to park overnight for no fee. But, on the other end of the spectrum, some RV campsites cost more than $100 per night and offer hotel-like amenities . And of course, there's also a middle-ground of campsites that cost between $20 and $40 per night.

Likewise, there are many types of RVs. Walking around most campgrounds, we typically see luxury campers , pop-ups campers, converted school buses, fifth wheels, trailers, camper vans and vehicles with roof-top tents. Some of these RVs cost under $10,000 while others cost more than $200,000. And each type of camper is suitable for a particular kind of traveler.

Finally, there are many different RV travel styles. Some campers move each day while others stay at the same campground for an entire season. Many campers have outdoor furniture, while some trailers look like they could pull out at any time. And some RVers plan out their travels a year in advance to snag desirable reservations, while others book campsites as they go.

Related: Enter to win prizes by writing about your camping experience on national lands

Flexibility is key

should i travel full time

For us, embracing flexibility has been critical in our first six months of RVing. We're naturally planners: we have spreadsheets of hotel reservations that go back years and forward into 2022 . But, we've found that we prefer booking campsites as we go. And, as we start to take one-off international trips by plane this summer while still living part-time out of the RV, I expect this flexibility will become even more critical.

Flexibility is also critical when living and working remotely in a small space with another person. I frequently work outside at our site's picnic table or a campground pavilion. But RVing inherently means you'll spend a lot of time together with your travel partner(s). This togetherness has been relatively easy for us since we were already used to living and working together as global digital nomads . But, from talking with other campers, being together all the time is a struggle for some people.

Related: 6 things you should know before you rent your first RV

High-speed internet isn't a problem

should i travel full time

When we decided to live and work from an RV, I assumed high-speed internet would be a struggle. We don't need a lot of data since we each only use about one GB per day on our laptops. But, reliable and relatively quick internet is necessary if we want to work effectively.

Some campgrounds offer Wi-Fi. But, campground Wi-Fi is typically slow and often unusable. So, we primarily hotspot data from our phones to our laptops. We each have a Verizon Get More Unlimited plan, which gives us each 30 GB of 4G LTE hotspot data each month and unlimited data on our phones. So, I do all most work video calls on my phone. We also have a T-Mobile backup hotspot, but we haven't needed to use it yet.

We also bought a cell booster to help in areas with weak cell service. But, we've mostly avoided using the cell booster by using online resources to filter out campgrounds with poor Verizon cell service. For example, Recreation.gov includes cell coverage strength ratings for Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T as part of its review system. And for other campgrounds, I check Campendium. By using these two resources, we haven't experienced any significant connectivity issues.

Related: Use these cards when paying your cellphone bill

Know what you want before buying

should i travel full time

There are many different types of RVs. And, my fellow TPG colleagues have tried out several different styles. For example, TPG's Richard Kerr bought a trailer to tow behind his truck. And TPG's Summer Hull rented a luxury Class A motorhome . Meanwhile, TPG's Chris Dong rented a van to try out van life.

We opted for a Class C RV, which is effectively a truck cab with a huge box attached where the truck bed would typically be. We decided on this type of vehicle since we didn't own a vehicle before buying our RV. And we knew the specific RV we purchased would work for us because we'd just relocated the same model from Los Angeles to Dallas . Plus, we love that one of us can work at the table in the back while the other one is driving.

Assuming you don't buy the exact model you relocate as we did, you can still try out what you're looking to buy. In particular, I recommend renting your model or a very similar model before you buy. Luckily, sites like RVshare allow you to rent RVs directly from owners. So, you can likely find the model you're planning to purchase and test it out beforehand.

Related: Don't make these 5 mistakes when buying your first RV

You can park your RV at the airport

should i travel full time

We took a mid-pandemic trip to Istanbul, Turkey , last October. And we expect to restart international travel once we're fully vaccinated with some one-off trips while still living out of the RV. But, we wondered what we'd do with our RV while on these trips. After all, most RV storage solutions are set-up for RV owners who want to store their RV monthly or annually near where they live.

As I searched for a solution for our Istanbul trip, I found a few websites that list monthly RV parking solutions. As I scrolled through options on one site, I noticed several listings for an Atlanta airport Parking Spot. JT called the Parking Spot and we learned that they'd be happy to let us park our RV at their lot during our trip for a modest rate.

I'm not sure whether other Parking Spot locations will allow RV parking. But this experience reinforced the idea that we can likely find airport parking near most airports that will let us pay a modest amount to park our RV. After all, we can fit our RV in two back-to-back parking spots.

Related: Maximizing rewards and discounts on airport parking

Little things can be difficult

should i travel full time

Some little things that are easy for most home dwellers are significantly more difficult for us while RVing. For example, here are some of the initially unexpected struggles we've faced:

  • Picking up food is difficult because our RV is too tall for most drive-through lines and too long for most curb-side pick-up zones
  • Many campgrounds don't accept packages, so getting Amazon deliveries or utilizing Amex Offers (such as Wine Insiders ) requires extra planning
  • Our gray and black tank sensors rarely give correct readings, so it's difficult to determine when these tanks are full
  • Using a drive-through COVID-19 testing center was awkward since our RV was too tall to follow the designated path
  • Parking the RV at some businesses, such as a vet when our cat needed care and several hotels when we've needed unlimited internet, hasn't been particularly easy (we've learned to call or look at businesses ahead of time using Google Maps satellite view)

Of course, we could avoid some of these difficulties if we had a second vehicle. Most RVers either have a car they tow behind their RV or use a vehicle to tow their RV. But we only have our RV. As such, we have to go everywhere in our RV. We could solve this issue by buying a car or motorcycle, but we don't want to put the money into another vehicle right now.

Related: Travel is getting harder — and pricier

Some things are more straightforward than I expected

should i travel full time

After noting some struggles in the last section, it's important also to mention that some parts of RVing are more manageable than I initially expected:

  • Last-minute campsites for at least a few nights have been relatively easy to find
  • Our 15-year-old cat Grace has settled into RV life well
  • Cooking in the small kitchen has gone well
  • Dumping black and gray tanks is scary for some RVers , but it hasn't been so bad for us
  • Online resources, especially YouTube, make fixing some issues relatively easy

One aspect of our RV that we underappreciated when we bought it but love having it now is the back-up camera. Unless you have experience driving a large vehicle, I highly recommend ensuring your RV has a back-up camera.

Related: Going on a road trip? Consider using these credit cards

Handiness is essential

should i travel full time

JT and I are not handy. But, we've had to learn some basics since maintenance and repairs are ongoing with our RV. We've learned a lot about our RV in the first six months, from identifying and stopping water leaks to fixing annoying squeaks and tightening screws.

YouTube and RV forums online have been helpful, but we've made some ridiculous beginner mistakes along the way. For example, we found that our city water connection (which allows you to hook up a freshwater hose at a campground to your RV's plumbing system) was leaking out the side of our RV soon after we bought it. We assumed something was broken. But after dealing with this issue for about a month, we determined we needed to put a rubber washer between the hose and our connector.

We've made other silly mistakes, but we've also become handier in our first six months of RVing. However, RVing will be easier from the start if you're already handy.

Related: What I learned on my RV trip from hell, and why it was still fun

Set a realistic itinerary

should i travel full time

The final thing we've learned is to make a realistic itinerary. You might be able to drive a car eight hours straight and only stop once. But, when driving an RV, you'll likely tire much quicker. And, you should typically drive an RV slower than a car. For example, we find that our RV drives best when we go no faster than 65 miles per hour on the interstate.

And frankly, parking and setting up an RV in the dark isn't particularly safe or fun. So, we've learned to drive modest amounts (typically no further than 300 miles in a day) and try to stay at most locations for at least six or seven nights. After all, we want to stay long enough in each destination to enjoy the area while working full-time.

Related: How you plan and organize your trip says more about you than you think

Bottom line

Last year at this time, we had no intention of buying an RV and living out of it full-time. But, doing so has allowed us to remain nomadic and travel domestically during the coronavirus pandemic. And it's been a fun adventure. It's hard to say whether we'll still have the RV in six more months, as I hope we're back to our globetrotting full-time. But, we're enjoying RVing while it's the right choice for us. And we've certainly learned a lot in the last six months.

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  • Work With Us

How to Travel with a Full-Time Job

Wondering how to mix travel in while working, especially with a full time job?

Impossible you say? Well, we know from first hand experience that not only is it possible but it can also be rewarding and even profitable!

It’s a common trope – a would be traveler quits their job, travels the world, and finds love, fame, and/or fortune. I’m sure you’ve all seen a movie or read a book about it but the reality is that in real life that doesn’t usually happen.

While as tempting as quitting your job and taking a long vacation is, it’s just not realistic for a lot of people, who are (understandably) too practical to take that enormous leap, or who have commitments that simply won’t let them quit their job and sail the seven seas.

While being able to work remotely is undoubtedly the easiest way to work while traveling (have laptop, will travel), there are some jobs that you just can’t phone in while on the road and times when just flat out quitting might not be the best answer.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to quit your full-time job to see the world. It definitely takes a can-do attitude, some creative problem solving, and even some occasional slight of hand, but for many people it’s possible to both work full time and also scratch that travel itch.

How to travel while working

When we first started traveling together almost 20 years ago, my husband Charles and I had full time jobs. We started out taking weekends off to travel, then two week vacations, working remotely while spending months in Mexico, and eventually a year long trip through Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Not all of these tips will work for everyone, but with some creative thinking, hopefully at least one of these will apply to your situation!

I know that many people believe that travel and work are an impossible mix! Whether you are part of a working couple, a single would be traveler, or even a traveling family, there are so many ways you can travel while still keeping your full-time job.

Here are our top tips for how to travel with a full-time job.

We start with what should be the easiest solutions for most people, getting more creative as we go down the list.

Use your weekends and time off

Everyone gets time off at some point, and how you use that time is yours!

If you have vacation days and weekends off, take those days to travel around the world. You can make a bunch of four-day weekends for more extended travel, or you can take a short weekend trip somewhere. If you are really pressed for time, look into flights instead of long drives to maximize your time at the destination rather than in the car.

Be flexible with your dates

If you want to travel while you have a full time job, sometimes you need to be flexible with your dates.

Taking off in the middle of summer might not work if your busy season at work is during the summer or, for instance, in the middle of tax season if you’re an accountant. Instead, consider taking a few extra days off before a big holiday break or a four day weekend to maximize your vacation days and allow more travel time. Get creative and be flexible if you want to see and do more.

Travel in the off season

While this ties into the previous segment, if you can schedule time off during the shoulder season like late Spring/early Fall, you can better maximize your time away from home. While most people love to travel in the summer, the reality is that’s often peak times so going in Fall or Spring can not only save you hour long lineups but also allow you to travel for much cheaper.

Work extra hours

Does your employer let you bank time? Some employers let you take time off in lieu of overtime pay.

If you can bank time, try working extra hours during busy periods, and then taking those days off to add to your vacation time. Just make sure that your employer is accurately recording any extra time that you work and you’re being paid fully when you’re not there.

Take advantage of travel opportunities at work

Ask your boss if there are any travel opportunities at your work. You may be shocked to find that they offer travel to warehouses, conferences, and other work opportunities if you just ask. While you won’t be able to do them all, you may be able to snag one or two extra trips!

Since most of the work stuff happens during the day, this often means you can enjoy entire nights off in a new city and if you can plan those dates around a weekend, it can often give you a few extra days to enjoy wherever you happen to be.

Work during your vacation

While this seems the opposite of what we’re trying to do here, many employers won’t even consider allowing employees to work remotely. Yet, these same employers will be happy to let you work right through your vacation time.

Sure, it sucks to have to do work while you’re on vacation. However, if you absolutely can’t afford to take time off and you have a backlog of work that keeps piling up, working during a vacation may be an option that doesn’t break the bank.

To make this work, you’ll either need to convince your boss to let you work remotely as you travel, or you’ll need to make the slog into work, and have a staycation. If you can afford it, get a hotel or somewhere nice to stay for part of your vacay, or stay at home and splurge on fun activities during your off hours. While it might not seem like travel, if you do some local activities outside your norm, that can go a long way to making your vacation at least memorable.

Take unpaid time off

For a lot of readers, I’m sure that I lost you at the word unpaid, but hear me out. If you can manage to save enough for a vacation, taking unpaid time off can be a way to free up some time for a trip, while still keeping your job.

I’ve used the technique of asking for unpaid time off a few times, when I was in a situation where I could afford to travel, but just didn’t have the time or vacation hours available to me.

While it’s true that companies love having you on premise, if they’re not having to pay you, they often don’t mind you taking a few weeks or, sometimes even a few months off for a mini sabbatical. If work is quiet at your company, your employer may actually appreciate having to spend less on payroll for a while.

Unfortunately, if your job is especially busy, or your expertise is essential to your employer, this strategy might not work but it never hurts to ask. Most people never even think to ask but their response might surprise you, especially if the company can gain something in the process such as a new skill or language learned or even just having better mental health when you return.

Ask your current employer if you can work remotely

This one’s a little risky: If you have a really uptight or vindictive boss, you risk showing them your hand that you want to travel.

However, you may be surprised. Many employers don’t want to lose a good employee, so if you’re trusted and your work is valued, and you can successfully do your job at home, being able to work remotely may be as simple as just asking.

I’ve successfully used this technique in the past. I started out with a technical writing job that was full time, and on site. Over my first few months, I worked hard to get my immediate supervisors to trust my work ethic, and to value my work.

About three months in, I asked if I could work remotely a day a week. They said yes, and I made sure to show them that I was productive, and working hard at home.

A couple of months later, I asked if I could work two days remotely a week. They said yes, and I kept up the hard work.

After another couple of months, I asked if I could work remotely full time, and made a case that working remotely would save them money by freeing up my office space, and they wouldn’t lose any productive time at all. They said yes, and I was off to Mexico in a few weeks’ time.

If you have a job that could be done from anywhere, consider asking your boss if you can work some of your time from home. This will give you more flexibility to travel as you can work from anywhere at that point.

Find a job that lets you work remotely

This one might seem impossible, but there are a lot of jobs that allow you to work from home from the start.

This is one good thing we can thank the pandemic for. The amount of remote workers has increased right around the world and so many companies have discovered that having remote workers is a viable proposition moving forward. It’s opened the door to so many more possibilities.

Editing and writing jobs are probably the most familiar of remote jobs. You don’t even need to take a cheap custom writings job – there are writing jobs that pay well, especially if you have a skill like technical or medical writing, academic editing, or copywriting.

Check out our list of 45 best travel jobs for some more great ideas for jobs that let you work as you travel.

Take contract work instead of a permanent 9 to 5

We spent years using the downtime from our contract IT jobs to travel. We’d work for six months or a year at a contract job, and then travel in between contracts.

The major downside of this approach is that you need to earn enough doing contract work to afford to take time off. You also need to be able to save money and budget well however the good news is that contract workers are often paid more. You can also often save on income taxes since you’d be working for yourself. Between tax breaks and company write-offs, doing contract work can be quite lucrative in the right market and is worth looking into.

Take a sabbatical

Not everyone can take a sabbatical leave; we get that.

However, if you’re lucky enough to be in a profession that commonly allow sabbaticals, like academics, definitely look into it.

It may not be common knowledge, but many companies allow sabbaticals, including Patagonia and even McDonalds. You may have to discreetly ask your HR department, or browse around your company website to find out if you qualify for a sabbatical but they can be a great way to keep your job but allow you the free time to follow your passions.

The crazy part is that some companies even pay for your sabbatical time off! This really depends on your company, their philosophy about work and life as well as the country you live in.

Regardless, even if your sabbatical may not offer paid time off, the beauty of a sabbatical is that you’ll have a job to return to after you travel. Just make sure you start saving up .

Be your own boss

If you run your own business, you have a lot more say in the days you work and the hours. We started working for ourselves about 10 years ago, and it gave us a lot more flexibility to travel.

Working for yourself means that you may be able to take more time to travel and even give yourself the flexibility to work from different time zones.

Being your own boss can mean starting your own business by blogging, selling on Etsy, or even becoming a virtual assistant! There are so many different options that offer flexibility, which will help you get some more travel time while still working full-time for yourself.

Working for yourself also means that you’ll need to become better at budgeting for time off, and allowing for unexpected expenses. It may also mean that you end up working more hours in total than you ever did when working for someone else but while it’s not always easy, it can be quite rewarding and allow you to see the world on your schedule, rather that someone elses.

You don’t have to quit your job to see the world.

While taking time off to travel is nice, it’s also nice to not worry about how you’re going to pay the bills when you return from your long trip.

No matter how you do it, don’t be fooled into thinking it will be easy or just work out. If you want to keep your job but still step out and see the world you’ll have to work twice as hard to make sure you keep the work/travel balance in check.

While it won’t be simple, it can be even more rewarding by not only keeping your bank account in the black and your career moving forward but also allowing you to see all the amazing things this world can offer.

There are even a lot of jobs that you can do while you’re on the road. There are plenty of students searching for editors, so jobs in academic editing and writing can be relatively easy to pick up.

Have a tip about work and travel? We’d love to hear about it.

these tricks really sounds interesting and useful to fulfill your traveling dream while going doing a job.

keep sharing such a good information with us.

Great post that will hopefully get more people exploring the world. Sometimes it just takes a little motivation to figure out how to do it, but many of us our proof that it can be done.

I have been planning to travel but I have a full time job as well thanks for this great tips

Pretty good advices. After one vacation I enjoyed traveling so much that I had to change to a telecommuting job to have more time to travel. Anyway, combining office work and travel is very difficult!

Amazing tips and very helpful as well for all the people who feel stucked at work or are not able to take out some self-time from their hectic schedule. I liked your tip of looking for travel opportunity at work. I guess those who don’t have enough leaves can definitely take advantage of this. Keep educating readers through such posts.

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Ways of the World

How To Prepare For A Life Of Full-Time Traveling

should i travel full time

In September of 2017, one year after we met, we were sitting at North Avenue Beach in Chicago and I told Gordon; hey, what do you think if we try to make money while living a life of full time traveling? That’s all it took.

Let’s rewind.

A couple of weeks before that day at the beach, a friend introduced me to a family who was traveling the world full time with their kids and documenting their adventures on YouTube and Instagram ( @thebucketlistfamily ). I watched like 10 of their videos and that’s when the seed was planted. Fast forward to that day at the beach, I asked G if that was something he’d consider doing with his life. To my surprise, he said yes.

I honestly thought he didn’t mean it. He would have to quit his job as a consultant and start a new career as a videographer/photographer/content creator (while not liking cameras LOL). However, that evening we came home and started working on a spreadsheet with a list of all the places we wanted to visit and what we wanted to accomplish from our crazy adventure. Our lives changed after that day and it all felt so right.

We opened a bank account together in October 2017. We started saving money like crazy (read more about how we did it here) . But, shortly after, we realized we needed more than money if we were going to -at least try- to turn our 2 years of traveling into our full time jobs.

We weren’t sure how to make this post useful for anyone out there getting ready to travel the world full time and try to make a living while at it. That’s why we decided it was better to divide everything we did into 4 categories: Skills, mental, finances and health.

Estimated reading time: 21 minutes

  • Ready to learn about what we did before full time traveling? Let’s do this!

Full time traveling advice from digital nomads

Table of contents

Videography and youtube, seo (search engine optimization) & this website, the planning stage, where do we stand with our trip today, telling our friends and family, finances // how are we going to save all this money, health // how are we going to stay healthy while traveling full time, did you learn anything about full time traveling please share it on pinterest, ps: in april 2018 we posted our full time traveling announcement video on our youtube channel:, skills // things that will help you make money online while living a life of full time traveling.

First we asked ourselves, how on earth are we going to make money with full time traveling? Is anyone out there successful at this?

We read a million posts. Some mentioned teaching English or working abroad as bartenders. Others mentioned online marketing, house sitting and a bunch of other things that didn’t feel like the right fit for us. That’s when we decided to look at our own strengths. We made a list of the things we were good at. Then, decided that we were going to try to make money with a YouTube channel , Instagram and this blog.

What exactly did we learn before our trip?

Ok, so we were like yes, this is so cool, we are going to be digital nomads. Cool. What does that even mean? Well, we had to learn some things from the very beginning. Having a strong foundation was our #1 goal.

We started learning about videography. Making videos and editing them. Practicing with a camera, asking all of my videographer friends for tips and we watched A LOT of YouTube videos. We also got a membership with Skillshare and did many courses about videography and photography. Learned about story telling and how to edit videos in Final Cut Pro X. Some of my favorite YouTube channels for video tutorials are Mark Harrison , Daniel Schiffer and Thomas Alex Norman . I also had to learn about YouTube SEO and strategies, which I learned form this YouTube channel.

Speaking of SEO…. Somehow despite having had a blog for almost 5 years I completely ignored this basic skill (I’m embarrassed to admit it). This time I was not going to make the same mistakes, so we dove in. And deep. We learned so much through the Goats on the Road website. We even did one of their paid courses! I also watched every video on Cathrin Manning’s YouTube channel (and her blog ) and pretty much read every blog post on Keysearch’s blog . This is just to name a few. SEO was by far the skill we invested more time and money into.

This website was another thing that took a few months to put together. We started (and almost finished) a website with Squarespace at first. Then we learned -a few months later- that if you wanted to be serious about SEO, WordPress was the way to go. So, we had to make the decision about making the switch and start all over again. It was frustrating but we know it will be worth it.

All the structural work was done by us at the beginning. Then, we hired someone to add some final touches we couldn’t figure out on our own. We did it this way to save money and because building a website on our own would force us to learn about the basics. This is very valuable when you need to hire someone later on. It’s important that you know more or less what you are talking about, so you don’t get screwed like I did with my blog ‘ Ways of Style ‘ many many times.

We dove deep into the business of online marketing. Understanding algorithms became second nature and we familiarize ourselves with all the ways we could possibly make money online while traveling full time. I did a couple of courses on Instagram with the Professional Traveler that I cannot recommend enough! Even if you are a ‘established’ blogger or influencer. I had my Instagram as my main source of income and I didn’t know a lot of the things she teaches in her course. She’s brilliant!

We are not even close to being experts on any of these subjects. But we’ve been learning what we need in order to get started and we hope to get better over time. It was important for us to have a solid foundation on how exactly we were going to capitalize our 2-year world adventure and most importantly, make it a lifestyle. Sure it sounded fun to everyone, but we meant business. And we were serious about it.

What took most of our time while getting ready for this trip was planning it. If you don’t have an unlimited budget, you have to be smart about which destinations and activities to include. Plus, all the logistics involved in putting together such a long trip. We mostly did all the planning because we needed an estimate of how much this adventure would cost us, however, we don’t plan to stick to every little detail. We will try to stick to our budget instead.

Basically, all of our free time since October 2017 was invested towards something related to this trip. We had a lot of time to get ready, but some things we’ll have to figure out while on the road, which should be (mostly) fun.

We were set to leave on January 2021, but because of COVID-19, green card and passport issues, we are still waiting on things to align so we can start living our dream of traveling the world full time. One thing we know, we are ready to leave. We already sold all of our stuff and are living a nomad life because we are both able to work from wherever there’s a good internet connection.

COVID-19 of course, is going to have an impact on the way we travel. We need to get the vaccine as soon as possible and instead of hopping from country to country, we are planning on staying at least 2-3 months in each place.

July 2021 update: we both got vaccinated, G already quit his job and we are getting ready to leave in September. Stay tuned for more!

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The mental part // How on earth are we going to tell people about our life plans?

I don’t know how old you are, but as a socially acceptable responsible adult, you cannot say to other adults you are going to spend your savings traveling (not at 33 & 35). The thing is we NEVER intended to spend our life savings traveling, but to most people this whole making-money-online thing sounds like a scam. And I get it. I didn’t know much about it until I saw other people being transparent on how they were doing it.

The mental part was intense. It still is.

Getting mentally prepared to have no income, no home, basically no material things, living out of a suitcase, jumping from plane to plane every month, all while trying to build a meaningful and successful business together, has been slow to sink in.

According to most social standards, we are not in an age where we ‘should’ be traveling. Instead we ‘should’ be buying a house and thinking about having a family, or saving for retirement. Don’t think for a second it hasn’t been hard for us to deal with all of this. All of our friends are super stable and seem to have it all figured out, while we are just here thinking of investing all of our money on this crazy trip. It was not an easy decision to make, but we hope everything will be alright in the end.

Telling our friends and family about our new travel lifestyle wasn’t easy at all either. I think we can safely say that while everyone we love, does support us and think this trip is a cool idea, they also deep down think we are crazy and that we might be risking too much.

At times, it may seem like we don’t value the advice of all the smart people we have around us. The thing is though, we happen to believe in what we are doing so much and our vision for our life is so clear , that we still decided to move forward and at least try to build something together that is ours. We owe it to ourselves to at least give it a try.

We are getting older and of course we are terrified, but we’re also brave. It’s inevitable to think about the million things that can go wrong and panic. That’s why instead, we recently started to think about all the things that can go right.

What if. ..

We are actually able to execute our vision?

W e are able to live exactly the life we dream of living?

We can actually make the world a better place?

The answers to those questions act as our compass and motivation to move forward.

Naive? Maybe. Not trying? Never.

We wrote about this subject with a lot more details here. We share everything we did in this blog post.

Saving money was not easy. In fact, it was the reason why we had to wait over 3 years to leave and then some more because of COVID-19 and my green card.

We didn’t really have any money saved when we opened our savings account together. It was frustrating and felt impossible at times, but if we learned anything over these past years is that patience and consistency always pay off. For whatever it is that you are trying to save money for, remember that it all starts with $1.

We watched a lot of YouTube videos and read a million blogs to see how much money exactly we were going to need. Initially, before doing any research I guessed we would need like $100k per year LOL, but turns out you’ll be just fine with $35-40k/year. That’s the minimum for us, based on our traveling styles. You can do it for a lot less though. Trust us, we’ve learned about people who have traveled with just $10k and somehow survive one year. Again, it all depends on how you travel, where you go and what you’re willing to sacrifice.

Be sure to read this blog post to learn how exactly we saved money for our trip around the world.

Our health has always been very important to us, but it became even more important when we decided to leave.

Our health is not something we think about lightly or as a short-term thing motivated only by physical results (that’s only like 30% LOL). We started getting physically ready by going to the gym regularly and eating very healthy at home, which also helped us save some money. We love hiking, being in nature and being active. That’s why it was our top priority to be in good shape to do all the things we want to do and not have physical restrictions.

Do you guys usually take advice from older people? Well, I read somewhere that you should take advantage of your youth. That’s when you are strong and healthy to do all the crazy hikes, diving, trips, overnight buses, etc. Because when you are older, your travel style will definitely change. I’m honestly fine with that, but I do want to make sure to do all the crazy things while I still can.

Being healthy became part of our lifestyle. We do not intent to forget about that while we are on the road. We plan to work out and eat healthy most of the time while we travel too. It will be very hard because we both love food and cocktails, but hopefully we’ll find a good balance over time. It’ll be important for us to remember that we are not on vacation. We are permanently traveling and we want to grow old together and stay healthy.

Final thoughts // Are you thinking about traveling the world full time?

We hope this post gives you an idea of all the work it took to get ready for this. We didn’t think about it lightly. Just like a lot of people, we are risking everything in order to make our dream happen. All we can hope, is for it to be worth it.

* Learn how you can support the work we do *

By sharing all this info, we don’t mean to discourage you if you are thinking of doing the same. On the contrary, we are testimony that if you work hard towards your goals and stay focused, your dreams can become a reality.

“It is precisely the possibility of realizing a dream that makes life interesting.” – Paulo Coelho

There’s nothing special about us. If we can do it, so can you. It will take determination and discipline, but if you want it badly, you’ll do whatever it takes.

We have no idea what will happen after 2 years. We might come back home and start from zero, get a 9 to 5 job and start working like crazy to recover from spending all of our savings traveling. Or we might be able to build a business out of Ways of the World and continue to travel for years to come, who knows? One thing we know for sure, we are being bold for facing our fears and for trying something new we believe in our hearts is right. That’s something we’ll never regret.

Hope you guys follow our adventures on YouTube , Instagram or here. Either way, we hope to answer any questions you may have, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Thanks for stopping by,

Aimara & Gordon

should i travel full time

Related posts you may also like:

  • How to save money to travel – Our story, how we did it & useful tips
  • How COVID-19 impacted our plans to travel full time
  • Learn how you can support the work we do here at WOTW
  • More about what Ways of the World is all about

2 thoughts on “How To Prepare For A Life Of Full-Time Traveling”

should i travel full time

Awesome tips. I knew one must save money in order to full-time travel but I didn’t think about preparing physically for it. You guys are right. Being in good physical condition is important to keep traveling. Kudos on taking the leap.

should i travel full time

One of my dream jobs is to shoot walking videos in different cities. They seems very popular in YouTube. Just put record on and walk, then publish. No editing needed. Easy as ABC, Great post, thank you for sharing 🙂

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How to Travel Full Time: 78 Essential Tips

Posted by Daniel Constable | Last updated Nov 6, 2022

How to Travel Full Time: 78 Essential Tips

This post contains affiliate links.

I love to travel, and i f you’re reading this article, you probably do too.

When I left the country for the first time back in 2013, I had no idea what to expect. By the end of my two-month experience teaching in Belize, I knew that I wasn’t going to be getting a job and living in the U.S.

With a lot of trial and error I figured out how to travel full time and have lived and worked in over 15 countries. I’ve learned a lot during this time about what to do (and what not to do), and I’d love to share some that insight with all of you.

If you want to learn how to travel full time, these are the 78 essential tips you need to know before you begin. 

Ready to get started?

Money and Budgeting Tips

1. Be smart with your money. A lot of people think, “Oh. I’ll keep spending because I’ll never be back in this place again.” If you do that too often, you’re going to run out of money fast. Sometimes, the best nights and the best stories happen without spending a cent, so consider getting off the beaten path before you blow your budget.

2. Make money while you’re traveling. When people ask me how to travel full time, this is my go-to advice. You need to have a steady income! Di and I have been able to travel full time for two years now because we work as freelancers while we go.

3. Set a clear budget. Know your budget, and stick to it as much as you can. If you’ve never budgeted before, these budgeting apps can help you get started.

4. Use cash. Money feels a lot more real when it’s physically disappearing from your wallet. It’s a lot easier to overspend when it’s just one more card swipe rather than a trip to the ATM.

5. Save. A lot of people who travel full-time don’t make money a priority, but you should do your best to save money every month. Caring about retirement is cool.

6. Don’t worry too much about what other people or employers might think. People might tell you that extended travel is a bad idea, but we’ve been able to pay off our loans, save money, and advance our careers while traveling. The amount of remote workers is increasing , and people are much more open to working with them than you may think.

7. Be wary of anyone asking you to pay a deposit. If you give one in a foreign country, you’re just asking to lose a bunch of money or spend time arguing trying to get your money back. Even more so if you don’t speak the language.

8. Don’t trust someone just because they’re from your country. We thought we could trust a landlord in Colombia because he was American, but he was the worst one we’ve dealt with.

9. People will do just about anything to get as much money out of you as possible. If they seem like a hustler, they are.

10. Airbnb is great for protecting yourself from scammers in the rental industry. You can read reviews, rent from trustworthy people, and have a third-party mediator.

11. You get significant discount on Airbnb the longer you rent. We almost always get at least 20% when we rent for a month.

12. Take pictures of your apartment when you arrive and when you leave. If there’s ever a dispute, you’ll have evidence.

13. Know the tipping expectations. If they don’t tip, then don’t tip. If they tip, then tip.

14. Make sure you have an emergency fund. When you inevitably mess up and need to buy a new flight ASAP or drop money on something serious, you won’t have to worry about charges going through, over drafting, or anything else.

15. Always have a credit card on hand. If you can’t have an emergency fund, a credit car is the next best thing to ensure you’re never stuck someone you can’t get out of. They buy you time and are also necessary for some car rentals and other international purchases.

