How did I plan my long term trip? What did I have to organise before leaving?
I am hoping that my personal journey to long term travel might help you plan yours.
I understand that long-term travel is a big deal. There are lots of things to think about, plan and organise but I have found that it is not quite as bigger undertaking as myself and others have previously thought.
First of all you need to think about where you want to go and what sorts of things you would like to do when you arrive. This can be as a vague or as detailed as you like. It really depends on the type of person you are. Some spontaneous travellers are happy to pick a destination, turn up and then decide where they want to go/see. I am not that person. I planned a rough route with 3-4 must do’s for each country. Next begin to think about how you are going to travel around those places. Do you want to travel overland? or fly from place to place? Do you want to stay in hotels? or hostels?
You will need to have a budget in mind to know your saving goals. Do a quick search to see how much flights to your destinations will cost. Do some research. How flexible can you be? Is there an off-season to travel in when prices are reduced? What jabs do you need? In the Uk for example you can search the NHS website for a list of countries, recommended jabs and their costs. What is the cost of living in these countries? How much do hotels/hostels cost? All of this can be answered with some quick internet searches. How much will Visa’s cost? What equipment do I need to buy for my journey? How much is travel insurance? It sounds like a lot and I did find it overwhelming to begin with but like anything I have found the best solution is just to get stuck in.
You will need to add all of these items together:
- Travel Insurance
- Spending money
- Equipment to take
This total will give you your budget. Next you need to look at how much you can save each month and how much time you have before you want to go. You may need to amend the duration of your trip accordingly to make it feasible.
What do you need to change about your life to make your trip a reality?
Many of us have to quit our jobs in order to go traveling. We also have to give up our homes or rent them out. Sell our possessions or put them into storage? These are all things to consider. You may also need to make life changes to help you save for travel. I found a good one to be cutting right back on takeaway food and getting the train rather than a taxi. It is very likely that there will be cheaper alternatives to many of the things you do in day to day life.
Take the plunge
Personally once I had saved enough for the flights I took the plunge and booked them. That way I knew there was no going back and that I must save up the rest to enjoy my trip the way I had planned. This is down to personal preference though. If you are good at saving you might wish to save it all first. If you know you are particularly bad at saving (even when under pressure) then you might wish to wait until you have saved it all.
After all this reasearch and planning if you are still excited by the concept of backpacking then it’s time to go for it.
I visited STA Travel here in the UK and booked my flights through them. I found it helpful to speak to someone in person. The staff there are all experienced travellers so where able to answer my crazy and neurotic questions.