How To Combine A Full-Time Job With Long-Term Travel

Note from Editors: In view of the current situation, please avoid all unnecessary travel and try to stay home. Don’t worry, like all things, it will end at some point and you’ll be able to travel again. In the meantime, check out what you can do while staying at home.

Nowadays, we are all bombarded by various inspiring travel quotes:

“Quit you job and travel the World”

“Buy one-way ticket and never come back”

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”

Wow, all of these quotes will make you wanna pack your bags, quit your job immediately and start your travel adventure around the world, right? No!? What’s the problem? Yes, there is one BUT… actually there are more than just one BUT…

How can you support your travels? How are you going to earn a living when carrying your backpack, taking photos and speaking to locals? Where can you take the money from when you run out of cash? What’s going to happen with your career?

Travel quote put down that map and get wonderfully lost
Postcard from Sri Lanka

Yes, money and career can sometimes thwart our plans and stand in the way of making our dreams come true, in this case, travel dreams. Let’s say you have been always dreaming of exploring the world, traveling has been in your blood and you keep on dreaming of wandering the unknown streets of Brasil, indulging yourself in Vietnamese pho and proudly standing at Taj Mahal. You can still make it. How? You need a plan and you have to set up your travel and career goals in the first place.

1. Ask yourself: do you really want to travel full-time?

Going on a weekend trip or seven day holiday differs a lot from traveling full-time. You need to be 100% sure you want to live a nomadic life, get used to sleeping in different places every night, eat different food on a regular basis, accept different cultures, traditions and rules of the countries you visit, and sometimes be reconciled with the fact you can feel lonely and lost. If so, let’s go to step 2.

2. Go for a job that suits your travel needs.

If you are still at the university and still can’t decide what you want to do, but you know that traveling has been your passion for ages, think of career options that can match your travel passion such as:

  • IT – you can work online when traveling – do some programming, web design, SEO, etc.
  • Education (TESOL/TEFL) – you can teach English in non-English speaking countries such as Thailand, Brasil, Spain, etc. Nowadays, Asian countries are in need of foreign teachers so if you do your teaching course – you can be offered a great job with decent salary, free food and free accommodation.
  • PR/Social Media – thanks to your social media and PR skills you can develop your travel blog and try to get some profit from it (it’s a hard job, but it pays off with time), work for travel agencies/bars/hotels/hostels/restaurants as a Social Media Consultant/Specialist.
  • Anything related to Tourism (Tourism Management – you can easily get a job in a hostel or restaurant around the world, work as a hotel/restaurant manager while still enjoying long-term travels and foreign culture.

3. Invest your time in setting up your own travel blog.

Start thinking of your travel blog before you go traveling. Do some research, think of what design you want, what your blog is going to be about: photography, budget traveling, solo traveling, hiking, cycling the world or maybe food? Try to come up with a catchy name, your own slogan, logo and design. Connect with fellow travel bloggers, start your first interactions and get familiar with social media network. Don’t wait till you get on the road as you might not manage to balance blogging with your travel and believe me it’s a very tough and time-consuming work.

A girl is blogging in a coffee shop
Blogging in a hostel in Guilin, China

4. Never give up on your career, neither your travels.

Do whatever you can not to give up neither, your career nor your travels. Traveling is wonderful and having written in your CV that you have spent two years on a RTW solo trip looks impressive, but who will care about that in 5 years when you decide to settle down with no money invested or saved? Blogging in most of the cases is not enough to make a living for a long run so you need an education, skills and work experience not to be afraid of your future life and career.

To all fellow travel bloggers: How do you manage to combine your career with long-term travels? How difficult it is?

To others: would you like to live a life of a permanent traveller?

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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85 thoughts on “How To Combine A Full-Time Job With Long-Term Travel”

  1. There was no way I could travel and not earn significant savings at the same time which is what lead me to yachting. As a crewmember on a private yacht, you get to travel AND save. On top of that, I have almost no living expenses :) Plus I get to be on te water every day.