16. Separate the important stuff. Both you and your partner should have debit and credit cards, so if one of you gets pick pocketed or loses their wallet it’s not the end of the world. If you’re traveling alone, leave a second debit and credit card in your apartment when you go out to avoid being stranded without cash or access to your accounts if something goes wrong.

money and travel

Packing Tips

17. A deck of cards almost always comes in handy. There’s a ton of different two-person games to play, and it’s a great way to hang out with people you don’t really know.

18. Invest in sturdy boots. We do a lot of walking when we’re traveling, so I always bring a good pair of walking shoes with me.

19. Always bring a portable charger. No one wants to choose between photos of an exotic destination or music on the ride home. portable chargers are cheap and one of the most important items if you don’t want to be stuck staring into space on a bus, train, or plane.

20. Pack a headphone splitter if you’re a couple. Great for watching tv/movies or listening to music/podcasts together, especially when one person’s phone inevitable dies.

21. Don’t overpack. Pack everything you want, then remove half before you leave. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

22. Limit your luggage to one on your back, one on your stomach. We go with a big backpack and a small backpack and always have everything we need.

23. Packing a speaker is a great idea. I use my portable speaker all the time.

24. Consider a portable projector. Your apartments might not always have a TV, so look into portable projectors if you want something bigger than your laptop screen.

25. Always travel with an extra outfit in your carry-on bag . If your luggage is lost, you can at least feel fresh the next day when you start the miserable hunt to get it back.

26. Never put anything valuable in a checked bag or under the bus. Laptops, cameras, cellphones, and passports should all be in one bag that’s in your sight at all times.

27. If you’re sleeping in a bus, train, or air terminal, wrap the straps of your bag around your arm or leg before you pass out and get robbed.

28. Pack practically above all else. A cute sundress may look amazing, but jeans and a black tee will be appropriate for more events and seasons. Every article of clothing counts. If you don’t wear it in the first month, donate it or throw it out.

29. They don’t really wear shorts in a lot of countries. Americans love shorts. A lot of other countries don’t. Unless you’re going to be on a beach, skip them on your packing list.

packing a suitcase

Travel Tips

30. Don’t get caught up trying to see everything. When I first started traveling, I felt like I had to see and do it all. You just have to accept that you can’t see everything so that you can actually enjoy yourself.

31. Try not to say no too often. I find myself turning things down too much at times. I try to remember that I’m traveling to see and try new things.

32. Don’t romanticize traveling without a plan. It might sound adventurous and fun, but in reality it just means wasting hours at a coffee shop trying to figure out your next steps. We typically have the big stuff (i.e. accommodation) planned before we get somewhere.

33. Don’t rely on tour agencies to give you the facts. In a lot of countries they are willing to sacrifice your wellbeing to make some money.

34. Don’t rely on ratings alone for restaurants and businesses. Read reviews even if a rating is high because TripAdvisor has become less reliable over the years, and sometimes the average or bad reviews paint a different picture.

35. Take pictures of the mundane stuff. Beautiful landscapes are great, but snap some of your meals and partner and new friends you meet… those are the ones that will bring back the most memories in years to come.

36. Don’t be afraid to haggle, but don’t be a dick about it. Negotiation is expected in a lot of countries, so get comfortable doing it. Just don’t push it too much if it’s not a significant amount of money.

37. Don’t give to kids. Parents use them as beggars all the time, and though it’ll tug at your heartstrings it’s better in the long run not to support it. If you really feel terrible about yourself, find a reputable organization you can donate to instead.

38. On Airbnb, always verify that you’re actually renting an entire apartment and not sharing it. People list shared apartments as entire apartments all the time. Really read the description, and send a message to clarify before your book.

39. If someone seems like they don’t really know how to use Airbnb, don’t rent from them. If they struggle with the tech, they’ll probably struggle with providing a good experience.

40. Don’t buy too many souvenirs. They take up space and will usually fall apart or be thrown away the minute you get home.

41. You can find a lot of good information in Facebook groups. In more popular cities, there’s almost always an expat group of some sort where you can ask more specific questions.

42. Four full weekends is almost always enough time in one city. We typically stay in each city for five weeks, and it’s enough to enjoy a mix of visiting the big sites and getting off the beaten path.

43. The internet isn’t always right. Sometimes I show up in a city where everyone says you can’t drink the water, and it’s perfectly fine (looking at you, Sibiu .) Or, the media will sensationalize a culture (like Dubai) and we’ll show up to find that it’s way more normal and relaxed than the online articles make it appear.

44. When you start planning a trip, dedicate a gmail folder to it and move all confirmation emails directly to the folder. Then, when you’re traveling it will be much easier to find the one you need in the moment.

45. Before you set out on the next leg of your journey, screen shot addresses, phone numbers, and tickets or bar codes. You may find yourself without service or internet, and having the essentials safe on your phone can be a godsend.

46. Popular digital nomad destinations aren’t always the best. Medellin is praised as one of the best, but I’ve preferred almost every other city I’ve lived in to it. Do your own research, and don’t lock yourself into one place for too long.

47. Check tourism boards and ticketing websites for every city when you arrive. There’s often plenty of cool festivals, shows, and events that you’ll never hear about otherwise.

NYC from above

Transportation Tips

48. Always, always, always know the visa rules for every country you’re traveling through. We lost a lot of money because we didn’t know that we needed a visa to transfer airports in India on a layover. Don’t make a mistake like that.

49. Pay attention to whether your driver seems drunk. After a tuk-tuk driver almost drove us all off the side of a mountain one night, we’re much more careful about adhering to this rule.

50. Downloading movies and shows from Netflix to your phone is one of the best forms of entertainment. I used to only use music and podcasts, but now movies and shows are my go-to for long trips.

51. A Spotify subscription is worth it. We pay $10/month, and it’s 100% worth the money to have access to downloadable music and podcasts.

52. Being on the plane overnight is better than being in the airport overnight.  After spending a night in the Mexico City airport, I’ll do whatever I can to avoid it again. If you have to travel overnight, try to at least be on a flight.

53. Sometimes it’s better to spend a little bit of extra money on transportation. The more I travel the more I realize it’s often worth it to pay a little bit extra for comfort, speed, convenience or all three.

54. Always let someone know if you’re getting off the bus at a quick stop… otherwise, there’s a very real chance that your bathroom break could end with you getting left behind in the middle of nowhere!

Tips for Day-to-Day Life On The Road

55. Stay active, and sign up for gym memberships when possible. Unlike the US, most gyms in other countries don’t require craze fees and contracts. I always sign up for a month-long membership when I get to a city, and it helps keep me healthy and sane.

56. An endless vacation may sound like fun but even that comes with problems. Stick to a routine and stay productive. It will keep you from spending too much money, drinking too much, or getting traveler burn-out.

57, Buying groceries and cooking at home is cheaper and healthier than eating out. Going to restaurants regularly can be tempting, but try to cook at home during the weeks and save the meals out for a treat on the weekends.

58. Make an effort to look good. When you work from home and live out of a suitcase, it’s easy to get sloppy. Dressing nice can make you feel like a totally new person… even if it’s just for a trip to the grocery store.

59. A lot of medicines are widely available and significantly cheaper in other countries. You can usually find what you need in a pharmacy and get it over-the-counter without a prescription.

60. Google Fi is a decent worldwide phone plan, and there are ways to use it without having a Google device. I pay around $23/month for texts, $0.20 per minute for calls, and $10/GB of data on my iPhone. I believe it’s only for Americans at this time, but other countries have better phone plans anyways.

61. Sprint’s customer service sucks. We had them for over a year and didn’t have many positive experiences with them… but the Open World Plan for traveling in Latin America is still the best and cheapest option out there. 2019 Update: Sprint discontinued the Open World Plan, so I definitely recommend using Google Fi.

62. Apple products can be difficult to find at reasonable prices. I paid $90 for a $20 charger when I was in Mexico. Consider bringing an extra if you’re going somewhere that doesn’t typically carry Apple products.

63. Your apartment or hostel door will get stuck. And you’ll be left wondering how you’re going to get in when it’s late at night or freezing outside. Luckily pulling the door toward you as you unlock it will solve the problem and get it open again 98% of the time.

van on a beach

Tips for Making Friends

64. Do your best to meet new people. If you’re traveling with a partner, it can be easy to fall into your comfort zone. You have to make an effort to be social. People won’t just come up to you and ask to hang out, but if you initiate a conversation 99% of the time you’ll make a new friend.

65. That being said… there’s a difference between going out of your comfort zone, and being uncomfortable. Some people just suck to hang out with. If you get a bad feeling, don’t be afraid to leave the situation.

66. If someone makes it a point to tell you they’re a “traveler” and not a “tourist,” stay away from them. They’re often d-bags.

67. Volunteering at local nonprofits is a great way to meet people and feel good: You might have to do some digging to find opportunities, but it’s a good way to learn about the community.

68. Not every silence needs to be filled. I’ve noticed a lot of solo travelers tend to overshare because they don’t want the conversation to stall. Let it flow naturally and don’t try to control it, and it may end up on some great unexpected topics (or, just people asking you if you voted for Trump for the millionth time).

69. What’s everyone else ordering? If everyone at the restaurant has fish, don’t get the burger. Also, don’t be afraid to point at someones meal and ask the waiter what it is.

70. Sometimes you just need a little taste of home. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing McDonald’s or Starbucks every now and then, and you shouldn’t let anyone shame you out of it!

71. Don’t complicate things. When you try to change an order or ask too many questions with a language barrier, things will just get more muddled. Accept that you just probably won’t know what’s happening or what’s coming about 50% of the time.

72. Mentally prepare yourself now to pay exorbitant prices for peanut butter. That’s just how life works now. Oh, and you’ll never, ever, ever find grape jelly outside of the US.

73. One meal out is almost always enough. Split it and tell yourself if you’re still hungry, you can order more food after… I promise you’ll never need to.

food while traveling

Extra Tips for Full Time Travel

74. Keep your hands on your pockets in crowded areas, especially when you’re transitioning off a bus in a crowded area with a lot of bags. I got pick pocketed once, and now I’m always super careful.

75. Pat yourself down whenever you’re getting out of a cab before letting them drive off. We’ve left THREE phones in cabs. Now we always pat ourselves down and check that we have everything before letting the car drive away.

76. Always put your pictures/videos in the cloud. It’s easy to download the Google Photos app and directly upload all of your photos at the end of each day. After losing every picture from three weeks in Thailand when I got pick pocketed on the last day, I back everything up.

77. ALWAYS check the meter before the taxi starts driving. Too many drivers will start it with the last fare still running, or won’t turn it on at all and demand a crazy price at the end. If there isn’t a meter in your taxi, check the estimated trip price on Uber before agreeing to one with the driver, and always confirm a final price before you get in. Actually, just avoid taxis when you can, but be extra careful while in them if you can’t.

78. Learn the emergency number for every country you’re in. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s important to be aware that it’s not 911 everywhere.

Learn How to Travel Full Time With These 78 Essential Tips!

Learning how to travel full time takes a lot of trial and error. It’s a completely new lifestyle and you’re going to need some time to adjust – I know I did. 

I learned many of these travel lessons the hard way. Don’t be like me, and take these 78 long term travel tips to heart before you pack your bags and hit the road!

Ready to go?

Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to your next destination and then explore accommodation like unique stays on Airbnb or the top-rated hotels on Booking.com to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in the country.

Then, browse the Long Term Travel Series to see my packing list for long term travel (that fits in a carry on bag), my long term travel FAQ for digital nomads and much, much more! 

Did you know every time you read an article on Slight North, you're also planting trees for the monarchs in Mexico? Start here to learn more about our mission and how to get the most out of the site!

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How to Travel Full-time A Complete Guide to Perpetual Travel

a road triangles into the horizon, mountains and the sunshine of a new promise all that the distance holds

Photo by Daniel D'Auria

By Nathan Swartz

The entire prospect of this magazine aims to answer this question, but the realization suddenly dawned upon our dear office on wheels that perhaps not everyone might have the time or desire to read each and every article and blog post on this site.

Thus this all-in-one guide is born. There will be links, there will be references to other articles, but more or less this is your “How to get on the road, ditch your job, and live in an RV full-time” field guide.

How to Make Money while Traveling

benjamin franklin was an entrepreneur

Making a Living on the Road

As the idea of perusing the countryside through your windshield floats to the top of your brain on a daily basis, you’ll no doubt be consumed with thoughts of all the grandeur that will undoubtedly take place with your new mobile lifestyle. Climbing mountain peaks, epic oceanside vistas over lunch, winding roads through otherworldly desert landscapes, these are the things that dreams are made of.

And then you’ll realize that all of this flirting around with nomadism will require an income source.

How you’ll make money on the road largely depends on you. It’s true that most folks who we’ve met doing this are earning their cash via the wwws, Mr. Internet.com. Software developers, web designers and people doing support work for internet companies seem to make up the majority of those who’ve managed to make a movement towards mobile awesomeness.

Writers and photographers abound, too.

But those aren’t the only ways to make a living on the road. While they do have online income as well, our friends Jim & Rene of Live.Work.Dream can speak to the value of workamping. While you won’t get rich, exchanging your time for free rent and even a few extra bucks can be a great way to add yet another trickle to your income stream. Similarly, serving as a campground host–typically at state parks–usually doesn’t pay anything, but it can eliminate your rent altogether, minimizing your expenses.

vintage cars outside of a gas station in some beautiful wooded locale


Lauren and Travis Hardy are another example that comes to mind. They travel around in their 1963 Airstream selling handmade and unusual items, a mobile boutique if you will. Their living space and shop are one in the same, and the unique lifestyle they’ve created has allowed them to travel from Maine to Southern California, Oregon to Georgia, doing what they love and seeing the nation all along.

The biggest factor on whether you’ll be a successful freelancer or entrepreneur is you. If you’re dedicated to your dream, creating an income source to support that dream is as important as anything. You’ll need to be the type of person who can balance a beautiful day at the beach with the hours necessary to make sure those beach days can continue.

What to Live in

Some full-timers rent vacation houses. Get a spot for a month or two, typically out of season, and you’d be surprised at the discounts you’ll get for volume. Vacation renters often love people who will take their property for a few months, it adds some regular income for them while at the same time removing a lot of the hassle that comes with renting to someone new every few days.

Most of us live out of some type of vehicle, though. From rockstar Class A RVs with all of the comforts of home and half the space to tow along trailers to Volkswagen Bus campervans, when we meet people on the road, this is how they’re living. In a nutshell, here are some ways to help you narrow down your decision making.

Slow Travel or See Everything?

houses stacked atop one another, beachfront

Vacation Rentals 101: How to Rent Short Term Housing for Travelers

If you’re the type who loves to immerse themselves in the culture of the places you visit, there is no doubt that renting vacation houses is the way to go. It’s only after a month or so of living somewhere that you really start to experience the nuances of what makes any given location tick tock around the clock all night. The checkout ladies at the grocery store will get to know your name, you’ll meet a friend or two, and the surface fluff–aka the “touristy” stuff–will begin to fade as you learn where the locals hang out, and why.

The downsides of living in vacation houses is that it’s easily more expensive, and you have to live out of suitcases, moving your clothes and gear with you every time you switch destinations. Depending on how you get to the places you go, this can be a bit of a pain. If you drive from one spot to another, maybe it’s not such a big deal, but if you’re flying around the world, how much can you carry with you on those planes?

Also, if you stay somewhere for two or three months at a pop, you won’t see much of the world. You’ll see some of the world more clearly, and that is a beautiful thing, if you take it slow (can’t recommend it enough!) but you won’t knock out all 50 states any time soon. If you like the freedom of having your home come with you, and all of your stuff, too, then an RV is the way to go.

Freedom or Comfort

Let’s say you’ve realized that the RV life is for you. You’ll float around with your fridge never too far away, the open road yours for the picking and any time you don’t like your location, open up an atlas, point your finger and go.

The term “RV”, unfortunately, is pretty broad. I’ve found that there are two ways of classifying all RVs: big and small.

With a massive Class A or the Fifth Wheels that can be just as spacious, you don’t really have to give up that much space in exchange for this lifestyle. Particularly if you were a young person or couple who lives in an apartment anyway, you might not notice much of a difference in the amount of space you’re living in as you hop into your grand old rig and head out into the world. The fanciest RVs have big TVs, big fridges, hell I’ve even seen those with slide outs that open up to a deck.

We’ve gone days, if not an entire week, at a time watching as retirees in these types of large, cushy RVs never need to leave their house for all of the comforts that can be stocked inside. Of course, there are plenty of extremely active people who engage themselves in the places they go living in big rides, too.

Jason and Nikki of Gone with the Wynns come to mind, as does the family behind Where in the Howell are We?

Both of those groups prove that just because you’ve got a giant motorhome, that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and into the wild. It’s possible, but there is a limitation that size like that brings, whether it’s where you can physically fit, how easy it is to maneuver around the backstreets of small towns and cities, and the gas you’ll guzzle all the while.

On the other end of the spectrum is the VW Bus, Class B “campervan” and Sportsmobile-type rides. These are all essentially vans that have been kitted out in one way or another to provide living space and a variety of other conveniences for making a life out of such a small space.

Volkswagen Buses (often referred to as “Westies / Westfalias” when they’ve been converted to campervans) are about as small as a home on the road can be, but still pack in a fridge, Coleman stove, often a sink and even a propane heater. The older the better (vintage cred goes a long way to making it on the road), when kept in running order they can be taken nearly anywhere, you can almost literally call any legally available parking spot your home, and an entire subculture is out there just waiting to chat with you about your choice of home-on-the-road.

True Class B RVs are more like suped-up conversion vans. A company takes a van like a Chevy 2500 or Ford E-250 and kits it out with screened windows, a fridge, beds, sometimes a shower and toilet; just about anything you’d expect from a normal RV but in a much smaller space. They’re typically as long as “extended” vans, have running boards which limit their clearance, and if you wanted an option with satellite television and a flat screen, it wouldn’t be impossible to find. Roadtrek, Pleasure Way and Airstream are all brands to look into for this type of campervan.

When I refer to a Supervan, a term I may or may not have made up, I’m talking about rides like Sportsmobile customizes for you. The ingredients are essentially this: take a van, add four wheel drive, a pop top, a kitchen, throw on a bunch of cool looking gas tanks and ladders on the outside, and go wherever you frickin’ want. I have lived in a Class C, then a Volkswagen Bus, and currently a 31′ Airstream and my next move will be to a Supervan, if that means anything to you.

The extremes of the spectrum covered, you’ll no doubt realize how many in-betweens exist within this range. Motorhomes vs. trailers, vans vs. RVs, fifth wheels or pop ups, truck campers or school buses, there are literally dozens of combinations available to suit any particular family or couple’s needs.

What I find though is that figuring out exactly which one is right for you before you hit the road can be daunting, if not downright impossible. The best advice possible is this: nearly everyone I know is either happy with what they have, or wishes they’d have gone smaller. Their are families living in rock stars who wouldn’t have it any other way, and there are those living in mid-sized RVs who wish they would have gone for a campervan. I’ve never heard of anyone who wishes they could go larger.

One way to test things out for yourself is to do an extended rental from somewhere like El Monte or Cruise America. I suggest at least two or three weeks to really get the feel for what day to day life is, after giving yourself a little time to let the sheer thrill of the adventure fade off a little.

New or Used

The final big decision is all about how you want to spend your time and money. Every RV, like any other vehicle or home, requires maintenance. How much maintenance depends on what you buy, and that choice stems from your personal situation.

a sea of different types of RVs populating an RV park in Missoula, Montana

The Complete Guide to Choosing and Buying RVs for Full-Time Traveling

It’s no big eye-opener that buying used is cheaper, at least in the short term. I find that it’s vastly cheaper even in the long run, but instead of dropping a set amount of money up front and then paying a fixed monthly payment, when buying used you essentially put a downpayment on your rig and then your “monthly payments” are whatever you decide to do this month to either keep things going or get them where you want them to be.

I’ll use our 1976 Airstream as an example, again going with the “extremes” model here. Because we chose to go with a vintage vehicle, we only had to pay $7000 up front. That meant I was able to save for a year or so and buy the trailer outright. No payments, to me, is important, because I like to spend the money I have on wants instead of needs.

Within three months of owning the Airstream, however, I’d dropped a couple grand into redoing much of the interior to suit our family. Would I have purchased a new Airstream, I could have gone for many of the options and color schemes we wanted right out of the box. Not exactly what we did by any means, but something suitable would have been available. In addition to maybe $2000 worth of paint, polishing tools and liquids, and all of the random hardware, wiring and exterior gear needed just to get her roadworthy, I spent nearly one hundred hours working on her. That included learning how things worked, fixing them, and a lot of driving back and forth to the closest Ace Hardware.

simple RV blueprint

How Everything in an RV Works

We also bought a used van to tow her with. It was a beautiful piece of machinery, a conversion van that was kitted out enough that we could use it for a bedroom as well as a means of hauling our Airstream and family around. However, it was almost 20 years old when we got it, and though it was a champion on its own, the weight of the Airstream was too much for its cooling system. Everything was rated correctly, I did my research, it was just that a van of that age couldn’t do the job any more. We ended up putting, again, weeks of time into it before we broke down and bought a newer 2006 Ford E-350 that was more than enough to get ‘er done. I took on a payment, even for a used vehicle, in order to spare myself any more of my own time tinkering with what wasn’t working on the side of the road.

Aside from oil changes and keeping air in the tires, we’ve had nearly no issues with this new van since. Because it was used, I was able to pay it off within the year, and we ended up with something reliable and affordable.

Back to the Airstream though. A few months down the road and we needed new brakes, the old ones were shot. New tires to replace the cheapos I’d opted for the first time around. Our electrical system required a good deal of updating, almost as much as was involved in getting the plumbing and water system in general ready for boondocking. Throw in a busted frame, replacement of our nearly forty year old axles, and the minutia of little things like getting propane leaks fixed and replacing everything from the toilet and much of the sewage systems to the fridge, and we’re now close to $20,000 into this vehicle.

I could have purchased a used Airstream from the mid-2000s for around $30,000. I would have still had to do some upgrades, yes, but nowhere near what I’ve done to our 1976. I also would have saved probably two to three months in actual time working on the thing. Would that have been worth $10,000? If you’re desperate for time, yes, but for me much of what I learned working on the old girl was worth that $10k.

If we were to have purchased a brand new or nearly new Airstream, our price tag would have been closer to $50-$70,000. Even if there was never an ounce of maintenance required on the thing for as long as we might live in it, all of that time I spent fixing up the old would have been working my job to pay for the new. I don’t mind my job one bit, but on any given day, if I can do it for half of the day and spend the other half learning how alternating current works, then I choose the latter.

How to Get Rid of Your Stuff, Ditch Your House

Once you know how you’ll make a living and the logistics of your living situation, it’s time to remove the old baggage that’s keeping you in one physical location.

As for getting rid of stuff, well in theory it’s as easy as one more piece of pie, please. You can throw it all in the trash. Donate it to Goodwill. Sell it on Craigslist. For us, it’s always been a combination of all three.

We’ll have a yard sale. I price things cheaply so they’ll go, if my goal is to eliminate “things” then no better way to do it than to have a stranger pay me a few bucks to haul it away.

From what’s left, we’ll see if any of it is good enough to take to Goodwill. Surprisingly, almost everything is (they have a “broken cell phones” section after all).

Load it up, drop it off, get a receipt for your taxes if you’d like.

How to Travel Full-time

From making a living to raising your kids, where to go and more!

Whatever’s left is trash. Throw it in the bin, recycle it, just get it out of your life.

If you’re a renter that’s really all there is to it. If you own a home, you’ll need to make the big decision: Should I sell my house, rent it out, or just let it sit?

Whether you’re selling a house or just getting rid of a bunch of stuff, you’re bound to run into some emotional ties with things that you don’t want to get rid of. All of those pictures your kids have been drawing all of these years that you keep in a box under your bed just in case you ever want to look at them. The fine china, those extra pants you know you’ll need if you’re ever asked to officiate a Hawaiian themed marriage (again). Emotional bonds can hold us back just as strongly as a desire to adventure can leave us longing for the road.

My best advice is this: weigh what’s more important to you. You can collect things, or you can collect experiences. I know which one I choose every time.

How to Do it all with Kids

Now what about those little ankle biters you’ve found yourself with over the years. Is it parentally responsible to just pull them out of school, get rid of all of their stuff, and remove them from their network of friends? That’s not an easy question to answer.

Does travel open up a young person’s mind to new things, experiences they never would have had anyway? Will they learn more from a hike through Yosemite than an entire quarter of public school? Will spending their days with their family instead of a teacher and classmates make for a more close-knit home life?

As you can see, depending on the questions you ask, the answers can gravitate heavily one way or the other. If you’ve got tikes, and want to travel, you’ll need to arrive at this conclusion yourself: travel is infinitely better for anyone, regardless of age, than stagnation. It encourages life outdoors, provides input from channels you may have never even dreamt of were you not thrust into their midst, and all in all teaches children how to think, how to solve real life problems, instead of being presented with predesigned courses and pieces of paper intended to lead them in a specific direction known as fact memorization.

If you disagree, that is completely fine. But I think a general acknowledgement of those truths is necessary for any parent who decides to gift their children with a traveler’s gear.

The Little Details

Now that we’ve got the big stuff down, let’s talk minutia. Getting mail is hard when you don’t have a fixed address. The Internet does, indeed, suck monumentally when you’re relying on free WiFi and cellular connections compared to high speed at home. Doctor’s visits, grocery shopping and your daily showering routine will all change significantly. Even trying to buy a six pack will be somewhat of a new adventure as you meander across state lines, and state laws.

Luckily, we’ve written an entire issue on how to navigate all of these things.

Where Should I Go?

It’s funny how easy it is to imagine yourself traveling. It’s even more comical when you finally get behind the wheel and realize you’re not sure exactly where to go.

While most of us will start out with some destinations in mind, places we’ve long wanted to experience, it’s easy to burn through those pretty quickly. Even if you do know that you want to go to Austin, Texas and then Boulder, Colorado, well, there’s a lot of stuff in between. How do you figure out which campsite is the best? Or which region you should even begin looking in?

For some people, these decisions define them. Take Brian and Maria of the Traveling Pint, for example. They began just randomly wandering about. Early on, they were wondering what to do and so headed to a brewery. For the past few years, touring from one brewery to the next has become what they do. It makes sense: craft breweries and great places go hand in hand. Towns like Boulder and Asheville, North Carolina have breweries precisely because of the conduciveness of the great outdoors, great small towns, and great beers. People who like one of those often like the other two as well. Voila, a solution has been had!

When I first began traveling, I was more or less aimless. Drive down the road, listen to people’s suggestions, go there. I soon realized that I loved really, really small towns. So I found a list of the smallest and started checking them out. After a year or so, and by this time I’d picked up a new girlfriend who had input of her own, we found that state parks were our preferred places to stay. We also realized that you could find really great natural areas and exceptional small towns with a simple method:

  • Find a nearby National Park.
  • Look at the towns around it. Just do a search on Google Maps like “bars near Mt. Rainier National Park” or “coffee shops near Redwoods National Park”. That will give you a list of two or five towns to set your sites on.
  • Then, in each one of those towns do a search for “Walmart” and “McDonalds”. If either one of those show up, you can be pretty sure the towns will be large, and likely surrounded by strip mall. I avoid those and focus in on the others.

From there you can make your individual decisions: do I stay in the park and visit the towns, or find an RV park in the town and visit the National Park? You may also love strip malls and want to be back to back with your nextdoor RVing neighbor, in which case ignore all of the advice I ever give.

How to Save Money

a classic VW bus and Superbeetle parked, without any hookups, atop a cliff, camping in the wild, AKA boondocking

This is Boondocking

Finally, once you’ve figured everything out and you’re on the road, you’re going to want to save some cash. While there are a lot of ways to save money on the road, there are three surefire ways we’ve found to cut some of the biggest expenses.

Firstly, if you take it slow, and stay in any given RV park for a month or more at a time, you can often get killer monthly rates from $300 – $600 / month. You’ll also save a ton on gas this way.

If you do want to travel around a lot though, look into state parks instead of private RV parks. Rates are typically closer to $20 / night, and while they may not always have full hookups, that’s comparable to $35 – $50 / night in private RV parks these days.

Finally, joining membership clubs is definitely a good way to go. I am a member of AAA, Good Sam and KOA. All three get me 10% off, but not all three work at every single park. I’ve also used Passport America, where you get 50% off overnighters, before and it proves to be easy to make a profit on as well.

Working 9-5 but want to travel more? Here's how you can do it

Sasha Brady

Jan 31, 2020 • 5 min read

should i travel full time

It's possible to see the world and hold down a regular, full-time job if you plan in advance ©Alline Waldhem/travelafter5

Work and travel don't have to be mutually exclusive. With a full-time job you can still pack a lot in. It just requires a bit of planning. To figure the best way to do it, we spoke to two travellers who've managed to maximise their vacation time while holding down a regular 9-5.

A woman overlooks the beach at Nice on a sunny day

Samantha Buss is a veterinary nurse and part-time travel blogger who lives in Surrey, England. Working full-time, she gets 21 annual leave days plus bank holidays. With that, she takes about six or eight trips a year, usually consisting of two larger trips alongside shorter weekend breaks. Last year alone she visited  Paris , the Netherlands , Ukraine , South Africa , Vietnam , Italy and Japan . 

Samantha says she likes to start the year with clear travel goals in mind and decides on two main destinations that she wants to visit. "From there I will research the best and cheapest time of year to visit and book the time off work as soon as possible," she tells Lonely Planet. "Weekend trips are usually more spontaneous, however, I will try to latch these on to bank holiday weekends to reduce the amount of annual leave needed. Occasionally, I also travel abroad to volunteer with wildlife, usually to South Africa or Southeast Asia , as this relates to my work; my work will allow this time off as additional unpaid-leave."

A young woman sits on disused train tracks in Hanoi

Most European workers like Samantha get about 21 to 25 paid holiday days per year. In the US it's much less at 10 paid vacation days. That said, you can still use weekends for short trips and conserve annual leave for bigger trips. Typically 9-5 jobs operate on a Monday-Friday schedule so most workers already have weekends off. That means you have about 104 free days each year, not including public holidays. 

Samantha recommends looking at how you can utilise weekends and public holidays to maximise your vacation time . Only use annual leave for travel time, as opposed to appointment times. And speak to your employer to see what else is available to you. "So many people fear doing this, but you may actually be surprised at some of the options your company has in place, such as unpaid leave for volunteer trips, flexible working hours or even sabbaticals," says Samantha. "Larger companies especially are really changing, more and more frequently offering more in order to retrain productive and valued employees."

A woman in a rain poncho at the Cliffs of Moher

Alline Waldhelm , originally from São Paulo, Brazil, lives in Vienna. She works full time as a financial analyst with regular 9-5 hours and gets a whopping 25 paid vacation days per year. On average, she takes about 15 trips annually, usually short breaks , and when possible, stretches them out over long weekends. While she likes discovering new places, she usually returns to the same city two or three times on weekend trips.

"You can't exhaust a city in one weekend but you can get a feel for it. I always return. There are always new things you can find in a second or third visit," she tells Lonely Planet. And the more familiar you become with a place, the more you can optimise your time there in a short break. When she's feeling spontaneous, Alline says she uses Skyscanner's 'Everywhere' search to find the best deals on cheap flights. At other times, she'll look at options closer to home that can be discovered by more sustainable means of travel.

Tourists at the Parthenon in Greece

Having built-in flexibility to her schedule is important, just in case a great deal comes up. And if an opportunity for travel presents itself at short notice, Alline is usually ready to go. "I always have a suitcase somewhat ready with my passport, camera and toiletries bag. For me, it's easy on Fridays to just go to the office with my bags and from there, go to the airport. Sometimes I come back on a Sunday evening or Monday morning and go straight to the office."

When time is limited, she recommends visiting a city with good infrastructure so precious hours aren't wasted on the airport commute. And while it may be cheaper to book hotels further out of the city, when you only have a couple of days, it's best to find one that's conveniently located. If funds are tight, a hostel with a private room in the city centre should do the trick. "You'll be out exploring as much as possible so it won't matter," adds Alline.

