If you are thinking about long-term travel (6 months or more), then these are the top 10 things you should know about long term travel before starting!
Long term travel is one of those dreams that so many have at some point. If you are looking to make it a reality, it is possible! But there are some things you should know first.
We have been traveling full time for the past 2 years and have learned quite a few things about traveling long term. It’s not always easy or fun, but it is wonderful.
We’ll cover things you should know about long term travel, full time travel, travel for a year, world travel, and more!
This post is about the top 10 things you should know about long term travel.
Long Term Travel:
It will be the best decision of your life
This is true to the nth degree. It’s one thing that you probably think will be true about traveling full time, but it really is the best thing. You get to wake up somewhere new all the time, you get to have new and wild experiences. And sometimes you just have to pinch yourself because it doesn’t seem real. Long term travel will be the best decision of your life (so far), no matter how it turns out. You’ll always have those memories to look back on.
It’s not the same thing as a vacation
That said, traveling full time is not the same thing as going on a vacation. On a vacation, you are there to relax, see the touristy stuff, eat out, drink, and not really have any responsibilities. With long term travel, you likely will still be working or if not, you will still have chores and things to do. You can’t possibly sustain a diet of heavy meals and lots of liquor every single day. Traveling is hard and not always the perfect experience you envision. And that’s okay! That just adds to making the better days even better.
You’ll miss home
Maybe you don’t have a home or a family that you are leaving, but there is so much more to “home” than 4 walls and roommates. You will miss friends and family and FaceTime is a great alternative, but 2 hours on a call is so different than a night out (or in) with friends. At some point, you’ll also miss the familiarity of home. You know how to get around, you know where to go to get groceries or medicine, you understand the language. And you’ll definitely miss the food. Somedays you’ll just really want a cheeseburger and fries. Sometimes that is possible but it’s not always the same.
It can be hard to stay on budget
You’ll likely have a budget for your long term travel plans. Whether you are saving up your money beforehand to travel or working while you’re traveling, budgeting can be difficult. It can be so easy to get caught up in all the adventures and experiences when you are someplace new. But you can’t always do all of them. We learned that lesson when we traveled around the Northeastern US. Just know you’ll have to be aware of your budget and find a method that works best for you.
> Take a look at some of our travel budget resources!
You’ll meet friends for life
It’s true what they say about travel and meeting amazing people all over the world. Travel has connected with some of the greatest people we have ever met. You may meet fellow travelers in hostels, hotels, or on tours. You may meet locals that own Airbnbs, restaurants or have the weekend off. We’ve even met some incredible people through the long term travel community online. So many wonderful people, that will be friends for life now.
It’ll push you out of your comfort zone
Traveling can be hard at times. Before we started traveling, we rarely went out of our comfort zone. Now, we try new foods we’ve never heard of, chat with strangers in broken Spanish, face our fear of heights, and have learned to ask for help. All things that used to be so far outside of our comfort zone. Even if travel is easy for you, traveling full time will push you and you will come out better for it.
Home is every bed you sleep in
This is not something I really thought of before traveling long term, but every place we stay becomes “home.” We always say we are “heading home” or we “can’t wait to get home.” It’s odd at first, but really our home is wherever we sleep for the night. And know when most other travelers say “home” they really just mean the hotel or Airbnb. Unless they are really “traveling back home.”
> Check out some of our favorite hotel room “homes” we’ve stay at in the last few years!
Less really is more
Trust me, you won’t need or use half the stuff you bring no matter how much it is. Less stuff makes moving easier, packing easier, lifting the bag into the overhead compartment easier, and often times it will be cheaper to pack lighter. We have just about everything we own in 2 backpacks and 2 suitcases and it still weighs us down at times. And if we’re being honest, we really don’t use a lot of it. Pack your favorite clothes, keep toiletries minimal (you can buy those), and don’t bring a lot of recreational extras (games, exercise equipment) unless you are really going to use them and they bring a greater quality of life to you.
What day is it?
This is a running joke among our friends. We never know what day it is. We don’t have to be at work Monday morning and we don’t have to look forward to Friday evening. Every day is Saturday and that means, we rarely actually know what day it is. In fact, it’s so bad, our friend actually didn’t know the day and it was his birthday! Just another oddity you find strangely comforting after a bit.
Keeping routines sometimes feels impossible
Lots of goals for your business, hobbies, and exercise revolve around building habits and creating repetitive routines. Well, with travel that can feel nearly impossible. With fast travel, it can be especially hard. Over the years, we have realized that slow travel is much more conducive of forming good habits. And if you only take on one habit at a time, you can find a way to make it work, even with a crazy travel schedule. For example, Nate went 237 days of meditating every single day! That’s crazy, but it was his one priority and now he has continued to keep up that habit and add more to it all while traveling full time.