When you’re traveling for the long-haul, you have a bit more to plan for than you would on a normal holiday. Whether you are an experienced nomad or are leaving your home country for the first time, here are six things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth, successful journey.
Make sure you’re not leaving everything until the last minute. Embarking on a stint of long-term traveling requires a level of organization far higher than that of a normal holiday, so ensure you’re prepared for the challenge.
An itinerary is a good idea to keep you on track and avoid going too far off-schedule. Sure, spontaneity is fun when traveling and you shouldn’t restrict yourself to an unforgiving itinerary, but make a note of what you want to do and when you want to do it to avoid disappointment down the line.
There’s a multitude of apps out there to help organize your travels – some of the best have been listed by Lifehacker.
Keep track of your luggage
It sounds easy enough, but one simple slip-up and you could be saying goodbye to your belongings. The loss of luggage is one of the most common mistakes travelers experience, whether it’s their own fault or not – be sure to stay vigilant as claiming for lost baggage isn’t always easy, as highlighted by TINZ
Why not invest in a tracker for your belongings? They’re now much cheaper than they have been in the past, and will hopefully ensure you always have a close eye on them.
When in doubt, haggle it out
Another common trap tourists run into is being scammed for their money. If you’re obviously inexperienced and unfamiliar with your surroundings, opportunists will seek to make the most out of you by tricking you out of your cash. This often happens in marketplaces, where vendors will hike their prices up in the hopes you won’t realize what’s happened.
You’re going to want to haggle your way through in order to conserve as much money as possible. Approach vendors with a kind and confident demeanor, and whittle the prices down to a more sensible amount to avoid forking over a fortune.
Immerse yourself in local culture
Wherever you are in the world, it’s important you don’t miss out on the culture. Many travelers are ignorant of just how deeply rooted the culture of their destination is in the way of life, pushing it aside just to look at the pretty sights.
Whether it’s trying local delicacies – street food is often a safe and delectable bet – or visiting sites of cultural and historical importance, such as temples or ancient ruins, you’ll be taking the time to appreciate some of the most important parts of the country you’re visiting.
See if you can pick up a book or two guiding you through your destination before you get there. Outbound airports often stock these guides in their malls – be sure to have a browse.
Manage your money, carefully
Coming home and getting back in the swing of things after a long trip is hard enough, don’t make it harder on yourself by adding a pile of debt on top of it. Make a tentative budget for the entire trip before you leave, and update it continuously along the way as your spending habits, currency and plans change.
A prepaid travel card is another good idea; you’ll be locking in a set amount of money as well as an exchange rate that won’t be affected by any future fluctuations. If you’re not the best at managing your money, this might be the best option to avoid any overspending.
There’s now plenty of apps out there to help you control your spending, as listed by The Guardian – be sure to download one before you head out.
Don’t hold back
Last but not least, the most important thing to avoid when traveling long-term is holding yourself back. Long-term travel is a marathon, not a sprint, so make sure you stop every now and then to reflect on where you are, both mentally and physically. Don’t hold yourself back from doing YOUR trip YOUR way… Just because some blogger said “these are the 10 things you have to do in London” doesn’t mean you should skip going on that totally random pub crawl. The worst thing that can happen is coming home from a trip with regrets, so go with your gut and be selfish! Do what you want to do, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.