While I’ve never specifically set off on a Round the World Trip, I’ve done most of my traveling on working holidays. I find this to be an excellent way to temporarily get settled in a country and gain a better understanding of its people, geography, customs, and lifestyle. Prior to coming to New Zealand, I spent four months in Ireland and about six months in the United Kingdom.
Traveling long term doesn’t necessarily come easy. Being on the road for extended periods of time can become waring. While these challenges are part of the journey, these seven tips will make traveling long term a better experience for you.
1) Keep a Schedule
These seven tips all revolve around this one piece of advice. Maintaining a schedule on the road is crucial to successful long term travel. While living the life of a backpacker is drastically different than the life of a 9 – 5er, it’s essential that you still maintain some sort of a schedule – just as you would at home.
2) Mind the Drinking
Backpackers that head over to Europe for a three week stint traveling around can stand to get pissed ever night. You can’t. If you’re considering long term travel, you’ve got to keep tabs on your drinking schedule. The midday pint or cocktail might be alluring for the first couple weeks you’re on the road – but sooner or later, you’ll find you’ve got to ditch the lunch cocktail and nightly benders.
Drinking to excess daily isn’t healthy – but I’m not here to act as the Surgeon General. A heavy drinking schedule kills the budget and generally makes for an unproductive trip.
3) Plan and make your dinner
If only the life of a backpacker allowed for nightly meals out, things would be so much easier. Or would they?
I think one of the main keys to successful long term travel has to do with your nightly eating habits. There is certainly an allure to eating out on the town every night, yet realistically this isn’t possible for the budget traveler. Clearly, a nightly meal at a restaurant with a bottle of wine would kill the budget. More importantly, I think keeping a nightly structure allows for easier travel plans. Make a habit of cooking your own dinner nightly. It’s significantly healthier, more budget friendly, and you’ll inevitably meet more people at the hostels you’re staying in. Which brings me to number four.
4) Avoid staying in massive chain hostels
There is something to be said for checking into a hostel like the Flying Pig in Amsterdam. The drinking, the parties, and (for you single gents), the ladies. Wherever you go, chances are you’ll be able to find a party oriented hostel similar to the Base or Nomads chain in New Zealand. Stay in them if you wish – but only for a couple nights.
If you’re planning on remaining on the road long term, and intend on staying in the same city for more than a couple days, consider finding a locally owned, chilled out hostel. You’ll stand a better chance of staying rested, keeping up with tips two and three, and chances are you’ll meet other long term travelers.
5) Keep up with your exercise
Even if you didn’t have an exercise schedule before you left home, now is the time to start one. Trying to keep to an exercise schedule will ultimately result in you trying to keep a normal day to day schedule. You’ll be less tempted to stay at the pub till the wee hours of the morning if you’ve got to run a couple miles in the morning. More importantly, I think exercise generally makes for a healthier outlook on life. Those down moments on the road will be less likely if you’re keeping active.
6) Keep up with the news
Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but while you’re cruising across Europe in a train, New Zealand in a campervan, or Bangkok in a tuk tuk, life in the rest of the world goes on as per the normal. Keeping up with the daily events of the news will help you to remain somewhat grounded. While sometimes I rejoice in the fact that traveling gets me out of the day to day politics of news at home, it’s still important to keep updated with the latest happenings in the world.
7) Write a travel blog
Maintaining a travel blog on the road is an excellent way to document your travels, keep up with friends and family, and most importantly – maintain a schedule. Two weeks into your traveling, you’ll probably still be glad to be away from work and the realities of home and will still be enjoying the midday pints. Two months into your traveling, and you’ll probably be looking for additional responsibilities other than planning your trip.
Keeping up a travel blog allows you to keep a schedule, but more importantly, you feel responsible for something at the end of the day. If you make it a goal to keep generating content, you’ll feel responsibilities from day to day which will result in a more meaningful time on the road.
If you treat your traveling as a lifestyle, and have structure in your day to day life, it’s much easier to continue on for weeks, months, or even years.
What do you think? Leave your tips for successful long term travel in the comments section below.