Young woman in the bamboo forest, Japan

Bottom line: you don't have to choose between frequent travel and your career, both are possible. See what's available to you and make the most of it. And take what you're owed. A report showed that in 2018, American workers actually forfeited a record 798 million paid vacation days, days off that were earned. But getting away from the office, whether it's to take a trip to a nearby town or fly off to some far-flung destination, can benefit your mental health . 

It's official: going on vacation helps you live longer

"Like many, I adore my full-time job but it can be incredibly stressful," says Samantha. "Travel is my escape from it and takes me back to me again, as clichéd as it sounds. For me, it is so exciting to immerse yourself in a completely new culture and see how differently people live, I also believe you learn life skills and a confidence while travelling that are not obtainable at home. Also, food. You cannot get better than an authentic Pad Thai in Thailand."  

You might also like:  The A-Z of accommodation costs around the world Where to go when: the best places to visit through 2020     Trips for travellers who want to learn something new

This article was first published November 2019 and updated January 2020

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The Professional Hobo

The Ultimate Packing List for Full-Time Travel and Long-Term Travel

Last Updated: April 11, 2024

The Ultimate Packing List for Full-Time Travel

Sharing is Caring!

What to pack to travel the world? Good question. Want to see the ultimate packing list I use for my full-time travels? Below you’ll find my full packing list travel, which will totally give you some ideas for your next trip. 

When traveling the world or embarking on a long-term travel adventure, there are some essential items you’ll need to pack in order to have a successful trip. It’s different for each and every one – so what works for one person, might not work for another. But there’s a formula for what you’ll need to bring on your trip, whether it’s for a week, a month, or even a year or longer.

I first wrote about this in 2010, and since then my “hobo essentials” have changed and morphed many times over. In October 2019 I re-composed this entire travel packing list and surrounding content.

I now keep this post up to date with the latest and greatest travel bits and bobs that I hit the road with…every time!  It’s the perfect template of travel bag contents so you can create your own ultimate pack list. 

See also: Pro Packing Hacks – Here are the Best Travel Accessories for Saving Space and Organizing Your Stuff

Check out my special Amazon Storefront with specially curated travel gear that I use all the time! 

Time for packing! Want the ultimate packing list? Here's exactly what I pack for my full-time travels - down to every last item. #FullTimeTravel #TravelPlanning #BudgetTravel #TravelTips #PackingTips #CarryOnTravel #TravelGear #TravelClothing

Travel Kit Contents: This is the Real Deal

This is – quite literally – exactly what I pack for my full-time and long-term travels. There are a few minor differences in colour or style (some things I own are older or newer), and in a couple of cases I’ve gone with a very close approximation (since I may have bought that scarf from a Nepalese lady in a market). Your own packing list for vacation will vary according to your personal style and preferences; consider this your travel packing list template. 

In the description next to each of the items in this post, you’ll learn why I travel with that item, tips and tricks for using it effectively, and a link so you can get more information and see where to buy it yourself.

Note that many of the links below are affiliate links; if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a (deplorable, but noteworthy) commission. This is how I make my living, and can spend all the time I do providing posts like these to help you travel. I thank you in advance for your support! 

Use this travel packing list as a guide for developing your own ultimate packing list, for vacation, a long-term trip, or lifestyle travel. The truth is, once you have a certain amount of basics, you can travel for as long as you want with it. The beauty of having versatile clothing and items is that you can pack light and still have everything you need for an extended period of time.

FELLAS: Don’t get overwhelmed by “little black dress” recommendations. Aside from clothing and some toiletries, you’ll get lots of use from this packing list. For wardrobe choices, check out the Best Travel Clothes for Men , and also Aviator’s collection of merino wool tops and travel-friendly pants.

Packing Tips Before You Travel

Let us first start with the most basic and important item on your travel packing checklist: your documents. This is especially critical if you’re traveling internationally, but even if you’re staying within your own country, it’s always good to have all of your documents in order.

See also: Essential Things to Do Before You Travel

First on the list is travel insurance. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have good travel insurance when you’re on the road. Travel insurance will protect you in case of an emergency, whether it’s a medical situation, lost luggage, or even trip cancellation.

Travel insurance can be obtained through your credit card company, travel agent, or directly from an insurance provider. I always recommend getting travel insurance directly from an insurance provider. This way, you know that you’re getting a policy that is specifically designed for travelers and that will cover you in case of an emergency.

There are many different types of travel insurance policies available, so make sure to read the fine print and choose a policy that suits your needs. Start with this travel insurance guide that includes a glossary and some specific recommendations .

If you’re traveling internationally, you will need a passport. A passport is a document that proves your identity and citizenship and allows you to travel to foreign countries. If you don’t have a passport, you can apply for one at your local post office or through the Passport Office.

Make sure to check the expiration date on your passport and make sure it is valid for at least six months after your planned return date. Also, be sure to check the visa requirements of the countries you are visiting and make sure you have the necessary visas.

A visa is a document that allows you to enter a foreign country for a specific period of time. Visas are required for most countries, and the requirements vary from country to country.

There are two main types of visas: tourist visas and business visas. Tourist visas are usually valid for a shorter period of time, while business visas are typically valid for a longer period of time.

Always make sure to double-check the visa requirements of the country you are visiting and make sure you have the correct type of visa.

Flight Tickets

Flight tickets are your proof of travel and allow you to board your plane. It is crucial that you have your flight tickets with you when you travel.

If you’re traveling on an international flight, make sure to have your passport and visa with you when you check in for your flight.

Lodging Confirmation

If you have booked a hotel, hostel, or other types of lodging in advance, be sure to bring your confirmation with you. This will help to ensure that you get the room you booked and that there are no problems with your reservation.

Now that you have the most basic needs covered, let’s move on to what luggage and packing tools you’ll need for your trip.

Time to Pack my Bags! Here’s the Ultimate Packing List for Travel

Here’s my international travel packing list in all its glory…..keep reading below to learn how I reduce this to carry-on size only, along with a few clarifying notes and packing information. When it’s time to pack my bags, this travel checklist is exactly what I use.

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Vacation Packing List: Luggage and Packing Tools

One of the most important aspects of packing is choosing the right luggage and packing tools. There are many different types of luggage to choose from, so it’s important to find one that suits your needs.

Carry-on luggage should be small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of the plane and should have a weight limit of around 10-15 kg. Checked luggage is larger and can weigh up to 30 kg (though most airlines allow something closer to 20kg for free).

Here’s a list of luggage and packing tools that I highly recommended and that will make packing a breeze.

Osprey Wheeled Backpacks

WHEELED BACKPACK – If you are not aware of it yet, a wheeled travel backpack is an amazing travel packing tool. It is rolling luggage, but with backpack straps that allow you to carry it when rolling isn’t practical or possible, making it the best of both worlds. 

For checked-size wheeled backpacks, the Osprey Farpoint (for men), and Osprey Fairview (for women) is perfect for the items on this trip packing list. It’s 65 litres, and has the added benefit of some zip-away backpack straps for when rolling isn’t practical. ( Here’s why that’s great ). Here are the features I look for in my checked luggage: soft-sided, rugged wheels, durable lockable zippers. This luggage has all that…and more. NOTE: It is not carry-on sized. If you need something larger, check out the Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Travel Pack 80L/28″ , or the Daylite Wheeled Duffel 85L (though something as big and heavy as these will be a bear to wear on your back, so use the straps only when you must. In general I implore you to find a way to pack LESS; you can thank me later).

When I’m traveling with carry-on luggage only, I use the Osprey Daylite Carryon Wheeled Duffel 40L , which is small enough to adhere to most international carry on standards and has some ingenious backpack straps that don’t take away from valuable carry-on packing space).

If you prefer hard-shell spinner luggage (checked or carry-on size), I recommend the Textured Collection by Level8 . The material is ultralight and scratch-resistant, the wheels are super quiet and ridiculously smooth, and the built-in TSA combo locks are fun. If you need a bit more space in a carry-on, the Level8 Grace EXT Expandable rolling carry-on with separate laptop pocket is amazing. This is what I’ve been traveling with lately. Available only on Amazon, here . See also: Checked vs. Carry On Luggage, and How to Choose What You Need

Hoboroll ultimate packing tool

HOBOROLL (SEGSAC TRAVELER) – The Hoboroll has been a long-time friend and useful packing/travel companion. It organizes all my little stuff (like underwear, socks, scarves, workout gear, etc) and compresses it to fit gracefully into my luggage. And it’s ultralight so it doesn’t add weight while saving lots of space.

Note: The Hoboroll is currently being redesigned and re-released in 2024! Stay tuned.

Packable day pack

PACKABLE TRAVEL BACKPACK – This is one of my favourite pieces of travel kit. It’s a day pack that packs down to the size of a tennis ball (in some cases smaller, actually). The backpack is perfect for carrying around your essentials while exploring a new city or going on a day hike. Here’s a breakdown of the top ultralight packable daypacks for you to consider.

PURSE, WALLET, DAYPACK – I cannot stress enough how important it is to invest in a good-quality purse, wallet, and daypack. A cheap purse will fall apart after just a few months of use, and a poorly made wallet can be a pickpocket’s dream come true.

Your daypack, purse, and wallet choices boil down to personal preference and needs. At the very least, look for RFID protection in your wallet. Having a purse/daypack that is water resistant and tamper-proof also helps. 

should i travel full time

Pacsafe makes great secure travel-friendly and stylish bags – I own a few purses and daypacks made by them and can attest to their quality. My Pacsafe daypack of choice is the Pacsafe Citysafe CX Anti-Theft Backpack . It can be worn as a backpack or carried as a tote, has all kinds of organizational and security features, and is made of recycled materials!

While I think Pacsafe has the best range of options, I recently tested the Everyday Totepack by Peak Design , which I think has its merits and is a sleek unisex look with some incredible organizational features.

For yet another option (that I think could be a real winner), I’m currently testing out the Knack Packs S2 Medium sized expandable backpack . The ability to expand from 24L to 35L makes this backpack incredibly versatile for all travel needs.    See also: Best Anti-Theft Bags and Accessories, and Tips for Keeping Your Stuff Secure

Vacation Packing List: Clothing

Now, let us move on to one of the most important aspects of packing – clothes. The number of clothes you take with you will, of course, depend on the climate of your destination and the duration of your trip. For instance, if you are going to a tropical country for two weeks, you won’t need to pack as many clothes as someone who is going to Europe for six months.

As a general rule of thumb, I would recommend packing clothes that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. For example, a neutral-colored top can be worn with a skirt, shorts, or pants. Denim is also very versatile and can be dressed up or down.

I’m obviously skewing this trip packing list towards women (since this is exactly what I travel with), but men can translate the basic idea to fit their own needs. 

2023 UPDATE: I did a 3-month carry-on only trip through Europe in summer with a 100% Merino Wool Travel Capsule Wardrobe. It worked a charm! Here’s why you might want to consider doing the same .

Here is a basic formula that you can use as a packing guide:

Kate Pants by Anatomie Travel Clothing

2 PAIRS OF (FULL-LENGTH) PANTS – Two pairs of pants are all you’ll need, if you’re also bringing the stuff below. Fellas, unless you really want to pack dresses and leggings, you  might just want to take three pairs of pants. 😉 (See also: Best Travel Clothes for Men ). My absolute must-haves are Anatomie’s Kate Cargo Pants and Luisa Skinny Jeans . If you have sticker shock, click here to learn why it’s actually worth it. 

Use the discount code NORA20 to get $20 off your order! (Minimum order amount is $120 to qualify. Enjoy free shipping on all domestic orders.

1 PAIR LEGGINGS – Multifunctional pants such as yoga pants or leggings can be worn both as pants and as pajamas, and as an underlayer for extra warmth. They are also great for working out, hiking, or simply lounging around the house. I am utterly in love with Unbound Merino’s leggings – first off they’re made of merino wool which has a thousand travel-friendly properties. In addition, they’re comfy, durable, flattering, and the hidden zipper pocket helps keeps a few things secure while you’re on the go.

1 PAIR CAPRI PANTS or SHORTS – Capri pants or shorts are perfect for hot weather and can be dressed up or down. Go with a pair of capri pants or shorts – as you like (I find capri pants to be more versatile). 

Every girl needs a little black dress for travel

“LITTLE BLACK DRESS” – Every girl needs the perfect “little black dress”! Here’s what to look for in a travel dress: lightweight and short sleeved (you can add layers for cooler climates), wrinkle-free, dark colour, classic style. I actually own two dresses, but if you want to keep your pack light, one will do. My current fav ultimate travel dress is made by Unbound Merino . It’s simple, comfortable, and can be dressed up or down with belts, jackets, and accessories.

2 TANK TOPS – Regardless of climate, tank tops are invaluable as shirts (duh), Pjs, workout wear, and underlayers. I like to have 2-3 tank tops on hand, and I replace them as needed. If you want a high-quality and super duper comfy one, check out Anatomie’s Bri, or Unbound Merino’s muscle tank.

The Evolve Top - perfect tee shirt for the ultimate packing list

2 TEE SHIRTS – 2-3 tee shirts are ideal (depending on how many tank tops you also have). I really like the Evolve Top by Encircled because it can be worn a few different ways, dressed up or down, and is super comfortable (and sustainably made). I’m also a big fan of merino wool, and this merino t-shirt from Aviator ticks all the boxes. For a pile of other merino shirt styles, check out this article .

1-2 LONG SLEEVED SHIRTS – Assuming you’ll be traveling through different climates, a long-sleeved shirt is a must. Look for something that is good on its own, can be layered for extra warmth, and has enough style to take you from hiking the mountainside to relaxing at the cafe.

chrysalis cardi multi wear cardigan dress and scarf

CARDIGAN (SUGGESTION: CHRYSALIS CARDI MULTI-FUNCTIONAL CARDIGAN/DRESS/SCARF ) – I had the Chrysalis Cardi (pictured above) for over 6 years and got a ton of use out of it! It’s super versatile, ridiculously comfortable, and can be worn a million ways, from scarf to dress to shawl. A great extra layer to have on hand. If this doesn’t float your boat (or if you’re a fella), check out Aviator’s hoodies . Their zip-up First Class Hoodie has travel-friendly features like a hood that doubles as a sleep mask, mitten-cuffs, and zip up pockets.

Kenya lightweight travel jacket by Anatomie

LIGHTWEIGHT JACKET – I have a couple of light-to-medium weight jackets (which is partly why I tend to travel with checked luggage). But if you want to pack light you only need one, and if I had to choose, I’d choose the Kenya Safari Jacket (by Anatomie) for its versatility, style, and comfort. Here are Anatomie’s lightweight jackets .

lightweight waterproof rain jacket for travel

PACKABLE WATERPROOF RAIN JACKET – You need a waterproof layer that can fold up into nothing. You can use it on its own in warm climates, and over layers in cool climates. Jack Wolfskin makes the best one I’ve ever tried: the JWP Shell (since replaced by the Elsberg 2.5L) is waterproof, windproof, breathable, comfortable, and the world’s first fully recycled jacket. Buy direct from Jack Wolfskin here ( women , men ). For an ultralight version, check out the PreLight jacket ( women , men ).

Jack Wolfskin down jacket for travel

DOWN JACKET ( Jack Wolfskin , Amazon ) – The Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket is part of their Pack And Go series, designed specifically for travel. It packs down to less than half the size/weight of my last down jacket, but keeps me just as warm. It’s wind proof, water resistant, and the down is RDS-certified (responsibly sourced). I’ve worn it on cool nights in temperate climates and on mountaineering expeditions alike. I consider it essential travel gear. 

Note: The rain jacket and the down jacket above can be worn separately, but also together for an additional level of protection against cold/weather. It’s like having three jackets in two. Here’s a video I made to explain the concept .

UNDERWEAR – I have around 5 pairs of underwear; synthetic materials are notoriously easy to dry, so bring fewer pairs and wash more often as a rule. (I usually stock up at La Senza when I can).

BRAS – One or two bras should be enough. Look for support, a good fit, and most of all, comfort. I buy relatively high-quality bras since I wear them daily and they need to last. I love Understance (you get a $20 discount if you use my link) for their ethically made bras that don’t have underwires and thus pack up like a dream (and still provide a ton of support).

SPORTS BRA – If you are actively participating in extracurricular activities while traveling, you might want to consider packing a sports bra. I use my sports bra for working out, and for active expeditions such as long hikes.

SOCKS – 3-5 pairs of socks will do, depending on the climates you’ll be traveling through. I also have at least 1 pair of high-quality merino wool socks ( Amazon ) for hiking.

PJs  – If you are staying in communal dwellings or in other people’s homes, it’s prudent to have something to sleep in (and make nighttime bathroom runs in). So comfort is paramount; but also something that you can be seen in (if not downtown, then at least downstairs).

BATHING SUIT – 1-2 bathing suits will do (depending on how much you like to swim/sun); bikinis have the added benefit of doubling as emergency bras/underwear! 

SCARF (FOR STYLE & WARMTH) – A warm scarf takes the edge off cool or cold days, is easily layered and accessorized, and can be used to wrap up fragile items (like external hard drives) while traveling. I like to buy scarves on the road; they’re the perfect wearable souvenir!

WARM HAT – Choose a low-profile, lightweight, easily packable hat that you can chuck on in cool climates. It also doubles as a packing-aid to pad fragile items.

Vacation Packing List: Footwear

Your choice of footwear can make or break your trip. They’re important for comfort, function, and style. But also, they need to be multi-functional otherwise you’ll be hauling around too much weight. Here’s what I travel with: 

SANDALS – It’s important to be selective when it comes to choosing the right travel sandals. I could write an entire post about my specific choice of sandals and what makes for the best travel sandals. Wait a minute: I did! You must read this before you buy/select your next pair of sandals for travel. 

Vivaia sustainable shoes

VIVAIA  – Vivaia makes sustainable washable footwear that is incredibly comfortable, folds up and packs extremely well, and looks incredible. I get compliments every single time I wear them, they’re both casual and dressy, and they’ve replaced my walking/casual shoes below.  I have five pairs of Vivaia shoes. Check them out in this video I made .

walking shoes for travel

WALKING/CASUAL SHOES (OPTIONAL) – These are optional, depending on your personal style and the climate you are traveling in. (You could just get a decent pair of shoes that fit the below description for hiking and wear those everywhere).

2023 Update: I have found the perfect combination of the above casual walking shoes with the below hiking shoes in the Xero Prio ! They’re not as hardcore in the hiking department as the Terraflex or Mesa Trail II, but they’ll more than suffice for most trails. They’re also great for exercising, and snappy enough to wear around town as you would any pair of runners. They’re ultralight, super flexible, and ridiculously comfy.

should i travel full time

HIKING SHOES (NOT BOOTS) – Who needs hiking boots! They take up too much room and weight and are clunky as hell. I’m all about barefoot trail shoes, and in my experience they work 10x better than hiking boots! They’re ultralight, squishable, water-resistant, breathable, lightweight, and easy to pack. My first pair of hiking shoes were Vivobarefoot Trail Shoes – which lasted seven years and hundreds of mountain trails. But when they wore out, I discovered there were other barefoot shoes out there at better price points. So I got a pair of Xero Terraflex shoes , which are light, comfortable, and super-duper-grippy. If you want ankle support, Xero also makes barefoot hiking boots.  

Not sure about using barefoot trail shoes in place of hiking boots? Watch this video which explains why I love them 100 times more!

CHEAP FLIP FLOPS – Not only are flip-flops commonly fashionable, but they are also highly functional. A cheap pair of flip-flops can serve many purposes: You can use them as indoor shoes/slippers, in dodgy showers, and even around many places in Asia where you are required to leave your shoes outside before entering temples and some businesses (and your expensive shoes will surely walk away without you). Flip-flops are light and easily packable; trust me you will find uses for them.

Vacation Packing List: Toiletries

This toiletries list you bring on your trip will depend entirely on what you need and prefer. You’ll see from the toiletries list below that I’m a raving fan of Lush products, since they’re natural, long-lasting, and mostly solid (which is infinitely easier for packing). One shampoo bar lasts me 6+ months. Use this toiletries list as a guide for your own selection of toiletries: 

Hanging Toiletry Bag

ULTRALIGHT HANGING TOILETRY BAG ( Sea to Summit , Amazon ) – A good toiletry organizer makes packing and unpacking ridiculously easy, and keeps everything organized at my destination. Bonus points if it can hang anywhere and has pockets for organization. ( Here’s a video review I made ).

TRAVEL TOWEL ( Amazon ) – A small, super-absorbent, quick-dry travel towel is one of my most useful pieces of gear.

FACE WASH – Looking after your skin is more important than ever when traveling. Different climates can be incredibly harsh on your skin. This face wash is from Lush and is particularly handy for travelling as it is solid, making it easy to pack and use whilst on the road.

MOISTURIZER – Jojoba oil is a great multi-purpose moisturizer. I use it mostly for my face, and a few drops will do, so it lasts forever.

SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER BARS – The more solid toiletries you own, the less messy disasters and carry-on tribulations you’ll endure. I adore Kitsch solid shampoos and conditioners – I’ve tried a lot and they work the best (and smell awesome). And little goes a long way – they last upwards of 6 months. Use NORA for a 25% discount!

RAZOR – Get a razor with replaceable blades; they last longer, do a better job, and pack smaller. Go with a popular name like Gillette; you stand a better chance of finding replacement blades abroad.

HAIR TIES – If you have unruly hair these are a must! They can be really handy when the weather gets especially hot or humid and you want to get your hair up and out of the way.

TOOTHBRUSH – You can bring any ol’ toothbrush you like, but I love the Philips One by Sonicare rechargeable electric toothbrush. It’s super slim, comes with a travel case, and only needs a charge every month or two with a USB-C charge cord.

TOOTHBRUSH COVER – Looking for an easy way to keep your toothbrush clean and protected? These lightweight best-selling toothbrush covers ensure your toothbrush is kept clean wherever it’s stashed. Made from lightweight materials, they’re easy to include in any international travel packing list – so you can rest assured knowing your toothbrush is always fresh and bacteria-free. 

TOOTHPASTE ( TOOTHY TABS ) – I like to use Lush’s Toothy Tabs, since they’re solid, take up almost no space, and just half a tab will do so they last a while. Here are some alternatives on Amazon (I’ve tried the Hello brand and it’s pretty good).

NATURAL FLOSS – I sometimes go years before I am in a good place to have my teeth checked/cleaned by a dentist ( Chiang Mai is my preference ), so I’m a sucker for good personal dental hygiene, of which dental floss is an essential part. 

DEODORANT ( SALT CRYSTAL ) – This wee little crystal deodorant stick easily lasts 6+ months. In addition, it is free of harmful chemicals often found in traditional deodorants. Plus, its solid form makes it light and easy to pack into your vacation checklist when traveling.  

EXFOLIATING WASHCLOTH – You get a great exfoliation, and a little soap (solid or liquid) goes a long way. The easy-to-hang tab makes it perfect for hanging in the shower or anywhere else, and it dries quickly so you don’t have to worry about mold or mildew build-up.

SOAP – You can usually collect little bars of soap along the way. I like to use natural soap when I have the chance, and Dr. Bronner’s makes some great (liquid and bar) soaps. The bars go a long way, and can be used for many things including hand-washing laundry; just get a container for it for easy transport and use.

NAIL CLIPPERS – I like the large sturdy toenail clippers, that also have a built-in file.

TWEEZERS – A good pair of tweezers is not only great for cosmetic purposes, but can be quite versatile for many unexpected uses!

MENSTRUAL CUP – These take some getting used to, but believe me it’s worth the effort. You’ll save the cost and hassle of carrying tampons/pads, there’s no waste, and you can wear them for longer times (ca-ching! Can you say long rides on buses?)

MAKEUP – My makeup kit is very small. I have an eyeshadow stick of some sort, a couple of shades of eyeliner, and mascara.

BLEMISH STICK – I get zits, and when I do, they’re usually epic. So I use Burt’s Bees herbal blemish stick to get them under some semblance of control.


I carry a small baggie with over-the-counter meds to get me through just about anything. I also take vitamins and supplements to keep my immune system in top working order – at the very least I take a probiotic and multi-vitamin when I travel. Learn more about that here: How to Stay Healthy While Traveling . 

ALLERGY MEDS – I never know when I’m going to be staying with animals I’m allergic to, so I’ve usually got allergy medication on hand. A few different blister packs in a ziploc bag doesn’t take up much space or weight.

PAIN KILLERS – From menstrual pain to migraines, pain killers are life-savers in a pinch. A few different blister packs in a ziploc bag doesn’t take up much space and can be easily thrown into a weekend trip packing list.

ANTIBIOTIC CREAM – From nasty insect bites to cuts that just won’t heal, a good antibiotic cream can help the healing process and prevent infections. So I made sure to include it in my travel essentials list!

OIL OF OREGANO – I like to have these on hand to take when I feel illness coming on; oil of oregano is a great natural immune-booster.

TURMERIC – Turmeric is one of nature’s most potent antibiotics, without killing your natural (good) gut bacteria the way prescription antibiotics do. Also good for inflammation. You needn’t use capsules either; you can mix powdered turmeric and honey, or use fresh turmeric (where available). 

Vacation Packing List: Electronics

Your specific choice of electronics depends on what you do on the road. Digital nomads will have more sophisticated technology requirements; as will professional photographers again. Here’s what I take:

laptop - essential electronic gear for digital nomads

LAPTOP – I live by my laptop, as it is the conduit to my location independent career. Thus I need something that is light, small, has a long battery life, and solid-state storage (which can take the hard knocks of travel better). For me, the winner is the MacBook Air with a souped-up ram and processor.

Roost Laptop Stand to save neck pain!

LAPTOP STAND – I initially balked at the extra space and weight required for this (and the accoutrements below to go with it), but after too many years of slouching in front of my laptop, I got this portable lightweight laptop stand to raise the screen to eye level. Neck pain: be gone!

bluetooth foldable keyboard for travel

FOLDABLE WIRELESS KEYBOARD WITH TOUCHPAD – With my laptop screen raised to eye level with my Roost stand, the next step to creating an ergonomically friendly workspace is this wireless keyboard/touchpad combo. I have tried a few different keyboards and touchpads, and this one is by far the best . The keys work great, it’s full size, it folds up for travel brilliantly, and the touchpad is compatible with all devices (including Macs).

Powerbeats Pro wireless earbuds, perfect for travel packing lists!

WIRELESS EARBUDS – I’m not a big fan of noise-canceling headphones; some travelers swear by them. For me, they take up too much space and I don’t like to tune out my surroundings like that. But earbuds don’t tend to stay put in my ear – I’m always adjusting them! Not these pretties. They fit over the ear and stay put no matter what you’re doing. The sound is incredible, and it’s the best bang for your buck.

the best laptop sleeve around, made by InCase

LAPTOP SLEEVE/CASE – I like extra laptop protection in a padded case that also has a pocket pockets for miscellaneous bits. InCase makes excellent laptop accessories. Through all my years of owning laptops, I’ve also owned InCase sleeves and bags.

smartphone for travel

SMARTPHONE – My phone is also my camera. I like to say I have the kind of camera that also makes phone calls. If you’re buying a new phone, make sure it’s unlocked so you have the greatest amount of choice for how to use it abroad.

Cell Phone Travel Basics: International Phone Plans, SIM Cards, and More will tell you everything else you need to know about using your phone while traveling.

portable external hard drive

PORTABLE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE – A portable external hard drive is essential for computer backups, as well as storing extras like photos or movies that may not fit on your computer’s hard drive. I have this Silicon Power Rugged Shockproof model for extra durability.

KINDLE E-READER – I love my Kindle! It holds an arsenal of books (which are impractical to carry in paperback while traveling), and the Paperwhite version of the Kindle is great for reading in any environment with an adjustable internal light. And the battery life is exponentially better than the Kindle Fire and other tablets. Even though it’s small and practical to carry around, you can still store a lot of books on it- which comes in handy when planning trips!

ALL-IN-ONE POWER STRIP/EXTENSION CORD/SURGE PROTECTOR/TRAVEL ADAPTOR/USB CHARGER – I absolutely adore this puppy, and it comes with me on every trip, no exceptions. It’s a compact extension cord (since room layouts aren’t always great for working and charging stuff), has two outlets that you can plug any type of plug into, four USB charging points, and it has surge protection. It’s literally one of my favourite pieces of travel gear and when I’m packing for travel – checked or carry-on – it always comes with me. 

Vacation Packing List: Extras

Almost done packing! Now that we’ve pretty much covered the essentials you need for traveling, let’s move on to some final tidbits that will make your trip go smoothly and comfortably. 

Polarized sun glasses by Ray Ban

SUNGLASSES – In the first few years I cycled through multiple pairs of cheap sunglasses. Finally I invested in Polarized Ray-Bans ( Amazon ) and I haven’t looked back. They look and feel great and polarized lenses make all the difference. And because it’s a good name I’ve had them replaced when things have gone wrong (as they do) without question around the world. Plastic frames are more durable for travel.


SUN HAT – The main characteristic you need in a sun hat is something light, preferably made of a material that will keep your head cool as well as sheltering you from the sun. Bonus points for something that squishes into your luggage and comes out looking great.

exercise bands for travel, resistance bands

EXERCISE BANDS – I exercise almost every day on the road, made possible by my exercise bands. They’re light and easy to pack, and help me to get a total body workout with various resistance exercises.

TRAVEL YOGA MAT – Travel yoga mats come in many formats, some of which are very thin roll and fold up very small. Obviously this can only come with me when I travel with checked luggage !

PLASTIC DOCUMENT HOLDERS – There’s always a few official documents you’ll need to have with you, in addition to copies of your passport and other ID. Store them in compact plastic folders to keep them safe, organized, and protected from the elements.

(BETTER THAN A) PASSPORT WALLET – I used to have a regular ol’ passport wallet; you know, the ugly utilitarian hangs-around-the-neck kind of wallet. It fits a purpose for travel days, but only on travel days. Now, I use the Pacsafe Anti-Theft Tech Crossbody Bag . It’s large enough to hold passport, phone, cards, cash, and a pen, and slim and subtle enough that it doesn’t attract unwanted attention. Typical of Pacsafe, it also has all kinds of anti-theft features, is RFID-protected, and is even made of recycled fishing nets. BONUS: I can use it as a hands-free alternative to carrying a wristlet when I go out on the town with just a few essentials. I walk through it in this video .

rechargeable headlamp - amazing travel gear!

HEADLAMP ( Amazon ) – This is an awesome piece of kit. Not only great for camping and backcountry trips, but it’s great for finding your way to the bathroom in yet another new place, providing light when there’s no power, and lighting the way when your day-hike goes long. The headlamp strap is crucial for hands free work. I personally own that is USB-rechargeable, and has a hands-free activation option. 

SteriPEN Ultra UV water purifier

STERIPEN ULTRA – If the water is questionable, a SteriPEN is crucial! Stop wasting plastic by buying bottled water; the SteriPEN makes any (clear) water drinkable in 60 seconds. This model is great because it fits any sized bottle top, and is USB rechargeable. But….a SteriPEN isn’t infallible. Click here to learn about all your options for drinking clean water abroad .  

Platypus Collapsible Water Bottle

COLLAPSIBLE WATER BOTTLE ( Amazon ) – I always have a reusable water bottle on hand, and this collapsible version is lightweight and rolls up when empty. It also has a really nice opening for drinking without spilling water down your chin!

Collapsible Coffee Cup

COLLAPSIBLE TRAVEL MUG – The latest addition to my Zero Waste Travel kit, I love this collapsible travel mug so much more than my Contigo, because it’s so ultralight and easy to carry! I have no excuse to ever order coffee in a paper cup again. IN ADDITION to my collapsible water bottle and travel mug, I also have collapsible tupperware and reusable cutlery. Click here to learn more about how I eliminate all single-use waste when I travel . 

MINI SEWING KIT – You can sometimes find awesome mini-sewing kits in hotel rooms; until then, this is a good one to go with. Essential for repairing clothes along the way. And it’s the size of a credit card and pre-threaded. Can’t lose! 

mini scissors for travel

SMALL SCISSORS – Although these small scissors are usually called “nail scissors”, I find them to be a handy multi-purpose scissor that (almost) always clears carry-on security, just in case you’re going carry-on only.

