Long Term Travel
Thinking About Long Term Travel?
Traveling with your partner is one thing. Long term travel with your partner? That’s like, a whole other, totally different, completely not the same thing.
It turns out that traveling as a couple on a romantic weekend getaway is worlds different than spending an entire year backpacking around the world on a year-long honeymoon. And frankly, taking frequent trips doesn’t really prepare you for long-term travel together.
My husband and I spent a whole year traveling the world together as a couple …and lived to tell the tale! We’re even still happily married, I swear. It can absolutely be done, and it’s an incredible and enriching experience for any relationship.
But … there are a FEW things that nobody told us about before we jetted off on our around-the-world trip. And so, to prepare/warn you, we’re laying it alllllll out, so you know what to expect…. let’s go!
WISH YOU COULD QUIT YOUR JOB & TRAVEL?
Listen: it’s time to stop dreaming and start planning. My best-selling book, HOW TO QUIT YOUR JOB & TRAVEL is a practical, step-by-step guide to one of the most exciting, exhilarating, and terrifying things you’ll ever do.
You’ll learn how to tackle each of the challenges of long-term travel, from finances to fear to returning to reality – and all the nitty-gritty logistics along the way. Ready to get started?
Long Term Traveling FAQ’s
What do I do with my stuff when I leave?
Before you even think about packing up all your stuff and finding somewhere to keep it until you get back, you need to get started on getting rid of as much of it as you can. Seriously: start NOW. The more stuff you have to store, the more expensive it will be, and the more stuff you’ll have to come home to!
If you don’t have an inexpensive option to store your stuff nearby — like in someone’s spare room — and you need to ship your stuff across the country to my parents house like I did, compare rates of long-distance movers on a platform like Unpakt or Move.
Another option is to rent a storage unit. You’ll have the choice between non climate-controlled storage units — where your belongings will be subject to fluctuating outdoor temperatures — and climate-controlled storage units. Most stuff will be fine in a basic non climate-controlled storage unit; however, if you have a lot of climate-sensitive belongings (like artwork, a nice wine collection, an instrument, records, or some types of wooden furniture and electronics), you may want to consider a climate-controlled storage unit.
Another great option is to use a service like Neighbor, which allows people to rent out their garage, driveway, shed, attic, spare bedroom, personal parking lot, or any other storage space they’ve got lying around unused. It’s usually cheaper than a storage unit, and you might even be able to find somewhere climate-controlled, too.
Regardless of what you choose: the less stuff you have, the less you’ll spend.
What should I do with my cell phone?
You can save a lot of money on your phone plan by just switching your phone to airplane mode and using free WiFi that’s available pretty much everywhere.
You’ll also need to either downgrade your plan, cancel it entirely, or put it on hold. Putting your phone plan on hold will typically cost a small monthly fee, but you won’t lose access to your old phone number and you’ll be able to resume service easily once you return home. Call your service provider to ask for the specifics. And don’t forget to let your loved ones know that your phone will be offline!
Should I get health insurance, if so which one?
When it comes down to it, if you can afford to travel, you can’t afford NOT to buy travel insurance. Considering the fact that you may or may not be able to find a health insurance plan to cover you while you’re away, your travel insurance also may become your primary healthcare coverage.
World Nomads, one of the most popular travel insurance providers — and the one we chose for our year-long trip — is designed for adventurous travelers and is a popular choice among backpackers specifically for its wide-ranging adventure travel coverage.
Travel insurance also isn’t designed to replace standard medical care, including preventative care — most people just aren’t traveling long enough to really need it. But there are exceptions, such as the annual travel insurance policy from SafetyWing, which was designed specifically for digital nomads and long-term travelers.
How can I save money to travel?
First things first: you’ll need to figure out how much you’re spending each month. You’ll need to know both your fixed costs and your variable costs. Fixed costs are specific amounts you have to pay, like rent, utilities, and bills. Variable costs cover everything else, from food (both groceries and dining out) to shopping and entertainment.
There’s a good chance that your estimates of your variable costs are completely inaccurate. Don’t take it personally — it’s a universal truth.
To get an accurate estimate of your variable costs, I recommend tracking your expenses. You don’t need to write down everything you spend (unless you pay for everything in cash): Mint.com is a fantastic free resource for tracking your spending, setting a budget, and helping you manage your finances.
Once you’ve accurately tracked your expenses for a few months, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re spending compared to what you’re earning, the difference of which is how much you’re able to save each month. Take that savings amount and do some quick math: if you divide the amount of money you think you need for your long-term trip by the amount you’re able to save each month, how long will it take you to save up for your trip? (Divide by 12 to get your answer in years).
What cost’s can I expect when I’m traveling long-term?
- On your spreadsheet, map out a very rough idea of your itinerary and route.
- For each destination, figure out the average daily cost of things like accommodation, meals and local transportation.
- Add in the cost of transportation between destinations.
- Add in any special activities that you’ll need to budget extra for.
- Add a little padding (an extra 10-20%)
What must-haves should I have in place for long term travel?
Listen To Us
We also have a 3-part Podcast series all about our disastrous year-long honeymoon! Sweaty hikes through the jungle, dorm-mates on cocaine, sassy llamas, a failed hike to Machu Picchu, and a faked death: we’re sharing all the ridiculous details from the saga of our year-long honeymoon. Listen below or in your favorite Podcast app!
Need some help planning your escape?
We’ve created a Long Term Travel Checklist with everything you need to plan your adventure.
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