Is the ocean calling your name? The life of a full-time surfer traveling all over the world seems like an unending adventure, and you may be considering heading out to give this dream of a life a chance. Surfing and traveling full time is a dream that many surfers can accomplish with a little planning and creativity. But it won’t all be smooth sailing.

If you want to travel and surf, you’ll need to figure out a way to make it all work within your budget. From getting your board onto an airplane to finding a job that lets you freely enjoy this lifestyle, these tips can help you enjoy a life of travel and great waves.

How the American Dream Is Changing

The American dream used to consist of a house, financial security, and peace of mind, but those priorities are shifting for younger generations. Millennials still want to feel financially secure, but they’re now ranking being happy and able to focus on their individual desires as top priorities in their lives.

Given the unique atmosphere that millennials are growing up in, it’s no wonder that their priorities differ from the generations that came before them. Many millennials became adults during the 2008 recession, and with the staggering cost of a college education, even more of them entered the workforce already in significant debt. In fact, Americans carry almost $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, so many millennials may feel that taking on things like a mortgage just isn’t practical.

So they’re focusing on other priorities, like making their personal dreams come true. Job flexibility and the ability to work remotely are tempting, and these can be particularly helpful if you’re dreaming of a life that allows you to travel and surf full time. The digital nomadic lifestyle calls to many millennials, and whether you choose to look for a job that’s location-flexible or decide to work a slew of odd jobs as you travel, there are many ways that you can realize your surfing dreams.

Traveling Locally

The United States offers plenty of surf opportunities on both coasts. By traveling throughout the country, you can catch some great waves all year long. Traveling nationally may be the perfect way to start out and test the waters of your dream, since you won’t have to worry about challenges like passports, learning foreign languages, and getting your board onto a plane. With a little luck, you may have friends (or friends of friends) throughout the country who can help you along the way.

If you plan to travel the country, you’ll need some form of reliable transportation. Heading out in an RV with friends may be ideal, since you can split the costs of travel, share the driving, and camp right in the RV, saving on hotels and housing. There are many different apps that can make traveling with an RV easier, and they’ll help you find places to park overnight, identify everything from ATMs to restaurants, and even make a digital scrapbook of your amazing adventure.

To test the waters, start by planning a summer surf road trip with friends. This will give you a taste of the full-time travel and surf lifestyle in some of the best weather. You’ll also be able to overcome challenges with your friends by your side, giving you a sense of what you might experience when out on your own. This is the perfect time to set a budget and stick to it, which will help you to determine the type and amount of employment that you’ll need. Think of your summer trip as a great adventure and as a learning experience that can help you prepare for your future travel. 

Traveling Internationally

If you have dreams of traveling the world to experience some of the best surf spots anywhere, it’s time to get your passport and start planning your trip. There are plenty of places you can travel, like Japan, where you can enjoy some great surfing while also immersing yourself in a new culture and new adventures.

When it comes to international travel, you’ll need to decide what you want to do with your board. Flying with a surfboard is tricky and expensive. In addition to paying airline fees for your board, you’ll also need to invest in a high-quality board bag and tons of bubble wrap. Even then, you’ll run the risk of your board being damaged.

If you’ll be flying to one destination and then traveling by car for many months, it may make financial sense to bring your board along on the plane with you. If you’ll only be staying in areas for short periods of time and then flying to new locations, you may save money by renting a board. No, you won’t have the luxury of riding your personal board, but you’ll be able to rent something decent in most popular surfing locations.

While there are no broadly published rules or laws about surfing in different countries, always be sure to check the local surfing regulations in your location before heading into the water. You should also keep safety in mind when deciding which countries and areas you’ll head into. Female surfers may have already been told to never surf alone, but that advice applies to anyone, especially when you’re in an area that you’re unfamiliar with. Wherever you travel, make a point of finding out about tides, dangers that lie under the water, and how to contact local emergency services before you go surfing.

Traveling and surfing full time can be a life-changing experience. If you take the time to carefully plan out your adventure, this might be a great opportunity to test your skills in different waters while meeting new people too.

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