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this ultimate packing list for full-time travel and long-term travel. Now that you know what to pack, don’t forget to print out this list or save it somewhere safe so you can reference it next time you’re packing for a trip! If you want to see me pack these items and learn more about my specific choices of gear, watch this video!

How I Turn This Into a Carry On Travel Packing List

This full travel packing checklist is not carry-on friendly. I check a wheeled case on flights (it weighs about 15kg), and I carry on my purse and daypack containing my electronics, a scarf for warmth/blanket needs, and anything else I’d need immediately if my luggage went on a round-the-world tour without me.

Learn more about why I prefer checked luggage for super long-term trips here . 

When I am able leave my big suitcase somewhere (like a home base) and travel from there for a while, then I reduce this load to carry-on size. My first two carry-on only trips were about three months each; one was while sailing the Caribbean and the other was house-sitting in Switzerland.  

I remember one fateful carry-on trip when I left my base in Grenada to spend a few months house-sitting in Panama . Unfortunately life got in the way of my best-laid plans, and I never returned to Grenada and the rest of my stuff there. After that happened, I ended up traveling for two whole years with carry-on luggage only ! If you want to see what I used to pack, check out  The Ultimate Carry-On Packing List . 

Packing for Travel With Carry-On Only

When it’s packing time for a carry-on trip, obviously I don’t take as much stuff with me as I would with a full suitcase travel packing list; I reduce my wardrobe to a few items that will satisfy the climate and culture of my destination, and everything is colour-coordinated so I can mix and match at will. This reduces bulk quite a bit.

I also reduce my toiletries list down to the essentials for the amount of time I’m traveling. (Because I like some specialty toiletry products, I tend to stock up a bit when I have my full suitcase). 

Lastly, I usually leave behind some or all the following (depending on the trip):

  • Travel Towel
  • Checked Luggage (obviously)
  • Hiking Shoes (I bring the Xero Oswego or Xero Speed Force that takes care of walking around town, working out, and hiking).

Here are some tips for a smart and light packing guide, especially suitable for carry on travel: 

Digital Nomad Packing List – Electronics

Any good digital nomad packing list is going to have a fair few electronics. (Check out this post, where a panel of professional travelers reveal what electronics they pack for their unique combo of travel and work: Electronic Travel Gear – Travel Experts Reveal What’s in Their Bags ). 

Remember that with every piece of electronic gear, there’s an accompanying entourage of cables and adaptors . The things I immediately need are in my laptop case, and the rest is usually contained in a nondescript light waterproof bag (dollar store stuff; nothing fancy).

Vacation Packing List: Occasional Extras

If I’m in one place for a while, I often buy an inexpensive item or two locally to complement my wardrobe (eg: stylish shoes, or warmer layers). I never spend much on them, and I usually give them away when I leave. The general rule is: if it can’t replace something in my bag, it can’t come with me!

Now that you have the ultimate travel packing list, you’re ready to tackle any trip. No matter where your adventure takes you, be sure to pack smart and enjoy the ride!

Down the Rabbit Hole…

I’ve written full reviews of some of the items you see in my packing list. If you’d like more information, check these out:

Travel Bag List

Luggage is one of my favourite topics, and I’ve tried just about every kind out there. Here’s a breakdown of my travel bag list: 

Checked vs. Carry-On Luggage (and Why Checked is Best)

The Best Carry-on Backpack for One Bag Travel

Pro Packing Hacks – Here are the Best Travel Accessories to make your travels a breeze

Wheeled Backpacks: Why They’re the Best, and Tips for Buying One

Best Luggage for Long-Term Travel: Wheeled Backpacks vs Rolling Luggage

Best Anti-Theft Luggage, Daypacks, Purses, Slings, Wallets, etc.

Travel Wardrobe 

My Travel Capsule Wardrobe: Best Wrinkle-Free Travel Clothes for Women

Anatomie Travel Clothing Made Me Throw Out My Jeans  

My Search for the Perfect Travel Sandal

Best Traveling Clothes for Men (including a solid case for merino wool)

Miscellaneous Travel Gear and Clothes

Every year, I publish an annual roundup of my new favourite pieces of travel gear. There’s just too much to list here! Have a look for yourself , and click on what interests you. 

My Zero Waste Kit for Travel (and Home)

Here is the ultimate packing list for your next trip, be it for a few weeks or a few years. I personally use absolutely everything in this list! #travel #packinglist #travellist #theprofessionalhobo #longtermtravel #travelgear #travelshopping #travelclothes #bestluggage

63 thoughts on “The Ultimate Packing List for Full-Time Travel and Long-Term Travel”

I am older and just getting started on my longer term travel plans. This is a great starting point for me as inexperienced (but excited) new traveller. I did not even know that wheeled backpacks existed and planned to use a suitcase with wheels. But I know that there are many places that are not easy to access and carry a suitcase like running for a train with a gap in London or climbing stairs to cross a highway overpass in Athens. I will print this and use it as my starting point. And I will definitely look at backpacks with wheels.

Hi Try – Glad you’ve discovered wheeled backpacks! I hope they’re as useful for you as they have been for me. Happy travels!

I like the little icons. It’s like one of those “dress this doll” games where you can add outfits to a cartoon person. Not that I play those ever. Shush.

Ha ha – So true! (Not like I ever play it either. I mean, really).

wow, this is awesome!

Thanks! Hope you find it useful…

I’m pretty similar except I do only travel with a carry-on. That would change in a cold environment where hippie pants just aren’t practical, though!

Kristin -It’s mostly the cooler weather clothing (much of which is suited for outdoor activities like hiking – with a bit of style!) that keeps my entourage as a checkable entity. But the more I keep taking off with a small bag for up to months at a time, the more I realize it’s possible to do it with carry-on only…if I put some effort into it, and cut some corners. But as long as I’m not moving around too much, I don’t mind bringing a bigger bag and hauling it from base to base. It gives me more options. (For now)!

We seem to be of a similar mindset. It is unfortunate that we have to pack so much variety of items, like I have long pants with me, in case I am some place cold, but I have been in Southeast Asia since early February and felt cold maybe twice. That said, my bag could fit in an overhead bin, unless I fly Air Asia which limits you to 7kg for carry on. My back usually runs around 11-12 kg. I differ from you in that I do not carry any type of hiking boots – we learned long ago that it takes up space and I am not outdoorsy. We swamped them out for a hybrid walking shoe and trainer, but even those I barely use now – limited to flip flops every day. Anyway, I always find it interesting when people share what they pack!

Hi Amber – I started out with big clumsy hiking boots, which I offloaded after a couple of years, in favour of my hybrid shoes above. Even those I don’t use that often, but I AM a hiker at heart and they served me really well for some epic hikes in New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland. So, despite the fact that they don’t get used unless I’m walking far and/or am in cooler weather (rare), I haven’t seen my way through to letting go of them yet.

Being of the sandal-wearing ilk, you might be interested in an article I’ll be publishing on the site in the next couple of weeks – on choosing the perfect travel sandal. Coming soon! 🙂

I have been so on the fence about wheeled backpacks. I desperately want one, but know that I am going to curse the day I have to strap it on and walk for 45 minutes to find our next hotel. GARR! I just can’t decide.

Dalene – When was the last time you had to walk 45 minutes to your hotel on ground that was completely unnavigable with wheels? I count three times in my entire traveling career. I’m willing to bet it’s a relatively rare occurrence…especially compared to the number of airports and lineups and stop/start situations you’ve had to slog through either with your pack painfully straining your shoulders, or getting kicked along in front of you (or worse yet, having to constantly put it on and take it off)…. Save your back, girl! And ask Jeannie of Nomadic Chick what she thought of watching me with the wheeled pack during the Ultimate Train Challenge….I believe both Michael and Jeannie were duly impressed…. 🙂

Great Site, great idea! ….just one thing…I tried looking at the camera, but when I clicked on it, I got to this: Pacsafe Luggage Venturesafe 20L Adventure Day Pack….. I need a new camera 😉 What application did you use to make the pop up list?

Hi Orit, So it does….here’s a link to the camera: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerShot-Digital-Camera-3-Inch/dp/B009B0MY6S/ref=sr_1_1_ha?ie=UTF8&qid=1375025366&sr=8-1&keywords=Canon+G15

As for the pop up list, that was designed for me by Round the World Experts. Cool, huh? 😉

Really cool!

Wow, this post is helpful! I just started traveling full time this year and still need to adjust my travel gear. I feel that I’m bringing too many unnecessary things but lack essentials like a headlamp or poncho. This is a great checklist, thanks for sharing!

Glad this was helpful Lois! I must admit, I wish I had access to such packing lists when I started traveling….you can’t imagine the ridiculous stuff I started out with! (Solar panels, climbing gear, functional-yet-utilitarian clothing…and the kitchen sink! Ha ha)

Nice to find another nomad who is technology heavy like us! I know it’s not cool to carry lots of things these days, but we’re unashamedly happy to bring lots of tech and gadgets and we haven’t had any problems yet!

Thanks for sharing!

Hi Barry, I actually thought I had a pretty sleek amount of kit given the necessity to earn a living from it! I’ve shied away from SLR photography due to the bulk of the cameras and lenses, and I use the slimmest lightest laptop I can manage. But it certainly adds up….especially with all the cords and adaptors to accompany each device!

Except for a couple of minor tweaks, this is essentially my travel list as well 🙂

we are moving/living around the world and we are down to 27 kg of luggage each (20 kg checked and 7 kg carry on) – and it was hard work to get to that. We have no storage unit anywhere, no house anywhere to leave stuff. We must be a lot more sentimental than you – we have things like incense, a small clay statue, a clay bowl we made, paint/pen/paper for art, lightweight scanner. I could easily live for 6 months or a year on your list, but find it hard to give everything up permanently. We live in a place for maybe a year before moving to the next place.

Hi Debbie, If you move every year or so, then taking more with you is justifiable; the journey isn’t hellish, and if it’s point to point, it’s manageable. But if you end up doing some faster travel through an area (without being able to leave your main bag somewhere), you’d probably end up finding more ways to cut down your stuff! Then again, 20kg plus carry-on is pretty slick, and most of your extras seem small and light. Your biggest challenge would probably be flying on budget airlines that only allow 15kg bags before charging stupid overage fees!

Osprey has come out with an ultralight wheeled line-no straps tho-who really needs them. I picked up a 19″ Version =meets Ryan AIR one bag requirements-weighs 4# or less-my whole kit is about 7 kilos with birding binoculars, medical nebulizer, travel waterpick, Canon camera, NeXUS 7. ipod touch. electric razor-wires and plugs. I also wear two vests-the outer one is super light and will hold 15L of clothes stuffed in it shd the need arise. I also pack a 28L Marmot Kompressor ascent pack-weighs a pound-so I have the option of wearing almost all the gear.

Your entire kit is 7kilos – with all that? I’m impressed! I’m not a big fan of vests (I tried a Scottevest and found it way too impractical and terribly unflattering), but it looks like you and I are singing from the same hymn sheet with the Kompressor ascent pack – which is very similar to my OR Compression Summit Sack.

Yeah. I’m just not taking much clothes at the moment. That could get old, I suppose. We’ll see. I use Royal Robbins Travel vest which I’ve lived in for years. EvERYthing stays here PP, money,Canon s90, ipod touch, Nexus 7. I keep it ine bed w me. If BAG is stolen I’m still OK_I guess if I’m robbed… Then I JUST GOT this British Rufus Roo vest which goes over everything which has huge wearable pockets. So I could just have a day bag or no bag and wear everything. Maybe too extreme-but I will not pay RYAN Air An extra dime.

Ha ha! I also think that guys have an easier time of stuffing pockets than girls do. I spectacularly failed the No Baggage Challenge a couple of years ago…

It sure makes us evaluate everything by weight. So far we have been able to do short trips and leave the big bags at a work place or sometimes at an airport. Went to Malaysia for 4 days and about to go to Myanmar for 11 days, luggage stays in Singapore. When we first started moving around the world we had 21 boxes shipped to India, so we have gotten rid of so much.

I only have one pair of shoes (but I’m not a hiker) and buy flip flops when I get somewhere that I need them. We have a jambox for playing music, and aeropress+grinder for making coffee, definitely more creature comforts.

Hi Debbie, I love taking a proverbial peek into other people’s bags to see what they carry; and most of us choose a few luxuries that are worth the weight to us. I’m liking your aeropress+grinder for coffee…the quality of morning coffee can make or break my day!

Hi, Nora. This list is so helpful! I’m particularly interested in the walking shoes, but the Amazon window isn’t functioning in my usual browsers. Would you mind telling me the kind/name of the shoe or posting a direct link? I’ve been on a quest for something similar. Thanks!

Hi A.L. – Yes, there’s a wee glitch in the app; you need to right click and open in a new tab to display the amazon pages correctly. Here’s a link to the shoes: http://tinyurl.com/k7xfdhx

I need help with this! Thank you for the tips. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a “Packing List”, I found a blank form here: Fillable Packing List pdf

Thanks for the packing list, Donna! Glad you found some good packing tips here.

Awesome Nora Dunn 🙂 It’s really useful information for preparing my future trip to other strange countries. One again thanks for sharing!

Thank you, Lotus – and happy travels!

Great tips! These will definitely help a lot of travelers, especially the first timers, in getting their packing right and avoid travel disasters, which is common if you have no idea what to do.

Amen, sister! 😉 Thanks, Vicki.

Looks like list is inactive, but? Does larger wheeled bag hinder you’re mobility other than waiting for baggage claim? (public transport, streets, stairs?) I’ve been using Osprey Ozone as add-on, which is super light. If I switched to 28″ version {under 5#) I’d be concerned about durability in the handling process. I’ve used Eagle Creek Tarmac in the past, which is bullet proof but HEAVY. I’m beginning to agree that having extra real estate in luggage is a good idea long term.

A comment and question.I use supplements. How to manage? USA is only source of sophisticated, cheap sups.6-8 months worth can be 5# and bulky. Iherb is getting the idea in India anyway with DHL shipping. Any thoughts. (BTW I’ve been using extra strength Oreganol-comes with dropper. I cap it. It’s super-effective preventative along with grapefruit seed extract. 15 drops in drinking water all day long.

How do you manage avoiding Dengue? How paranoid do you need to be?

Hi Laurence, Great questions! First of all, the list is totally active and up-to-date! Does it not work for you?

Secondly, I don’t know about Eagle Creek’s Tarmac bag, but I find the Gear Warrior (which is what I have) to be pretty lightweight, while still being sturdy. As for maneuvering it on public transport and on the streets, it’s not as ideal as a carry-on bag, but far from impossible. I often splash out on a taxi when I have my luggage with me to make the process easier. And since I don’t tend to move around that often these days, my time lugging around my bags is pretty minimal.

Yes, supplements. I carry only a minimal amount of supplements, which I don’t use daily, but rather when I need to (such as Oil of Oregano when my immune system needs a boost). Carrying 6-8 months of daily supplements could certainly be a challenge. At a minimum, I would take the supplements out of their bottles and store them in ziploc bags with the label inside (in case border security is curious about all those little pills)! Can’t advise much else on that front.

Lastly, the only way to avoid Dengue (if you’re in an area that has Dengue-carrying mosquitos, which is a lot of places) is to avoid being bitten! Use repellent, and stay indoors during dawn and dusk when Dengue-mosquitoes are most prevalent. I’ve had Dengue fever (and chikungunya), and it’s no cakewalk. I’m more cautious about mosquitoes now, but I wouldn’t say I’m paranoid. Educated caution is good!

Well, now it is five years later from when I wrote my first reply and after getting Australian passports we went on an epic 10 month trip through ten countries and we each had 12 kg suitcase which was carry on size and a backpack carry on, probably another 6 kgs or so and that is all. Like you, I have now decided slower is better and we are just finishing 2 months in Lima and we are go to slowly make our way around south america. In Lima we found an apartment to rent, w housemates and it is so much cheaper than short term airbnb. I hope to stay a few months in various cities. Good luck in guatamala.

Hey Debbie, Awesome! And impressive that you managed to pack pretty light from the beginning. Most people (myself included!) start off with much heavier loads and trim down as they go. And yep – I really enjoy renting a place for a few months wherever I go, when I’m not house-sitting/volunteering/doing something bizarre. 😉 Happy travels!

This is a really good post. Very well done. I have a year and a half more to work, then I want to retire. I want to sell it all and hit the road and live on my pensions. I want to rent places all around the world and suck up the culture at a slow pace. I have no desire to work. I’m done. I will be a person of no fixed address…lol. I was so glad I found this blog because it is so informative. I have done a lot of smaller trips over the years, because I am a travel addict. Ever since I was seven I have been fascinated by other people from away. I’m sixty now. I always found the kid from away and pestered them about their place of origin. Now I do it at work. Lots of choices, because I live in Toronto. I love my city, but I gotta go. I feel like a caged animal sometimes. Thanks for sharing and making me feel inspired.

Thanks Mary! Looks like you have some exciting years ahead. If you haven’t already subscribed to my free e-series, (signup form at the bottom of any page on my website) I suggest you do, as it will give you a comprehensive overview of the lifestyle with some (hopefully) great nuggets of wisdom in there. Happy travel planning!

Great Post! I always love seeing what other people travel with. I recently got inspired my Marie Kondo to go through my suitcase and it made a huge difference! No need to carry around extra baggage all the time

Hey Tayler, Indeed! Travel is much easier if you aren’t lugging around too much. Good thinking in applying the Marie Kondo strategy!

Excellent post! I will show this to my wife so she can pack correctly for our holidays in Mexico next month! Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

I hope your packing went well, Manuel! Happy travels 🙂

Instead of those “packing containers”, I use ziplok bags for everything (“freezer” type are stronger). I always pack a few plastic-coated hangers for drip-drying blouses (the blow-up type don’t seem to hold up). For laundry, I take detergent powder in a ziplok bag together with two different size rubber stoppers and a partial bar of Ivory soap. For my 3wk stay in Oaxaca, a large-size lightweight cloth bag with adjustable cross the body strap is handy for carrying my water bottle, change purse, camera, and cardigan sweater for just walking around and/or day trips…also handy for shopping. I like Keene sandals for all purposes. I always take a small jar of instant coffee, tea bags, a ceramic cup, and an immersion heater. Peanut butter in the small disposable cups with crackers works for a quick breakfast. Don’t forget your appropriate electrical adapter! When I made my plane reservation recently, carry-on suitcases were required to be checked (a new rule?). So I am just taking my purse and a tote bag onboard, after checking my bag.

Thank you for sharing your packing strategies and tips, Rosemarie! Ziploc bags are indeed useful in so many ways. I recently got a Scrubba, which I’m trying out for hand laundry. I’ve encountered a lot of sinks that aren’t compatible with rubber stoppers (even the “universal” flat kind), and Scrubba makes it easy to do hand laundry anywhere.

I’ve run into the issue of sinks that either aren’t compatible with rubber stoppers and/or are simply too small/shallow for hand washing. Most rooms, however, DO have a small plastic garbage/trash/recycling can. 🙂 With the trash bag removed, and with a good rinse, it works for hand washing in a pinch!

Thanks for the heads up on the Scrubba — I will check it out. Regarding current airline rules, carry on’s must now fit under your seat.

Hi Rosemarie, I can’t believe that all airlines have simultaneously changed their policy to require that carry-on luggage must always fit under the seat. That’s impossible! However, the “personal item” must certainly always fit under the seat in front of you (typically a personal item is a purse, laptop bag, briefcase, or small backpack). Also, depending on the airline or the specific ticket, they may not allow carry-on luggage. I made that mistake once; I bought a very low-tier of airfare on a regional airline, thinking I could pay extra for a carry-on bag….I later realized that “tier” of fare didn’t allow that; I had to cancel that ticket and order a different ticket that would allow me to take a carry-on bag.

Hey Nora. I always miss some of the things when traveling as I never made a proper checklist for them. Now, I don’t think I’ll repeat the same mistake again after getting this complete guide. Thanks for sharing such a helpful post.

Thanks, Noah!

A very nice list! And I’ve never thought of getting an RFID-Protected Passport Wallet. Someone casually walking by and sneakily scanning my stuff honestly worries me, but I never knew how to protect myself against such attacks. Now I do! Thanks very much 🙂

This is great!! We have our first week long family vacation coming up and I am going to use this..I am always forgetting something!

Thanks, Nora, for sharing this amazing list. Few Recommendation from my side: the best packing cone ever that really blew my mind and was a game changer is the peak design packing cubes series And another recommendation is the solo-tourist Teflon / waterproof bag. I use it either as a wet clothes carryon bag or a clean wet laundry bag (the peak design packing cube have a special system to store dirty clothes in a separate pocket ) and for long trips I also put scrubba washbag and use a single soap for all: the dr Bronner one

Hi Sean, Packing Cubes! Of course. I actually didn’t outline my fav packing tools in this list – I have a whole other post for that! https://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/pro-packing-hacks-here-are-the-best-travel-accessories/ But I have a friend with the Peak Design packing cubes, and they look great. Me? I have the compression packing cubes from Knack Packs, and I adore them. https://knack-bags.pxf.io/vnyd3j

I also feature the Scrubba in my Packing Hacks post; I’ve never owned one personally, though I’ve used a friend’s. I thought it takes up a bit too much space and weight, but it is nice for hand-washing regardless of the sink situation (which isn’t always suitable for hand-washing).

The waterproof bag is also a genius recommendation!

Thanks for the guidance.

Much needed checklist for me. Thanks a lot for sharing this. Making a checklist helps you keep all the stuff properly once. I always keep my changing towel along any trip.

Thanks Nora! The Rolo mention is EXACTLY what I have been looking for (I was hacking up something previous to seeing this). Looks like it will be a great augmentation to my backpack. Sold…hope you get some commission!

Hi Everett, I’m SO glad you like the look of the Rolo! I adore mine, and I’ve been using it for years.

Helpful and interesting, just in love with your blogs.

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Journey With Confidence


What No One Tells You About Living In An RV Full Time

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What I Wish I Knew Before Full-Time RVing

Traveling in an RV full time is a lifelong dream for thousands of people, and it is a decision that can change your life and your perspective, but it’s not just one long vacation.

There are issues that can make this experience more fun or less enjoyable, so I want to share what no one tells you about living in an RV full time before you start on this journey.

Size matters

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when becoming full time RVers is what type and size of RV will meet your needs, and bigger is not always better. 

In the five years that we have been full time RVers, and in the 20+ years as active weekend warriors before that, we’ve met dozens of full time RVers who regretted their RV choice, and that decision impacted every aspect of their full time RV adventure. 

RVs that were too big

Some of these folks went to RV shows where massive fifth wheel toy hauler trailers were all set up with their dropdown back and side patios, open kitchen with a freestanding island, and lots of extra play space for the kids and pets in the back. These models were all on display, beckoning the would-be full timer to imagine how much fun they could have in these huge RVs.  

We met a couple who got sucked into this illusion, but they had never even camped in an RV before they bought a 45-foot fifth wheel trailer. They quickly learned the stress of towing it, backing it, and setting it up in a campground. They remembered how tall it was, and that had already resulted in two accidents that damaged their new RV.  

This couple was a nervous wreck. They had sold their house and everything in it to begin this new adventure, and they were absolutely miserable. They deeply regretted their decision and were not coping with the stress of their new lifestyle. Perhaps they might have been happier with an RV that was smaller and more manageable. After all, did a couple with no kids or pets really need an RV that large?  

Another couple’s trailer was so large they refused to tow it themselves, so they hired a towing company to move it from one campground to another. They loved all the extra space, but it was extremely limiting to the spontaneity and adventure of being full time RVers.  

Additionally, we met a couple with three children who bought the largest RV they could afford to give their children plenty of space for schoolwork and activities, but they quickly learned they didn’t need that much space, and their large RV was difficult to fit into many state parks and even some private campgrounds. 

RVs that were too small

On the flip side of the size issue is an RV that is too small to meet your needs. Again, we have encountered many people who thought a small RV would be the perfect fit for their full time adventure, only to realize after buying one that the sink was too small to even wash the dog bowl, there wasn’t enough storage space for their gear, the space in the refrigerator was very limiting, the holding tanks were so small they could only boondock for a day or so, and not having an onboard shower required some creative outdoor gear and adaptations.  

Certainly, smaller RVs are lightweight and nimble and can go almost anywhere a car or truck can go. They fit into almost any campsite, which makes them a very attractive option. Most of the smaller RVs provide a great base camp for an outdoor camping lifestyle, which is great until you discover that the weather conditions in many parts of the country are not conducive to an outdoor lifestyle.

Be prepared for winter weather

As full time RVers, you’re going to be living in your RV year-round, which will include all the winter months. We full-timed in Oregon for several winters and met numerous other full time RVers struggling to find shelter from Oregon’s constant winter rain.

One Canadian couple was full-timing in a teardrop trailer; another single man was using a pop-up Alpine trailer; a single woman and her dog were in a brand new van conversion; and another couple and their two dogs were in a very small Class B+ motorhome. 

Oregon winters are not compatible with an outdoor lifestyle, and the people who were camping in these very small RVs had little to no room to move around, cook, recreate, or even shower without walking a few hundred yards through the rain to the public restrooms. 

full time RVing means 365 days a year. Where wil you be safe in the winter or during tornado and hurricane season?

Try renting an RV first

Therefore, for new full time RVers, the first and most important consideration is to fully understand what size and style of RV will really meet your needs. The best way to do that is to rent a few different types of RVs and then go camping in them to see how they fit.

Don’t be in a rush to buy the biggest or smallest RV before you consider the pros and cons of each option. Take your time to explore all the features, benefits, and limitations of each type and size of RV. Know where you think you want to travel and what your objectives are, then spend time talking to current RVers to learn from their experiences.   

Do you just want to live in an RV to save some money, or do you want to be continuous travelers on an extended adventure of discovery? How do you want to use your RV, who will be using it, where do you want to travel, how long will you be full-timing, and what is your exit plan? These are all important upfront considerations that will help you find the right RV for your full time RV lifestyle.

Uncertainty can be stressful

Another thing people don’t think about when they’re considering a full time RV adventure is that uncertainty can cause a lot of stress. When you’re in a daily routine, you follow familiar patterns. You shop in the same places, take the same route to and from work, know your neighbors, have favorite restaurants, and basically do the same things without really thinking about it. This routine may become monotonous, but at least it’s familiar.

But when you’re a full-time RV, everything is new and uncertain. This may be one of the allures of becoming a full-time RVer, but most people don’t appreciate just how pervasive this uncertainty can be. You have to think about everything and plan ahead, like where and when you will be traveling , how are you going to get there, and what weather or climate issues will you encounter.  

Even after doing all this planning, you still have no idea what you may encounter when you arrive at a new destination. Even stopping for gas or diesel can be a stressful and frustrating experience.  

Plan your travel days ahead of time

We often try to drive ahead in our tow car to our next destination to make sure the road is suitable for our 38-foot motorhome. We scout the road, gas stations, campgrounds, overpasses, tunnels, and any other travel hazards so we can reduce the stress of the uncertainty.

On several of these scouting trips, we have discovered roads that simply were too narrow or too long to justify the trip, or we discovered that the internet description of the campground where we had made reservations was completely false, and the campground was just not a good fit for us or our RV. 

Another stressful uncertainty of full time RVing is the weather. Many full time RVers report this as their biggest concern. Snow, ice, hail, wind, lightning, hurricanes, and tornadoes are all potential dangers if you live in an RV.  

You might think that being in a house on wheels would allow you to avoid dangerous weather conditions, but in many of these devastating storms, you do not have time to get away from the hazard, nor do you know which way to go to avoid it.  

Lightning can cause a forest fire to surround you, and there’s no way to predict where a tornado will touch down. In one case, we had less than 15 minutes warning that we were in the direct path of a damaging hailstorm. Fortunately, it slipped past us just beyond the campground, but even with the biggest hail missing the RVs, it sounded like we were in a war zone, as thousands of smaller hail stones slammed into the windows and roof. 

a stormy sky threatened an RV park

Disconnected from community, friends, and family 

Many new RV adventurers underestimate how they will be affected by being disconnected from their communities. We are, after all, social beings, and we rely on family, friends, churches, clubs, organizations, teams, and loose affiliations to help us feel grounded and mentally well. 

When you start a full-time adventure, you trade the familiar in for the unfamiliar, and many full time RVers express frustration with the superficial interactions between RVers that are common in this lifestyle. You may actually get to know some other RVers, and you may even choose to travel with a group, but sooner or later the rally will break up, and either you or they will be onto another destination. 

Of course, you can keep in touch with family and friends via social media and technology, but it’s not the same as bowling with your team or playing gin with your usual group of friends. Holidays, family events, birthdays, big occasions, and celebrations, plus all the small routine visits from the kids and grandkids are no longer part of your routine. Being home sick may be a much bigger problem than you ever anticipate when you start on your full time RV adventure.

Full time RVing can be surprisingly expensive

Lastly, what no one tells you about living in an RV full time is that it may be more expensive than you originally thought. This may not be true for everyone, but our personal experience is that it is significantly more expensive. 

You try to anticipate your costs, RV insurance , car/truck payments, fuel expenses, park fees, groceries, pet food and supplies, supplies for the RV, maintenance costs, emergency costs, etc. But for some reason, all these things may cost more than you anticipated.

Then there’s the admission fees to parks, museums, attractions, dining experiences, and sightseeing opportunities. It all adds up. 

When we first started our full time adventure, we met a couple who had already been full timing for about three years, and we discussed the issue of the budget. They told us that their goal was to stay as close to $100 per day as possible with a monthly budget of $3000. At the time, we thought that was a little extreme because our budget indicated monthly expenses less than that.  

We were wrong! Now after having spent over five years on the road as full time travelers, we have discovered that their goal of a $100 a day would be a huge victory for us because our average monthly expenses are closer to $5,000. Every month, we record all of our expenses, and we analyze these costs to see if we can economize anywhere, but we’re never able to shave much off the bottom line.  

a low bridge can stop you in your tracks. Using RV LIFE's Safe GPS could help you avoid these hazards

Be prepared to budget

We spend more on technology than most people, but we work from our RV and need reliable connectivity. We started our journey with several dogs (now we’re down to two), and we refuse to economize on their food and supplies, so we continue to economize and dream of getting down to $100 a day.

To be completely transparent, it’s worth mentioning that we do not have a car payment, motorhome payment, or an extended warranty. We have had a couple of significant RV maintenance bills, and two expensive dog health procedures that impacted our budget, but those are the types of emergencies you have to plan for when you are thinking of becoming full-time RVers. 

Another relevant fact is that we do not like to boondock or camp in rustic campgrounds without electricity, sewer, and water. Our RV is set up for boondocking, but we just prefer full service campgrounds.

When you add up the fees for camping for 365 days a year, it will have a significant impact on your budget. We know many campers and full-timer RVers who only use full service campgrounds, for a few days a month, and I believe they might be able to hit the $100 daily goal more easily. Some other campers, only use membership campgrounds like Thousand Trails , and that will also lower your monthly costs. These are all personal decisions and only you know what will work for you.

Get tips from other full time RVers

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

Related articles:

  • The Dirty Truth Of Full Time RVing
  • 10 Common Myths About Full-Time RVing

Intentional Travelers

Top Resources for Traveling Full-Time in the U.S.

Our digital nomad life usually leads Jedd and I abroad, but there are plenty of people who are traveling long-term or living nomadically in the US, too. Some folks, like our friends Heath and Alyssa  (who helped us write this post), live and work from an RV full-time. Others combine camping, couchsurfing, and work exchanges to do long-term domestic travel on a budget.

This post came about because we received an e-mail from one of our readers, looking for tips and resources to help sustain her upcoming six month trip around the States. We figured this would be useful info for other travelers as well, so we’ve compiled the top resources we could find for traveling long-term in the USA. If you have something to add, please let us know in the comments at the end!

Updated: Summer 2020. Originally published: Summer 2016.

Table of Contents

Long-Term Budget Travel Resources for the U.S.

