Things To Think About Before Your First Long-Term Trip
There’s a lot to consider, plan, and budget for.
Have you ever considered quitting your job and flying half-way across the world to travel from one dream destination to the next?
Thanks to Instagram, it’s easy to romanticise long-term travel, but the reality is there’s a lot to think about, plan, and budget for before you even get on the plane. Spending months abroad is packed full of exciting adventures, but it’s not without challenges and a few uncomfortable truths.
Here are 10 little things to think about before you hit the road.
#1 Judgement is best left at home
You’ll be bombarded by new sights, smells, tastes, people and ideas every single day. Try local food, go flamenco dancing in Spain, learn a few words of another language; say yes to everything, but leave your preconceptions at home. No one knows, likes or even understands everything in the world, but we’re that much better for taking the plunge and experiencing it.
#2 Things will go wrong
Lost luggage, missed trains, deactivated bank cards and medical mishaps; you’re not the first person it’s happened to, and you won’t be the last. It’s frustrating, but you’ll quickly learn there’s always another way – or another flight – and become a pro problem solver in the process.
#3 You can’t plan it all out
Having the freedom to go where you want, when you want is incredibly liberating. Don’t like your current sitch? Head elsewhere. Fallen in love with a city? Stay and enjoy it for a few more days! Made a new best friend? Travel with them for a bit.
It is worth pre-booking some things like accommodation during busy periods, like European summer.
#4 Bunk in together
Not only are hostels a blessing to your bank account, they’re a guaranteed way to meet interesting people. Communal living makes you realise just how much – or little – you have in common with your fellow travellers.
If you need more convincing, most hostels run events like family dinners, walking tours and pub crawls.
#5 Friends are forever (sometimes)
Bonds are intense when you travel. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get to know someone and what you can experience with them in the space of just a few days. Friendships on the road are some of the most special – and brief – that you’ll make. You will stay in touch with some people and learn to let go of others, but the incredible memories will always be there.
#6 Money makes the world go ’round
You don’t need an overflowing bank account to see the world, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be smart with your funds. It pays to make a daily budget that covers things like accommodation, food, transport and activities, and do your best to stick to it.
It sounds cliché, but your aim should be to collect moments not things. Memories of an amazing hike or watching the sun set with friends will stick with you longer than any souvenir keychain.
#7 Confidence is key
Not a day will pass where you’re not pushed outside your comfort zone on a long-term trip. There are times you will feel uncomfortable, overwhelmed and alone; you’ll be interacting with people from all over the world, not everyone will speak your language, and you’ll have to make split-second decisions and deal with unforeseen circumstances. But you’ll understand the world a little better every time and quickly learn how to come out swinging from any situation, with a newfound confidence in dealing with life’s curveballs.
#8 Simplicity is king
Living out of a backpack makes you realise how little you really need. Plus, only having a handful of outfits to choose from makes getting dressed the easiest part of your day. There’s nothing enjoyable about lugging an overstuffed bag full of clothes you haven’t touched in months through a packed train station, so trust us when we say less is more.
#9 Attitude is everything
Not every day abroad is smooth sailing. Your patience will be tested like never before and there will be times you’ll want to throw in the towel and race for the comforts of home. Try to appreciate every moment for what it is – good or bad.
Off days are totally normal, but enjoyment and happiness on the road all comes down to a good attitude. Not everyone gets to travel, so do your best to be grateful for the opportunity.
#10 The travel bug is permanent
It’s highly likely you’ll return home to discover an itch to pack your bags and head for foreign shores once more. The next adventure in this big wide world is always beckoning, so start planning.
(Lead image: rawpixel.com)