  2. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown

    I can’t imagine traveling and blogging – I struggle enough to have time as an expat and blogging! I am lucky that I chose a profession (teaching scuba diving) that even though I can’t ‘travel’ in a nomadic sense, I can live in all sorts of exotic locations around the world and get paid to do what I love!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks Rika for sharing. Full-time travelling and blogging must be your drug of choice :), otherwise you will hate them both. It’s your lifestyle. It’s not easy though, but so rewarding! Sometimes I feel like I’m at work 24/7 thinking of my blog :). We are also qualified teachers so when blogging does not go well or one day we decide not to do it anymore (hope it’s not gonna happen), we can still live in any place in the world and get paid for what we love to do!! I’m glad you are enjoying your lifestyle :)!

    2. A dive instructor once told me I was a great diver and that i should become a dive teacher and then i could work and travel the world…. but i get sea sick sooo bad :(

      1. Agness Walewinder

        Lucky you! I don’t even know how to swim properly. Maybe when we meet during our travels you can teach me how to dive! :)

  3. Mary {The World Is A Book}

    First, I love the travel quotes up there especially the third one ;-) Some great tips here for anyone seriously considering it. I wish we can do some long term travel but it’s just not for us at this moment with two kids in school and jobs tied to an office. You;d think in a virtual world, it would b easier. I do admire people who have made their travel dreams of long term travel come true.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thank you Mary. We also big fans of travel quotes :). I totally understand what you mean. Long term travel isn’t that easy when you have kids, but nothing’s impossible. We also admire people who have made their travel dreams of long term travel come true!

  4. GREAT article! I’ve been considering doing a long-term travel after I graduate. I don’t think I’ll spend a whole year of non-stop traveling because it may shock me as I’m used to short-term travel. Maybe I’ll start with a few months in one country, and then go back to Indonesia to figure out what I want/ work to save more money for travel. But I know traveling has become one of my needs so I will definitely be somewhere new every now and then! :-)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hey Halida! Many thanks for sharing your thoughts! If you have never tried a long distance travel before, the best thing to do is to start is slowly but surely from 3 months, then go for another 3 and then 6 months. Take small steps and see how you like it. It might be something you will absolutely love!! Good luck :)x

  5. Another great article Agness with an honest perspective. Blogging is certainly hard work and it is no gold mine. I think anyone taking up travel blogging should primarily see it as a hobby rather than a route to riches. At least then they will not be disappointed.

    I think if people plan properly and apply common sense they can be adaptable enough to manage long term travel. As for myself, well I am very fortunate. I live at home yet have a job which sends me flying almost every month to 6 continents around the world.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thank you Steven for the kind words. I strongly agree with what you said. Blogging itself is a hard work and when you keep yourself busy with constant travel it can be even more difficult to handle. Everyone should take it slow in order not to be disappointed. Your job sounds like a dream job!!!

  6. Great post Agness, thanks for your honesty. Sometimes people don’t understand how hard it can be traveling long term and trying to finance ourselves while on the road. Blogging is a very time consuming and tough thing to do while traveling, but it’s also fun to write about our adventures, to share our thoughts and opinions and hopefully to inspire others.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      So true Franca. Everything costs and we need to support our travels somehow :). So so true! It’s a tough and very fun work to do. We have been enjoying it since the very beggining. We keep the balance between blogging and travelling therefore we will never neglect them both :).

  7. I’ve been self employed and traveling full time (digital nomad style) for almost two years now.

    I just want to jump in and say that it’s *very* difficult to work and travel at the same time, especially on a budget. I have my own website that makes some money and I also freelance, but showing up in a new exciting city or country and coming to the hostel and meeting all sorts of great people you want to hang out with or couchsurfing with a new host – the last thing I want to do is sit at a computer for 5 hours a day. But to keep traveling, that’s what I have to do.

    It takes a lot of self-discipline :)

    1. I should also add that blogging on top of that is an extra level of difficult, hence the reason my blog travelsizerobot.com is rarely updated! I give Agness and Cez a lot of credit for keeping up on blog posts, they have more self control than me!

      1. Agness Walewinder

        It’s me being so well-organised! I visit your blog on a regular basis and noticed you don’t update it very often :-P, get back to work!!!!