From the Blogosphere:

  • The Essential Packing List for Your Epic Camping Road Trip
  • How Much Does It Cost to Visit All 50 States?
  • Why you should use Airbnb rentals when you travel
  • Our National Parks Road Trip Itinerary
  • One Month on the Road: Our Rockies Road Trip Itinerary
  • Our Favorite Video Tours of Awesome RVs for Full-Time Tiny Living

rent a travel trailer, motor home, rv, airstream, or campervan

Outdoorsy is like Airbnb for RVs. It’s where RV owners rent out their RVs when they’re not using them.

If you’ve always wanted to try out a motorhome, or want to upgrade your long-term USA road trip with a cute Airstream, consider renting through Outdoorsy. Their customer service and reviews have outranked the other top RV rental companies. You can search listings by vehicle type and location. Some owners will even deliver the motorhome to your door! *Take $50 off your Outdoorsy rental with coupon code: intentional

Browse and book RVs, motorhomes, trailers, and campervans on Outdoorsy here

What to do about Health Insurance when traveling long-term


Just like non-mobile Americans, one option if your income is not too high, is to use healthcare.gov to qualify for a discount on monthly healthcare premiums. When you select your healthcare plan, though, make sure you’ll be covered on the road and you understand the “out of area” coverage requirements. Not all plans will cover you when you’re out of state.

Telemedecine Savings Plan

A  telemedecine savings plan  gives you 24/7 access to physician and nurse consultations remotely as well as discounts on medications. Discounts on dental and hearing care can also be included in some plans. While this option does not replace your healthcare, it can be affordable way to get medical attention out of state. Plans start at $10 per month.


One alternative option for healthcare is a sharing ministry. Members of these groups pay in on a monthly basis and agree to assist other members with medical bills that arise. Monthly payments and deductibles are usually significantly lower than traditional healthcare, however, these programs come with other membership requirements. For more details check out Samaritan Ministries  or Liberty HealthShare .

What is the best cell phone and data plan for USA travelers?

Even in the U.S., reliable and quick phone and data coverage is not always possible. If you plan to work online while traveling the States, free wifi hotspots may not cut it.

Our friend, Alyssa, says: “The only way to go for Internet on the road is Verizon. They by far have the best coverage and the best plans. Many full-timers use Verizon Unlimited data plans through a third party. The best place to start looking for internet solutions is with Chris & Cherie over at RV Mobile Internet .”

Check the Coverage? app to research whether your cell provider has coverage in your next stop, or to compare coverage areas of the major providers.

To track down free and paid public wifi anywhere in the world, try a  Wifi Finder app . It can be used online or offline.

camping - 1

How to find free and cheap campsites in the U.S.

Federal Lands

In BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and U.S. Forest Service areas, you can camp for free within a certain distance of the roadside for up to 14 days. In RV communities, this practice is called dispersed camping or boondocking. Be prepared to rough it and practice “leave no trace behind.”

You can try the Public Lands app to find potential locations and the corresponding regulations for each area.


While not comprehensive, this site is a crowd-sourced map of free campsites around the nation.

Camp In My Garden

Here’s another option which doesn’t have a huge selection in the States, but can help you find cheap places to stay in peoples’ backyards . Facilities and pricing varies by homeowner.

Ultimate Campgrounds

This site provides an interactive map of public campgrounds in the U.S., though they’re not all free. They also have an app if you want the info on your smartphone.

The Campendium site  lets you search for specific campground types and includes free sites, National Parks, National Forests, State Parks, and RV parks.

Harvest Hosts

Another way to camp for (almost) free is with  Harvest Hosts . HH partners with farms, distilleries, wineries, and breweries across the country that have extra land or space for campers. Participating places allow you to camp on their property for free–usually for only one night–in exchange for your business. So typically you have a free place to stay for the cost of a bottle or two of wine. This is a great option if you want to get to know the locals in every place you visit. A HH membership costs less than $50 a year.

Parking Lots

If you just need a quick, free place in town to sleep overnight in your vehicle, then pull over in a Walmart, Cabela’s, truck stop, or rest stops. Full-timer RVers recommend calling the store manager or local police to check that overnight camping is allowed.

Passport America

If you’re planning to spend a lot of time at campsites around the country, Passport America offers 50% camping fees at participating campgrounds. The yearly fee for the membership is $44, but if you camp at just two of their locations, you’ll make your money back.

Alyssa says, “Hands down, this has been our best investment for saving money on camping.” (Disclosure: the Passport America link above is an affiliate link.)

What is full-time RVing?

Full-time RVing, or being a “fulltimer,” simply means you sleep all of your nights in an RV. It’s your house, your only home.

How do you get your mail when you’re a nomad?

When you live full time in an RV, most people use a mail forwarding service.

There are three states that are awesome about this: South Dakota, Florida, and Texas. Before you start RVing, you’ll want a permanent address in one of these places. This usually means setting up a “domicile,” a.k.a. becoming a resident of another state so you can use their RVing benefits. All of these states have great options for mail forwarding programs.

If you’re thinking about becoming a fulltimer, you can read this Technomadia article to learn more about this fascinating concept of getting your mail on the road .

Back to full-time RVing.

Now that you know you can get your mail across the country, here’s a little more about what full-time RVing looks like.

When you’re a fulltimer, you can:

  • Live anywhere you want (for Heath and Alyssa, this has included beachfront of the Pacific Ocean, riverfront, lakefront, mountainside, on a volcano, on farms, in national forests, even New York City!)
  • Work from anywhere
  • Not be tied down to mortgages, bills, and the monotony of staying one place
  • Meet new people
  • Spend more time in nature
  • Save a ton of money
  • Basically do anything you want all the time

“All this could be summed up very succinctly: Full-timing is the BEST,” says Alyssa.

Who full-time RVs?

Alyssa and Heath have met adults as young as 21 and as old as their 70s traveling full-time across the country. They’ve seen families with infants and teenagers and more kids than you could ever imagine, living in an RV with all their stuff piled into a trailer, traveling together.

Why Should I Full-Time RV?

One word: freedom.

In the past few decades, the world has changed in a million different ways. But the most overwhelming way is this: we have choices that society has never had before.

Your grocery store doesn’t offer great avocados? There’s probably five others equidistant from your house. You don’t like Shell gas stations? You have a hundred other options. Nothing good on TV? Don’t worry, there’s only millions of tv shows and movies you can watch on cable or satellite or the Internet. You don’t want to work from an office? You can work from home or a co-working space or Starbucks or a bar with wifi or an RV on the coast (Alyssa’s done all of these). We have more options every day than we know what to do with. Living in an RV and traveling full time is just one of them.

And yet, everyone is living in a home with four walls and indoor plumbing. Across the board, most people live in what RVers call a “sticks and bricks” home. Which is great if you’re worried about tornadoes or if you want a stable, predictable future. But it’s not great if you want to get out and see the world and learn and grow and be a better person (all of which are side effects of full time travel).

I know what you’re probably thinking now:

What about work? How would I finance full time travel?

Money is the biggest hurdle people face when it comes to leaping into the full time travel lifestyle. 

Surprisingly, for Heath and Alyssa, full timing opened a lot of doors for their business. Since moving into an RV, they’ve visited all 50 states, filmed a documentary, been on live national and international television, filmed a tv show, written books, published a course, and filmed a bunch of gigs across the country.

How to Make Money on the Road

Heath Padgett’s Resources

Our friend Heath is leading the way when it comes to full-time RVing as a young adult. His Make Money and RV  Facebook group and RV Entrepreneur Podcast  are excellent resources, even if you aren’t living out of an RV.

Digital Nomads

Just about anyone who makes their living online in a location independent way can travel the U.S. long-term. Check out this blog post to learn more about Digital Nomad living .

Help Exchange, WWOOF, Work Away

These three network sites hook you up with hosts around the world – and in the States – who will provide you room and board in exchange for various kinds of labor. Organic farming, nannying, hospitality, or web services are just a few of the ways you can get your foot in the door and save a lot of money. Here’s one example where we did Help Exchange at a chateau B&B in France.

Work and Travel Jobs

We wrote a post all about finding jobs in amazing places . Many are international, but plenty of the resources can be used in the U.S. as well!

Other Tools for Travel in the U.S.

The State Lines app  will let you know about the variations in state laws and regulations so you’re not surprised every time you cross a state border.

Do you have tools to add? Tell us about it in the comments below!

should i travel full time

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Wander Onwards

How to Travel With a Full-Time Job: 6 Creative Ways

Posted on Last updated: April 10, 2024

I’ve been living and working abroad since 2013 and I can confirm there are MULTIPLE WAYS to travel with a full-tome job. No, you don’t need to give up your career. Yes, people will actually pay you!

The pandemic truly made us re-evaluate our priorities and I’m 100% here to help. If you’re dreaming of a more flexible work environment that will allow you to travel while working full-time, I have 5 creative ways to make that happen for you.

In this article, I’m going to discuss:

  • Choosing the right travel/work balance for you
  • 6 ways to travel while working full-time
  • My favorite apps to make working while traveling easier
  • Important tax considerations when you’re on the road
  • Ways to get sh*t done at work while away from your normal set-up

If you think this path is right for you and you want to pick my brain about your specific circumstances, book a one-time 45-minute private coaching session with me.

Is Traveling with a Full-Time Job Right for You?

Not everyone is meant to be on the road 24/7 so you’ll want to figure out what’s the right path for you and your work style. There are a few important questions to consider

  • Will I be traveling alone? Or do I have a partner or family members to consider?
  • What countries can I currently work in easily? Do I need a work visa?
  • What’s my budget for traveling while working full-time? Can I make less in exchange for greater flexibility?
  • What are my career goals? Is there a specific timeline I need to be conscious of?

After evaluating these questions, your strategy should become clearer about what sort of circumstances are right for you when it comes to blending your career-travel ambitions.

For example, when it comes to traveling while working full-time, I have a partner I need to consider – but no children – so it’s easy to take off whenever I want to for up to a month without feeling guilty.

For anything longer than a month, I would need to have a conversation with my partners to ensure we’re on the same page.

However, backpacking for a year while being a digital nomad is not really conducive to my professional or personal aspirations.

I don’t want to be apart from my family that long and this becomes a tax nightmare for me.

You’ll need to decide what type of travel you want to do while working full-time (long-term backpacking vs shorter trips) before moving on to my 5 recommended ways.

6 Creative Ways to Travel while Working Full-Time

If you want to work full-time and travel easily in your spare time, here are your best options! I’ve done nearly every single method so you can trust me when I say – it’s totally doable.

1. Transition Your 9-5 Abroad (Indefinite)

No one ever tells us this in America, but if you’re a skilled person, you can take your career overseas!

Whether you’re a teacher or a Product Manager (like me!), there are international companies who are eager to bring you to their offices abroad!

Currently, I work for a global travel tech company as a product manager. I started working for them in London (in 2017) and I was able to negotiate a transfer to their Germany offices in 2020. I’ve been in Germany ever since.

You don’t need to abandon your career ambitions to move abroad if you’re a competitive person. Visa, Facebook, and all the other international companies have global locations that you can transfer to with enough effort.

Read my article about finding a job abroad here.

Once you’re outside of America, travel becomes naturally easier. As I’m writing this blog post, I’m currently waiting in the Berlin Brandenburg business lounge on my way to Rome.

I’m taking my laptop and I’ll be remotely working from Italy for the next week!

When I was living and working in Beijing, I was able to take off to Hong Kong and the Philippines without much money or planning.

Frequent travel while working full-time is much easier once you get out of the United States; trust me.

As Americans, we have an additional tax reporting responsibility when we work abroad, but don’t let that deter you.

You need to understand that it’s really just a reporting responsibility and only under extreme circumstances will you be double taxed.

Read my article about American expat tax requirements here.

2. Negotiate a Remote Contract (1+ year)

If you’re lucky enough to negotiate a remote contract, congratulations! You’ve truly secured a golden ticket that most people would kill for!!

I was able to negotiate a German remote contract in Aug 2021 and that’s how I have so much flexibility.

So what is a remote contract?

Essentially, a remote contract specifically removes any location-dependent clauses from your work contract. However, remote contracts will likely include a country-specific reference because they need to abide by some sort of legal framework.

With a remote contract, you can easily travel while working full-time because there’s no expectation for you to come into a specific office. You only need to get the work done wherever you are in the world.

For example, my remote contract is specifically a German contract. This means I pay tax to the German government and I get to enjoy the social security and healthcare benefits of living in the European Union.

If you’re able to negotiate a remote contract and want to move outside of the country that your contract specifically references, you’ll need to consider how that will affect your tax liability and immigration status.

A good rule of thumb is: if you’ve been in a country longer than 3 months, you should start exploring if that country expects you to pay tax locally and if you’re in violation of your tourist visa.

Some countries and regions (like the UK) have super generous tourist visa allowances, but tourist visas are not work visas so tread carefully.

Furthermore, if you’re paying taxes in the United States, but haven’t been in the country for more than 35 days, you might be entitled to a massive tax refund since you’re not technically a full-time resident.

Set up a consultation with my trusted tax partner – My Expat Taxes – to find out more about tax and reporting responsibilities as a remote US worker.

3. Volunteer Abroad (2-6 months)

If you’re just starting your career or are less concerned about bringing your 9-5 abroad, you should seriously consider volunteering abroad.

There are a variety of websites that match volunteers with hosts in different countries to do a ‘work-exchange.’ In a ‘work-exchange,’ you’d exchange your labor and skills for food, room, and board.

A few things that you can do when volunteering abroad include:

  • Organic Farming (WOOFing)
  • Working at the front desk of a hostel
  • Becoming an Au Pair (in the EU or America)
  • Work as a camp counselor (I did this in Morocco!)
  • and so much more!

There are endless opportunities if you want to volunteer abroad, but you’ll need to bring some savings with you as you won’t be paid for this work.

My favorite websites are:

  • workaway.info
  • Worldpackers.com

It’s also important to know that since this is a volunteer opportunity, you’ll need to be extra careful with your tourist visa allowance because there are always time limitations. You cannot get a work visa through a volunteer opportunity.

I‘ve lived abroad for many years and love helping others find work abroad and figure out their “Move Abroad Plan.” Check out my class below to get you started ASAP!

learn how to find work abroad, process visas, & more!

4. Become a Digital Nomad (1 month-2 years)

Becoming a digital nomad can be super exciting!…. but it can be tiring toward the end lol.

Moving from place to place every 30 days to make sure you’re not in violation of your tourist visa gets to you after the 2nd year, but I would still encourage everyone to do this if they have the opportunity.

So what’s the difference between being a digital nomad and having a remote contract?

Not much actually. I think the real difference between the two classifications is probably how stable the income is. A remote worker still has a traditional 9-5 whereas a digital nomad is often an entrepreneur or freelancer.

As a digital nomad, you have two options when it comes to creating a home base.

First, you can choose to bounce across countries every 1-2 months to ensure you can take advantage of all the financial benefits that come with not being tied down to a single location.

Your second option is to take advantage of a digital nomad visa in a foreign country, which will allow you to establish your tax residency there for 1 to 2 years.

There are benefits with both options; it just depends on how comfortable you are with uncertainty and constant movement.

If you choose option 1, not only are you going to need to find clients and establish a consistent cash flow, but you’ll also need to change countries every few months. This might feel overwhelming to some people; I know it was overwhelming for me.

Read this article about easy countries to move to for Americans to start your digital nomad research.

5. Short-Term Contract (2-6 months)

Contract work is often a great way to gain international experience and travel while maintaining a 9 to 5.

Essentially this means that your company sends you to a different country for a brief amount of time to complete a specific project.

These temporary contracts will likely send you abroad for 2-6 months and your company will provide you with an ‘Expat Package.’

This means that they will pay for everything; which includes housing, flights, a food stipend, and more!

I was sent on a short-term contract to Turkey for less than 2 months and it was a wild experience!

I was able to work as an emergency aid worker and was given a company apartment with a spending stipend. I saved every penny of my paycheck!

If you’re interested in doing a short-term contract, it’s important that you focus on getting the best package possible because you are uprooting your entire life to pursue this opportunity.

For example, these are the things that I would absolutely require if I was going to a new country on a short-term contract.

  • My accommodation to be found and paid for in full
  • Private health insurance and international medical facilities
  • A food and living stipend for everyday costs
  • My flights to and from paid for

Obviously, if you are volunteering to work on a short-term contract these things are not going to be guaranteed. However, any company that is reputable will likely provide all if not the majority of the following things in addition to your normal salary.

diy your move with tutorials, a digital planner & more

6. Travel Scholarship (3 months -2 years)

Did you know that there are travel scholarships that will pay for you to study and volunteer abroad for a certain amount of time? These are often called paid travel opportunities.

My favorite way of discovering paid travel opportunities is through my friend’s website packslight.com.

Gabby is an absolute master when it comes to applying and finding paid travel opportunities that will get you across the world at no additional cost to you.

What you’ll need to do is send in an application for the various opportunities.

Then, someone will contact you as a finalist or if you are successful in the application you can expect the company to organize and pay for your travel abroad.

My Favorite Digital Nomad Apps for Employees on the Go!

When you’re traveling and working abroad, there are certain apps that will make your life more bearable as you jet-set across the world!

Here are my favorite apps and websites for digital nomads:

If you’re ever wondering how you’re going to watch your favorite American Netflix shows while you’re abroad, then look no further than Nord VPN!

They will help you keep in contact with all of your country’s pop culture references no matter where you are in the world.


Because I have multiple clients that are international and have outstanding student loans to pay, I need to send money in different currencies back and forth across the world.

The most affordable way to do that is via TransferWise . You can load all sorts of currencies into your account and then exchange them into different currencies for a fraction of the cost that your bank will charge you.

If you’re interested in setting up a coaching business, look no further than Teachable .

Teachable is an online platform that helps me keep in contact with my customers all over the world and they make taking payments easy with the Stripe integration.

Whenever I’m looking for freelancers, I always start on Upwork.

Upwork allows me to hire people from all over the world and their payment protection plan gives me the confidence I need about the quality of work my freelancers will perform.

I believe in Upwork so much, that I’ve been using it for the last eight years.

When I first moved abroad, I don’t think I truly understood how much emotional stress the move was going to cause me.

That’s why I really enjoy using online therapy services, like BetterHelp , because no matter where I am in the world I can always stay with the therapist I trust and I can do my sessions in my native language.

Opening a bank account as a foreigner abroad is incredibly difficult. I’m so grateful that N26 allows me to spend local money in Europe despite having an American passport.

The flexibility of N26 made it possible for me to sign an apartment lease and start my life in Germany properly.

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Important Tax Considerations for Traveling while Working

Something I wish someone would’ve told me before I moved abroad was the fact that there is no way to avoid taxes, no matter where you are in the world.

Even if you have a company registered outside of the country you’re living in currently.

If you are American or a green card holder, you are expected to report and file taxes every single year no matter where you are in the world.

But reporting and Filene doesn’t necessarily mean paying additional taxes to the United States if you don’t currently live there.

If you stay out of the US for at least 330 days in a full calendar year, you will potentially not need to pay taxes to the United States government.

However, it is likely that you are a tax resident in another country and will owe taxes there instead.

If you are a digital nomad from the United States, and you don’t take up residency in any one country then you could potentially receive a large tax refund from the US government come tax season.

Use Form 2555 to claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

For more specific information on what forms to file and how to file correctly, head on over to my trusted partner My Expat Taxes .

My Expat Taxes is a wonderful resource and software to ensure you get the maximum refund possible while still remaining budget-friendly.

Ways to Get Sh*t Done while Working and Traveling

It’s definitely not easy to stay focused while traveling and working full-time. Somehow corporate meetings just aren’t as interesting as cenote dives and adventures across the ocean. [LOL]

Here are a few ways I stay focused while working full-time and traveling.

First, be sure you have a good set-up in your new home to do your work. There’s nothing worse than trying to get work done in an awkward sitting position or just on your bed.

Next, some countries are not known for their strong Wi-Fi signal, be sure to inquire before you arrive with your Airbnb host that the Wi-Fi is suitable to conduct meetings and streaming.

Third, check to see if there are any low-cost co-working stations in the city that you’re traveling in.

They often have day passes or short-term agreements so people just like you can come in and work in a normal environment every so often.

Finally, make sure to adjust your work calendar based on the different time zones that you’ll be traveling through.

This is an automatic feature but you have to enable it in order for your meetings to be expressed correctly.

Now You’re Ready to Start Traveling while Working Full-Time

I hope you found this article to be helpful in giving you ideas regarding how to balance a full work schedule with your ambitions to travel.

There are so many opportunities to travel and work full-time, you just need to find the right option for you.

If you want my direct support and feedback on your specific circumstances, schedule a private coaching session with me here.

If you’re interested in learning more about working while traveling abroad, read these additional articles that might be of some help:

  • This is how you can find a job in another country
  • Here I go into more detail about how to find affordable travel opportunities
  • Consider doing a master’s abroad, because you can also work while you study
  • Here’s information about how I was able to put it into the tech industry in London

If you want additional support in your move abroad, consider taking my Move Abroad Master Class for everything you might need to know regarding your international relocation.

Thanks so much for reading this post and I hope to see you on Instagram!

should i travel full time

How to budget for full time travel – A step by step guide

  • July 27, 2023
  • curious goose

should i travel full time

This post may contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you use these links.

Want to go backpacking in Southeast Asia ? Try out vanlife in Australia? Or travel around Europe? Planning for full time travel can be daunting, most of all because of the cost. Knowing where and how to start preparing your travel budget can feel overwhelming. That’s why I’ve put together this practical step by step guide for how to budget for full time travel.

Table of Contents

How to budget for full time travel - a step by step guide.

This post will guide you through step by step instructions of how to set your travel budget. You can also download my handy Travel Budget Spreadsheet template and simply populate it with your numbers. An easy, simple way to plan your travel budget for your dream trip!

As well as guiding you through completing your own Travel Budget Spreadsheet, I’ll also cover key things you need to think about when budgeting for full time travel.

So, let’s go…!

How can I afford to travel full time?

Before I jump into how to budget for full time travel, I wanted to answer this as it’s a question I get asked a lot – ‘how can you afford to travel full time?!’ Some people we’ve met have even jokingly asked if we’re rich! (Ha! I wish!)

At the time of writing this post, I’ve been travelling full time with my husband for just over a year. We set off in September 2021, spending 3 months in Europe, driving through the beautiful landscapes of Germany’s Black Forest , visiting the Matterhorn in Switzerland and enjoying life on the French Riviera . After a short stop back at home in the UK to spend Christmas with our families, we flew to Thailand in January 2022 and ended up loving it so much, we stayed there for 3 months. Following that, we visited Cambodia, spent a month in Vietnam , had 5 days in Singapore , then continued onto Malaysia and Bali before arriving in Australia, where we are currently travelling around in a van for 3 months. After Australia we fly to New Zealand, where we’ll be enjoying van life again for another 2 months.

Neither of us work whilst we are travelling (although we could both work remotely online if we chose to), so, you’re probably wondering how we afford to travel full time?

Well, the reality is that we spent quite a few years saving really hard for our travels. We consciously decided that we didn’t want to have to work whilst we were taking this time out to travel, so we knew we needed a plan and that involved a lot of saving! We made a rough itinerary of where we wanted to travel and how long we wanted to spend in each place. After that, we then set ourselves a travel budget and started saving! There really is no magic trick I’m afraid, but if you really want something and you are determined to work hard and focus on the end goal, then you can make it happen.

Check out my super simple, but effective tips for how to save for full time travel.

should i travel full time

How to create your travel budget - how much money do you need for full time travel?

It’s easy to get carried away dreaming of lying on the sandy beaches of Phuket , in Thailand or visiting elephants in Sri Lanka , but before that becomes a reality, you need to plan your travel budget.

Without knowing how much things cost and how much money you will actually need to travel, you’ll run out of money very quickly. No-one wants to have to cut their trip short because they don’t have any money left!

How much money you will need to travel full time will be different for everyone as it is dependant on a number of things:

  • Destination (the place or places you want to travel to)
  • Duration (how long you hope to spend in each place)
  • Your style of travel (the standard of accommodation, transport, food and drink you are happy with)
  • What activities you plan to do (if you have any bucket list activities you want to tick off such as a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon or snorkel in the Whitsundays , these things will evidently cost more).

The next 9 steps will guide you through how to create your travel budget. This includes not only setting your budget for whilst you are travelling, but also your pre-departure budget, emergency travel funds budget, an ongoing expenses budget and a post travel budget.

That may sound overwhelming, but I promise you it is really quite simple once you get started and hopefully this guide will help you break it down into more manageable chunks.

And to make it even easier for you, I’ve shared my own Travel Budget Spreadsheet as a temple which you can download and use for yourself. It is editable so you can make any changes you might want too.

Creating your Travel Budget in 9 simple steps:

1. decide on your destination(s).

Deciding where you would like to travel to is one of the first steps you should make when starting to budget for full time travel. Your destination(s) will have a huge impact on how much you need to save. For example, travelling in South East Asia will be far cheaper than in Australia, or in Europe. Once you’ve decided on the destination(s) you would like to visit, make a list of them all.

Personally, I would recommend creating this list in an excel or google docs spreadsheet. This will be your Travel Budget Spreadsheet. If you have several places you want to visit, add each destination into its own cell, one underneath each other. Your Travel Budget Spreadsheet doesn’t need to be fancy, keep it simple.

Task: Make a list of the destinations you would like to visit (in order of preference):

Travel Budget Spreadsheet example:

2. Decide how long you would like to travel for

Some people may advise you to just save as much as you can within ‘x months’ and then figure out how long that can sustain you for. I would recommend having a good idea of how long you would like to travel for first, as this will help you to work out how much money you need to save and how long that will take you. I find that having a figure to work towards also means that you are more likely to keep on track with your saving goal.

If you’re planning to travel to several places, make a note of how long you would like to spend in each place as this will help you to work out your travel budget per destination too.

Task: Go back to your Travel Budget Spreadsheet. In the second and third columns, titled ‘Duration’ in both days and weeks, write how long you would ideally like to spend in each place. At the bottom of the Duration column, add up the number of days / weeks / months to get your total.

3. Research the average costs in each destination

How will you know how much to save if you don’t know how much things cost? Do some research into things like accommodation, transport and the price of meals and drinks. Read blogs, watch YouTube videos but also do some research yourself on sites such as booking.com to see how much accommodation is on average, or on sites like Viator to see how much tours and activities might be.

Tip: It is important when looking into the cost of transport, flights , accommodation and van or car hire to input dates at the same time of year you are planning to travel to that destination. For example, the peak season in Thailand is December – February. During these months, the cost of accommodation and flights will be higher than if you visited during the rainy season July – September.

Once you have done your research, make a note of how much you think you might need per day in that destination. Don’t worry about getting this exactly right. Without actually being in the country, it is hard to know the exact costs of things, so this is more of an educated guesstimate, but an estimated cost based on research is far closer to being correct than if you plucked a figure out of the air!

Remember that your daily cost will be different than someone else’s. Your daily cost will depend on things like the standard of accommodation you are happy with, how often you like to party, what activities you want to do and what kind of places you eat at. Make sure you remember that, especially when reading blogs, or instagram posts or watching YouTube vlogs.

Task: On your destinations list, add a fourth column with your average daily spend for each destination. Note that each destination will have slightly different average daily spends, based on how expensive things are in that country or city.

4. Set your travel budget

Now you know where you want to travel to, how long you would like to travel for, and how much things cost in your chosen destination(s), it’s time to set your travel budget. Go back to your Travel Budget Spreadsheet. You should now have four columns with the information you have collected so far. Add a fifth column – this is where you will calculate the amount of money you need for each destination.

Now you have worked out how much money you need in each destination, add everything up and you will have the total amount of money needed to complete your dream trip.

At this stage, assess whether this figure is manageable and realistic for you. Do you need to make any adjustments?

5. Set a pre-departure budget

Planning a budget for full time travel isn’t just about saving for whilst you are on your trip. You also need to factor in any expenses you may need before your trip. These could include things like travel vaccinations, visas, flights, or purchasing travel essentials such as a backpack, packing cubes, reusable water bottles, etc. You might need to buy a supply of medication or contact lenses. Make a note of everything you need to spend money on in order to prepare yourself for full time travel and add this to your Travel Budget Spreadsheet.

6. Create an Emergency travel fund

No-one wants anything bad to happen whilst you are travelling, but unexpected things can occur. You might need to book a flight to get out of a country quickly in the instance of adverse weather, or you might have an accident and need hospital treatment and your insurance company doesn’t pay out upfront. Always make sure that you have an emergency travel fund and DON’T spend it – unless it really is an emergency! (It is also wise to have a couple of credit cards to fall back on in the case of an emergency. This should be in addition to your emergency travel fund, not instead of!) Add the amount you are planning to set aside for emergencies in your Travel Budget Spreadsheet – and keep this money separate to your travel pot!

7. Budget for any ongoing expenses

Ongoing expenses include anything that you will need to continue to pay for, even whilst you are travelling. For example, we have a storage unit full of everything we own, which we pay a monthly direct debit for. I calculated how much money we would need to save in order to continually pay for our storage unit during the time we were away (plus extra months in case we extended our travels!).

Other ongoing expenses may include mortgage payments, insurance policies, an outstanding phone contract which you need to pay off, a Netflix subscription etc. No matter how small, add all ongoing expenses to your Travel Budget Spreadsheet. Make sure you calculate how much money you will need in order to continuously cover these expenses for the duration of your trip (or however long you need to keep making the payments for). The money needed for ongoing expenses should be in a completely separate bank account to your travel budget pot. This ensures that you always have money to cover these direct debits.

Task: Add all ongoing expenses to your Travel Budget Spreadsheet and account for these when saving

8. Plan for a ‘coming home’, post-travels budget

I know, you’ve not even started your travels and I’m talking about coming home! This seems super boring, but the last thing you want after your travels are over is to get home to absolutely nothing. Plan to put a little aside so that you have some money when you come home to help set yourself up again. For example, you might need to put some money aside to buy a new car, or for the first couple of month’s deposit in a rental unit.

Task: Write down things you would need to pay for upon your return and add an estimated cost for this to your Travel Budget Spreadsheet. (I would also make sure that you keep this money in a separate bank account to your travel pot, so that you aren’t tempted to dip into it)!

9. Decide on a date to start travelling

Now you know how much money you need to save for your trip, plan how long that will take you to save. Set up a direct debit into your savings account, or open up a specific ‘travel account’ and transfer money into there each week, fortnight or month.

Having a goal of how much you need to save and a date to work towards will make it easier for you to focus on saving for your travels. Be realistic with your timeline. If you want to set off sooner, make a plan for how this could be possible for you.

My husband and I chose not to work. We made a conscious decision to take some time out, away from our busy careers and simply enjoy travelling. We planned for this from the beginning and we were really strict with ourselves, sticking to our plan to save.

Of course, this may not suit everyone and if you don’t want to wait until you have saved enough, or perhaps you want to be able to travel with no end date, then that’s great! But make sure that you plan for that too. Could you save 50% of what you need initially, then work remotely to earn more as you go? There are lots of ways to earn money online whilst you’re travelling. Or, depending on the country you are in, you could also get a working visa to help top up your travel pot.

You could also consider joining a Workaway program where you work for a few hours a day in return for free accommodation. Or how about being a house sitter or dog sitter, if you don’t mind staying in one place for a few weeks? These are all great ways to get free accommodation which is a great help to your budget.

A woman in an infinity pool, surrounded by jungle views, Ubud, Bali

How to keep your travel budget on track (and not overspend!)

You’ve spent many months saving hard and finally the time has come for you to set off on your travels! (YAY!) Whilst it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of travelling (of course you should be excited, travel is the best!), it is important that you keep a track of your spending. It sounds boring, but trust me, you don’t want to find out that you’ve spent all your hard earned money too quickly and now have to cut your trip short.

So, to make sure that doesn’t happen, here’s my 3 top tips for keeping track of your travel budget whilst travelling:

1. Track your daily travel spend

Don’t worry, I won’t be suggesting that you fill in a spreadsheet everyday (although you can if you want to!). I use the Travel Spend app religiously, in fact I’m a little bit obsessed with it! It is without a doubt my favourite travel app. There’s a paid version where you can have multiple trips displaying at once, and add your own custom categories, but to be honest, I’ve been fine with just using the free version for the past year.

