Everyone is different when they travel, but regardless of how you are as a person, long-term traveling can be extremely taxing on your mind and body. Whether you’re going for 2 months or 2 years, traveling is exhausting. If you’re considering quitting your job or taking a break and hitting the road long term, here is my best advice:
DO pace yourself
This one might seem super obvious, but it’s so important. You have the time – don’t rush to see everything super quickly. You will burn out at some point unless you just have absolutely indestructible endurance for this type of thing. Spending an entire month in one city you love because you’re tired and want a break is totally acceptable, and I guarantee you will make incredible memories there.
DON’T compare yourself to others
Remember that this is 100% YOUR journey; just because someone else has been to x, y, and z in x amount of time doesn’t mean you’re required to do so. You’re not forced to go anywhere you don’t want to go. Let this be as personal of an experience as you want.
DO remember that less is more
Less is DEFINITELY more! Don’t overload yourself with destinations right off the bat. People are so obsessed with counting countries, and I wonder if they even really took the time to get to know where they were. Take your time. Pick and choose places instead of rushing through to see them all. I have found that I often enjoy places more when I take my time to know the people and the culture because those are the experiences that really stick out in my memory. This isn’t the case for everyone, but it was for me.
DO build bonds with locals
Wander far from the tourist traps of islands and cities and try to actually bonds with some locals. My fondest memories are from the moments I decided to actually get to know the people from the country in which I was. Even if you don’t speak the same language, you can go quite far with Google translate and body language and share some laughs.
DON’T pack too much
You do not want to be traveling the world for an extended period of time with a 65L backpack that won’t be allowed on budget airlines. I stand by my 46L Osprey Porter; I’m never denied on planes because it’s too big. It’s the perfect size and it opens like a suitcase! You really don’t need a lot, and you can always buy what you need. I literally brought over 200 Q-tips with me to Asia. Why did I think I needed that many? I have no idea. I would have been fine with a handful.
I used refillable bottles that squeezed down really nicely for my travel-sized liquids (shampoo, conditioner, etc.). Whenever I stayed at a fancy hotel, I would fill up my stock.
DO take time off
Whatever this means to you, do it. Whether it’s getting a private room in a hotel all to yourself for a few days and watching Netflix the entire time, or taking an entire day to pamper yourself at the spa, do it. You will need to truly take care of yourself while you’re on the road. There is nothing more important than self-care when you’re always on the go – your body and mind will thank you. When you’re tired, cranky, and getting sick all the time, it’s because you’re exhausted and need to rest up.
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DON’T travel without travel insurance
You never know what could happen abroad. Traveler’s insurance is generally pretty inexpensive (especially in comparison to U.S. international health care, oof) and is really only used for huge emergencies. I personally used World Nomad, but I only went with them because I could extend the coverage while I was already overseas. There are a lot more options for people who aren’t from the U.S., so I recommend looking into options for yourself.
DO have a routine
Were you active back home? Eat super healthy? Keep up with a routine or develop a sustainable one for while you travel. You will really start to feel the negative effects of not treating your body with respect. One of the hardest parts of traveling long term for me was treating it like a “vacation” the entire time – by the end, I did not look or feel good until I had incorporated a workout into my mornings and stopped eating everything in sight (which really wasn’t that hard!). Even if it’s just a 10-minute workout in the morning, you will feel better.
Personally, I use and live by Fitness Blender. They’ve got hundreds of free YouTube videos and bodyweight workouts designed for at home with minimal equipment. I would be doing burpees and squats on my hostel rooftop with no shame!
DO have too much money
I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but it’s really important that you have a good sack of cash to fall back on if something were to happen. Budgeting is great, but all it takes is one accident to take away everything you have. Overbudget. You won’t regret it.
If you’re looking for a good travel credit card with great rewards, I personally recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you have good credit, give it a shot! Travel and dining get 2x the points.. And let’s be real. All I do is eat and travel.
DON’T plan too much
You can do whatever you want when it comes to planning, but give yourself room for changes in plans and spontaneity. You might meet people that you want to travel with, you might get sick and need to rest, or you might not want to spend as much time in one place as you thought; having the freedom to change your plans on a whim is an incredible and secure feeling. Pay that extra $1 on HostelWorld for flexible bookings if you’re booking far in advance.
DO enjoy yourself
Seriously. Just enjoy yourself. Don’t worry too much about anything because I promise that traveling is a lot easier than you think. Everything always works out in the end, you always end up where you need to be, and you will be creating irreplaceable memories and making friends around the world.
Can you think of any other things travelers should know before embarking on a long-term trip? Leave a comment below!
Thanks for reading!
Please note* I am not affiliated by any brands that I recommend in this post. Everything I mention is 100% based on my own personal preferences and experiences! Just sharing with you what I know best.
Until next time,
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What have you been grateful for lately? I’ve felt pretty grateful over the last few days; I live in one of my favorite cities in the world, blissfully content on my own, and have finally secured a job. I’m currently working on *me* right now and making some life changes. I’m grateful to be at a point in my life where my goals are actually achievable. Yay for gratituuuuuude