Do you have a friend that travels full-time or frequently with their job? Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Wow, that must be the life?” If you answered yes, you need to read this. Full-time travel doesn’t mean everything is always hunky-dory. In my experience, it was anything but perfect. And while I wouldn’t have given up that experience for anything, there are a few things you should know about full-or-nearly-full-time travel.
For those of us that love to travel, full-time travel sounds like the stuff dreams are made of. How could life on earth be any more perfect? Right? Wrong. Full-time travel can be romanticized and idolized, an elusive dream some may chase after. My family spent years traveling from our home in Ohio up and down the east coast before finally saying goo-bye to our house and becoming a full-time RV family. While we definitely experienced some amazing locations and attractions, I’d like to share a few things that I discovered as a full-time traveler that are less than ideal.
- Full-time Travel is exhausting.
There. I said it. Full-time travel, when you don’t have one home base, is exhausting. It can be tiring to move from one hotel room to the next, especially when you’re essentially living out of the hotel room and have more than a suitcase to haul around.
- Full-time Travel takes Planning. A lot of Planning.
Once upon a time, I was a Type-A planner. I had plans upon plans. Plan A was for nice weather, Plan B for inclement weather, Plan C if we got a late start to the day…you should be able to see a pattern here. Once we began to travel full-time, we didn’t always have a lot of notice as to where we would be the next week. All my Type-A planning went out the window and you know what? My family survived and I learned that it’s okay to travel by the seat of your pants sometimes. In fact, not planning everything to the last minute allowed for some amazing spontaneous adventures and less disappointment on my part when things didn’t go as planned.
- You may need to compromise more than you want to.
My family has traveled full-time in standard hotels, an RV and a temporary apartment. The apartment was nice, for the most part, each family member had their own space. But traveling in the RV and hotel room could be tricky. I’m a night owl. My husband is not. Bedtime to him falls somewhere around the 8-9 p.m. range. Try convincing teenagers that they need to go to bed by 8:30p.m. so their dad can get a good night’s rest. Or just take my word for it when I say, it’s not easy. Thank goodness for ear plugs, noise cancelling headphones and book lights. They were lifesavers.
- You won’t have friends or family around to rely on.
This was probably one of the hardest aspects of life on the road, hundreds of miles from friends and family when you’re traveling. Though on the plus side, it forced us to step out of our comfort zone. We now have friends across the U.S. (and now that we’re home, we miss them!)
- You’ll meet new friends (a good thing) and say good-bye more than you like.
Okay, so this point goes hand in hand with Point #4. You will meet new people and you will make new friends. The hard part is that some of those friends will become like family and it will be really hard to say good-bye when the time comes.
- You’ll give up some privacy- okay, a lot of the privacy you had at home.
In the mood for a little smooching in a hotel or RV with your spouse when you have teens? Forget it! Nothing is going to happen so you may as well throw intimacy out the window. Unless you want to rent another hotel room.
- Lack of space.
This goes along with #6. When you’re living out of a hotel room or in an RV you’re going to give up the space that you’re used to at home. And sometimes that can be really frustrating. Especially when you need some time to yourself.
- You don’t always control where you go.
When you’re traveling with your job, you have very little say over where you go next. Traveling with my husband’s job, we traveled where my husband was needed, not necessarily where we wanted to go. We always made the best of it and some of the destinations we visited were our most memorable.
- You’ll celebrate special occasions on the road.
I lost count of how many birthdays my youngest son had on the road, and many years, all he wanted for his birthday was to spend it at home with his friends.
- Sometimes you just really long for home.
We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no place like home,” and while my family traveled to some amazing places and made memories that will last us a lifetime, a home base definitely changes the way we travel.
Full-time travel really did give my family some amazing opportunities, and I’m thankful for those experiences. I’m also thankful that full-time travel is a thing of the past for my family. Now we travel when we want to and where we want to go.
Have you traveled full-time? What has been your experience?
© 2016, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.