I prefer to have a new entry on the travel spend app by country, as I have different daily budgets for each country. To get started, simply add the name of the country you are starting in, add the total budget you have set yourself for that country, as well as the beginning and end dates you are there. The app will then automatically calculate what your daily spend should be based on your total budget and number of days – this should match the daily budget figure you have on your Travel Budget Spreadsheet.

Each time I buy something, I enter it onto the app, even if it’s just a single bottle of water. The app will total how much you have spent that day, as well as showing you how much of your total budget you have remaining.

Try not to get too caught up on what you have spent each day, as some days you will go over budget and some days you will go under. You need to focus on the ‘daily average spend’, and as long as this matches (or is close to) the figure you have budgeted for, you are on track.

2. Record your total spend per location

Once your time is up in a country or destination, record your total spend in your Travel Budget Spreadsheet. This is a good way to keep track of your actual spend and you can also compare it against the budget you had forecast for that destination to see if you were significantly over or under budget.

Noticing any discrepancies in this way will allow you to make any adjustments you might need to the rest of your budget. For example, if you are under budget, you know that you can afford to have a couple of treats in your next destination. But if you have gone way over budget, you need to look at where you can claw back some money, or decide to earn some extra money as you travel.

If you are travelling to several destinations, and are using the free version of the Travel Spend app, you will need to delete your current country in the app in order to record your spend in a new country. So, just make sure that you have inputted your total spend into your Travel Budget Spreadsheet before deleting that country in the app!

3. Make any adjustments needed to your ongoing expenses budget

If any of the regular payments you are making as ‘ongoing expenses’ change, you will need to adjust this in your spreadsheet and make sure that you have enough in your ‘ongoing expenses’ pot to cover any additional costs or price rises on things like storage unit hire, insurance or subscriptions.

A couple ocean kayaking with tree-covered limestone islands behind them

So there you have it, my step by step guide to creating and managing your travel budget, along with top tips for keeping your spending on track!

Creating a travel budget doesn’t need to be complicated, the hardest part is saving! Even then, if you are determined to travel and you’re focused on the end goal, then the saving part won’t feel too much of a chore either. Make sure you check out my 12 simple tips to save for full time travel.

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Your guide to full-time RV living

Thinking about living full-time in an RV? Here’s everything you need to know before embarking on this journey

By Jesse & Rachael Lyons & Roadtrippers

We‘ve been full-time RV living, working, and traveling since 2018. Through this lifestyle, we’ve visited 23 states and 25 national parks. Touring the U.S. by RV has opened our eyes to new perspectives, uncovered new interests, and altered our lives. Four years into full-time RV living, we still enjoy living everywhere more than living anywhere.

Living on the road isn’t all adventure and fun though. We spend most of our time working in our RV as full-time remote marketers. We’ve also had our share of setbacks and breakdowns. RV life requires grit, flexibility, and strong problem-solving skills. Ultimately, overcoming the obstacles is worth it for the freedom and joy of RV travel.

Person reading in chair in renovated RV

Considerations for full-time RV living

Moving into an RV isn’t as simple as hopping behind the wheel and hitting the road. Some aspects of everyday life are different when your home has wheels. You’ll need a game plan for these considerations:

Related 10 mistakes beginner RVers should avoid

The ability to scale your cost of living is a massive benefit of RV life. You can live in an RV luxuriously or on a budget. The major expenses of full-time RV life are campsite fees, fuel, RV and vehicle payments, and activities as you travel. Don’t forget to account for maintenance, repairs, groceries, mobile phones, WiFi, insurance, and other daily costs like food and supplies. You can make decisions to control most of these costs by choosing the kind of RV lifestyle you want, planning, and  sticking to your budget .

Work and income

Unless you’re retired or saved to travel for some time, you’ll need an income to live full-time in an RV. Some RVers work online, while others find short-term jobs and work in one location before moving on to the next.

Sell or store

Downsizing and minimalism are part of the RV lifestyle. You can sell your home and belongings to fund the start-up costs or pay to store your belongings until you’re ready to return to a sticks-and-bricks home.

Domicile state

Even if you travel full-time, you still need a legal address. This determines where you pay taxes, vote, register vehicles, and get your mail. You can claim domicile at a property you own or ask a family member if you can legally “move in” to their residence. Alternatively, you can establish a domicile in a state through a service for RVers. Due to low income taxes and laws, the most popular domicile states for full-time RVers are Florida, South Dakota, and Texas.

If your address is with a family member, you can ask them to manage your mail. Alternatively, you can use a service to receive and forward your mail. Budget for about $100 per year for these services. 

Purchase good insurance policies for your vehicle and RV, and ensure your policy covers full-time RV travel. Joining a roadside assistance program specifically for RVs comes in handy too. Ensure continuation of health insurance through your employer or in your domicile state. If you’re traveling with a pet, make sure your insurance is established in your domicile state and carry updated vaccine records. 

If you’re roadschooling your children, make sure you’re familiar with and comply with the homeschool laws in your domicile state.

Full-time RVers rarely depend on campgrounds for WiFi access. If you require an internet connection for work or school, research cellular data hotspots or satellite internet options. Be aware that no mobile internet solution works everywhere, so you’ll likely need to plan your campsites accordingly or purchase multiple connection options.

Related What RVers and vanlifers need to know about Starlink


If you live full-time in your RV, it’s not a question of if something breaks, but when. There are excellent RV service centers and mobile mechanics, but the ability to diagnose and fix some issues on your own will make full-time RV living easier. So, bring a toolbox and travel with small replacement parts.

What to look for in a rig for full-timing

There’s no one right RV for full-time RVers. The right RV for you depends on your family size, travel style, budget, and work. Here are some factors for choosing the best RV to call home.

How much space do you need to accommodate your family? The more family members, the more beds and square footage you’ll require. Don’t forget, while bigger RVs are more comfortable, they’re more cumbersome for travel and finding campsites.

Choose an RV layout that fits your family’s daily life. Do you need an office with a closed door to focus? Are there enough workspaces for everyone’s work and school? Is there enough storage for everyone’s belongings? Are your kitchen and fridge big enough for your cooking requirements?

Related How to plan a safe and fun RV route with a big rig

The size of your fresh, gray, and black tanks can dictate your RV lifestyle. If you prefer boondocking and public campgrounds, you may want to purchase an RV with larger tanks, especially if you have a family. Tank size is not as crucial if you mainly stay in full-hookup RV parks.

Other features to consider

RVs don’t have as many appliances and comforts as a house. What other features do you need for daily life? Is an in-RV washer and dryer vital to you, or are you fine using campground and public laundromats? Do you want to invest in solar and battery upgrades for a more off-grid lifestyle? Do you require a full bathroom, or will a wet bath or campground showers suffice?

Booking campgrounds while full-time traveling

Parking your home around the country is fun but requires planning to book campgrounds. There is a vast campground style and pricing range, from nature and solitude to urban RV parks.

Types of campgrounds

There are three main types of campgrounds: private RV parks, public campgrounds, and public lands. Private RV parks usually offer more amenities and the option for extended stays but can be more expensive. Public campgrounds like national and state parks have fewer conveniences and require RVers to move frequently, but cost less and offer more rustic settings. Parking on public land is free but has shorter stay limits and no resources. Some full-time RVers stick to one type of campground, while others dabble in all three as they travel.

Stay length

How often do you want to move? Some full-time RVers enjoy going somewhere new every few days. Others stay at a campground for 1 to 2 weeks, while some settle into an RV park for one or several months. The longer you want to stay in one place, the further ahead you’ll need to book your campsite.

Related The ultimate guide to part-time RV travel

Plan and be flexible

Constantly booking campgrounds is part of full-time RV living. Consider the weather seasons, the sights you want to visit, the high tourist seasons for the destination, and local costs. Peak months in popular campgrounds, such as Florida in the winter or Colorado in the summer, will reach capacity months or even a year in advance. 

If you have your heart set on a specific campground, research when its reservation window opens and book immediately. However, be flexible enough to visit destinations in shoulder seasons or stay in less frequented campsites.

Man entering RV in desert setting observing dog

Traveling full-time in your RV

Full-time RVing can live up to the dream, but it’s not a full-time vacation. Long-term RV travel requires practice and management to sustain for months or years to come.

Visiting new places

Traveling to new destinations is the best part of RV travel. Make a bucket list of things you want to see and experience. Do you prefer outdoor activities and national parks, exploring the bustle of new cities, or a little of both? Keep an open mind to new interests and experiences too. Getting out of your comfort zone and getting to know people and places different from you can be the most enriching part of travel. Remember—you’ll never be able to see everything in one or even dozens of RV trips. Try to slow down and soak in the places you visit.

Travel days

Full-time RVers spend a lot of time on the road. Driving with an RV is slower and more unpredictable, so estimate an extra 25 percent for your drive time, and don’t push yourself (or your rig). Check maps carefully to ensure the roads and bridges accommodate your RV length and height. For drives longer than a day, reserve a campground or plan overnight RV parking in a retail location or rest stop that allows 1-night stays.

Maintaining relationships

If you’re traveling full-time, you might miss the sense of community that comes with staying in one place. Make travel plans that include visiting friends or family or invite them to meet up with you on the road. RVers are open to meeting new people, so don’t hesitate to use social media platforms and campground events as opportunities to make new friends. Take time to nurture your own traveling family too. The constant togetherness and small spaces shift dynamics, so practice open communication and plan focused time together.

Manage resources

RV life requires constant resource management. From conserving utilities to finding new grocery stores and juggling travel schedules, daily life isn’t as convenient as living in a house. There’s a learning curve for everyone, so embrace it as much as you can.

Common questions about full-time RVing

The costs of full-time RV living vary greatly depending on your RV lifestyle, but you can quickly scale your budget depending on the type of campgrounds you stay in and how often you travel to the next destination. 

You can live permanently in an RV as long as you’ve established and maintained a domicile address with the associated taxes and legal requirements.

Prepare for full-time RV living by researching and planning your RV setup, income, school, domicile address, travel plans, and campground reservations. Read and listen to others’ experiences on blogs, videos, and social media to learn what to expect from daily RV life.

The specifics of how taxes work when you live in an RV vary depending on your income sources, but generally, you pay taxes according to the state you establish a domicile in.

Most RVers move to warmer climates during the winter months, often referred to as “snowbirding.” However, if you live in your RV in cold weather, heat the interior with an electric or propane heater. Use insulation and heated lines to prevent your hookups and plumbing from freezing. Many considerations and decisions need to be made before you embark on full-time RV life. The more research and planning you do, the more prepared you will be. However, you’ll always learn new things as you go, so enjoy the adventure.

Meet the Authors

should i travel full time

Jesse & Rachael Lyons

Jesse and Rachael are a married couple from Boston, Massachusetts. In 2018 they ditched their city apartment, became digital nomads, and hit the road to go on an adventure. Now, they travel full-time in their renovated Keystone Cougar fifth wheel, tasting local food and beer everywhere they go.

should i travel full time


Roadtrippers helps you find the most epic destinations and detours—from roadside attractions to natural wonders and beyond.

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The Ultimate Guide to Full Time RVing (2022 Updated Edition)

February 9, 2022 September 22, 2021 | Christopher Harvey

truck camper camping among red rocks

Last Updated on February 9, 2022 by Chris and Lindsay

So you’ve made the decision to transition into full time RVing. That’s awesome! Becoming a full-time RVer is a decision that separates you from most other people.

Opting for life on the road – with both its challenges and its rewards – takes a certain kind of person. And if you’re reading this now, clearly you’re ready to make that decision. 

We committed to RVing full time in 2018 with no idea about how to RV at all! We skipped the beginning steps and had not even camped once in our RV before we hit the road for what we planned would be a multi-year journey crossing North and South America.

But as we all know about life, things changed and we found that full-time RVing is more a lifestyle than an activity to be accomplished. 

In over 3 years of crisscrossing the North American continent, we have since learned so much about what it takes to live in an RV .

We’re excited to share what we’ve learned and to welcome you into an awesome community of people who love the road as much as we do! 

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post m ay contain links to products we think you’ll like. If you purchase any of the products through the links below we’ll receive a small commission. As full-time RVers, we know our RV products well and only recommend those that we either own or would consider owning ourselves.

Living In An RV Full Time – An Expert’s Guide

There are many aspects to consider when making the transition into full-time RVing. And there are a lot more details you need to consider than you might imagine.

From little things like receiving mail and voting in elections to the bigger ones like determining which RV is right for you and setting a budget , the devil is in the details. 

That said, let’s get into helping you discover the answers to questions you have (or may not know you have!) about living in an RV. 

Choosing the Best RV to Live In Full Time

First things first, you have to determine which RV is best for you. There are really two ways to look at this question.

First, do you already own an RV or travel trailer that you would like to make your full-time home on the road?

If so, there are lots of things you can do to it to transition it from your getaway RV to your home.

Second, are you in the market to purchase an RV that you think will be the best RV to live in full time? If so, your options are limitless. 

In either case, we’re going to give you a few quick things to consider as you make your decision. And we’ll share some pros and cons we’ve found to the most popular types of RVs for full-time living. 

To Thyself Be True

The first thing you need to ask yourself is who are you and what do you want to accomplish in living full time on the road? This may seem overly simple. But how you answer this question will determine how you select the best RV. 

For example, if you want to constantly be on the move, spending time boondocking and searching for an adventure down a few dirt roads then a Class A motorhome is likely not the best option for you.

Similarly, if you want to take it slow and park up in a spot for a few weeks or months and just enjoy one place for a while you might be interested in a Class A motorhome or a larger travel trailer. 

And, of course, if you are considering living in an RV full time as a family then there are lots more considerations for you and your RV options will be somewhat limited. 

So take the time to walk yourself through the “who/what/where/when/why” of your decision to RV full time. 

Who am I when it comes to camping? Am I a minimalist adventure-seeking active camper? Or do I want to have a nice comfortable spot and a campfire most nights of the week?

What do I want to accomplish in this new life? Do I have to work or start/run a business from the road ? Or am I retired, or semi-retired, with the flexibility to go where I want and when I want? Do I want to race around and see as many national parks and states as I can? Or do I want life to slow down from the rat race from which I am trying to escape? 

Where do I want to go? Is there a travel bucket list of places I have always wanted to visit? Or will I be content checking out the places I come across as I wander? Am I worried about the seasons (hot/cold/otherwise) and want to escape one and/or go toward another? 

When will I begin and for how long do I think this new life will last? Am I financially prepared now? Or will I need to save for a little longer and/or find work on the road? Do I want to spend a gap year on the road or head off on a multi-year purposeful journey? Or do I want to let full-time RVing become my lifestyle indefinitely?

Why do I want to live in an RV full time? Am I trying to save money, seek adventure or challenge myself? Or am I searching for a new beginning or a new chapter in my life?

In our case, we wanted to drive from Alaska to Argentina along the Pan American Highway over the course of a few years. We had one dog, what we thought was half of the savings needed and we knew we wanted to go off-road a little. We didn’t own an RV a the time we decided to commit to full-time RVing so we asked ourselves these questions and ultimately settled on a truck camper. 

But in your case, your answers will determine which RV is best for you. Here’s a quick overview of why you may or may not want to choose a particular RV to live in full time.

Pros and Cons of Each RV

Every RV has pros and cons. Without getting into the details, here is an overview of why you may or may not want to choose each type of RV for full-time RVing.

should i travel full time

Class A Motorhome

Choose a Class A motorhome if you want to take your time getting places (mostly on the highway), will spend much of your time in formal campgrounds and will stay in place for multiple days or weeks.

Class A motorhomes are also good for families and those who need a dedicated space to work or run a business from the road. 

Class B campervan parked on the side of a road in front of a mountain

Class B Campervan

Choose a Class B campervan if you want to live a minimalist lifestyle and are OK adapting to the lack of space and amenities a campervan might offer.

Class B campervans and other van conversions are highly popular among those who enjoy combining adventure and life in what is collectively the “van life” movement. 

Class C motorhome driving down a road

Class C Motorhome

Choose a Class C motorhome if you would like more space than a smaller camper but want a little more maneuverability than a Class A.

They can be coupled with a tow vehicle and can handle moderate offroad driving. Class C motorhomes are also good for families and those who need a dedicated space to work or run a business from the road. 

Travel Trailer set up by a picnic table at a campsite

Travel Trailer

Choose a travel trailer if you want to combine the option for a spacious RV with the ability to detach it from your truck to make day trips when camping.

Travel trailers, particularly Airstreams, are popular for full-time RVers and can be large enough to accommodate families on the road.  

Truck camper boondocking on a lake beach at sunset

Truck Camper

Choose a truck camper if you want to be able to spend time offroad and don’t mind smaller spaces and limited comfort. Truck campers provide everything you need in an RV but just not a lot of space for full-time RV living.

Living in an RV Full Time Costs

Knowing how much it costs to live in an RV full time is an important step in making your next decisions. But RV budgets can vary as much as your choices in RVs. 

It is possible to live a minimalistic life for less than $1,000 per month if you don’t travel far, spend much going out and plan to free camp often.

A more reasonable full-time RV budget would afford moderate travel, dining out and activities and free camping a handful of nights throughout the month for $2,000-$3,000. 

Of course, you will also have expenses to account for outside of RV living that will vary by your personal situation. Mortgages, storage units, vehicle payments and health care costs are just a few miscellaneous expenses that may vary by your situation. 

We think of monthly full-time RV costs in 3 categories: Initial cost, Fixed monthly expenses and Variable travel expenses. 

Initial Cost

This is the total cost of your RV, including any tow or towing vehicles and remodels, repairs and upgrades.

This may be a lump sum for which you pay in cash up front, an amount you have already paid over time before going full time or an amount you finance while you travel. 

Fixed Monthly Expenses

These are the costs that you expect on a monthly basis, often whether you travel or not. Think of these as fixed expenses that you may not be able to reduce and include the following categories:

  • Cell phone/WiFi
  • RV/Vehicle insurance
  • Health/Life Insurance
  • Miscellaneous medical (including prescriptions, over the counter meds and doctors visits)
  • Personal Expenses (including mortgages, vehicle payments, storage fees and other personal expenses) 

Variable Travel Expenses

These are the costs that will vary depending on your travel preferences. Think of these expenses as the base of your budget and include the following categories:

  • Meals (including groceries, alcohol and going out to eat)
  • Camping (including private RV, national, state and local parks and lands)
  • Fuel (including vehicle and propane)
  • Spending/Entertainment (including digital subscriptions, activities and souvenirs)
  • Repairs/Maintenance (including routine and emergency)
  • Travel (including tolls and parking)

There are also some upfront costs that you may incur one-time (or annually) as you begin your full-time RVing. These would need to be accounted for in your budget and include: 

  • RV memberships such as Harvest Hosts , Passport America and GoodSam
  • US National Park Annual Pass and other state park passes as applicable
  • GoodSam roadside assistance 

Full time RVing has its perks when boondocking near the Teton mountain range

Full Time RV Living Tips 

The longer you RV and the more RVers you meet along the way the more tips and tricks you will learn to make life on the road safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable.

Here are a few of the most important things we wish we knew before we committed to full time RVing.

Know your purpose/goal

Reflect back on your answers above used to help you select your RV. Knowing why you want to live in an RV full time will help you make decisions about what you do and how you live on the road.

For example, we knew we were more interested in completing our journey driving from Alaska to Argentina than in doing typical tourist activities along the way. We knew we would have to work at some point to afford the cost of the full trip so saving every dollar was important to us.

This mindset has allowed us to continue to travel and live in our RV for over 3 years. 

Set the budget

The better you budget your life on the road and the more discipline you have in sticking to it the better off you will be in the long run. Of course, you need to consider balancing a strict budget with giving yourself the flexibility to enjoy your new lifestyle.

It is likely that regardless of your financial background you will still need to set yourself on a budget. Whether you have $2,000 or $10,000 for your monthly budget, keeping an eye on it throughout the month will allow you to continue living on the road indefinitely. 

Find your RV

Shopping for the RV you will call home for the next chapter of your life is like shopping for a brick-and-mortar home. You will want to do as much due diligence as you can to ensure that you are making the best decision possible about this significant investment.

Chances are you have some experience with your current RV, or have at least used an RV in the past before committing to full-time RV life. But if not, we recommend that you spend quite a bit of time looking at various options to find the one best for you.

Find a nearby dealer and tour a variety of options. Even better, rent several different RVs in the weeks and months leading up to your decision and find out what you like and don’t like about them before you buy.

If you purchase a used RV or trailer it is worth your money to have it professionally inspected so that you know what it may take to make it safe and road-ready.

Then, of course, consider all of the ways that you can modify and upgrade the RV to accommodate your wants and needs on the road. 

Know how your RV works

RVs are not terribly complicated. At the end of the day there is a mechanical component in either the towing truck or in the RV itself.

This can be complicated, but there are numerous mechanics in virtually any town in which you travel who will assist you if you cannot repair your engine yourself.

But what is more important, knowing your RV inside and out will help stay safer and more comfortable throughout your journey.

From knowing how to use your propane appliances to understanding your gauges and tank capacity will save you in the long run. Of course, anything you can do to learn how to fix things will benefit you as well. 

Ensure your life (life insurance, health, RV, roadside)

Insurance never keeps bad things from happening. But it is necessary in order to protect you against financial catastrophe in the event that things go wrong. R

Regardless of your age and status in life, we recommend that you have term life insurance to protect your loved ones in the event of the ultimate loss.

Second to this is health insurance. Of course the younger you are the less vulnerable you may feel. But being able to access affordable healthcare is an important part of full-time RVing.

Then of course is the mandatory RV and/or vehicle insurance to protect you and anyone you may injure in the event of an accident. It is also important to consider special RV roadside insurance as well.

While your auto insurance company may offer roadside it may not fully accommodate or understand your RV needs.

We recommend GoodSam roadside insurance as the best way to ensure that if your RV needs roadside service or to be towed you will absolutely be covered with no questions asked.

Establish domicile (mail, voting, healthcare, etc.)

Before taking to the road full time you will still need to have a domicile, or “home base,” from which to operate. A few states are popular among full-timers.

South Dakota is particularly friendly to full-time RVers and domicile can be established with the help of various agencies and as simple as a one-night stay in the state. And Florida is also highly desirable.

As Florida residents prior to full-timing, we decided to retain our domicile through our family so that we could keep our mailing address, voting and healthcare the same while we were on the road.

But you may want to look into what will work best for your travel plans, life situations and personal preferences. 

Have essential gear (can always buy on the road)

Without a doubt having the right gear is proportionate to the amount of comfort and enjoyment you have on the road. And while there are lots of things you will want when you commit to full-time RVing, there are some that you need.

We always prioritize safety essentials first . Think smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, jacks and a good set of tools. Then you will want the things that will make daily life on the road more convenient.

These are things like a great coffee maker , storage containers and USB appliances.

Lastly, you can invest in some of the bells and whistles that make RV life comfortable. Things like a TV or projector, standup paddleboard and other electronic devices aren’t needed but definitely put RV living at its finest.

Travel trailer broken down on the side of a road with two people outside placing safety triangles around camper

Full-Time RV Living on the Road

We’re going to guess that you already know why you want to commit to RVing full time. You like the idea of freedom, waking up in new and beautiful places and of finding adventure at nearly every turn. 

But life on the road has its challenges. In this section, we’ll help you confront some of the resources that will help you overcome these challenges so that you can have a safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable RVing experience. 

RV Memberships

Among full-time RVers there really aren’t any loners. You’ll find that one thing that unites all full-timers, aside from a love of the freedom of the road, is their membership to a few important RV clubs .

You may not choose to join all of these memberships. However, to make the most of life on the road (and to keep your budget in check in the long run) you’re going to want to consider membership in each one.

You can expect most campground fees without memberships to range from $20 – $50+ per night. So spending $250-$850 per year for free camping will literally save you thousands of dollars each year. 

Camping Memberships

There are a few RV camping memberships we want you to consider joining. Altogether they will not cost you more than a few hundred dollars in total. But especially if you are RVing full time these memberships will pay for themselves very quickly. 

Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts is our first and favorite membership we’d recommend you consider. For $99 per year (15% off using this link ) you gain access to nearly 3,000 wineries, breweries, distilleries and farms across North America.

With your membership, you’ll be able to camp on-site for one night and enjoy all of the beauty, products and services that each small business offers.

Instead of paying camping fees, you are asked to support the host by purchasing items they have available. But cracking open a bottle of wine while you watch sunset over a vineyard is a fraction of the cost of the same experience in an RV park!

Plus you’ll meet amazing people, including fellow travelers, and learn the best things to do in the area. You’ll be dry camping and are only supposed to ask to stay for one night. But this is a fantastic membership to have. 

Passport America

Passport America is sort of the gold standard of camping memberships. It has been around for years and you’re likely to have seen a sticker or advertisement in an RV forum before.

With a Passport America membership, you receive 50% off participating campgrounds. For under $50 per year, our annual membership usually pays for itself within 2-3 nights of camping.

We think this is a great backup to Harvest Hosts. While it doesn’t offer the same scenery, you can usually stay at Passport America campgrounds for multiple nights and also have the amenities that campgrounds offer. 

Escapees RV Club

Escapees is a smaller RV club that has extensive resources, particularly for full-time RVers. For around $50 per year, you’ll gain access to a like-minded RV community with a wide range of resources and discounted products and services.

If you are RVing full time then this will be a must as you’ll be able to establish domicile, set up mail forwarding, stay at Escapee-only RV parks, find seasonal employment and a ton of other opportunities that will make life on the road more enjoyable and affordable. 

Boondockers Welcome

Boondockers Welcome is another RV membership worth its $50 annual price if you plan on spending 2-3 nights camping at one of its participating hosts. It is sort of an Airbnb for RVers.

Different people will list a camping site on their property and as a member, you can search for properties where you would like to camp.

The host then welcomes you to their property and permits you to stay the night (or more). Sometimes there are hookups. But the best part is meeting like-minded people interested in meeting fellow RVers. 

Thousand Trails 

Thousand Trails is on the higher end of RV memberships but well worth the expense if you’d prefer a little more exclusive and traditional camping.

Membership is just over $600 for camping in one of 5 zones. For an additional $65 each you can access other zones.

These Thousand Trails properties are well-maintained campgrounds so you can expect higher-end amenities and experiences. If you prefer the RV campground experience and are looking to spend most of your time in one of the 5 zones then this membership will pay for itself in 12-15 days. 

General RV Memberships

In addition to the camping memberships, we do recommend that you consider a few more options to extend your safety and comfort on the road as well as provide discounted opportunities. 

Good Sam is almost mandatory if you own a Class A motorhome simply because of the discounted fuel perks at highway travel centers. But additionally, members save 10% on over 2,400 participating campgrounds as well as discounts on products purchased at Camping World and Gander stores.

While this is not our favorite membership, at under $30 per year it is definitely worth having in your back pocket. 

Good Sam Roadside Assistance

Although it is the same company, the Roadside Service side of Good Sam operates independently and requires its own membership. This membership is based on the type and number of RVs you own and whether you are towing or will tow a vehicle.

While many auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance, they usually lack the RV-specific needs you will face in the event of an accident or breakdown. With Good Sam Roadside you know they will have the tools and equipment needed and know what to do with you specific RV.

America The Beautiful (US National Park annual pass)

This annual pass is the absolute best way to prop up your entertainment budget. For $80 annually you gain access to every US National Park and public land with an entrance fee.

Additionally, you can receive up to a 50% discount in national land where fees are collected. Senior and military passes are free so if you qualify there is no reason NOT to have this pass.

Most National Parks range in cost from $20-$30+ for entry so within 2-3 parks per year your pass pays for itself. That’s one trip through Utah or Wyoming! 

RV Apps and Technology

Aside from RV memberships, having access to the right apps and technology will make life on the road as a full time RVer that much better. These are the top apps we recommend.

All of them offer free versions that will get the job done while some offer premium upgrades if you are interested. 

RV Navigation Apps

In addition to your standard phone navigation app (Siri, Google Maps, etc.) you’re going to want to have these apps ready to open as you travel. 

While AllStays is tailored around finding places to camp it is actually a huge database of pretty much everything related to RVing needs. You can set filters to search for a variety of different resources – from LPG stations to BLM public lands to rest stops – AllStays gives you an idea of the resources ahead of you.

We also like that AllStays will show road grades and bridge clearances so you can anticipate whether your RV is suitable for different driving routes. 

Gas Buddy and/or Gas Guru

Both Gas Buddy and Gas Guru are great options to have to help you find the most affordable upcoming fuel options. We have and use both and love that it takes the guessing out of whether there is going to be a gas station in the next stretch of highway and how much fuel will cost.

It is updated by user input so there is sometimes some discrepancy in current prices. But particularly in times where we were not certain when we’d see the next gas station, these apps added certainty and peace of mind to our plans. 

RV Camping Apps

There is no reason to guess where you can spend the night when you have a variety of great apps to assist you in finding camping. 


iOverlander is the gold standard for finding free camping worldwide. It is a great first place to start if you are particularly interested in saving money in boondocking.

However, it is a wiki so it is user-sourced and sometimes the landmarks are a bit questionable. But we can’t count the number of times we’ve been able to find great camping, LPG or water refills and dump stations using iOverlander.

It is always the first app we open. 

As already referenced in the Navigation section, AllStays is an awesome app with more than just camping information. But for camping, it is hard to beat as it will show reputable and established camping opportunities.

From Wal Marts to chain RV campgrounds, AllStays has you covered when searching for RV camping. 

Campendium is our third go-to when searching for RV camping in general. You can access a wide range of established camping sites – from free or nearly free public lands to established private campgrounds and RV parks.

We will often start our search with Campendium when we are willing to spend a little money camping in national parks and forests because it is not going to have you pull off on the side of a dirt road the way iOverlander might. 

Your Camping Membership 

If you are a member of Harvest Hosts or Passport America there is an app to help you find locations within their respective networks. The same holds true for other memberships for which you are a member.

Keep these handy for the times when you know you want to stay at a particular member host site. 

Insurance (Life, Health, RV, Roadside)

Full-Time RV life is great until something bad happens. And if you’ve lived long enough you know that something bad is always lurking around the corner in life. Fortunately, the insurance industry exists to help us exchange some payment (premiums) for peace of mind in the event the worst happens. 

As an RV full-timer you’re going to want to consider life, health, RV and roadside assistance insurance to keep you totally at peace with the world while you’re out exploring the beauty it has to offer. 

Life Insurance for RVers

We’re not going to tell you what company to purchase what policy from. There are too many out there and your life situation may dictate one over another. But we will say that life insurance is the foundation for financial peace.

While we don’t like thinking about what will happen if one or the other of us passes away, it is good to know that the other will be taken care of quite generously in the event of a catastrophe.

And we do recommend that you purchase term insurance as it is incredibly affordable and customizable to your family and financial circumstances and goals. 

Health Insurance for RVers

Health insurance is a far more practical form of insurance need when you live full time on the road. But this is not an easy topic to navigate in the US either. While we claim that the states are “united,” when it comes to healthcare it seems they are anything but that.

Depending on your financial situation you may qualify for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. But depending on which state is your domicile you may not be able to receive covered services outside of your home state.

We can say as Florida residents that the healthcare marketplace in Florida is robust enough that we could find a health insurance plan that is portable with us outside of Florida. But we’ve learned from RVers from other states that this wasn’t the case.

So you will need to check with the health insurance provider to make sure you can be treated at in-network rates if you travel outside of your state of domicile. 

Another popular option for full-time RVing is through a “healthcare sharing ministry.” These are starting to pop up in smaller names.

But the largest and most reputable are Christian Healthcare Ministries , Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministry .

As the name suggests, these are networks of members under a faith-based umbrella. Members do not pay premiums or receive actual insurance. Instead, when a member incurs a medical cost it is shared among members. Each ministry has pre-negotiated discounted medical rates.

But as a member, you will pay the bill and then be reimbursed by checks sent from other members. This is a great option but know that each ministry is faith-based and requires some form of commitment to their value statement and/or declaration of faith. 

