Are You Interested In Traveling The World And Working At The Same Time?

Before I started running my online business full-time, I had a desk job where I received a couple of weeks of vacation a year. Before that, I worked in a position for over five years which gave me no vacation time whatsoever.  While I realize that not everyone receives vacation time, I knew having limited traveling time was not…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: January 12, 2021

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Before I started running my online business full-time, I had a desk job where I received a couple of weeks of vacation a year. Before that, I worked in a position for over five years which gave me no vacation time whatsoever. 

While I realize that not everyone receives vacation time, I knew having limited traveling time was not good enough for me.

Even though I have to work while I’m traveling since I’m location independent, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being able to work remotely is a dream!

I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, and being able to work at the same time. Being a “digital nomad” isn’t perfect, but it is a lot of fun!

Just in 2015 I have traveled to the states of Nevada, California, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and, of course, the states of Colorado and Missouri. I have been on the road for the majority of the year and I don’t plan on that changing anytime soon.

In fact, I’m currently looking at the beautiful Jackson Lake and the mountains (in Grand Teton National Park) while typing this post.

Many of you seem to be interested in possibly living the location independent lifestyle as well. I know it’s a dream for many, but there are things to think about. Being location independent still means that you have to work and earn money!

Continue reading below if you are interested in learning how to become a digital nomad.

 

Figure out how you will support yourself.

There are many ways to support yourself and travel at the same time. Whatever you decide to do, figuring it out ahead of time is usually a good idea.

You may find an employer who allows you to work from your laptop and phone, you may decide to run your own business, or you may decide to find work as you go.

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This leads to my next tip…

 

Have a plan.

Having a plan is a good idea if you want to travel and work at the same time.

Some of the things you will want to think about if you want to learn how to become a digital nomad include:

  • What will you do to earn money?
  • How much will you need to earn in order to survive?
  • Will you need to save money before you leave?
  • How long do you plan on traveling for?
  • What will you do for health insurance?
  • Will you have a home base?
  • How will you receive mail?
  • What will you do for internet?
  • Will you need a visa in order to work?

 

Determine your pace.

There are pros and cons to traveling slowly or quickly.

Traveling slowly is what I prefer as you can usually travel more affordably this wayIt’s more affordable because usually transportation costs are what eats up a travel budget. Plus you have more time to enjoy each place that you are visiting since you will not be in a rush to move on to the next city.

Traveling quickly means that you may be able to visit more places. If you are in a time crunch then this may be what you decide to do. If you are able to work remotely, then this may be possible. However, if you are working as you travel in each specific city this may be more difficult since you will have to hold a job for a longer period of time.

 

Backup all of your work.

I highly recommend you keep backups of everything you do if you work primarily from your laptop. You never know if your phone, laptop or camera will experience water damage, be stolen, and so on.

You will save yourself a lot of pain and anger by having backups of all of your work.

 

Work ahead.

Planning and working ahead are both what helps keep me sane. This way if I come across an area with no internet, if I really love an area I’m visiting, or if I am unable to work for some other reason, then I can still have fun and not feel as stressed out.

Trust me, this is key. I’m in Wyoming and the internet so far hasn’t been the greatest. I haven’t been able to work as much as I normally would, but the fact that I have planned and worked ahead has helped me greatly.

Also, I’ve had a lot of you ask what I’m using for internet. I’m using a Verizon MiFi Jetpack.

 

 

Unplug occasionally if you work remotely.

The toughest thing I have a problem with while traveling is unplugging.

Being location independent means that it can sometimes be hard to have a good work-life balanceThis is because if you are able to bring your work wherever with you, then it may be hard to separate your work and life.

 

Travel hack.

Since you’ll be traveling a lot, you may want to find a way to save money on your trips. Travel hacking may allow you to travel for cheap or even free in some cases.

Related article: How I’ve Earned $2,500 In Credit Card Rewards In One Year

 

Keep yourself motivated.

Whether you are working for someone else or you’re your own boss, you will need to keep yourself motivated since you won’t have anyone hovering over your shoulder telling you to get work done if you work remotely.

