Everything you need to prepare, pack, and book for swift long term travel!
Whether you plan on traveling a couple months or a year, you’ll definitely want to study these long term travel tips! Being away from home for an extended time requires a lot of thought and preparation…
Have you packed properly and squared off all unfinished business at home? Are you spending smartly when booking and saving money where you can? And when you finally hit the road, how can you maintain an affordable, healthy, and stress-free trip? These are all questions that are probably floating around your brain (or should be!). Look no further though, my list of long term travel tips answer all these questions and will probably teach you some pointers that haven’t even crossed your mind yet!
I personally had zero guidance when it came to preparing and carrying out my 10 month journey around the world. Consequently, I encountered countless ups and downs, from forgetting important medications to losing countless dollars to international transaction fees 😩 The list could go on, but instead I formed this list of long term travel tips to help others avoid my mistakes!
You know the saying “You can never be too prepared?” Well truer words have never been spoken in the case of long term travel, so keep scrolling and take notes!
Here’s the long term travel tips you absolutely must follow…
Pay A Visit to the Bank
- International purchase fees and foreign ATM fees can wrack up into the hundreds, depending on how long you’re traveling. Make sure to purchase a travel credit card beforehand to avoid these fees, and talk to your bank about removing the “International ATM Fee.” I failed to do the ladder and received a $5 fee from my bank when withdrawing money abroad PLUS an additional fee from the ATM! You don’t wanna know what those costs amounted to 😳
- Make sure you always have access to 2 things: online banking and an emergency cash stash. If you’re a victim of fraud or theft while traveling, you always want to be able to quickly check your purchases online, easily contact your bank, and support yourself financially until you return home or until you get a new credit/debit card. Download your bank’s mobile app to make this process less stressful!
- Notify your bank of your travel plans either in person or online! If they suspect suspicious activity, like unexpected purchases made outside the country, they could place a hold on your account, leaving you penniless abroad until it’s lifted!
Take Care of Medical Necessities
- Before jetting off, make sure you have all medication that you won’t be able to receive outside the country. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medicine. Bulk requests for meds like birth control need to be requested at least a month in advance so your travel plans can be processed and approved by medical insurance.
- As for non-prescription meds, stock up on your homeland’s basics ( i.e. Advil or NyQuil if you’re from the U.S.). Over-the-counter medicine differs drastically from country to country, not to mention labels can be in different languages, so go to your local drugstore beforehand.
- If you plan on traveling for a while, take care of basic checkups with your doctor, dentist, OBGYN, and every other specialist you see at home. This will send you off with a clear conscience when it comes to your health!
- The most important, yet most difficult tip to follow: Pack WAY less than you think you need! You’ll most likely make new purchases while traveling, and a light suitcase is usually cheaper and easier to travel with. Plus, packing and moving around from place to place is SO much easier and quicker when your suitcase isn’t stuffed to the brim!
- When traveling long term, it’s best to pack mainly basics like jeans and solid-colored shirts, and clothing that’s easy to mix and match. You’ll find that prints and patterns get old quick since you’ll be wearing the same clothing a lot. To avoid falling too flat though, bring some accessories to mix up your outfits!
- To be extra safe, print out multiple copies of your passport, travel insurance, and ID and carry them in different bags. Go the extra mile and even email a copy to loved ones back home. This way you’ll always have a backup if you lose one of these vital documents.
Purchases & Investments
- Prepare for unexpected and purchase travel insurance! This is especially important if traveling for more than a month. This will cover you for lost luggage, last-minute cancellations, medical emergencies, and any other run-ins that could cost you a fortune. I use World Nomads travel insurance and highly recommend them!
- Consider investing in: comfortable and sturdy walking shoes, a camera, a universal adaptor, good hair and skin care (I’ll explain later), and anything else that you’re on the fence about. These are all purchases you’ll get so much value out of while traveling!
Download These Apps
- While you have strong and reliable WiFi at home, don’t forget to download necessary apps for international travel! Some essentials are a currency converter app, Google Maps (which outdoes them all when it comes to public transportation directions), and a translator app.
- For international calls, download the Skype mobile app! Skype allows you to call anyone, anywhere using just WiFi, and beats all the other apps in terms of call connection and quality.
Planning Travel Routes & Itineraries
- First up on my list of long term travel tips for bookings is ultimately this rule: always book in advance! Booking in advance rather than on-the-go is almost always cheaper, and definitely less stressful, especially when on-the-move for an extended amount of time. The only time I tried my hand at a spontaneous month of booking, I was left with an unbelievably enormous bill and a ton of wasted time I could’ve spent exploring.
- To plan your travel route and methods of travel, use Rome2Rio. This is my go-to for figuring out the cheapest modes of transportation and the routes that make the most sense. In fact, it’s the sole reason I was able to plan my Southeast Asia itinerary in just a day (and probably one of the most vital long term travel tips)!
- If you have the time, try staying in each destination for at least 1 week (or 2 weeks for those living a travel lifestyle!). This gives you ample time to explore, get into a regular routine, and enjoy a lifestyle of travel that is relaxed, rather than always on the go.
- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: AirBnB is PERFECT for long term travel! Not only does it have cheaper prices than hotels, it also allows you to save money by being able to cook at home. Plus, many listings offer weekly or monthly discounts when booking long stays! If you don’t already have an AirBnB account, sign up here and get $35 credit!
- If you decide on flying as your mode of transportation, always book on SkyScanner. Let’s face it- long term travel requires much more transportation costs, so why not score the cheapest flight deals every time!
- Consider train travel if you’ll be moving around a lot. A 2 hour flight may seem more appealing than a 7 hour train at the time, but many times the timing evens out. There’s time spent getting to and from the airport, standing in security lines, and waiting for your luggage to arrive that need to be added to those 2 hours. Not to mention, train travel is also much less stressful, with much less moving and waiting around.
Inevitable Additional Costs
- One of the biggest costs that most travelers forget to factor in is transportation to and from the airport. Fortunately, there are usually cheaper methods than taxis, especially in big cities, so make sure you research this before your flight! Too many times I’ve forgotten to research and opt for an expensive cab ride from being exhausted or lazy from the flight. It may not seem like much in the beginning, but these costs add up more than anything else!
Cell Phone & Computer Usage
- Rather than buying an expensive international plan with your cellular provider, buy a cheap sim card at your destination, or simply just use WiFi! If you plan on solely using WiFi though, make sure it will be easily accessible with a reliable connection wherever you go. If staying at an AirBnB and only relying on WiFi, I recommend reading the reviews and talking to the host to ensure it’s reliable. It’s not fun having to walk 15 minutes to a cafe every day to send a simple email (trust me! 😏)
Health & Beauty Regimens
- Constant travel can take a toll on your physical health, so be sure to carry out your regular routines, regardless of how much you’re moving around. When traveling, you’re more likely to be exposed to different illnesses due to flying and public transport. Plus, adjusting to new time zones, climates, and cuisines can throw your body for a loop. That being said, it’s even more important than ever to take care of yourself!
- Just because your living arrangements don’t have much routine anymore doesn’t mean you should give up your usual beauty regimen! Skin and hair are inevitably affected while traveling due to differences in the climate, air, and even the water you shower with. Also, you may be adding a lot of uncharacteristically adventurous activities to your schedule, like boating, swimming, and more hours spent in the sun. As mentioned before, it’s advisable you invest in some high quality skin and hair products to combat the negative side effects that come with your travel adventures!
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I hope my list of long term travel tips helps you with your future adventures! If you have any other tips to add to the list, I’d love to hear them in the comments below 😊