Of course, the last option for health insurance is simply to find private insurance through a health insurance broker. This is likely to be the most expensive option. But you will be able to find the most customized and thorough healthcare options as a full-time RVer by going this route. 

RV Insurance 

RV insurance is the most affordable insurance on the market. And full-time RVers can take advantage of the fact that premium rates are lower because most RVers don’t travel much in their RVs each year.

Depending on the kind of RV you have, the typical “big box” auto insurers may be able to build a policy for your RV that suits your wants and needs. State Farm, Progressive and All State all advertise RV policies.

Another great option is going through Good Sam RV Insurance as they are at the center of everything RV-related.

Rates will be comparable to what you will find with the national auto insurance brands but you may find they are more customizable because of Good Sam’s experience in working with full-time RVers.  

We used State Farm for years with our personal auto insurance and when we owned a truck camper we were able to add riders to our policy to incorporate the camper. But when we had a breakdown and needed to tow our truck camper the company had difficulty understanding the type of tow truck we needed. We have since switched to Good Sam and Progressive as we now insure our Class C motorhome for around $75 per month.

RV Roadside Insurance

The final insurance you should consider when full time RVing is RV roadside insurance. As previously mentioned, most national auto insurance brands offer roadside insurance as part of their RV insurance policies. But they may or may not truly be able to handle the needs of RV roadside assistance.

We recommend GoodSam Roadside Insurance for the peace of mind of knowing that an RV-specific breakdown can be assisted properly.

With plans starting around $65 per year you can insure your vehicle’s roadside needs and add on additional services such as travel interruption reimbursement, rental car use and even medical evacuation. 

Truck camper on a tow truck

RV Essentials for Full-Time RVing

We have a handful of RV essentials we recommend you have regardless of whether you are full-time RVing or not.

We start with safety essentials as a priority and follow up with practical RV essentials that you need when you are on the road. From there we recommend all sorts of RVing accessories that will make life comfortable or make your RV feel like home. 

Check out the following Buyer’s Guides for our Top Recommended Products that you should consider having before you start RVing full time.

Wrapping Up

This guide should just be the beginning of your adventure! You are sure to discover all sorts of things about yourself and the style and preferences you have as a full-time RVer.

But the most important thing is congratulating yourself on making the decision, ensuring you are safe before you hit the road and then getting out on the road!

We look forward to seeing you out there somewhere!

About Author

should i travel full time

Christopher Harvey

Christopher Harvey is the co-founder and main copywriter for Called To Wander. His passion is to create content that engages and informs readers and helps them to pursue the Abundant Life on the Road. Aside from writing, he also edits videos for the YouTube channel. He has freelanced for a variety of publications and consults with different brands on SEO and content strategy.

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should i travel full time

Living In An RV Full Time: 66 Tips From A Pro

By: Author Robyn Robledo

Posted on Last updated: January 9, 2024

We have been living in an RV full time for 8 years (yep, eight), and really have become experts at what it takes to make living in an RV full time an enjoyable and fulfilling way to raise a family.

My friends at Let’s Travel Family have some very practical tips for living in an RV full time but my entire purpose in life is not to teach you how to be practical because tbh , practical is boring for me . I’m an idealist who believes that life is a blank canvas and that there is more to life than what your bank account balance reads.

My purpose is broaden your awareness, change your perception, and maybe give you that paradigm shift that your soul is calling for.

First, here are 11 unconventional and idealistic tips for living in an RV full time…

1. We Are Living In An RV Full Time Because It Makes Us Happy

My motto : If it makes sense to you, that’s all that matters.

My idealism is what allowed me to Defy the Norm back in 2015 and say, “Hey babe, can we live in our RV for 5 months?”

I totally tried to convince him that it was the “practical” thing to do. At the time, we had been renting a huge house on the beach for 2 years. I’d spend my mornings surfing with my oldest daughter then my days homeschooling the kids while playing in the sand, watching dolphins swim by.

When the landlord wanted to sell the house I said, “We’d save so much money if we just spent the rest of spring and summer living full time in the RV and then we can find a new rental and settle down.”

By the end of that August, as we were driving home from a 6-week road trip from San Diego to North Cascades National Park, my wonderful enneagram 2 husband looked at me and said, “You are too happy. I can’t ask you to move back into a house.”

So we kept living my dream.

But it wasn’t easy.

2. We Didn’t Have A Way To Make Money On The Road

We had a brick and mortar in Coronado, California when we decided to launch into full time RV living in 2015. We’d camp in different campgrounds around San Diego, which wasn’t cheap but was way less than a house at the time.

We’d sit still for a few months to save up and then we’d travel.

Those first few years we alternated between long road trips all over the US and even up to Alaska with flying to Europe, New Zealand, Bali, Hawaii, Costa Rica.

In 2016, we traveled through Europe for 6 months living in a tent for 6 weeks and then in a 22′ RV the rest of the time. We covered 15 countries and about 10,000 miles. It was epic.

We did a lot more after that you can read about here .

We zeroed out our bank account almost every month . But I wasn’t worried. I believed in my ability to generate more when needed and to be honest, all that mattered to me was not letting a single day of getting to enjoy my kids slip through my fingers .

Don’t have time to read all 66 tips now? Pin this for later

Tips fo Living in an Rv Full Time

3. Motherhood Was My Mission

I love being a mom and playing with my kids. It’s wonderful that we’re good friends, and it was my aim to raise children who were enjoyable companions while granting them the freedom to be themselves and explore their true identity. My goal was to nurture good people who would make a difference in the world, yet also cherish and desire my presence in their lives long beyond their 18th year.

So far so good.

4. The Socialization Stigma

“But what about friends? How will your children develop social skills?” (Insert extreme eye roll).

This is a hard truth that people don’t want to hear but have you talked to most people, especially younger people, today? Do they have social skills?

My kids, 3 of which are now adults, constantly complain to me that people their age have no social skills. They can’t hold a conversation, they don’t make eye contact, and if they do talk, it’s robotic. “This is where I work, go to school, eat out for dinner.”

There is no exchange of ideas, personal thoughts, or sense of individuality outside of trying to prove their self worth through external validation.

If you are worried that your kids will miss out on becoming robots by not going to school, then living in an RV full time is not a good idea.

But if you think it would be awesome if your kids had the time and space to be creative, explore ideas, discover what they are capable of in hard situations, and maybe start their own business when they are in high school, then living in an RV full time (& traveling- you can’t just sit still in an RV park for this to happen) might make all the difference in your and their happiness, and in turn, their health (because health is just a byproduct of happiness).

Side note: I ran a business in one of the most affluent cites in America. Kids had all the opportunities & all the stuff. Most would go on to prestigious colleges only to go out into the real world and have a rude awakening about what life is often like. I saw many students (not all) suffer from anxiety and depression.

I never really cared that our travel was frugal. Many times we had to sleep on airport floors, skipped showers, we rarely ate out and often we just lived off of eggs and rice when we traveled abroad, but we were happy and had so much fun every day.

If I had let my fear of my kids not having a high school sweetheart, go to prom, or play competitive sports (which was actually one of the reasons I wanted to move into an RV so I didn’t have to waste my weekends on the sidelines), then my kids would not be as grounded and confident as they are now.

Can you create this without RV living full-time? Absolutely.

Is it even a guarantee that they will develop this type of grit and self awareness if they do live in an RV full time? Not necessarily.

But I do think the odds are more in your favor through this lifestyle.

My motto: Be who you want your kids to be.

5. Kids Are Easy, Relationships Not So Much

The whole worrying about my kids socialization part was easy. I had been homeschooling them before we decided to become full time RVers so it was easy to transition to road schooling .

But within a few years of travel, we shifted completely to unschooling and am now a firm believer in raising young entrepreneurs .

But my husband, that was a totally different story.

He was raised to play it safe, never take risks, and to believe that whatever he did have, he should be grateful for and never ask for more.

That blank canvas of possibility that I was seeing in the world looked more like a black canvas with a red heart in the center.

The black was “We Can’t” – We can’t live in an RV forever! We can’t fly to Europe and live out of backpacks! We can’t drive from the Mexico border to Alaska.

But that red heart was love. My husband loved me so much that he just kept saying “sure” (which is now a banned word in our family btw).

While this shows how compassionate he is, the truth of the matter is that he is so conflict avoidant that it was easier to endure the physical discomfort and persist, then to have to say no to be or worse, spend time apart while I traveled.

The point of this for you and your partner is to know your enneagram. If we had had the understanding of ourselves back then like we do now, it would’ve been a game changer.

We did argue often but I’m certain that if we hadn’t chosen to live in an RV full time and travel as much as we did, our relationship wouldn’t have lasted. There is no way my soul would’ve ever been happy.

But, we would’ve saved ourselves so much bickering and Victor would’ve got to enjoy even more all of our adventures if there had been someone with our knowledge and experience at the time saying, “Hey, let’s look deeper at your programming , your trauma, and your wounds, so that you can experience the world through healed eyes.”

And the thing is, Victor loves that we live our lifestyle. He says it over and over again. “Just because it was hard, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t repeat it.”

6. Face Your Fears

When people ask me, “How do you live in an RV full time?” they are asking from a place of fear.

Victor and I have been life coaches for a long time . Whether someone wants to lose weight, get fit, heal their trauma, the only thing ever standing in the way is fear.

When we were poor and traveling, it was our fear keeping us poor. When I’d argue with Victor about our travels, it was fear keeping me angry.

Fear is everything but most of the time, it’s an illogical fear conjured up by the subconscious mind based on self limiting beliefs that were instilled in childhood.

But when you actively shift the fear from the unconscious to the conscious brain, then the thoughts lose their power and then you can choose freedom and fun.

I don’t expect everyone to want to spend every day of their life hiking, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, and mountain biking, but wouldn’t it be nice to have the inner freedom, to not be plagued by self-doubt and unworthiness, to choose more things that bring you joy and calmness each day?

Ready to launch into RV Living but haven’t pulled the trigger yet? Watch This Video

7. Intentionally Choose Your Sh*t Sandwich

Life is hard no matter where you live so why not see new places while struggling?

Brene Brown talks about this in her book, Rising Strong .

Living in an RV full time definitely has it’s challenges, which is probably why you are searching this keyword to begin with. You want to know what exactly is in that sh*t sandwich so let’s get those out of the way before telling you why I go to bed every night with so much gratitude for getting to live all of my dreams and also waking up every morning with excitement because I know it’s going to be the BEST DAY EVER AGAIN!

Some of the crappy parts of RV living for us have been:

  • My husband hates change
  • Not being able to find a wifi signal when it’s time to work
  • My kids generally have way fewer friends
  • There’s always a lot to juggle and think about

9. Is Living In An RV Full Time The Good Life ?

We started living in full time in our RV, back before it was “a thing.”

I knew no one who lived this type of lifestyle, however, I had watched the movie documentary Surfwise in 2012 and instantly knew when I watched it that one day I would try living like the Paskowitz Family.

I remember idolizing the fact that they woke up to the sunrise, did some exercises, ate great food, went surfing, played on the beach, and regardless of how Hollywood dramatized it in the documentary, they had an overall sense of connection and feeling loved.

That to me was happiness. That was the “good life” I wanted to live.

Your brain is 5x more likely to remember the hardships in life but I don’t really remember that many. When I think back over the last 8 years fo living in an RV all I really feel is a warmth radiating from my heart chakra.

We talked and laughed, sharing so much because we had an abundance of time.

Living with various options, we could either jump out of bed and paddle out at sunrise or linger until ten, engrossed in a book, before slipping on our tennis shoes for a hike.

It always made sense to me. It’s like the fisherman story , where the investment banker is so busy chasing success so that one day he could sleep late, fish a little, play with his kids, take siestas with his wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos. Shit, we do that almost every day.

10. We Panicked In 2020

This is getting long and there is no way I can cover all my advice of full time RV living here so I’m going to sum it up with this.

In 2020, we got scared. I let fear sneak it’s way in.

I didn’t want to deal with mandates or restrictions and so, we rented a house from a family member in Montana thinking we could just transition to homesteaders.

After 2 months I looked at Victor and said, “If I stay here, the system wins.”

So we traveled in the RVs again. We kept the house as a back up until last April when I looked at Victor again and said, “I hate having to run back to Montana to check on our stuff (it really weighs you down). I just want to be nomadic again. Please.”

His red heart in the middle of a now gray canvas said, “Yes” (not “sure”…banned word remember!)

Currently, we are in an Airbnb for a month in a small Wyoming town called Lander.

We love rock climbing here and didn’t want to be in the RV in the snow and tbh again, we can afford it now.

I love that we can afford both.

My motto : Both is good.

11. Believe In Magic & Lead With Your Heart

I don’t believe in scarcity; rather, I believe in abundance. Living on this earth, I sense its boundless magic enveloping us. Our purpose is to embrace life without fear and to pursue wanderlust unrestrained.

If your heart tells you to live in an RV full-time, trust it.

You can always change your mind, lots of people do.

If you believe your heart but can’t get yourself to make the jump, that’s one of the many things Victor and I coach people on.

If you find my tone rude or offensive, then you too might be a byproduct of the education system. It’s pumping out robots faster than Elon

But like David Icke says, “Just open your heart and you will be free.”

Living in an RV Full Time FAQs

55 practical (& a little blunt) tips from 8 years of living in an rv full time:.

  • How do you handle small spaces? By spending a lot of time outdoors & trying to outrun the rain.
  • How did you handle 7 people and 1 bathroom? We’d start getting ready for bed an hour beforehand (not kidding)
  • How do you handle privacy in small spaces? Get creative.
  • How do you organize all your stuff? We’d just get rid of more.
  • How little did you keep? At first, everyone just had just one box (22″ by 15″ by 10″) of clothes that fit under the couch.
  • Did you keep some stuff in storage? Yes.
  • H ow do you fit all your surfboards, climbing gear, bikes, skis, etc? We always had either an extra vehicle or extra RV and we’d store stuff in them and put the RV/car in storage so that we can switch gear depending on the season.
  • How could you travel so fast? Often we’d do an activity— say, hiking, then drive for a few hours, then stop in a rest area to make dinner, then drive, then stop again to brush teeth, then the kids would go to sleep and I’d drive until midnight and I’d stop at a truck stop or rest area and sleep until 6 am and then drive again.
  • Are you insane? Possibly.
  • How are you adapting to slow travel now? I like it but it’s only because I feel like I’ve checked off a good portion of my bucket list.
  • Why do you prefer fast travel? Because one of my core values is newness.
  • Why should someone choose slow travel? Saves money and may fit their personality type better.
  • You’ve referred to your husband. If he doesn’t like travel, why do you keep doing it? He loves travel. It’s just hard for him. He had a lot of programming to overcome but loves our lifestyle now.
  • Any tips for helping one spouse learn to travel when the other doesn’t? Yep… listen to this .

  • How do you not get on each other’s nerves? Through requests. By learning how to over-communicate your needs in a kind, yet clear way you avoid a lot of conflicts.
  • How do you choose where to travel to? Through our love of sports. Initially, we searched The Outbound for epic adventures or we would search, “Best _____ (mtb, surf, hiking) destinations.”
  • What’s your favorite apps to plan your travels? I keep an Apple note with my next 12 years of planning on it. Every night before bed I look at it and fine tune it based on new desires. This is how through obsession, I’ve manifested all my travel goals.
  • Any other apps? I pretty much only use Recreation.gov , Campendium , Allstays app, Google Maps, and Gas Buddy
  • Favorite destination? The Rockies. We tend to just stay on a continuous loop through Utah , Colorado , Wyoming , Montana , and Idaho now.
  • Recommended destinations? Check off the best national parks sooner rather than later. Access restrictions are making them harder and harder to visit.
  • Which National Park do you recommend first? Glacier National Park . Plan on at least 2 weeks here though to really get to enjoy all the surrounding area including Whitefish, Flathead Lake, and Seeley Lake.
  • Which National Park do you NOT recommend? Yellowstone . I don’t like crowds so Yellowstone feels like Disneyland to me.
  • Anywhere else you recommend not visiting? China and Disneyland.
  • Do you have a home base? We used to be out of San Diego before 2020. We tried Montana but there wasn’t enough sun. We considered Spearfish, SD, but not enough big ski resorts close by. We tend to visit Lander, WY twice a year and stay for a month at a time.
  • Where do you winter? We love to ski so we find creative ways to either drive the RV to resorts or we stay in Airbnbs. We do spend a little time in St George & Lander in the winter too.
  • How do you get your mail in RV? Choosesd.com (btw, we rarely have mail so this wasn’t even a concern for me)
  • Where do you have residency? South Dakota
  • How do you get internet? We carry 3 wifi hotspots for the 3 main carriers- AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile. Overall, Verizon is the most consistent in the US, and T-Mobile everywhere else in the world.
  • How much does it cost you to live in an RV ? We could’ve gotten by on $3500/month. Our RVs were paid off so we only had food expenses. We could always boondock & not drive if we had to. That only left a few small expenses like cell phones & auto insurance. We made more than this so we ended up getting to choose how to spend an extra $3000 every month.

  • So you budget for $6500? We used to. We lived very comfortably and did a lot of epic things on that size of budget.
  • What do you budget for now? One million dollars 🤣
  • Do you stay at RV parks? Only if we are staying somewhere for an entire month. Otherwise, we tend to stay at state parks and forest service campgrounds. Occasionally we stay at national parks or boondock .
  • What is the typical monthly rate at an RV park? There is such a huge range here. In San Diego it was $1550 plus extra vehicle parking costs. In Lander, Wy it is $550 plus electricity. I see $700-900 in a lot of states. Pro Tip: Finding monthly RV spots is getting harder and harder with inflation and recession. So many people have been squeezed out of the housing market and pushed into RV living that RV parks are in really high demand.
  • Do you boondock often? Not really. We did those first two summers to save money but I like having hookups now. I manage enough in my life, I don’t want to manage water and 💩.
  • Are maintenance costs high in an RV? Compared to a house, no, but things do break. All of our slide motors have broken at one time (we are really good at replacing them now lol) and we’ve blow way more flat tires than I can count. Other than that, we haven’t had much maintenance costs but we may have lower standards and I think older RVs were just made better.
  • What did you like most about living in a Class C?  It made it easy to fast travel and it was easy to drive.

  • What did you dislike about it? We didn’t have another tow vehicle so we were limited in where we could go and what adventures (trailheads) we could access.
  • What do you like about living in a 5th wheel ? It’s huge. Seriously, it feels like a 2 bedroom condo. We can fit 2 deep freezers in it and still sleep 7 comfortably.
  • What do you not like about it? It’s massive to lug around, however, I’ve done it. I’ve towed it all over the US and even one time accidentally towed it across a steep, narrow, windy, 30-mile DIRT road north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. (I should start using Truckers Path)

  • What type of gas mileage do you get with your RV? The class C gets 10mpg. When I’m towing the big boy, Appa, I get about 9mph.
  • What is the most important thing in choosing an RV ? Making sure everyone sleeps comfortably.
  • If you believe in dreaming big, why don’t you have a fancy new Instagram-worthy RV? I’m tempted often but it’s more important for me to be on the move and chasing adventures so I like that I don’t have to worry so much if I want to take our older RVs on bumpy dirt roads. (We actually still have the class C and another travel trailer and bounce between them through out the year depending on the adventure).
  • How do you make money on the road? Online coaching for all of the following: injury rehab, strength, fitness, health coaching, mindset, mindfulness, trauma healing, and life empowerment .
  • What about from blogging? Yes, but it is a business I do with my kids for their future so I don’t count it in the income we live on.
  • What is the WHY behind living in an RV full time? For me, to be able to live each day fully present in my self, to laugh and make great memories with my family, and to feel connected to the divine through nature and flow state.
  • What do you recommend for RV insurance? Roamly
  • And for health insurance? Exercise daily, eat well sourced food, live a low stress life, be mindful of your thoughts, communicate your expectations, and meditate.
  • A re camping member shops worth it? We only have Thousand Trails and don’t use it but are stuck with it for one more year. Most of their campgrounds are just trailer parks and the nicer ones are hard to book.
  • How do you manage to keep enough food in your RV for 7 people ? You should look under my bed and in my under storage…I might be part squirrel.

  • What’s your go-to recipe when living in an RV? Chili. We eat a lot of homemade chili with grass fed beef and sweet potatoes (it’s our secret to staying ripped).
  • Do you like those all in one RV washer/dryer combos? Yes, because I hate going to laundromats (too many crack heads) but I love clean clothes. The only thing is that you can’t fit much in it and if you do, your clothes come out very wrinkly.

  • How do you homeschool? Unschooling now but I used to road school
  • What’s the difference? When we road school, I actually used textbooks or workbooks. With unschooling, it is self-directed education meaning the kids find something they are interested in and I encourage them to obsess over learning all the can about it.
  • How did you teach your children to have such great social skills? I’d have them communicate to adults through our travels. I stopped answering for them. I limited their screen time. And I didn’t let them have IG or TT until they were running their own business (which for the older 3 was about 16 and the younger 2 still don’t get social media).

  • How did/do you keep the kids entertained? Reading, writing, art, and music. We do adventure a lot but it’s not the majority of our day. The kids always wake up and read and write for 1-2 hours. During long drives, they love listening to music. They draw and paint. Currently, on this trip, we are lugging around a full drum set and a sewing machine since we are bouncing between our class C and Airbnbs.
  • Danny isn’t a fan of RV living as he prefers routine. Gabi and Isabelle, now adults with their own RV, often join us but like to stay longer in one place to build connections. Jiraiya and Tati enjoy our fast-paced travel style.
  • My must-haves in the RV? Sports gear for outdoor fun and my trusty Berkey Water Filter. It’s a constant in my travels, be it in the RV or on car camping trips.
  • Any other RV gadgets that are really helpful? Yes, outdoor rugs , storage bins, keyless door entry , and these 40 more RV essentials .
  • Best sports gear? La Sportiva Bushidos . Everyone in our family owns them. We use them for everything- hiking, running, mountain biking, and approach shoes for climbing. I wish I was a #LaSportivaSponsor
  • Have you found anywhere you might want to settle down someday? Maybe St George, but I doubt it.
  • I aim to be nomadic until Tatiana is 18 and my older kids settle down. After that, I might follow them wherever they go. I could also expand my RV fleet and keep alternating between RV and Airbnb travel indefinitely. Flexibility is key!
  • Any final advice? I think people worry too much or worry about the wrong things. Where your attention goes your energy flows so take charge of your mind before you miss out on life.

Related Blogs:

  • Why RV Living Is Freaking Awesome
  • 11 Reasons We LOVE Living In An RV (from 2016)
  • 24 Surprising Truths About RV Living

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Travel Time: To Bill or Not?

By tim o'brien, apr, november 2020.

Whether you work on the agency or the consulting side, or if you hire consultants, one issue that can vary from firm to firm is how to account for and bill travel time.

Most PR professionals I’ve talked with agree that you need to bill for the time if a specific client requires the travel and prevents the consultant from serving other people. 

However, what rate do you use? While the pandemic has greatly reduced travel time, it remains a thorny billing issue, and one worth addressing as more people will be heading out on the road again in the months ahead. I spoke with three veteran communicators for their thoughts.

Michael Grimaldi is a strategic initiatives coordinator for KC Water  in Kansas City. Prior to that, he spent two decades working on the agency side.

“For a trip across town for a client meeting, we’d bill the driving time if we discussed the project en route,” he said. “If not, then we would bill the travel time one way only. If we had to travel a long distance or take a flight, we billed the travel time one way.

“Generally, if we conducted client business along the way or on the return trip, we’d bill it,” he added. “This may have involved discussing the client needs and plans, and planning for the meeting itself.”

He said that clients tended to be comfortable with these practices since they expect consultants to deliver value. 

“At the end of the day, good clients expect to pay a fair and reasonable price for value, regardless of where the consultant was when the work was done, in the office or on the road,” Grimaldi said.

A half-rate for travel 

Helen Patterson, APR, president of King Knight Communications  in western North Carolina, worked for other firms before starting her own. In her prior experience, it was common to bill “full time” for travel.  One former employer followed an eight-hour-day billing policy.

“Even if we spent 12-15 hours working that day, including a cross-country airline trip, only eight hours were billed to the client,” she said.

Today, Patterson says her policy is to bill distant travel at half of the actual time. In other words, a four-hour drive would be invoiced to the client as two hours. She does not bill clients for travel within her geographic market.

She says her clients haven’t objected to her travel time policies, though she admits that these days, she doesn’t travel for clients quite as often, and didn’t even during the pre-pandemic period.

“Most of my recent work has been accomplished through phone email, and video conference calls — with an occasional trip to a conference that clients have attended,” she said.  

Blake Lewis, APR, Fellow PRSA, founder of Three Box Strategic Communications  in Dallas, says that when traveling from one point to another for a client, he generally has billed 50 percent of the billable rate.

“A half-rate for travel strikes a balance between loss of productivity for other client work, while recognizing that clients generally view travel as a lower-value, yet necessary expense,” he said. “If material client work is done during the travel, that activity has been invoiced at the full rate.” 

There are times when Lewis said it was appropriate to detail special travel considerations, such as not charging for travel from offices to the client office. These decisions have been made in consultation with the client.

“We once worked an assignment where I traveled from Dallas to their headquarters in another state part of every week, consulting on restructuring the client’s corporate communications function,” Lewis said. “Aside from airfare reimbursement, my time wasn’t billed because we knew going into the project travel was all a part of it. I used that time for administrative tasks or for just enjoying the break.” In the end, Blake said, “It can be challenging to find the boundaries. Reviewing what was planned, proposed and agreed to by the client helps make the lines more obvious.” 


Tim O'Brien, APR

Tim O’Brien, APR, owns O’Brien Communications, an independent corporate communications practice in Pittsburgh, and hosts the “Shaping Opinion” podcast. His firm is a certified Disability Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) by Disability:IN. Email: [email protected] . Twitter: @OBrienPR .

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'Expensive in every way': What travelers should expect this summer

Summer travel in 2024 will be "expensive in every way," said Katharine Nohr. And she should know.

She's planning a two-week adventure to Europe in June, which starts with a marathon flight from Honolulu to Zurich, where she'll speak at a conference. Then she's hopscotching across Europe – to Vienna, then on to the Olympics. Nohr made plans to be in Nantes, France, to watch a soccer game, in Lille for basketball, and in Paris for gymnastics, boxing and swimming.

Check out   Elliott Confidential , the newsletter the travel industry doesn't want you to read. Each issue is filled with breaking news, deep insights, and exclusive strategies for becoming a better traveler. But don't tell anyone!

All told, it'll set her back five figures despite her best efforts, which include flying economy class and staying in the lowest-priced hotels. 

"The trip is pricey, even with my efforts to economize," said Nohr, an attorney from Honolulu. "But it's a once-in-my-life adventure." 

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'Flying feels different': Here's how air travel has changed recently

Summer travelers are pursuing exciting, expensive vacations

Nohr is part of a wave of travelers who are making big plans for this summer. The itineraries are exciting – and expensive. 

Pretty much every barometer of travel intent is up for the summer travel season. Inflation and unemployment are low, and consumer sentiment and curiosity are high, fueling an unprecedented interest in travel. 

"Bookings are rising," said Susan Sherren, who runs Couture Trips , a travel agency. "Unfortunately, hotel, tour and air prices are not falling. So if you plan on hitting the road this summer, make sure you are willing to splash some cash."

Travel companies say they're overwhelmed with summer reservations.

"The travel economy is booming," said Joe Ialacci, owner of Yacht Hampton Boating Club , a company that rents yachts in Sag Harbor, New York. He's seeing a 40% increase in rentals this summer compared with last year as Americans shift some of their vacation dollars to domestic destinations.

Prices aren't the only thing trending higher. People's expectations for their summer vacation are also higher than at any time since the pandemic, said Sangeeta Sadarangani, CEO of Crossing , a multinational travel agency headquartered in London. 

"They're embracing the unknown," she said.

And one of the great unknowns is travel prices. How much higher will they be?

What will prices be like this summer?

It depends on where you're going. There's good news if you're traveling within the U.S.: Flights and hotels are a little less expensive than last summer . But they're rising elsewhere. Here's the breakdown:

  • Airfares are mixed. Domestic round-trip airfares for summer will peak at $315 a ticket, according to the travel platform Hopper . Flights to Europe are cheaper, too. They've fallen 10% from last year to $882. But flights to South America are up 2% and flights to Canada have risen 7%. You'll pay an average of $708 to fly south of the border and $419 to head north.
  • U.S. hotel rates are down. Domestically, they're about the same as last year at an average of $206 a night.
  • Car rental prices are rising. Average domestic car rental rates are up only 3% this summer to $42 a day on a four-day rental, according to Hopper. 

But you can avoid the high prices with a little strategic planning, experts say.

What to avoid this summer

American travelers are becoming more predictable in their summer vacation choices, said John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Group . Immediately after the pandemic, they embarked on "revenge" vacations to far-flung locations. Now they're returning to more conventional vacations.

"We continue to see U.S. travelers heading back to the more traditional locations across Europe this year, like London, Rome, Athens and Munich," he said.

There are places that will be exceptionally busy – and exceptionally pricey – this summer.

  • Paris during the Olympics. The Olympic Games are in Paris this summer. Rooms are more than double the normal rates , which is typical of the Olympics. Paris is already crowded with tourists during the summer, so you can probably imagine what it will be like with the Olympics. Zut, alors!
  • Taylor Swift is touring Europe this summer. Prices will be higher and the crowds will be denser. "If you aren't planning to attend one of her concerts, I recommend planning around those European cities when she's there," said Betsy Ball, co-founder of Euro Travel Coach . (Want to know if your schedules overlap? Here's Taylor Swift's concert schedule .)
  • Other big summer events. Even if you steer clear of Taylor and the Olympics, you're still not out of the woods. There's the UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament in Germany in June. There's the Tour de France in July, which begins in Florence and finishes in Nice. France is also hosting the Paralympic Games in August and September in Paris, Nice, Marseille and Bordeaux.

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When is the best time to book a 2024 summer vacation?

Because this is going to be a busy season, the sooner you book, the better. Hopper recommends buying your plane tickets two to three months before your departure for domestic flights, and for international – well, it's probably too late to get that rock-bottom fare. If you're reading this in April, you can still find something for late August or early September, according to its airfare experts.

As always, you can save money by booking a flight for midweek instead of on the weekend – and, of course, by keeping far, far away from the big travel holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. 

Also, if you're going overseas, remember the holiday calendar is different there. For example, half of Europe shuts down in August for summer vacation. It's worth a look-up, otherwise, you could face some real disappointments.

Strategies for traveling better during the summer

One tactic that consistently works is splitting your getaway into two sections. Take that required summer vacation with your family somewhere less expensive during the high season. Then, wait until shoulder season for the big trip. 

That's what Ross Copas, a retired electrician from Tweed, Canada, is doing during the summer of 2024. It's a road trip across the northern U.S. by motorcycle – New York to Washington state, and then back east through Canada. 

Then he's heading to Amsterdam in September for a 23-day European river cruise. He said the late-summer getaway will be costly, but he doubts fares will fall anytime soon. "So price be damned," he said.

Actually, that's pretty smart. I took the same cruise on Viking River Cruises many years ago, and it was worth every penny.

With hotel rates rising in some places this summer, this is the right time to consider alternatives. Monica Fish, a writer from Glen Rock, New Jersey, is headed to Ireland to catch one of Taylor Swift's performances. She said hotel rooms in Dublin are overpriced, if they're even available. But Fish found an affordable vacation rental. 

"We just had to book it farther in advance than we normally would," she said. 

Go ahead, follow the crowds this summer

I think it's fine to follow the crowds this summer. I'll be doing it. I'm planning to rent an apartment for a month in Switzerland with Blueground, a long-term apartment rental company. Then I'm crashing on a friend's sofa in Spain, then heading to Sweden to see other friends and visiting my brother in Finland. Yes, travel writers know people everywhere . 

But don't follow the crowds off a cliff. There are places even I won't go. I might take the four-hour train trip from Zurich to Paris in June to check out my favorite patisseries, but I wouldn't go anywhere near the City of Lights during the Summer Games in July unless I made a reservation a long time ago.

