How to Become a Full-time Traveller and Workawayer

Swapping your boss for your backpack and living life on the road full time seems daunting, expensive, and simply too good to be true. But what if I told you that travelling full-time can actually be fun, affordable and accessible? Achieving a full-time travel lifestyle isn't as distant a dream as it seems! You can combine both work and travel without giving up the other. But how do you actually make that work? This guide will help you embark on your journey towards a full-time travel lifestyle, providing steps on how to become a full-time traveller on a budget and debunking myths that stop you from travelling long-term.

How to Prepare for Full-Time Life on the Road

So you have made your mind up, and you want to pursue your dream life on the road! Before committing to a full-time life of wandering the world, it's important to pump the brakes and consider a few key factors first, including…

solo female traveller hiking in the glaciers of iceland

Finances, Budgeting and VISA

Assess your finances and create a budget for when you’re on the road. Travelling doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think! 

Start at home:

Saving money involves a mix of discipline, creating smart habits, and a conscious effort to manage your finances. Small actions like, preparing meals at home and cutting down on unnecessary expenses, all contribute to reaching your savings target for your travels!
couple travelling with a van

Budgeting for your escapades:

Before jetting off, determine a clear budget and how much you are willing to spend during your trip. Budgeting for your travels involves some planning and prioritising of expenses; understand the costs associated with your chosen travel destination. 

Research and consider accommodations, transportation, food, activities, souvenirs and any other expenses specific to your chosen destination in your budget. You can create a spreadsheet or use a budgeting app, such as, Expensify, to help you with this! 

travellers cultural exchange food and drinks

Getting the right stamps for your passport:

If you are planning to embark on international travel, ensure that you obtain the correct visa for the specific country you plan to visit. To avoid any issues, research and understand the visa regulations of the destination country well in advance of your trip. This may involve checking the official embassy, consulate websites or consulting with travel agencies.

By taking the necessary steps to obtain the correct visa, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience, while also complying with the immigration laws of the country you plan to visit!

solo female traveller sightseeing landmarks

Money conscious travels:

Opt for cheap travel commutes, such as trains, boats and buses, rather than flying where you can. Not only are they more sustainable options to commute, but also budget-friendly for long term travellers! If you do fly, make sure to book your flights in advance to ensure you don’t pay extortionate prices. Through some planning and reasonable budgeting, it is possible to travel cheaply

Budgeting is good for long-term travellers, but also be ready to adjust your budget if necessary! Sometimes, you might overspend in one category but underspend in another. Be flexible and make necessary adjustments to maintain balance. Budgeting doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself entirely, it’s about making mindful and conscious decisions to achieve your long-term travel goals!

couple of travellers bikpacking through the coast of portugal

Healthcare and insurance

It’s important to consider and invest in travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and unforeseen circumstances. Stuck on where to even begin looking for insurance? Don’t worry, we got you covered.  Make sure to also research healthcare options in the places you visit to address any medical potential needs. Set aside a portion of your budget as an emergency fund in case of unexpected expenses or changes in plans. It’s always better to be safe than sorry -  keeping informed beforehand can prevent any panic, especially if you don’t speak the local language.

woman drinking tea cultural exchange

Packing smart

Here at Workaway, we embrace minimalism in packing. We created a list for those of you who struggle with packing along with some other packing tips. My personal rule of thumb when setting off for life on the road is to pack for a week; you reuse and wash your clothes anyway…(plus no one cares if you’re an outfit repeater, it’s sustainable and cool!) 

When packing, carry only essential and versatile items to make travelling more manageable and efficient. Travelling full-time with a light backpack will make a world of a difference if you are lugging around your suitcase from place to place! Nothing fun about worrying over expensive items or carrying heavy luggage over your shoulders all the time with items you don’t need.

couple camping and reading travel books backpacking

Tips for Aspiring Full-Time Travellers 

Slow travel is the way to go if you ask me! It’s not about counting countries, but about connection, curiosity and culture. Staying in one place can also reduce costs significantly if you are travelling long-term on a budget. There are a few ways this can be achieved:

workaway travel buddies hand stand in norway

Cost-effective alternative accomodation options

If you want to travel on savings or passive income, then there are so many choices you can choose from…


Hostels are budget-friendly accommodations that cater to a diverse range of travellers, from backpackers and solo adventurers, to budget-conscious families. They provide shared dormitory-style rooms and are specifically great for solo travellers looking to meet other fellow explorers!

surf hostel surfboards


For the adventurous long-term traveller on a tight budget, couchsurfing or BeWelcome connects you with locals who offer a free place to stay. It's a unique way to immerse yourself in the local culture and make new (local) friends who can show you all the ins and outs of where you’re staying, escaping the tourist traps!

travellers jam sessions around bonfire camping

House swaps

​​House swapping is a unique and cost-effective way to travel, fostering cultural exchange and providing a more immersive experience in different destinations. It's essential for house swappers to communicate openly, establish trust, and plan thoroughly to ensure a successful and enjoyable house swap experience for both parties. 

