It’s the dream, right?
Dropping everything, and travelling the world full time.
Jumping on a plane every other week, bouncing between the worlds most beautiful destinations… It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘wanderlust’.
You read everywhere, and I’m guilty of this myself:
“Just drop all your responsibilities, quit your job, travel full time on a budget and have a great time every single day, It’s going to be fantastic and you’ll love every single minute of it.
Well, I call Bullsh*t.
While a life of long term travel can be amazing, the reality of what’s involved is drastically different and a lot harder than you think
In this post, we’re going to explore some long term travel tips that will help keep you sane if you’re on the road for a long time.
Table of Contents
What Counts As Long Term Travel?
While there is no set amount of time for what you could consider ‘long term travel’, a trip of 6 months to a year +, would be long term.
A ‘long’ trip will depend on you, as some people go away for a ‘ 6-month trip’, whereas others might be away for years at a time.
How Do You Prepare For Long Term Travel?
There is a lot of things you need to travel long term.
Firstly, you don’t want any responsibility at home. This could be in terms of work, or financial liabilities you’ll have to pay for when you’re away.
You want to set yourself up so that nothing, apart from travel-related costs are leaving your bank account.
Before embarking on any trip, it’s crucial to plan what you want to do.
I don’t mean you need to have an exact day to day itinerary, but just a good idea of; places you want to visit, must-see and do’s, costs and any general information that’ll make your trip easier.
Planning well means you won’t be heading somewhere with no direction and purpose (more on this later) as well as allowing you to budget properly and the knowledge of how to afford the trip.
Packing Tips For Long Term Travel?
As a long term traveller, you never want to take tonnes of stuff and any unnecessary things you take will inevitably become a burden at some stage.
When you’re on the road, everything should serve a purpose. If it doesn’t, you don’t need to pack it.
In addition to this, be sure not to take anything too meaningful with you. Any sentimental items of significant importance will become a liability and you want as little of those as possible.
Leave these types of items at home as the potential for damage and losing your things is very high when travelling.
It goes without saying that you need long term travel insurance before going on any trip.
However, you need to find an insurer that caters for long term travel as many companies don’t insure ‘full-time’ travellers.
How Do You Prepare For Long Term Travel?
Whether you’re already on the road or you’re about to leave on a big trip, these will tips will help you survive…
1. Have a Purpose (Work Towards Something)
It sounds amazing, right?
Wake up every day with nothing to do but soak up the sun and relax in a hammock until it’s time to get a beer and watch the sunset.
To be fair, when you say it like that, it really doesn’t sound too bad.
However, it’s actually not a very fulfilling way to live. You really do need something to wake up for in the morning.
This could be; a sport, hobby, learning a new skill or working online, all of which work wonders for your well-being over the long term.
2. Learn New Skills (That Can Earn Money On The Road)
In 2021, it is becoming increasingly popular to work remotely and live anywhere you want.
And this isn’t going to change. In fact, this is only going to become more and more common as we move through 2022.
By learning an online-based skill, you give yourself the potential to earn money wherever you go in the world.
Jobs such as; Web design, online tutoring, copywriting, coding or SEO are a great place to start.
All of which are high demand skills right now and can provide you with a great income. Whatsmore is you don’t even need to go to University to make a great living from these skills.
You may already have an online skill set, but if you don’t you can learn anything with the power of Google and Youtube.
3. Do a Sport or Hobby
On the road, it’s easy to get into the trap of lazing around, partying and forgetting that this might not be the healthiest way to live.
After all, you’re on holiday right?
Wrong. Although it is easy to tell yourself that and justify being lazy, long term travel is definitely not a complete holiday.
Doing a hobby or your sport daily or even a few times per week is going to keep both your mental and physical health in check and get you out of that travel bubble.
4. Keep Ontop of Your Money
Yep, unfortunately, travelling costs money.
I know, it sucks right?
Staying on top of your finances is the best and in fact, the only way you can sustainably travel long term.
Obviously earning a living online is a massive help for this, but be sure to budget properly and live slightly below your means.
There will be things when your travelling that you need to spend money on, for example, the essentials such as; flights, accommodation, food and visas as well as ‘one-off, must see’ things to do now and again. (just keep these to a minimum).
Read the full post on how to afford travel for more information on this.
5. Prepare For Just How Much ‘Travel’
One thing I was ever prepared for when I first started travelling is how much travelling you actually do within a trip.
For example; You fly somewhere halfway across the world, then when you get there you have to get a long bus ride, a taxi, then have to walk somewhere.
Finally, though, you get there and think, wow I’m here, time to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Only to then find out that everything you want to see and do is spread out across many hundreds of kilometres and visiting all of them requires hours and hours of driving in all directions.
While this isn’t true for everywhere, most of the ‘highlights’ will likely be the places you want to see anyway and are often not that close to just one place.
These journeys I always find are more draining than a long flight…
6. Travel Slowly
Something I have tried to adopt more and more in recent years, mostly forced upon me due to COVID, is travelling slowly.
Rather than hopping from country to country every single week and staying in places for just a few days, I think spending weeks or even a few months in the places you visit is a great way to get a proper feel for the place and even connect with the people there a little more.
7. Stay In Touch With Friends/Family
It’s easy on the road, to sort of forget about life back home.
And that’s ok because you don’t need to know everything that’s going on back home. After all, you came away to get away from that?
However, the friends and family you have at home, are going to be the people you eventually return to. So always remember this. As many people you meet on the road will only be in your life for a short time.
And although I’ve met great people on the road, a lot of the time, most people don’t truly care about you.
I personally try to call my family at least once per week and am constantly in touch with my closest friends on social media.
8. You Don’t Need To See Everything
I think having a ‘list’ of places to visit is great because it means you are seeing the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.
However, the flip side of this is you try an adjust tick things off, rather than actually staying in a place and immersing yourself in it, going to tourist spot after tourist spot can just start feeling a little empty and just become another metric of how ‘good’ at travelling you are.
“Yep, been there and seen that’ – Gets a little old after a while.
Just pick a few things you want to see and don’t stress too much about seeing everything on your list!
Just try and enjoy the normal goings-on around you.
9. Be Prepared for Short Relationships
Most of the time, people you meet on the road will only be around for a short period.
You’ll likely be moving on soon or only be in one place for a few weeks, so obviously relationships you develop come and go with this constant movement.
This is a weird thing to get used to as you can have a really intense relationship with someone for a few weeks then all of a sudden it stops and you both go separate ways. It’s important to be aware of this.
That said, I have met people on the road that I still keep in touch with today!
10. Look After Yourself
Although it sounds obvious, looking after yourself is super important.
Being on the road can be tiring, whether you’re working hard online or moving around all the time, be sure to take some time out now and again.
This can be through your hobby, sport or simply taking time to read, stretch and actually relax.
What To Do After Travelling Long Term?
This is a really good question and to be completely honest, I don’t really know the answer to this as I am still travelling.
However, I am starting to realise that even with the ability to work online, travelling full time is actually a lot harder than it seems from the outside and that doing it for a lifetime, might prove to be too much.
You do lose the sense of community that you get at home and don’t get as many close connections with people.
Long Term Travel Tips - Summary
So there are a few tips that will help you survive being on the road for long extended periods of time.
One thing I will leave you with is that travelling long term is not fr everyone and does require a very strong mindset.
There will be plenty of ups and downs with some of the most amazing experiences ever alongside some of the worst. Just don’t expect every single day to be epic, as most of the time it isn’t.
So just be prepared for it all.