If you’re having a hard time staying motivated and completing work, then you may want to set a designated work schedule for yourself. This may help you stay on track just like if you were going into an office.

 

Enjoy yourself.

In the end, you should enjoy yourself. Traveling all over the world yet only seeing the inside of a hotel room wouldn’t be any fun.

Get out there, work remotely, and see the world!

Would you like to live the location independent lifestyle? What other tips would you give to someone who wants to know how to become a digital nomad?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. When I was in my 20’s I would have sold options on my first born to be able to work and travel like you are. There are so many possibilities now that just weren’t around then. But, responsibilities being what they are, I’ll have to settle for mostly working from home and occasionally working from a cafe with a view of the beach.

    Actually, I would have been in heaven if I could have done just that in my 20’s!

    Have fun, Michelle!

    1. Stockbeard

      Kind of agree here. I actually did travel in my 20’s, which is how I ended up meeting my wife. But Michelle, your post doesn’t address the toughest challenges of all: Can you be a digital nomad with a family? I have 2 kids, and although your post is very detailed, it doesn’t address my toughest challenge, which is to keep a balanced family life as a digital nomad.

      1. I think you can. I have met a few full-time RVers already and they have young children with them. I’m assuming it’s tough, but they must be doing it because they enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Stockbeard

          I’d love a guest article on that topic ๐Ÿ˜‰

          1. Haha hopefully someone will volunteer ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Kristen

        HI! I actually RV full-time with my family of 4! We have two small boys(pre-K and K). We have a 32 ft class A and I roadschool which is a term for homeschooling on the road! It can be hectic sometimes but our whole family loves it so much (we are 1 year into full-timing as of writing this)

  2. I love seeing people who’ve successfully gotten out of the grind! Even though you’re still doing work, its completely different when you are your own boss. More ups and downs but then again, that’s more of what life is! It doesn’t all have to be middle of the road and calm!

    Even if I don’t plan on only working online, I still love looking for ways to push the needl even if its only a little bit!

    1. Thanks! Life is great ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Great post and yes I’d love to travel more but now I’m doing a little bit more than 2 years ago and I am going to have lovely day drips and/or weekend off being always on a budget, but your post is full of real great tip and suggestion thanks!!!

  4. This is what I am aiming for. It feels like it’s doable. All I need is to prepare for it ahead of time and make my plan work. I wanna see the world!

  5. I’ve been on vacay the last two weeks and it’s nice to know my business is still operating – I don’t know that I could do a trip that was several months though and keep up my work load. I always feel so guilty about working when I’m on the road.

    1. My goal right now is to minimize the amount of work I do while increasing my more passive income avenues due to this!

  6. I like where you’re going with your blog, Michelle. It makes perfect sense for you to write about how to create an online business. I’m really looking forward to more of these posts (hopefully there’s more to come ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

    1. Thanks Natalie! There will be more to come ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m thinking I will do a post in this category at least a few times a month. It’s something I love talking about!

  7. We have been location independent since the beginning of this year and I’m loving it so far. Now we just have to plan around the kid’s schedules, but it still makes everything that much better. I no longer have to worry about or save up PTO days, or plan vacations around a bunch of other people! Now we just do what we want.

  8. Heather aka HoJo

    Traveling is great! My goal is to reach all 50 states by the age of 50. I’m getting close! (Close to the states, not that close in age just yet… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a wonderful time!

  9. Kate @ Cashville Skyline

    Sounds like you’re having fun, Michelle! I think in the future, most jobs will be location independent. Fortunately, I can do my current job from anywhere and I love working remotely. It’s especially great for visiting friends and family who I wouldn’t otherwise get much time with!

    1. Yes, I love being able to spend more time with friends and family!

  10. Melissa

    I love this post, Michelle! I think having a base estimate of what you need to make in order to get by is key. That’s one of the things I’m trying to do right now to see when I can become location-independent and do something similar to you!

    As far as making back ups, do you use an external hard drive or the cloud to store your back ups?

    1. I actually do both. I am a worrier haha.

  11. Virginia

    Oh, man this is exactly why I would love to work online. My sister’s pregnant in England with my first niece or nephew, my parents live across the country from me, and my best friend lives in Hong Kong. Location permanence is killin’ me!

