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When it comes to working remote vs. backpacking, remote work is the obvious winner.
I originally wanted to save money, quit my job, and backpack through South America for six months. Now, I’m so glad Daniel convinced me otherwise.
Because we decided to work remote, we were able to spend ten months exploring Colombia and Peru instead of only six, and still have the money and steady income to travel through Mexico and Eastern Europe in 2018.
During my time in South America, I met plenty of other young people.
They were traveling long-term as well, but with one big difference. They usually saved money, quit their jobs, and traveled for three, six, or twelve months at a time. Once they’re finished, it’s back to the old 9 to 5 in their home countries.
They have one awesome adventure under their belts for sure, but for me, that’s not enough and it doesn’t have to be for you either!
If you’re on the fence about your next major life decision, here are my top eight reasons why when it comes to working remote vs. backpacking, remote work comes out ahead every time.
1. You Can Travel Longer with Remote Work
Like I stated above, we were originally planning to only travel for 6 months in South America, then settle down and get a job in the States.
What a mistake that would have been!
When it comes to working remote vs. backpacking, remote work comes out on top because your trip never has to end. Endless travel is not a dream, it’s my daily reality (and it’s so damn easy to make it yours as well.)
Because I have a steady income from freelance writing I can move anywhere in the world, whenever I want. I spent ten months in South America in 2017, and have plans to spend two months in Mexico and six in Europe in the new year.
I don’t think I ever could have saved up enough money to see so much, especially in an entry level job after graduation. Instead, remote work while traveling makes it possible.
2. You’ll Have Less Money Worries with Remote Work
If I blow my budget on a late night out or super cool weekend away, I don’t have to rearrange finances for the rest of my trip or sacrifice visiting one destination, city, or country for another. Instead, I just slow down my spending until next month’s payday.
I’m not moving fast, so if I don’t have the funds for a big tour or trip all I have to do is wait. No rush and no timeline means I can keep my travel plans flexible and do everything I want to in each destination.
3. Unexpected Issues Won’t End Your Trip With Remote Work
This one is semi-related to number two.
Because I have a regular income from working remote, unexpected issues aren’t quite so problematic.
A broken laptop or missed flight just means the next weekend might be a little more boring than most. Even if it’s more severe (like our landlord keeping our $700 deposit, ugh.) long term saving and budgeting can make up for it.
However, when my friends had their passports and computers stolen in Peru towards the end of their backpacking trip, the unexpected costs and passport issues caused them to have to skip visiting Ecuador completely and head straight to Colombia instead. Super disappointing!
4. You Will Save Money With Remote Work
Working remote is better than backpacking because it’s cheaper.
We travel long-term (like, years at a time) so we don’t have any phone bills, storage bills, mortgages, rent, car payments and insurance, or anything else that we have to pay at home while on our trip. On the other hand, most backpackers still have to budget to keep up with these costs at home along with their trip expenses.
A second major money saving advantage is that working remote allows us to travel slow. We always rent furnished apartments on Airbnb for one month at a time (at least) to get major discounts.
Also, if you’re jumping form hostel to hostel on a backpacking trip, you’re going to eat out every meal.
Working remote, traveling slow, and staying in furnished apartments gives us access to kitchens to buy groceries and cook in, which is a huge money saver every month.
5. You Won’t Have to Face the Post Travel Blues With Remote Work
I seriously can’t tell you how many backpackers I met who were in the last few weeks of their trip. They always talked about how sad they were to be heading home soon, and who wouldn’t be?
They’ve often saved, sacrificed, and planned for years to take the trip, and know when it’s over its back to their boring 9 to 5, with years before they’ll ever be able to take time off again.
Honestly, I can’t relate.
Because I work remote my traveling only ends when I decide it does, and I headed home for the holidays full of excitement because for me it’s only a pit stop between countries.
6. You Won’t Have a Resume Gap With Remote Work
America is a nation of workaholics.
If you’re reading this in the UK or Australia, it won’t apply to you as much, because gap years and long term traveling are much more common there. However, in America it’s totally outside of the norm.
From a career standpoint, working remote is better than backpacking because companies don’t look kindly on six month resume gaps, even if they changed, enriched, and taught you more than you ever would have in the workplace.
Explaining a six month or year long gap to a future employers isn’t a risk I have to take because I chose to work remote instead of take time off to backpack.
Additionally, when I do decide to move back to the US and search for a full time job, I know I can live off my freelance income until I do so… pretty stress free transition if you ask me!
7. You Can Keep a Routine With Remote Work
This one is one of the biggest health advantages to working remote instead of taking a backpacking trip.
When you go months without working, there is no routine. That means tons of drinking, late nights, eating out… basically every vice is so much easier to fall into without a routine!
That’s all fine for a one or two week vacay, but it’s not gonna end well if you keep it up for a six month trip.
Because I still have a job and am not on vacation, I set an alarm each morning, cook my own meals every day, and have a much easier time limiting my drinking and nights out to the weekends.
Working remote and traveling slow also means we have a comfy Airbnb to chill in, watch TV, and read or relax in at night. If you’re backpacking and stuck in a hostel, you’ll be much more tempted to get out, hit the bars, and spend money every night of the trip.
8. You Can See More With Remote Work
The last (and best) aspect of working remote instead of backpacking is that I get to see so much more than an average backpacker does.
I don’t have to limit all my traveling to just a few months.
For example, I spent four months just in Peru instead of trying to visit the entire continent of South America in the same time frame. Because of that I got to see and do a lot of stuff that’s off the beaten track.
Some articles I write are among the first of their subject on the web because spending a day at Llaullifest or hiking at Kinsa Cocha are so off the beaten track for most backpackers. I like traveling slower, and seeing more of each country that I visit.
Backpacking vs. Remote Work Winner
Do I have you convinced?
When it comes to working remote vs. backpacking my opinion is definitely made up.
One short-term backpacking trip may be exactly what you want, but if you’re here I think you’re looking for something more.
Consider these eight reasons why remote work comes out ahead every time in the working remote vs. backpacking showdown, and then check out the Working Abroad series page to find step by step guides to your dream of full time travel into reality by starting a digital marketing business, learning out to find and land online ESL teaching jobs, getting a job as a flight attendant and so much more!
I’ve been traveling full-time for three years, these are the resources that make it happen:
➤ I exclusively use Airbnb for savings and security on long-term stays in furnished apartments.
➤ I use Booking.com for short-term stays in hostels and hotels on weekend trips.
➤ Upwork allowed me to take the leap to travel full-time because they make it so easy to find freelance clients in any field.
➤ The Superstar Blogging Travel Writing Course launched my travel writing career and helped me become a contributor at sites like Cincinnati Refined and International Living, and even get published in the Boston Globe.