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4 Smart Ways to Plan for Long-Term Travel

Many dream of ditching a 9-to-5 job to become long-term travelers. Exploring the colors of this beautiful planet without worrying about waking up early in the morning, following corporate rules, and managing piles of work is inspiring many more people to consider long-term travel.

But let's admit that long-term travel can also be difficult if you are not adequately prepared to be away from home for an extended time. However, it doesn't mean you should give up on your dream of living as a traveler. I have developed some hacks to help you plan for long-term travel.

Plan for long-term travel in Australia (photo: Nicole Geri)
Australia (photo: Nicole Geri)

1. Pack smartly

What you carry in your backpack plays a considerable role in shaping the comfort of your long-term travel. It can be tempting to take your favorite outfits to look cute in Instagram photos. But, carrying half your home and packing too many clothing items and shoes means less room for the other things that may provide more utility abroad. It is better to pass on your extra pair of stylish jeans and make space for a raincoat, base layers, comfy socks, battery packs, etc.

2. Find a way to make money on the road

Unless you are wealthy, it's impossible to enjoy the luxury of long-term travel without having a source of income. While you don't have to stick to your job for the rest of your life, you should find ways to keep your finances intact while taking the plunge into a multi-month (or multi-year) trip.

One of the best ways to earn money on the road is to find a freelancing job, such as writing or graphic design. You can do this while sitting on the train or taking flights from one destination to another. If you spend significant time in another country, you can also look for a part-time job there. Do whatever suits you best, but don't let empty pockets haunt you.

Paron Lake, Peru (photo: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos)
Paron Lake, Peru (photo: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos)

3. Find out how to pay your bills

Long-term travel doesn't mean things will be frozen back home. You might be busy enjoying the beautiful scenery on the other side of the world, but what about all your utility bills? You can hit pause on your newspaper and magazine subscriptions, but you can't ask the Department of Energy to hold on to your bills. Instead, learn how to send a money order so that you can pay bills back home. After all, you don't want to return from a memorable trip to enter a home where the electricity has been cut off due to non-payment of bills.

4. Revisit Your Traveling Perception

Most importantly, for long-term travel, you should change your attitude about traveling. Trade luxurious travel ideas and stay in high-end hotels for a philosophy of thrifty living. Don't splurge too much on dining out in expensive restaurants, and cook your meals when possible. Paid tours can be fun but look for free activities to make your money last longer.


This story is brought to you in partnership with Western Union.

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Danielle Pinals

Thursday 30th of January 2020

These are all really great tips! Currently doing a 6 month RTW trip, and I often get asked about the same exact things you listed here. I was really lucky to be able to save enough money to not work during my trip, but I've found that it's still really comforting to see some money coming in and not out!


Thursday 30th of January 2020

Hi Danielle, thanks for reading! I felt the same way during my RTW trip. I had saved enough not to have to work, but psychologically, being able to make some money from Go Backpacking was helpful. It also was enough to extend my trip by about 3 months!


Thursday 30th of January 2020

Thanks for this post & amazing photos

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