It was October 11, 2013. We were at the airport with one way ticket to India, ready for our first time long term travel experience. But that was only 4 months after I asked Una: “Let’s cycle across India? It could take us some 5-6 months. And then we will decide, what to do next.” Una said: “OK!”
Yes, we did it very quickly. And that was possible because we had read a lot about other people experience. We were thinking about it for almost a year. Yet, we didn’t have any plan for quite a long time. Just an idea about going somewhere for some longer time. But then, having a plan about cycling across India, we did all the preparation in double speed.
Now it’s the time to share our knowledge with you! To help you prepare for your long term trip!
Long Term Travel: Don’t Try to Plan Too Much
You can call it our motto. But that’s how we like to travel. We like to go with almost no any expectations and to experience everything as it is.
How much to plan for your long term travel is not too much?
First step – choose direction! Think of your interests. Think of your dreams. And do a research about things like travel costs, costs of living and VISA requirements. In the end choose one destination and buy one way ticket.
We fully agree with Jessica and Stephen from Flying the nest, who for the first long term travel recommends to go to a region like Southeast Asia. Because it’s cheap. It’s exotic and interesting. And there you will meet many other travelers like you.
Long Term Travel: Save Money for Your Long Term Trip
If we could change one thing – we would start saving money much earlier. We started to do it almost at the very last moment, 4 months before going on our long term trip. From that moment we spent money only on food and bills. And at the end before leaving Latvia we sold (or gave away) everything we had.
Well, most of the things we just gave away for free. But still there were some things that we sold and it let us to save some more money.
Important thing to remember – every euro, dollar, pound counts. At this time it may be only one cup of coffee, but later it may be one more day of living by that amazing beach. Think of what you want more! To have an idea, how much you need – when leaving home we had about 1500 EUR each. It lasted for about 7 months. It’s a very small sum, I know. But it proves, that you can travel also that cheap.
Now I would recommend you to budget at least 400 – 500 EUR. That’s if you are traveling to countries like Thailand, India, Vietnam, where the cost of living is much lover than in Western Europe.
Most of us can do like we did or even better. For example, think about transportation, about your car. Maybe you can walk or cycle to work, or join some colleague? Don’t go out for a lunch, take it from home! Think about possibilities to earn something extra! You can do it!
To keep you motivated, here is a picture of a sunset in Malaysia during the summer. Because of a lot of clouds during this time of year, sunsets then are spectacular and different each day.
Long Term Travel: You Need Less Than You Think You Need
Make a list. Write down all the things you think you need. Take a look on my minimalist packing list to see how you can pack in 7 kilos and travel with carry on backpack only. If you plan to go to Southeast Asia, see also our article about, why you should leave your big backpack at home. For more travel gear recommendations check out our complete backpacking packing list.
Please, don’t make a mistake spending all of your savings just to buy an equipment for your long term trip! Heck, most probably you don’t need anything new at all. Anyway, if you need something think of alternatives. Buy used stuff. Ask friends and family. Ask your followers on social media.
We all have so many things that we never use.
Long Term Travel: Think of Your Financial Obligations
The best thing would be to finish all the financial obligations before jumping into long term traveling. If it’s impossible (think once more if it’s really impossible!), plan how you will deal with it. Talk about it with your bank, and find the best solution.
I know how hard it is to pay off your debt. I had one. Not a big one, though. I wanted to pay it off, and I did it. For the last months it meant giving away some 80% of my salary, just to finish with it. But I got my freedom.
Long Term Travel: Think of All the Contracts You Have
Rent? Mobile service? Landline phone? Internet at home? TV subscription? Check all your contracts and read, how you can close them. How much time in advance you need to inform the company and so on.
Same like with financial obligations, if you have long term contracts, contact the service provider and discuss it with them. Ask just everything what is not clear for you. Deal with it, while you are at home and while you can easily go to the customer service center as well, if there is such a need. Make your upcoming long term travel experience stress free!
Long Term Travel: Earning Money While Traveling
Think of the ways how you could earn money while being abroad. You know, it’s happening, people go for 6 months of backpacking, they fall in love with traveling and don’t want to return. Anyway, as I said before, every euro, dollar counts. And it’s good to know before, how, if needed, you could earn more money.
For example, if you are good at writing, contact editorial offices of journals and magazines before embarking on your journey. Discuss a possibility of writing for them.
Random things to think about. What’s your passport expiry date? Where in the world you can change your passport? Think of making second bank account, second debit card? To keep one in the wallet, with some 100 – 200 EUR/USD on it, other – hidden, with the rest of money. Vaccinations. Visas. Extra paperwork for some of the Visas (sometimes it’s easier to do it in your homeland).
Make a list of things and actions needed, and start doing!
Be warned! Traveling is addictive! :)
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.