I’ve travelled in a variety of different ways over the years but most recently I’ve been getting to grips with long term travel. I definitely wasn’t as organised as I could’ve been when I went to work in Canada last year and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I felt lonely, I let my health fall to the wayside and I ran out of money fast. Hopefully my tips will help you to avoid making the mistakes I did if you’re also planning a long term travel trip.
My best tips for long term travel
1. Make a plan
I used to always find it exciting to throw all caution to the wind and have no plans at all. But after a while I started to feel a bit lost and unfulfilled. I didn’t know what I was doing next and as a result I wasted a lot of my travel days just floating around. So my advice to anyone planning a long term trip would be to have a plan. A plan of where you want to go, when, how long for and what you want to do whilst there. You don’t have to stick to it rigidly but it’s good to at least have an idea.
For the first few weeks of your travels you’ll probably want to act like a baller, party every night and eat at all the fancy restaurants. But unless you’re planning to work, eventually there will come a time when you’ll have to pack up and go home. Or spend the rest of your days on the road scraping pennies together and eating ramen noodles. It’s sensible to have a weekly/monthly budget for all of your outgoings (allowing extra for excursions and the occasional blow out) and stick to it.
3. Keep a journal
Or a blog. It’s SO cool to look back and see how you were feeling at any given time and also to have a collection of all those life-changing moments in one place. It will also help you reflect and learn from any mistakes you make along the way. If you’re not working or volunteering whilst away, keeping a journal/blog will give you something productive to do and keep you busy in your down time. I definitely wish I started mine sooner.
4. Stay healthy
Keep going to the gym or going for walks outside, keep eating well and keep drinking lots of water. Get plenty of rest and create a routine that you can stick to. Letting loose is fine for a few weeks but if you’re away from home for a long time, not having a routine will soon make you feel a bit gross and unsettled.
5. Get GOOD travel insurance
Most people I know get the bare minimum coverage on their travel insurance, if any at all, because 95% of the time it’s not needed. I did the very same until my baggage was delayed and my ridiculously cheap insurance didn’t cover it. The result? Being stuck in -10 degree weather with only 1 (very unsuitable) outfit for 5 days. You always think it won’t happen to you but when it does, it sucks. Better safe than sorry!
6. Get to know the locals
I’ve gotten into a habit of connecting with the local people as soon as I get to a new place. They know the best spots to visit and can tell you which areas to avoid. Sometimes they’ll even welcome you into their friend groups which is great if you’ll be staying for a while. Making good friends straight away is essential for me now. The longer I leave it, the more isolated I feel and the harder it becomes. I mainly use Couchsurfing to meet local people but obviously there are lots of other offline ways too.
7. Pack light
I pack lighter and lighter every time I go on a trip yet I still end up coming home with tonnes of clothes that I didn’t wear once. Lugging around a giant suitcase/backpack is not only inconvenient but it’s also unnecessary- especially if you’re on a long term travel trip. It’s best to just take the absolute essentials and wash clothes as you go. If you later find that you need something you didn’t pack, you can always just buy it once you get there.
If you found my long term travel tips helpful please follow my blog for more. And also if you have any to add, please share them in the comments. xo
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