We’ve all seen them, right?
…and we’re all guilty of scrolling through their Instagram profiles feeling very jealous.
You know who I mean.
The people who are constantly travelling.
Spending their days sipping cocktails on a beach, riding in hot air balloons at sunset, having massages in Thailand and following herds of elephants and giraffes on African safaris.
The have the most amazing life. *sigh*
How can they afford to live like this?
Well, in this complete guide, I’m going to tell you exactly how they manage to travel full time. I’ll also share with you some secrets and tools that you can use if you want to have this lifestyle. Along with some home truths and sacrifices that must be made if you are serious about travelling the world full time.
The key to full-time travel = being able to work remotely
The truth is, although they look like they’re on a permeant vacation, they do still work.
They’re not just travelling from dream location to dream location whilst burning through a load of cash that they saved up prior. Although that is one way to travel full-time. However, you will eventually run out of money and your travel lifestyle will abruptly end.
Those that travel full-time, and that have been doing so for three, five, or maybe more years, have adopted the digital nomad lifestyle.
If you are employed at a physical location and need to clock in every day for the 9-5, then you’re always going to be trapped in that location. Any travelling that you do must be at weekends or within your holiday allowance.
Digital nomads have created a lifestyle that does not require them to stay in one location. They can work from anywhere in the world as long as they have a laptop and a decent wi-fi connection.
So, rather than staying at home and working from their dining room table. They’ve packed up their life and they take it on the move.
Types of work that they do
This is by no means a complete list, but it will help give you an idea of what work digital nomads are doing.
- Website developer/designer
- App developer
- Virtual assistant
- Video editor
- Google Adsense
- Advertising networks
- Affiliate marketing
- Content creator (writing blog posts)
- Create your own products
- Membership website
- Flipping domains and websites
- Pay per click (PPC) management
Basically, anything that allows them to work online, from their laptop, that does not require them to be in a physical location.
We’ve already seen a massive cultural shift since this thing called the ‘internet’ was introduced. Over half of the above jobs weren’t available 10 years ago. And in the next 10 years, I guarantee that more online jobs are going to become available. Giving you more opportunity to become location independent.
SPOILER: Some people will actually get paid to travel. For example, if they work as a travel blogger they can often get their flights, hotels and activities paid for by tourism boards and other companies. This is because as a travel blogger they will take pictures, make videos and write blog post all about their trip and promote these places to their following and readership.
Digital nomads have more than one income stream
Those that travel full time successfully, and that have done for a while, will all have one thing in common.
They will have multiple income streams.
This means that they won’t just live off the income that they get from Google Adsense, for example. They’ll also get income from other revenue streams such as YouTube, affiliate marketing, products that they’ve created etc.
They do this for several reasons.
Firstly, a lot of the income streams will work together. For example, if they have a blog they can create income from Google Adsense but also from recommending products through affiliate marketing. One single blog post has the potential to earn income from both revenue streams. Therefore, it helps to maximise their earning potential from a single post.
Secondly, and most importantly, it helps to spread the risk. For example, if they earn all their income through Google Adsense and organic traffic to their blog, one day Google could just pull the plug. Google could change their algorithms which may leave their traffic plummeting – this wouldn’t be the first time that this has happened to a popular website! Or they could change their Adsense rules and regulations which leave them out of pocket.
Either way, by focusing on just one revenue stream they’re putting all their eggs in one basket. But by having multiple revenue streams they’re maximising their earning potential and spreading the risk.
It’s a huge win-win.
It doesn’t happen overnight
Most digital nomads are self-employed or business owners. They work for themselves. And if you want to have this full-time travel lifestyle, then you’re more than likely going to have to do that too. (Unless you are lucky enough to bag an employed role that allows you to work remotely full time – of which there are very few. And for those that are available, they are highly competitive.)
Becoming self-employed or starting a business will require a huge mental shift – especially if you have always been an employee. And you’re not going to be able to replace your full-time wage overnight. It’s going to take time to build up.
You’re going to need to build your online profile, build your skills, build your client base and build your following. You’re going to have to knuckle down and get known in your chosen industry.
Often, people will work full time whilst building their online community in the background. Then once their income from their online work matches their employed income, they quit their job and book a plane ticket.