    2. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks Chris for your honesty! Unfortunately right now we can’t afford to travel full-time as we don’t earn enough money from the blog. It’s more like a hobby and project we believe will grow in the future. Therefore, we gotta stick to our teaching jobs in China which is a lot of fun and we love it! We did travel full-time for 9 months last year and blogged part-time and we know how difficult it is!! :) True, it takes a lot of self-discipline, stamina and hard work!

  8. It’s definitely a life style choice and you need to be prepared and disciplined while living in small hostels and working when you can is sometimes difficult. But after doing it for three years myself around America I can personally say there is NOTHING more rewarding (and led to my blog http://www.morethanroute66.com) and I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams and passions. We only live once right :-)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      We call it “drug of your choice” :). Yes, indeed it takes a lot of self-discipline and control! You are a real inspiration for those who always dreamt of working and travelling full-time, Jason. Well done and keep going! We are your new fans :):)!!!!

  9. Casey @ A Cruising Couple

    Great points! Long-term travel is definitely not for everyone. I do think that traveling and working online is going to get easier in the future as more employers realize that they can save money by having people do their office jobs from home. I think I heard nearly 40% of jobs could be done without commuting to the work place or something.. haha but don’t quote me on that! Still, traveling full-time is almost becoming the chic thing to do. We went the teaching English route and saved up a lot of money that way, building up our blog and freelance jobs at the same time. We were working a ton, but now we have a steady(ish) income without teaching. If you want to travel and work full time, you have to be prepared to put in lots of hours! It’s definitely not a vacation :) But you guys know that more than anyone!!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Great point Casey! We are also doing teaching in China right now and saving money for another long-term travel in South America. We know it, it’s a hard job!!! and 24/7 commitment.

  10. Lots of people want to know how they can travel long-term. I don’t do it myself, so these tips you have here will be a good resource to give them. I would love to find a job that will allow me to travel full-time!

      1. Thanks Agness :-) As mentioned sometimes I think it would be so nice to be able to travel full-time as mentioned above but most of the time – to be honest – I’m really happy with my job and have enough opportunity to travel around that.

  11. As you said, I always knew that traveling will be my drug. I realized when I was very young that I was good at languages, so I tried to improve my knowledge as much as I could.

    I also studied a tourism related university degree.

    Being a long term traveler also means many sacrifice(as sleeping anywhere, do not enjoy 3 meals a day, do not carry a bunch of unuseful souvenirs home…) but you will be able to do it and willing to do it everyday!!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      That’s true. I also knew I wanted to travel when I was a little girl and did my studies in Education to be able to teach in Asia :). That was my long-term plan which paid off! All these sacrifices are absolutely worth the freedom you enjoy while being on the road :).

  12. I travel as much as possible with usually 2-3 trips a year. Right now, I am saving in hopes to take time off of work to travel. I also have started a travel blog to get me going to share my travel stories in the past and present. I don’t want to be fully nomadic, but I would like more vacation days :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks Angela for sharing. That’s great. As long as the travel spirit is still out there, you are gonna do everything what it takes to go for another trip and keep exploring the world! :-D

  13. I think trying to keep up a blog while traveling is much harder than keeping up with a blog while working (even full time!) abroad. Still, both are so time consuming and difficult, like you said!

    Hopefully, I’ll make some progress this year now that I’m again just in one place :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      True. Great point Jessica. You did well when traveling SE Asia last time, but that must have been a hard job indeed. Enjoy Spain!

  14. Travel and working should’t be in the same sentence. I tried to work while travelling but in the end I ended up only traveling. You don’t fell the real journey. You have other things on your head: clients deadlines, problems and so forth. Well, you can travel for 6 months and disconnect from the real world and then to work for 3 months for example. But together is not the ideal situation.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      When you organise yourself properly you can enjoy your work and your journey a lot. Some people put too much pressure on work and then stop enjoying their travels. If you know how to keep the balance, you will be just fine :). It also depends on what kind of work you are doing when travelling.

