Whether traveling is part of your career or something you do for fun – you may have found the past year particularly difficult. After all, the COVID-19 pandemic and travel bans mean that we’ve spent more time at home than ever before – and, while initially, learning how to bake or hosting zoom quizzes may have been a lot of fun – there’s nothing that can replace the pleasure of traveling.
However, with vaccine plans rolling out across the globe, it’s clear that travel is on the horizon. This means that now is the perfect time to begin planning your next adventure.
Whether you are setting out on a solo venture or traveling as part of a group, planning is an essential component of any trip and can help ensure you get the most out of your experiences abroad.
With that in mind, here are some top tips for long-term travel!
Decide what kind of adventure you want to have. While traveling will always be exciting, you must decide exactly what type of experience you are looking for ahead of time. For example, if you are looking to challenge yourself physically, then you may be best suited to a backpacking or hiking trip, where you can get up close and personal with nature. However, if you are on the lookout for a little more rest and relaxation, then you’ll want to focus on finding peaceful, quiet locations to lounge around in.
Decide upon your budget. While there are various ways in which you can make money from travel, it’s important that you know exactly how much you can afford to spend on your travels ahead of time. Remember, you have to pay for:
- Accommodation (Hotels, hostels, camping sites)
- Transport (Flights, trains, etc.)
- Baggage fees
- Travel Insurance
- Phone bills
- Food & drink
- Activities & experiences
- Transaction fees (when using cards abroad)
- Emergency expenses
If you aren’t the best with numbers, you can use this travel budget calculator, which can give you an indication of exactly how much money you need to save before your travels. The earlier you put together your budget, the better, as it gives you the chance to start saving money right away.
Sort out the legal stuff first. When traveling to certain destinations, especially for extended periods of time, you may need to obtain certain legal documents that allow you to enter the country. For example, if you were planning an American road trip, you’ll need to obtain a VISA or an ESTA. An ESTA will allow you to enter the USA for business or tourism purposes for up to 90 days. You can find out more about ESTAs here.
You should also ensure that there are no problems with your passport before traveling. For example, you should always check the expiration date to ensure that it will not expire during your trip.
Put together an itinerary. When you are planning on traveling for several weeks or months at a time, it is important that you research every destination carefully and put together an itinerary. While this doesn’t necessarily need to cover every single thing you do in each destination, it can be used to help you make the most of your time and make it easier to nail down your accommodation and travel plans. To simplify the process, write down a list of one or two things you want to do or see in each destination.
Sort out your transport. While some elements of your trip will involve a certain degree of spontaneity, your transport plans should be a little more solid. This means that you’ll always know how you are going from one location to the other and ensures that you remain on schedule. Furthermore, you can often save a significant amount of money on air travel by booking in advance. When booking flights, keep an eye out for the best possible deals using websites such as Sky Scanner. Furthermore, if you were planning on renting a car during your trip, you need to ensure that you are qualified to do so – for example, certain countries may require you to have been driving for several years in order to rent a vehicle.
Arrange your accomodation. Whether you plan on camping or want to stay in a series of hostels or hotels, you can save a great deal of money by booking ahead of time. Furhtermore, many places give you the option of free cancellation should your plans change over time.
Avoid tourist traps. Traveling presents you with a unique opportunity to learn more about the world around you by experiencing new cultures first hand. As a result, you should try to avoid ‘tourist traps’ as much as possible for a more authentic experience. Keep an eye out for interesting towns and cities that are a little of the beaten track or local restaurants serving authentic cuisine. You can keep an eye out for inspiration by reading travel memoirs or blogs.
Pack your luggage carefully. While packing will always seem like something of a chore, it is important that you pack wisely when heading out on a long-term trip. After all, you’ll likely have to try and fit a lot of things into a small case or backpack. It’s important to remember that you will be responsible for dealing with your luggage, so packing light is also essential. Packing essentials include:
- Weather-appropriate clothes & shoes
- A towel
- A first-aid kit & prescriptions.
- Phone charger.
- Portable phone charger
- Collapsable water bottles
- Insect repellant.
- Antibacterial wipes.
- Travel adapters.
- Important insurance documents/tickets.
Get your home in order before you leave. If you are away from your home for long periods of time, you must ensure your home will be well looked after in your absence. For example, this could mean that you ask a neighbor or close friend to keep on top of your mail, take care of your pet, or water your plants. You should check in with them regularly and encourage them to contact you in case of emergencies.