How those that travel full time differ from other travellers
Those that are travelling full time are in no rush. They have no agenda and no itinerary. They’re not trying to cram in as much into their vacation time as possible before they have to head back to work.
Therefore, it’s not unheard of for them to spend a month, maybe two or more, in one location. They’ll rent an Airbnb apartment and it will become their home for the next few months.
You might visit a city for a few days with a very tight time scheduled. But digital nomads are living like a local for the next few months.
They will work the same number of hours as you (if not more) and use their time off to either chill at home or explore their new location at their leisure.
The cost of travelling full time
The cost of travelling full-time can be a lot less that you think.
Firstly, let’s look at the cost of living. Obviously, this depends on where you are travelling to. Staying in Singapore for a few months is going to cost you a lot more compared to staying in Budapest.
This is probably why you’ll often hear of digital nomads spending a lot of time in places such as Bali and Thailand. This is because the cost of living is so much cheaper.
As a digital nomad, they can earn money online at the same rate no matter whether they’re renting an apartment in New York or Cuba. Therefore, by staying in a country where the cost of living is much less than what they’re used to they’re quids in! They’re able to earn at a higher rate than the economy that they’re residing in.
Secondly, please bear in mind that digital nomads are not staying in hotels for the whole time that they travel. They’re more than likely renting apartments or rooms through sites such as Airbnb and Hostelworld.
Thirdly, they’re not paying for accommodation back home. When you go on holiday you still have bills at home that need paying regardless of whether you are there or not. So, for them two weeks that you spent in Spain, you paid two weeks worth of your rent/mortgage at home, as well as two weeks for your hotel whilst in Spain.
And fourthly, they’re more likely to be able to book flights a lot cheaper than what you are. Mainly because they have the luxury of being more flexible…and those frequent flyer miles will soon add up!
The sacrifices that are made for this lifestyle
Yes, believe it or not, there are downsides to this lifestyle. The main one being that you are away from home for very lengthy periods of time – sometimes years.
You’ll miss everyone’s birthday!
…along with births, deaths, proposals, marriages, breakups, graduations, holidays etc.
I know people whose family members have died unexpectedly whilst they’ve been out living this amazing lifestyle. And part of them regrets travelling full time because they feel as though they have missed out on the last two or three years with their mum, dad, aunt, uncle or grandparents. And that’s time that they will never get back again.
Like most others, you’ll probably be travelling full time on your own. Which, as you would expect, can get rather lonely. Yes, you’ll meet loads of other amazing people – locals, neighbours and other travellers. But after a few months, you’ll be moving on to the next location.
If you have the opportunity to travel with your partner, although this sounds idyllic, it can put a real strain on your relationship. After all, you would be together all the time. You couldn’t just go out for a night with a girls/guys. You would have no other meaningful relationship outside of the one that you are in.
It’s also best if you don’t have any pets. For those of you that know me, you’ll know that I have a dog, named Winton. He is 100% my best friend and I spend most of the day, every day, with him. No human comes close to how much I love this dog (sounds kinda sad, but it’s true). He’s sleeping (and snoring) beside me right now as I write this post. I couldn’t travel full time because I couldn’t leave him full time. And he hates travelling, so I couldn’t take him with me. Going through airports, onto planes and in busy cities would terrify him. So instead, I explore the British countryside with him when I’m at home. And when I do travel, I leave him at home with my housemate and I come back within a couple of weeks.
What about children? If you already have a family or plan to have children, this obviously must be taken into consideration. Although there are people that do travel full-time with kids, I can’t imagine it being an easy task.
Basically, you need to come to terms with the fact that you’re more than likely going to be travelling on your own, thousands of miles away from all your friends and family. You can’t just pop home for Sunday lunch and they’ll be no one there to comfort you when you need it.
Is this for you?
Taken all the above points into consideration, if this sounds like a lifestyle that you would like to have, I have a few resources that help you on your way to becoming a digital nomad.
Remember that it won’t happen overnight, but it is more than possible.
To get you going, here are my three favourite books that I would highly recommend for anyone who wants to create a personal brand, earn their money online and life the freedom lifestyle.
This will become your new bible. It will show you how to build your digital nomad lifestyle.
If part of your plan is blogging, before you write even a single blog post you need to read this book. It will teach you how to produce content the right way in order to drive traffic.
If you are interested in building a personal brand for yourself, this book will tell you how to do it the right way.