So, you’ve decided to travel long-term. Congratulations on taking the first step to the best experience of your life! The truth is, long-term travel can be full of scary unknowns and what-if’s, but that is also part of what makes traveling a unique and rewarding experience.
That being said, the experience you have will be shaped by how much preparation you do now. Here’s a look at many of the things you should be thinking about to make your travels worry-free and absolutely epic!
There are many different types of travelers, and no one type is better than another. We all travel for different reasons, which is perfectly okay. Before you think about a possible destination, ask yourself:
- Why do I want to travel?
- What is my budget? Can I splurge or should I travel on a shoestring?
- How well can I cope with culture shock?
Consider the way you answer these questions when you are researching potential destinations. While jet-setting off to Delhi may sound great, if you’re after rest and relaxation – it might not be the best choice. Be honest with yourself!
Great, you’ve chosen your next destination, but it’s not quite time to buy that ticket yet. This stage of your preparation is absolutely key. Depending on the destination you’ve chosen, consider:
- Will I need visas to enter?
- What is the approximate cost of living? How well does the local currency stack up against my own?
- What do I want to do?
- Where do I want to stay?
It cannot be emphasized enough that having all the documents you need on your trip before you leave will save you a lot of trouble. Having copies of these documents with you is always wise:
- passport or official ID
- boarding passes
- lists of emergency contact numbers at home at in your destination
- addresses to your accommodation written in English and the local language
It’s also worth noting that it may be easier to familiarize yourself with the local transportation system ahead of time. This may save you the trouble of hopping on the wrong train or bus while you’re out and about – especially if your time is limited. In that case, you’ll want to make the most of every minute.
Start Saving Early
Now that your plan is coming together, let’s talk about money. It’s true that there are numerous ways to travel on a budget, but the bottom line is traveling still works best when you have a bit of a nest egg to play with. Discipline here is key! Think about how you can downsize, minimize, and reduce your monthly spending.
- Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions or services
- Resist impulse shopping (we’ve all been there!)
- Do you frequently eat out? Grab a morning coffee? Eat at home more often.
- And, in general… just stop buying!
Count the number of days you have until your anticipated departure and see where you can save money and how realistic it will be. It may be wiser to change your departure date to allow additional time to save. Remember: you are saving for your dream. The experiences you will have on your trip will far outweigh what money can buy now.
Ditch the Stress
Like planning ahead, there are many things you can do to make your time traveling easier. Pack light. Pack light. I’ll say it again- pack light! Nothing is worse than lugging around things you’re not using. Your arms, legs, and back will thank you!
Indulge and enjoy with moderation! Be sure to maintain a healthy level of self-care in your sleeping, eating, and drinking habits, so that you are feeling your best as much as possible.
If you’re not allergic to the fragrance of scented candles, use them to relax before you set on your trip. Also, the mini travel candles might come in handy if you want to unwind after a long day of sightseeing, but make sure you extinguish them before the smell of home overtakes you completely. They’re also a nice solution if you need to mask an unpleasant smell in your accommodation (but hopefully not).
Your phone is an incredible companion to your travels. Research local sim cards and data rates to stay connected when Wi-Fi is limited. There are many traveler-friendly apps available that are worth using:
- TripIt – digitally store your itinerary details
- Airbnb – cheap and local accommodation
- Happy Cow – vegan and vegetarian restaurants, recipes etc.
- Tunnel Bear – simple VPN service
If you’re still itching to travel as long as you can, stop waiting! Get planning so you can get packing!
Sandra is a freelance writer based in Ohio. When she is not writing about home, family or self-improvement, she enjoys reading, swimming and spending time with her Lab dog Buzz. You can follow her on Twitter @SandraMoncadaOh