      1. Yes. It depends a lot of the person. No one is the same:). Regarding me and the online job a do – PPC Marketing & Affilate: I have to be connected with the potential client maybe twice a week; so I 3 month no working period is not very good for me…

  15. great article I love the honesty! I had my first traveling and working experience in turkey whilst doing some web and graphic design work for a client. I realised how hard it is to put off the fun of exploring in order to work, it was certainly a learning lesson!

    During my two years traveling I had always planned on keeping a blog but it quite quickly got un-updated as i got caught up in travelling and i fell behind, even just catching up is hard whether at home or traveling, well done for keeping up regular posts, really enjoy reading them! (and from a designers perspective, love the blog design).

    My plan is to give the working and give traveling a real good shot, with the travel blog (www.acreativenomad.com) and to just take my full time graphic design job on the road and freelance, im giving myself a year to get it started, but I don’t underestimate how hard it will be! thats why I love reading these sort of articles and comments, thanks again!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thank you Rebecca! We know what you mean as we were biking South-East Asia last year and didn’t stop blogging although we had to take care of our blog installation customers. At that time it was extremely difficult to combine everything and still enjoy travelling but we did it!

  16. Great post as always Agness (ignore the one grumpy idiot below)! To answer the main question of the article, I actually don’t think I’d want to be a permanent traveller. Although I truly love travel, I would rather experience living in different countries and really getting to know those places – pretty much like what you guys have done in China – rather than be perpetually on the road.

    Also as much as I love blogging, I certainly wouldn’t ever want to make that my full-time job. I have so much respect for all those bloggers that have gone down that path and made it stick, but like you I also feel like I’m thinking about ideas for my site 24/7 (even though I have a much smaller readership). And that’s just with it as a hobby – so I definitely wouldn’t want my finances to be dependant on it.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hey Carl. That’s what I did LOL :D.

      I tried both – being a full-time traveller (South-East Asia last year, 8 months of backpacking) and living as an expat in Cambodia/Thailand and China right now and I know what you mean. There are pros and cons and it all depends on your finance, experience, personality and travel goals. I liked both, but if I could afford it, I would travel every day for the rest of my life!! :-D.

      Right now we are trying to expand the blog which is a hard job and it takes 24/7 indeed. On the top of that, we work full-time as teachers and travel a lot, but we hope it will pay off one day (it actually has so far). I am planning to do my university study next year and fingers crossed I will be a full-time student and blogger. Can’t imagine myself working from 9 to 5 :((((.

  17. I left my country 3 years ago, and of the past year and a half, I have combined the travel + work experience. I can say one thing – doing both at the same time – that’s a full time job in itself. People often ask me: How do you do it? That’s so awesome! Well, to the first part: you have to be very disciplined and determined as it is VERY easy to get distracted. Second, you really have to LOVE traveling and the nomadic life style to give up the security of a steady job. Third, I at least, need travel breaks – meaning, I need to be stationary for a couple of months to recharge my batteries and just BE in a place, until I am ready to backpack again. That brings me to the second part: It’s not just awesome, it is like with a “real” job, there are some sacrifices to be made, but if you love what you are doing, it’s worth it! I am a journalist, so luckily I can write from anywhere in the world, which is how I make my money. Blogging, I feel that’s a very steep and stony road, I am not sure if I’d invest all that time into keeping up a blog, if it’s not even certain that I will make money with it that way. BUT – I love to write about my travels on my blog,http://wanderstrudel.blogspot.com/, and I certainly enjoy reading other travel bloggers adventures. So thanks you guys for doing such a great job!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hey Marinela. Thank you so much for sharing! Your story is really inspiring! I couldn’t agree more with what you say. You need to be well-organised, self-disciplined and determined to combine full-time job with blogging while living out of the suitcase. It can be tiring and consume a lot of time and stamina, but it’s so rewarding!! We hope to keep in touch with you sweetie xx

  18. I’ve got no desire to be a permanent traveler – but I do like the thought of lots of 2-4 month adventures in the future.
    I was a geologist in a former life and that gave me a chance to save good money and to see some interesting parts of Canada.
    I’d be fired on the IT front – I only learn on a need to know basis. I think I would have made a horrible teacher too. For me there wouldn’t have been many decent paying job opportunities to combine with traveling.
    Sounds like you are doing really well and my hat goes off to you.

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