    1. What are you working towards to get there?

      1. Virginia

        Nothing super concrete–yet! My career is non-mobile. I am quitting my current side hustle so that I can have time to work on starting a blog. I’ve done a bit of freelancing in the past and know that if I really hustled I could be a writer. Thanks for sharing such a wealth of information to show how it’s done.

  12. Sarah

    I told my husband that when the kids are grown and gone (we still have a LONG way to go) I want to get an R.V. and just drive around the U.S. So you’re living my retirement dream. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Haha do it! We are loving it.

  13. Ali @ Anything You Want

    These are great tips! I’m not sure that I could ever be location independent in my current field, but I do like the idea of being able to travel whenever I want and have more flexibility.

      1. Ali @ Anything You Want

        I work in real estate/construction, so it is pretty essential to be where the project is.

  14. Yes, that is a great lifestyle as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I love the fact that I can be location independent, but for me personally it got REALLY exhausting traveling and working. I think it’s fine if you’re in a maintenance stage, but if you’re trying to actively grow your business it can be downright exhausting.

    Great tips ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the RV is a perfect fusion of both.

    1. Thanks Christine! Yes, it can be tiring. Traveling slowly really helps.

  16. Very inspiring and great tips. Being able to work at different location would be a dream for us. That means we’ll be able to enjoy our lives and travel around the world at the same time.

  17. It’s great when you can be location independent. It gives you so much more flexibility with your time and where you live. You can live in a lower cost area which is a big savings. You can be flexible with your travel plans and not just take one or two trips a year.

  18. Jesse Gernigin

    I agree with Stef. It is hard to keep up with writing work when on the road. I’ll go away for a month sometimes to finish up projects or ghostwrite a book and it is a battle to keep to a schedule. I love it and am working on my shortcomings to live and travel more freely!

    1. Yes, it can be hard but I think it’s worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I have actually started thinking about living the RV life after seeing you do it, and ThinkSaveRetire talk about their plans to hit the road in an RV. I think it would be awesome to see Canada and the US in an RV. Also might speed up my FI date ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep sharing pictures!

  20. I work from home, but unfortunately, I can’t travel and work at the same time. To do my work, I need to access customer accounts, so my boss doesn’t want me on general wi-fi. I’d have to buy a data plan for my laptop, which is cost prohibitive.

    At the moment, it’s not an issue because we don’t really have the money/energy to travel. But one day when we have a little more expendable cash, it’ll probably aggravate me.

    1. Yeah I just bought a data plan for my laptop and it is definitely expensive. I wish there were unlimited plans!

  21. I want to be location independent badly. I know that’s a few years away for me though. Until that happens I will continue to live vicariously through you Michelle.

    1. You’ll get there ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Thanks for those tips. We’re not at that point right now, but I hope we can have more flexibility (especially with our time) in the future.

  23. If I ever give up optometry, I would love to be location independent. The idea is very liberating. From being away three weeks recently, I can honestly say that I would have to set a schedule for myself. I had all these plans about how much I would get done, and I did about a tenth of that. I am so glad I had some semi-generic posts already scheduled just in case. The whole working ahead thing is a must.

    I am so excited for you and Wes and how you get to live life on your own terms. Very inspiring.

    1. Yes, working ahead is definitely a must!

  24. Now that I’m freelancing full-time, I do plan to do a little more travelling and enjoy my “freedom” more. It’s nice that you can still work while you are out of town. I just have to kind of careful about my spending on travel until I’m out of debt.

    1. Congrats again of freelancing full-time Kayla!

  25. Thanks! We are loving it ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. That’s awesome! I would love to be a digital nomad for a while. We’re tied down right now due to Mrs. RB40’s job. When she retires, then we’ll try it out. Kid will be in school then, but we could travel and homeschool for a year. Once the kid is out of the house, then it will be wide open. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. This post is awesome! I’m a nurse so blogging may not be my ticket to location independence, but I came up with an equivalent! Check out my recent post about it.