And Taylor Swift? Puh-leeze. I'm more of a jazz guy.

Christopher Elliott  is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist. He founded  Elliott Advocacy , a nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He publishes  Elliott Confidential , a travel newsletter, and the  Elliott Report , a news site about customer service. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can  reach him here  or email him at  [email protected] .

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Full-time RVing: Motorhome or Trailer? Which Is The Best?

So the question is really: "Will a travel trailer or will a motorhome be better for you?"

The problem with that question is that you have your own wants and needs. And I'm not going to pretend to know them.

But you do, right? We all do.

Which type is best??? Is there such a thing?

So, right off the bat know that YOU are going to have to figure out if a trailer or motorhome is better for you for full-time RVing.

But first, you have to figure out if full-time RV life is right for you .

What you're getting here is the pros and cons of these different types of RVs from my experience on the road.

But I must say, they are pretty good tidbits, and I definitely have an opinion that one of these two options is a better idea than the other. (Call me opinionated, it's fine.)

What did I have? An RV travel trailer . Do I think it's the better option? Read on to find out if so and why.

What's The Difference Between A Trailer And A Motorhome?

Do you really need to ask? Come on. I mean, look at the meaning of the words themselves. But here you go:

  • A MOTORHOME is an RV with its own motor to run it. It's a vehicle.
  • A TRAVEL TRAILER is a TRAILER. There's no motor. So one needs another vehicle to pull it with.

You indeed COULD pull some trailers some of the motorhome sizes . But you can't pull a fifth wheel travel trailer with a motorhome. That's because a fifth wheel connects/hitches up inside the bed of a truck, something that isn't possible with a motorhome.

(You can read our Ultimate Guide To RV types if you are still confused about the different types of RVs.)

Ok, here we go. Let's start off with the pros of travel trailers.

Travel Trailer Pros

Here are the good things about having a trailer versus a motorhome. If you have something I left out, let us know. Put your suggestion in the comments below.

1. You Don't Have To Take It Everywhere

With a trailer, you get to camp, disconnect, set everything up, and you're done until you move again. Obviously you have a vehicle you pulled it there with, so that's how you get around. With a motorhome, unless you have a toad (separate vehicle towed behind the motorhome), you'll have to drive your RV as your daily driver. This means breaking then setting camp up again before and after EVERY trip into town.

2. They Come In Small Sizes

Motorhomes can only be so small. Trailers on the other hand can be super short. Only long enough for you to sleep in (a teardrop RV is a good example). Not so with a motorhome. They don't come in 10 foot versions. The shortest you'll find is likely an 18 footer such as a Class B van .

3. Cheaper Than Most Motorhomes

Trailers are MUCH less expensive than motorhomes. Why? Mostly because they don't have an engine. Most of the time they don't come with an on-board generator. They are simpler than most motorhomes. So, they are cheaper.

4. More Useable Interior Space

ALL of a trailer is useable space. The cab of a motorhome- typically not so useable. However, SOME motorhome front seats rotate fully around, allowing for more seating. In this case, they are equal. It all depends on the length of the RV and how many camper slides it has.

5. Less Likely To Be In The Shop For Long

Well, let's face it. Trailers don't have engines. So if something goes wrong with the tow vehicle's engine, you still have your trailer to live in.

If your motorhome has something wrong with the engine or the other parts that make it a vehicle, it's going to be tricky to still try to live in it while it's in the shop. You could be 'homeless' for a while! Or you're going to be living in a shop parking lot for a bit.

Motorhome Pros

Ok, there maaaaay be a whole lot more pros listed for the motorhome (14!). I suppose this gives away my opinion on whether a trailer or motorhome is the best  RV to live in , lol. Oh well!

Still, trailers have enough 'pros' that it may work better for you. Read on and figure it out...

1. You Don't Have To Get Out To Access The RV

Ok, I often hear how great it is that you can stop and access the interior without getting out of the vehicle. Women in particular talk about this being a safety benefit.

Even if that's not why you would like it, it is rather nice. What if it's raining when you arrive? You don't have to get wet. Just park, level if you have electric or hydraulic levelers, and do your thing. Nice.

2. More Choices For Your Daily Driver

You may want to tow a vehicle behind your motorhome so you can get around without it once you're at camp. Unlike if you have a trailer, you can choose a more fun/nimble toad to get around with or go off-roading with.

With MOST trailers, you need a fairly heavy-duty truck. Possibly even a dually if you have a fifth wheel. The larger sized trucks are MUCH harder to comfortably explore with. Trust me on this one.

3. You'll Have The Option To Pull A Toad

This is great because you don't have to take your big motorhome around anywhere and everywhere you want to explore. (And you will be limited in some places as there are strict length limits on certain roads.)

You can even pull a Jeep for great off-roading adventures. Keep in mind that now you'll have TWO engines to maintain. It's more expensive but could be very worth it.

4. Self-Leveling

Some motorhomes have automatic levelers. Push a button or some buttons and boom, you're done! It's SO much easier than having to manually level a trailer. ( How to level a trailer )

5. You Don't Have To Connect And Disconnect

If there's one thing that is time-consuming and physically difficult about trailers, it's connecting and disconnecting to your tow vehicle.

With a motorhome, you don't have this at all. You WILL have to connect and disconnect your toad if you choose to have one, but it's much less intensive than hitching up a trailer.

6. Length Benefits

Connect a 20+ foot trailer to a truck and you have a pretty long setup. The longer you are, the harder everything is. Getting into gas stations. Merging in traffic. Finding a place to park. Everything.

My setup of pulling a 24' trailer behind a massive Ford Raptor put me at about 44' of length. Not many motorhomes are THAT long!

7. No Sway Risk

When you pull a trailer, there is always a chance of sway happening on the road. This is dangerous and at best, is disconcerting.

There are ways to minimize it, for sure (by using a load leveling hitch with sway control ). But you won't have any issue of sway with a motorhome.

8. Easier To Move

Let's say you get set up then you realize you parked in the wrong spot. You have to move.

Well, it's much easier to move on the fly than it is to have to hitch your trailer back up to your truck to move it. If they apply, simply pull up your levels, slides in, awning in, and move!

9. No Fear Of Towing

There are MANY people who fear towing. If they don't fear towing, they fear backing up a trailer. It's much more difficult to back a trailer than a motorhome.

Sure, some people are scared to drive a huge motorhome, too. But I'd argue that towing a trailer is more challenging and scarier. Maybe this one is a stretch. You might beg to differ. (Comment below!)

10. Easier To Stealth Park

Yeah, try stealth parking with a huge trailer connected to your truck. It's just not possible. You can't fit into one parking spot.

You can't get into the trailer without people seeing you do it. With a motorhome, you can try to find a side street, park, and blend. And you probably need less room to do so.

11. Almost Zero Chance Of Getting Stranded If You Have A Toad

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If your motorhome breaks down, you have a toad vehicle to go get help. Or vice versa. If you break down with a trailer behind you, you don't have extra motorized wheels. (Unless you have a toy hauler RV with motorbikes or vehicles inside of it.)

If your motorhome breaks down AND your toad won't start, what in the world did you do to deserve that kind of karma???? 

12. More Comfortable For Passengers

If you have people with you, they will be MUCH more comfortable in a motorhome during the trip.

They can get up and move around, stretch, grab a snack, go to the bathroom, watch TV, play a game, whatever, while on the road. SHOULD they do those things during transit? I'm not judging. And I'm pretty sure I would.

13. Climate Controlled

I can almost guarantee your motorhome will be heated or air conditioned while you are driving. So you are keeping it comfortable inside.

With a trailer, it doesn't have heat or air going during transit. So if you want to pull over for lunch, it may be too hot or cold inside to do so or at least to be able to enjoy it. Just one more negative for trailers.

14. More Storage Space

This applies mostly to Class A RVs. The basement storage under most of them is HUGE. Ok, so fifth wheels usually have a lot as well.

But time and time again, I see excellent inside and outside storage in Class A's. Just had to mention it. Maybe this one is iffy. My 24' travel trailer only has a small pass-through basement in front. There is no other exterior storage. Lame for full-time living.

So Which One Wins? Travel Trailers or Motorhomes?

Didn't I tell you it was up to YOU to decide? Jeez.

Me? I'd go with a motorhome with a toad if I did it again full-time.

Ok well, if you want to pick motorhome with a toad, there is one major thing might affect your decision.

You may WANT a motorhome with a toad, but it might break your budget. I might have started with a small motorhome and toad, but I decided I wanted to NOT put a ton of $$ into full-time life in the event that it wasn't right for me. I also didn't want to have to maintain two engines.

You may decide the same.

Still, after living full-time in a travel trailer for 5.5 years, and visiting friends' motorhomes, hearing their opinions, comparing length of time it takes them to set up versus me to set up (etc...), I realize how much EASIER a motorhome is.

Winner!! (In my book)

Also take into consideration that you will have two engines to maintain if you get a toad. You'll have twice the amount of upkeep and cost.

Don't forget to consider who manufactured the RV, no matter which type you decide on. The better the brand, the better your chances of NOT having a total lemon. ( What is the most reliable RV brand? )

Kelly's Pick For A Winner: Motorhome With A Toad!

My dream rig now is a van.

But it will be used for part-time RVing, not full-time (Though there are people who full-time in vans, yes).

So if budget is of no concern, I would recommend going with a motorhome and a toad for full-time RVing.

This gives you the most freedom to RV the way you want to and to have the easiest time getting around once you are parked at camp.

It will cost more, but it will likely be worth it. That's my two cents for ya!

But remember- you must take into consideration what your needs are and decide which fits the best for YOU.

So, what did YOU decide? Trailer or motorhome?

Comment below!

Author: Kelly Beasley

I dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 6.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road.

Hi! This was very helpful! I am looking to switched to an RV for full time living/traveling this fall! When going with a motorhome, have you experienced any major pain points where you fee like its always needing work done? My grandparents purchased a brand new Class A (or B) and they are constantly having generator issues. I don’t want to be consistently putting it in the shop and I do plan on living in this for at least a year (minimum). Trying to see if my grandparents situation is unique or if this is pretty common. Any opinions would be super helpful.

This is a great question for sure. However, the answer is “It’s a crapshoot.”

We have friends who have had great luck with their motorhome. Sure, there’s something here or there they need to take care of but often they can do it themselves or get help outside of a shop.

A couple have had non-stop troubles. Motorhomes scare me for the amount of systems present in them. Just the enormity/size of the things- the bigger it is the more can go wrong in my mind!!

Wish I could give you a better answer. But it doesn’t matter if you buy new or used. You can have a great unit or a lemon. My mom, for example, bought a Safari Trek brand-new back in the late 90’s. Kept if for 20 years. Mostly all good. She sold it in 2016 and bought a used Winnebago. Had NOTHING but issue after issue. She finally sold it and bought a park model.

Others buy brand-new and can’t even hit the road because it’s non-stop in the shop ironing out stupid (but big) problems.

There’s no way to tell you if you’re going to get a lemon or a good unit. Best case is that you are good with Youtube projects and/or have some skills yourself to fix the lesser of the problems that may arise.

Still, I’d say to go for it! We can’t let life worries stop us from doing the things we want to do, right?

Cheers and go for it if that’s what you’re dreaming of doing!

We are just starting our RV adventures. After much thought and reading of other peoples experiences we have decided on a Class B+ motorhome (Leisure Travel Van Unity). Our “toad” however will be a trailer with our motorcycle. I realize that may limit our toad vehicle use to good weather days but if it is bad weather out we may just be hanging out in the motorhome anyway.

Your pros are very valid and well thought out. We used a lot of them in making our decision. Great minds think alike … or fools seldom differ. I prefer the first part of that statement. 🙂

Yes, a motorcycle is the toad of choice for many! And that’s pretty much what I do in bad weather- where would one go? So it works. Especially if you really love your bike.

Thank you for the kudos! I think you’re right- it must be the great minds thing, lol!

Good luck with your new adventures! Glad we could be a part of it and help you out some. Cheers!

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RV Expertise

Best Travel Trailers For Full Time Living

What is the best travel trailer for full time living? A dream of many is to live life on the road. Whether you're retired, a digital nomad, or just want to live life away from the hustle and bustle living full time in a camper is an amazing life experience.

It gives you the freedom of living in pretty much any location you want, you can take your work along with you, and you can even follow the work. The options are endless when you choose to live life on the road.

Of course, this is an option for many people, but which rig to choose? There are many travel trailers for full time living and the choices can get confusing.

Fear not, we've compiled a short list of what we believe to be the best travel trailers for full time living. Yes, we could have chosen the most luxurious campers and be done, but not everyone can afford the largest and most luxurious travel trailers , so we've included, different sizes and budgets.

As well as reviewing the best models to suit full time living, we've also included a guide on what general things you should look for. And we've included a Pros and Cons section of living life on the road, just to remind you of the good and bad.

And if you're still left with some unanswered questions, we have an FAQ section dedicated to all things travel trailers for full time living to round things up. So, with that said, let's get into it...

Can Any Travel Trailer Be Used for Full-Time Living?

Technically you can live full time in any travel trailer, but we wouldn't advise it. Most full-timers prefer to live in travel trailers , fifth wheels , or motorhomes , because they're spacious enough, boast all the amenities you need, and have enough capacity in the water tanks and stuff so you don't have to do all the dirty work every single day.

With travel trailers, it's also a good idea to choose a lightweight travel trailer for full-time living, because they can be more awkward to tow than 5th wheels .

What Makes a Travel Trailer Great For Full-Time Living

Travel trailers can be great for full time living, because they possess many features you need.

Appropriate Layout

Designers and manufacturers of travel trailers are more focused on the right layout rather than making it more spacious by increasing in size. Optimizing the space keeps it light and ensures a trailer is easier to tow.

should i travel full time

  • Impeccable LED lighting
  • Easily affordable by most people
  • Fully furnished sink and cabinets
  • Adequate space to install seating arrangement
  • Enough place for microwave oven, refrigerator and washing machine
  • Sleeps: 2-6
  • Number of Floorplans: 4
  • Length: 24 ft
  • Weight: 8,620 lbs

Fireplace, fridge, TV, sink, sofa, master bedroom, everything is present in this budget Evoke Model A travel trailer – you name it! It is perfectly equipped with optimal fresh water tank, gray water tank, and a wastewater tank. 

The Model A is the smallest of the Evoke railers, but the floorplan makes the most of the space. The kitchen is spacious enough to cook a delicious meal thanks to the corner units. When dinner is ready, you can dine with the family on the spacious dinette, which also converts into a large double bed.

At night, you can turn off all the lights and switch on LEDs that are installed behind the cabinet and create a beautiful view. Plus, the master bedroom boasts a good sized window, so you can wake up to those amazing panoramics you go chasing.

All these features make this lightweight travel trailer a perfect compact box to hang out and live full-time with family. In addition to all of these stellar features, the best thing about it is that it is easily affordable.

Jayco Jay Flight Bungalow

Jayco Jay Flight Bungalow

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Should you lock in your mortgage rate before the April Fed meeting?

By Joshua Rodriguez

Edited By Matt Richardson , Angelica Leicht

April 22, 2024 / 11:48 AM EDT / CBS News


The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings happen regularly, with the next meeting scheduled for April 30, 2024 through May 1, 2024 . These meetings are important because the Federal Reserve typically discusses the state of the economy and potential changes to monetary policy. That means the Federal Reserve usually makes federal funds rate decisions at these meetings (whether it will increase, decrease or leave its target rate the same ). 

That's important because the federal funds rate is the primary benchmark rate that consumer interest rates (like mortgage rates ) are based on. So, if you're in the market for a new home , it may be wise to lock in your mortgage rate before the April FOMC meeting. 

Lock in your mortgage rate now before any potential hikes materialize . 

When you're in the market for a new home, and you're pre-approved for a mortgage, you may have the option to lock your mortgage rate in before you close on the home. That may prove advantageous, especially when mortgage rates are on the rise (which has been the case as of late). Then again, there are valid reasons you may want to hold off on locking your mortgage rate in as well. Here are a few reasons why you may (and why you may not) want to lock in your mortgage rate before the next Fed meeting: 

Why you may want to lock in your mortgage rate

Perhaps the biggest reason to lock in your mortgage rate before the April Fed meeting is to guarantee that your rate won't rise. That's a valuable prospect at the moment as 30-year mortgage rates have already climbed from 6.82% on April 4, 2024 to today's average rate of 7.29% - nearly a half a percentage point difference. 

Those rates are largely up as a result of a strong recent jobs report and inflation growth . Should the Federal Reserve suggest it will delay rate cuts following this data, mortgage companies could respond with further increases to the rates they charge. But, if you lock in your rate before the next Fed meeting, you won't be subject to those potentially higher mortgage rates. 

"If you are in the process of buying a house and have already made a commitment, then I believe it would be prudent to lock in your rates at this point," explains Aaron Cirksena, founder and CEO of the financial planning firm, MDRN Capital. 

It's worth noting that locking in your rate can put more control in your hands. That is, as long as the rate you lock in has a float-down option. If it does, and the average mortgage rate rises, you won't be subject to a higher mortgage rate when you purchase your home. On the other hand, if rates fall, your float-down option means you can take unlock your current rate and secure the new, lower one, instead.

Finally, mortgage rates are cyclical . So, rates will go through upward and downward cycles. But, locking in your mortgage rate, and even closing on your home, doesn't necessarily mean you'll be stuck paying the rate you locked in or closed on until you pay your home off. Instead, you can refinance your home later, when a downward mortgage rate cycle comes into play. 

Take control of your mortgage rate by locking it in now . 

Why you may not want to lock in your mortgage rate

Though it may be wise to lock in your mortgage rate before the April Fed meeting, there are a few reasons you may want to hold off on locking your rate in. 

  • Rates are high : The federal funds rate is frozen at a 23-year high . Though the federal funds rate doesn't dictate mortgage rates, it is commonly used as a benchmark for them. So, mortgage rates are high at the moment, too.  
  • Rates could fall : The Federal Reserve typically moves the federal funds rate target in response to inflation. When inflation is high, rates tend to rise and when inflation cools, rates tend to fall. So, if inflation cools ahead, lower mortgage rates could be on the horizon . "There is always a likelihood that the Fed pivots or offers guidance in the next meeting that sends rates a bit lower," says Cirksena. Though, that likelihood may be minimal in today's inflationary economic climate. 
  • Locks are limited : Most lenders make it possible to lock your rate in for anywhere from 30 to 120 days. If you haven't started the house hunt, or are at the very beginning of it, a 30 to 120-day lock could rush your shopping process - which may result in you making rash decisions in an attempt to beat the rate lock deadline.  

Compare your mortgage options today to find out what rate you'll qualify for . 

The bottom line

If you're in the market for a new home, deciding whether or not to lock in your mortgage rate before the April Fed meeting can be tough. On one hand, locking in your mortgage rate guarantees that it won't climb ahead. And, if you have a float-down option, you'll be able to take advantage of a lower mortgage rate if rates do fall before you close on your home. Not to mention, you can always refinance later if more appealing mortgage rates come to fruition. 

On the other hand, locking in your mortgage rate may not be the best option in today's high interest rate environment. After all, rates could fall ahead. And, since rate locks are relatively limited, locking in yours could rush your house hunting process. 

If you're not sure whether locking in your rate makes sense or not, get in touch with a mortgage expert now to discuss your options . 


Joshua Rodriguez is a personal finance and investing writer with a passion for his craft. When he's not working, he enjoys time with his wife, two kids, two dogs and two ducks.

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Guest Essay

Mike Pence: Donald Trump Has Betrayed the Pro-Life Movement

Demonstrators holding pro-life signs watch a large outdoor screen showing Donald Trump speaking to the crowd. The screen is fading between a shot of Trump and a shot of the American flag; both are visible, layered over each other.

By Mike Pence

Mr. Pence was vice president of the United States from 2017 to 2021 and is a former candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Serving as vice president in the most pro-life administration in American history was one of the greatest honors of my life. Of all our accomplishments, I am perhaps most proud that the Supreme Court justices we confirmed voted to send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history, ending a travesty of jurisprudence that led to the death of more than 63 million unborn Americans.

Since Roe was overturned, I have been inspired by the efforts of pro-life leaders in states across the country, including Indiana , to advance strong protections for the unborn and vulnerable women.

But while nearly half of our states have enacted strong pro-life laws, some Democrats continue to support taxpayer-funded abortions up to the moment of birth in the rest of the country.

Which is why I believe the time has come to adopt a minimum national standard restricting abortion after 15 weeks in order to end late-term abortions nationwide.

The majority of Americans favor some form of restriction on abortions, and passing legislation prohibiting late-term abortions would largely reflect that view. Democrats in Washington have already attempted to legalize abortion up to the moment of birth, and they failed. But they will try again, with similar extremism, if abortion restrictions are not put in place at the federal level.

Contrary to Democrats’ claims, prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks is entirely reasonable.

While Democrats often hold up Europe as a model for America to emulate, a vast majority of European countries have national limits on elective abortion after 15 weeks. Germany and Belgium have a gestational limit of up to 14 weeks. A majority of European countries are even more restrictive, with Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Austria, Italy and Ireland banning abortion on demand after 12 weeks.

When it comes to abortion policy, America today appears closer to communist China and North Korea than to the nations of Europe. By prohibiting late-term abortions after 15 weeks, America can move away from the radical fringe and squarely back into the mainstream of Western thought and jurisprudence.

That’s why it was so disheartening for me to see former President Trump’s recent retreat from the pro-life cause. Like so many other advocates for life, I was deeply disappointed when Mr. Trump stated that he considered abortion to be a states-only issue and would not sign a bill prohibiting late-term abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even if it came to his desk.

I know firsthand just how committed he was to the pro-life movement during our time in office. Who can forget the way candidate Donald Trump denounced late-term abortion during a debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016, highlighting how she and other Democrats would allow doctors to “rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”

In 2018, ahead of a Senate vote on a 20-week national ban that was passed earlier by the House, the president publicly stated that he “strongly supported” efforts to end late-term abortions nationwide with exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother.

Now not only is Mr. Trump retreating from that position; he is leading other Republicans astray. One recent example is an Arizona Republican running for the U.S. Senate who followed Trump’s lead and pledged to oppose a federal ban on late-term abortions. When our leaders aren’t firmly committed to life, others will waver, too. Courage inspires imitation. So does weakness.

While some worry about the political ramifications of adopting a 15-week minimum national standard, history has proved that when Republicans stand for life without apology and contrast our common-sense positions with the extremism of the pro-abortion left, voters reward us with victories at the ballot box. In fact, voters overwhelmingly re-elected Govs. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Greg Abbott of Texas and Brian Kemp of Georgia, after they signed bills prohibiting abortion after six weeks.

But what should concern us far more than the politics of abortion is the immorality of ending an unborn human life. At 15 weeks of development, a baby’s face is well formed, and her eyes are sensitive to light. She can suck her thumb and make a fist. She is beginning to move and stretch. And she is created in the image of God, the same as you or me.

Now is not the time to surrender any ground in the fight for the right to life. While the former president has sounded the retreat on life at the national level, I pray that he will rediscover the passion for life that defined our four years in office and rejoin the fight to end late-term abortions in America once and for all. The character of our nation and the lives of generations not yet born demand nothing less.

Mike Pence was vice president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. A former governor of Indiana, he was a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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  1. 6 Simple Habits That Help us Travel Full Time Cheap

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  2. 5 Ways to Fund Full-Time Travel

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  3. If you are reading this it means that you have already made the best

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  4. How do travel bloggers afford to travel? My story

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  5. Traveling full time with the freedom of being financially free is the

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  6. Travel Full-Time on a Budget: The Ultimate Guide

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  2. I travel full time travel

  3. How I Afford to Travel Full Time…

  4. Being a Full Time Traveller is not Easy

  5. How We Afford To Travel Full Time And How You Can Too


  1. 7 Key Things To Consider If You Dream Of Traveling Full-Time

    7. Save On Lodging. Since you'll need a place to rest and shelter every night, anything you can do to reduce this daily cost is key to affording full-time travel, at least if you intend to do it for more than a few months. One way to save is by staying in the same place for more than a week.

  2. How To Know If Full-Time Travel Is Right For You

    Full-time travel is, in my opinion, an experience everyone should have, even if only for a few months. It will change you in extraordinary ways. However, it's not for everyone. Make sure you set your expectations before embarking. Full-time travel sounds like a dream to many, but there are important things to consider.

  3. How To Travel Full Time (And Make Money)

    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. There's a very simple way to travel full time and make money: writing an ebook.

  4. 9 things I learned in my first 6 months RVing full-time

    Before our rental over the summer, we'd only done one previous RV relocation for $1 a day. So we had a lot to learn about RVing. Today, I'll share nine things I learned in my first six months of full-time RVing. Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG's free daily newsletter.

  5. Is Full-Time Travel A Dream Of Yours? 13 Ways to Make It Happen

    These would be things like a cleaning service, a property manager, and so on. 11. Make your dollars stretch. Full-time travel can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want it to be. Making your dollar stretch for travel is something you may do to prepare for traveling and/or something you do along the way.

  6. How to Travel with a Full-Time Job

    How to travel while working. When we first started traveling together almost 20 years ago, my husband Charles and I had full time jobs. We started out taking weekends off to travel, then two week vacations, working remotely while spending months in Mexico, and eventually a year long trip through Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

  7. How To Prepare For A Life Of Full-Time Traveling

    If we can do it, so can you. It will take determination and discipline, but if you want it badly, you'll do whatever it takes. We have no idea what will happen after 2 years. We might come back home and start from zero, get a 9 to 5 job and start working like crazy to recover from spending all of our savings traveling.

  8. How to Travel Full Time: 78 Essential Tips

    4. Use cash. Money feels a lot more real when it's physically disappearing from your wallet. It's a lot easier to overspend when it's just one more card swipe rather than a trip to the ATM. 5. Save. A lot of people who travel full-time don't make money a priority, but you should do your best to save money every month.

  9. How to Travel Full-time: A Complete Guide to Perpetual Travel

    Firstly, if you take it slow, and stay in any given RV park for a month or more at a time, you can often get killer monthly rates from $300 - $600 / month. You'll also save a ton on gas this way. If you do want to travel around a lot though, look into state parks instead of private RV parks.

  10. How to travel more with a full-time job

    With a full-time job you can still pack a lot in. It just requires a bit of planning. To figure the best way to do it, we spoke to two travellers who've managed to maximise their vacation time while holding down a regular 9-5. It's possible to see the world and hold down a regular, full-time job if you plan in advance ©Alline Waldhem/travelafter5.

  11. The Ultimate Packing List for Full-Time Travel and Long-Term Travel

    Instead, use this FREE travel gear and packing list cheat sheet. Learn from my 18+ years of career travel, and kick off your trip with the best clothes, toiletries, luggage, remote work gear, and more. INCLUDED: Special discount codes up to 25% off! This will be emailed to you to download, for FREE. Get Instant Access.

  12. What No One Tells You About Living In An RV Full Time

    Full time RVing can be surprisingly expensive. Lastly, what no one tells you about living in an RV full time is that it may be more expensive than you originally thought. This may not be true for everyone, but our personal experience is that it is significantly more expensive. You try to anticipate your costs, RV insurance, car/truck payments ...

  13. Top Resources for Traveling Full-Time in the U.S

    Money is the biggest hurdle people face when it comes to leaping into the full time travel lifestyle. Surprisingly, for Heath and Alyssa, full timing opened a lot of doors for their business. Since moving into an RV, they've visited all 50 states, filmed a documentary, been on live national and international television, filmed a tv show ...

  14. How to Travel With a Full-Time Job: 6 Creative Ways

    5. Short-Term Contract (2-6 months) Contract work is often a great way to gain international experience and travel while maintaining a 9 to 5. Essentially this means that your company sends you to a different country for a brief amount of time to complete a specific project.

  15. How to budget for full time travel

    Creating your Travel Budget in 9 simple steps: 1. Decide on your destination (s) Deciding where you would like to travel to is one of the first steps you should make when starting to budget for full time travel. Your destination (s) will have a huge impact on how much you need to save.

  16. Your guide to full-time RV living

    The major expenses of full-time RV life are campsite fees, fuel, RV and vehicle payments, and activities as you travel. Don't forget to account for maintenance, repairs, groceries, mobile phones, WiFi, insurance, and other daily costs like food and supplies. You can make decisions to control most of these costs by choosing the kind of RV ...

  17. The Ultimate Guide to Full Time RVing (2022 Updated Edition)

    It is possible to live a minimalistic life for less than $1,000 per month if you don't travel far, spend much going out and plan to free camp often. A more reasonable full-time RV budget would afford moderate travel, dining out and activities and free camping a handful of nights throughout the month for $2,000-$3,000.

  18. 7 Questions to Ask Yourself before Living in an RV Full-Time

    7) Is full time RV living worth it. While this is something you may not fully be able to answer until you starting traveling, it is something you should ponder. You're going to be giving up things like extra storage space, in house laundry and your go to Mexican restaurant.

  19. Living In An RV Full Time: 66 Tips From A Pro

    11. Believe In Magic & Lead With Your Heart. I don't believe in scarcity; rather, I believe in abundance. Living on this earth, I sense its boundless magic enveloping us. Our purpose is to embrace life without fear and to pursue wanderlust unrestrained. If your heart tells you to live in an RV full-time, trust it.

  20. Travel Time: To Bill or Not?

    In her prior experience, it was common to bill "full time" for travel. One former employer followed an eight-hour-day billing policy. "Even if we spent 12-15 hours working that day, including a cross-country airline trip, only eight hours were billed to the client," she said. Today, Patterson says her policy is to bill distant travel at ...

  21. Everything you need to know about traveling in the summer of 2024

    But flights to South America are up 2% and flights to Canada have risen 7%. You'll pay an average of $708 to fly south of the border and $419 to head north. U.S. hotel rates are down. Domestically ...

  22. Full-Time RVing: Is A Motorhome or Travel Trailer Best?

    Conclusion. So if budget is of no concern, I would recommend going with a motorhome and a toad for full-time RVing. This gives you the most freedom to RV the way you want to and to have the easiest time getting around once you are parked at camp. It will cost more, but it will likely be worth it.

  23. Best Travel Trailers For Full Time Living

    Length: 16 ft to 21 ft. Width: 92". Weight: 3442 lbs. Our Review. Ok, so not everyone needs the biggest and most luxurious travel trailer for full time living. If you are looking for a compact travel trailer that has all the necessities that a full-timer desires, the Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro could be a good option.

  24. Cost of Living in an RV Full Time [2024 Update]

    RV Parks: RV parks are the most expensive option for full time RVers. Nightly rates are normally $50-70 per night. Most RV parks give discounts for weekly stays, and some have big discounts for monthly stays. When we stayed at our favorite RV park in Heber UT it cost $700 a month, but their nightly rate was $65.

  25. Planning A Vacation? Here's Your 2024 Summer Travel ...

    Overall policy sales for the 2024 summer travel season are up this year, but there's a spike in sales for policies in August, which is typically the busiest time of the summer. "Sales are up more ...

  26. Fjords, Pharaohs or Koalas? Time to Plan for Your Next Eclipse

    A major spoiler is weather, which will be a big variable in the 2026 eclipse — one Greenland, Iceland and Spain will see. "Iceland normally has a lot of cloud during that time of year," said ...

  27. Opinion

    Ms. Cheney, a Republican, is a former U.S. representative from Wyoming and was vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 select committee in the House of Representatives. On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ...

  28. Should you lock in your mortgage rate before the April Fed meeting

    Perhaps the biggest reason to lock in your mortgage rate before the April Fed meeting is to guarantee that your rate won't rise. That's a valuable prospect at the moment as 30-year mortgage rates ...

  29. Forget sharks and bears

    Deer-vehicle collisions are surprisingly common in the United States, with 2.1 million occuring each year, accounting for 59,000 human injuries and 440 human deaths.

  30. Mike Pence: Donald Trump Has Betrayed the Pro-Life Movement

    1617. By Mike Pence. Mr. Pence was vice president of the United States from 2017 to 2021 and a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Serving as vice president in the most pro ...