drone pic of group waving from house

Camping/van life

If you enjoy the outdoors, camping out or van living is a cheap and excellent way to stay. Many places offer campsites with basic amenities. Alternatively, while there are initial costs associated with converting a van, van life can be a cost-effective way to live. It eliminates traditional housing expenses, and many van lifers embrace a frugal lifestyle in nature. 

travellers camping outside campervan

Overnight transport

Overnight transport, such as FlixBus or Trainline in Europe, are great ways to save money while on the go as the cost of overnight transport covers two birds in one stone; commute and accommodation in one! This can be particularly convenient for long-distance journeys, saving both time and the cost of accommodation for a night. Though, be prepared for the challenges of sleeping in a moving vehicle! It won't be the best night sleep of your life, but to make things slightly cosier, items like a neck pillow, blanket, and earplugs can help to enhance comfort. 

yellow chicken bus in mexico

Short-term rentals

Renting a room, apartment, or entire home can be great accommodation options, especially for groups or families! It also allows you to experience local neighbourhoods more authentically. You can find short-term places to sublet on various Facebook groups!

group of workawayers posing outside of farm house

House sitting

House sitters are typically responsible for various tasks, such as taking care of pets, maintaining the garden, and ensuring the security of the property in exchange for a free stay. The specific responsibilities depend on the agreement between the homeowner and the house sitter. Workaway also offers house-sitting or off-grid living arrangements that have many great advantages and can also help to minimise costs.

workaway hosts posing with huskies outside of cabin in norway

Work Abroad

Engaging in a skill-based profession, such as, teaching English abroad, becoming a diving instructor, or working a seasonal job, like a ski instructor or resort staff, opens the door to a world of possibilities that extend beyond traditional employment! Some of these jobs may also include free accommodation and food. Freelancing in these skill-based jobs allows long-term travellers to take control of their careers and also enriches your life as you embrace unique experiences and connections while sharing knowledge and expertise.

solo female workawayer teaching english to students

Digital Nomad

For digital nomads seeking sustainable long-term travel, there are many different avenues to fund your adventures while embracing a flexible lifestyle. Roles in digital marketing, translation, software development for instance allow you the flexibility to work remote, and the list goes on! These options provide financial support while enabling individuals to explore and experience different parts of the world.

On the other hand, many jobs now offer remote options or you can start your own location-independent business! There are countless great opportunities for digital nomads through Workaway, you can find these by just filtering our host list to digital-nomad friendly hosts with good WiFi connection. We also have useful guides so you can turn your remote work dream into reality.

Workaway allows you to choose when and where you want to work and have the flexibility to align your volunteering commitments with your work schedule, making it suitable for full-time travellers who can dedicate specific hours or days to volunteering. 

digital nomads working abroad

Volunteering through Workaway

By volunteering in exchange for accommodation and meals, Workaway significantly reduces travel expenses! Free accommodation and food for just a few hours of volunteering a week? Music to budget-travellers ears. The platform offers a wide range of opportunities listed around the world, from organic farming and teaching to hostel assistance and art projects. You can choose projects that align with your interests or skills, making it a fun experience.

Workaway encourages a balanced lifestyle. While you'll be contributing your skills, you'll also have free time to explore the area, pursue personal interests, or even work remotely if your job allows. Engaging in cultural exchange volunteer projects allows you to immerse yourself deeply in the local culture. Living and working alongside locals provides a more authentic experience compared to traditional tourism.

Volunteering experiences, especially in diverse environments, can make your CV stand out from the crowd! Employers often value candidates who demonstrate adaptability, cultural sensitivity, and a willingness to engage in different experiences. Workaway provides an opportunity to break away from routine, explore new places, contribute meaningfully to communities, and create a more balanced approach to travel and work. 

workawayers volunteering in farm driving tractor

Perks and Peaks of Travelling Full Time

Embarking on a journey of full-time travel unveils so many enriching experiences. From personal growth, to cultural immersion, the unbreakable friendships you form, the unforgettable memories made…and of course, we can't forget the new cuisines around the globe to delve in, especially for the travel foodies out there! 

There are countless positives to being a full-time traveller, however it's important to note that long travel is not all sunshine and rainbows. Life on the road also comes with its challenges such as homesickness, logistics, financial considerations, and the need to adapt to uncertain situations. For these reasons, travelling full-time can be overwhelming sometimes. Constantly being on the go, exploring and meeting new people every day can eventually take its toll on you..which is why maintaining your mental health abroad should be a high priority. To do this, make sure you make time for yourself. Journal, take long walks, call family, exercise! Whatever makes you happy and keeps you grounded when you're abroad.

The only thing stopping you from achieving your travel dreams full-time is you! Why not take the leap of faith? There is nothing quite like overcoming your fears and living your dream life. Though I must pre-warn you, once you catch the travel/Workaway bug, it’s difficult to get rid of it and go back to life as you once knew it!

travel buddies

About Stephanie

Stephanie was born on an island and raised in a British/Portuguese multicultural background. From a young age, she learned how to embrace different languages, traditions and cultures. This upbringing ... show more...

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