Want to Travel Full Time and Run a Business? This Woman Shares Her Secrets
In 2015, my husband and I sold our house and bought a recreational vehicle. We never expected to become full-time RVers, but now we absolutely love this lifestyle.
We’re able to travel full time because of our business.
In August 2011, I started my first personal finance website, Making Sense of Cents. I was dealing with student loan debt, living paycheck to paycheck and more. I wanted to improve my own financial situation, but I also thought I could help others along the way.
I had no idea I would love writing so much, because I definitely didn’t enjoy it when I was younger. (My English teachers are probably laughing right now!)
Eventually, I was earning enough from my blog to turn it into full-time income. In 2013, I left my day job as a financial analyst to become a full-time blogger working from home.
Now, I travel full time, as well.
Yes, I live and work in that RV we bought, exploring the country with my husband and our two dogs.
While living in our RV, here are some of the places we’ve traveled:
- Pacific Northwest: Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, Hoh National Rainforest, La Push Beach and many other amazing places.
- California: We hopped along beaches from the north all the way to Los Angeles.
- Utah: Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Moab and many other places.
- Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park and more.
- Arizona: Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Sedona and more.
- Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
And that isn’t even the full list!
We sold our house to live this adventurous lifestyle, and it's something that I really, really love.
Being a full-time blogger is absolutely amazing, and being able to travel full time just makes everything much more fun.
Here are the most common questions I receive about running a business while traveling.
What is Your Average Day Like?
Traveling full time means we don’t have an average day, and that’s what we love about it. We have a flexible schedule, which means we can see new things and explore new places, or stay in and work (especially if it's raining).
Sometimes we stay in one area for over a month; other times it's just a few days. I'm writing this from Arizona, a very popular state for RVers during the winter months. The weather is great here, so there are lots of things to do outdoors this time of year.
My husband does all the driving and managing of the RV, including dumping the tanks! Meanwhile, I primarily run the business. It's a good trade-off, because both sides require a decent amount of work!
How Do You Separate Work and Fun?
The great thing about having a blogging business is that I am my own boss and create my own schedule.
I like to spend as many daylight hours as I can enjoying new places and being outdoors. Then, I dedicate the evening and night hours to working.
By having this balance and great schedule, I can enjoy traveling while still having plenty of time to work each day.
How Do You Receive Mail If You Travel Full Time?
We subscribe to a mail-forwarding company called My Dakota Address. All of our mail gets sent there, then the company forwards our mail to wherever we are.
How Do You Have Internet While Traveling?
I have a Verizon MiFi for internet. It's the most common internet device for full-time travelers in the United States.
With this device, I can access the internet from almost anywhere in the United States. The internet in RV parks and campgrounds is usually quite bad, so if you plan on working online while traveling full time, I highly recommend having a device like this one.
The packages aren't cheap, so you have to budget for them. The basic plan is around $15 for 1GB a month, and each extra gigabyte costs $10.
If you know you’re going to use more data, you can save by getting 5GB for $50 per month or 10GB for $80 per month. There are grandfathered unlimited plans as well, but they have a high upfront cost, and there are rumors that Verizon plans to cut them soon.
Do You Travel Slowly or Quickly?
A lot of people wonder if RVers pick a new place to live every single day. We don’t, unless we are trying to quickly get to a specific destination.
There are pros and cons to traveling slowly or quickly.
We prefer traveling slowly because it is usually more affordable, there is less fuel waste, and most importantly, we have more time to enjoy the area.
Traveling quickly means you may be able to visit more places. If you have a time crunch, you may decide to do this. However, since we plan on traveling full time for a quite a while, we are in no rush. We can travel slowly and enjoy each place a little more.
How Do You Balance Running a Business With Traveling and Exploring?
Running a business and being able to travel probably sounds great to the average person, and trust me, it is.
But you want to manage a good work-life balance. It can be easy to let your work take over — but if you do, you may not enjoy your destination, or you’ll feel stressed because you have too much going on.
Planning and working ahead keep me sane and help me maintain a work-life balance. 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, I can still have fun and not feel stressed out.
I try to always be a few months ahead when it comes to content for my blog so I am not frantically trying to get writing work done. I publish new content on my blog two to three times a week.
Writing ahead of time eliminates strict deadlines — and helps me enjoy where I am even more.
Your Turn: Are you interested in running a business and traveling? Why or why not?
Correction: A previous version of this post included incorrect images.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the founder and writer of Making Sense of Cents, where she helps readers learn to make extra money, save money and reach their dream lives. She currently earns $100,000 a month through blogging.