Long-Term Travel Planning

 For many, the option to do some long-term travel is a dream come true. Long-term travel is exciting and one of the best ways to get to know yourself and the world better. You have more time to understand and appreciate cultures different from yours and find foods and places you’ll never otherwise experience. Not to mention, you’ll meet people that, in your everyday life, you’d never get the chance to meet. 

Long-term travel is often romanticised, and many people who go on long-term adventures share the highlights rather than the things that are tough. 

The right tips can ensure that the journey goes almost how you hope it will. 

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash


When we are working on making our dreams come true - we rarely consider the realities. For example, if you have always wanted to sleep in a hut on the beaches of Bali, but you don’t like insects, like a comfortable mattress, and don’t love sand - the two things don’t easily line up. 

Likewise, if you’ve never been on a really long (days long) hike but want to take a huge hike, it is a bit of a commitment. Watching Wild with Reese Witherspoon or reading the book, at the very least, highlights just some of the things that you might face.  

Some books are highly recommended reading for those who want to travel for a while: 

While it is a good idea to always think about pushing your boundaries, you should also think about how you can personally get the most from the trip. Here are some of the questions you should also ask yourself: 

  • Do you have enough money? Or, how will you earn money as you go? 
  • Will you quit your job, or can you arrange unpaid leave? 
  • Will you sell your belongings or put them into storage
  • Can you give up your home? Sell it or rent it out? 
  • Will there be a long-term impact on your career?


Perhaps you have some specific locations already in mind that you can’t wait to explore. And maybe there are several places that you want to go back to. Plotting a route early on in the process will help you to make the most of your travel but also of your budget. 

Zigzagging from one place to another can often hit your budget pretty hard. When thinking about places you want to visit, consider what you find important in life. Often, some of the best travel shows to watch are actually food shows. Watching food shows can give you a rush of inspiration that can help solidify the list. 

But don’t be too tempted to book everything in one go - you might find that while you are nestled in the treeline of a remote location, you aren’t ready to catch a flight to check out a city. However, you will need to be aware of any countries that may request to see proof of an outbound flight. 

  • Start by writing down the places you have to go to the non-negotiables. 
  • Then, write down some places you want to go to - high on the list but not essential.
  • Start plotting a route of sorts, and decide if you want to work from home outwards or go to the furthest location and travel slowly back home. 
  • Start to look at the travel costs, planes, trains, public transport passes, taxi costs, and car rentals and build a financial overview. Once you have your first total, it is time to knock that down. Budget travel blogs can be a wealth of information; here are a couple: 
  • Factor in food costs
  • Which countries need visas, and how much are they?
  • For tight budgets, it is often better to avoid the USA, Nordics, Australia, and Japan as they are much more expensive than most other countries. 

Start pinning everything on a pinboard so you can add to it, but also keep it as your goal when you get to the savings part. 


Whatever amount you get as your total during the inspiration and planning stages - aim to save at least half again on top. A separate account automatically taking a set amount each week or month is one of the best ways to save quickly. You can find a few saving options that will do the maths on how much you can save and take that without you having to move it manually. 

  • Take a look at where you can make some cutbacks; since you plan on leaving soon-ish, cutbacks will happen anyway. 
  • Consider selling anything you don’t want when you return (plan to put everything else in storage).
  • Donate things you aren’t taking and aren’t selling
  • Skip the take outs and cut down on branded goods

Everywhere you can save, you should try to save. It is also possible to take on a side job or find extra ways to make money and put all of it directly into savings. 


Your budget is going to have an impact on the style of travel you can realistically afford. Often, there are two types of travellers, and you might have an idea of which category you fall into already. 

Those who can do well on a tight budget and are looking for meaningful experiences (no matter how they come about). 

And those who would prefer to be as comfortable as possible, and rather than hike through a jungle, they’d like a tour in a car or the local areas. 

If you have the budget to combine the two, then that is great, but often, people who are happy to sleep in a $ 4-a-night hostel and carry everything they need in one bag can travel further and for longer. 

You could also prepare to live 90% of the trip as frugally as possible and then have a few nights in a more expensive hotel and restaurant occasionally. 

Once you have your budget, your money, and a firm idea of where you are going, it is time to start bookings. While you might find that booking on 15 different websites is the cheapest option, unless you are very organised one might slip through the cracks. It is often a good idea to book as much as possible through a single website. 

Look for options that offer free cancellation so that if your plans change, you can cancel your booking without a charge. Anything not refundable should ideally be avoided because plans can change at the last minute, and there can be delays, too. 

Start looking at the calendar for each place you go to because there are often celebrations and events that can skyrocket the price. Booking in advance can secure low prices. 

You should also start planning when to book for any vaccinations that you need to have. Some can be close to the date; others need multiple shots for the vaccination to be effective.  Travel insurance is also a must on long-term travel because you are going to many places that don’t have the same health care as you are used to. Without it, if anything happens, you can end up in medical debt. 

Tourist locations or not?

Tourist locations are so busy for a reason most of the time. There is something worth seeing and experiencing. But you might not want to be where all the tourists are. If you travel during peak season, then you are going to run into a lot of tourists and peak prices too. In many cases, peak tourist season will also have some regulations on how many people can be in a place at the same time, and tickets and time slots will sell out early. 

You might decide that you want to take a path that has almost no tourists, and if that is the case, it is a good idea to learn some of the local language. The further away from the main tourist hubs you go, the more having these language skills will benefit you. 


Overpacking is one of the most common situations new long-term travellers will come up against. It is not easy to pack a limited and light backpack with almost everything you’ll need. Try to keep in mind that almost everywhere you travel will have pharmacies and grocery stores, so you can still get access to the things you need. 

Consider things like hiking boots, swimming suits, a good jacket, trousers (ideally ones that zip off to shorts to save space), and T-shirts. Everything should be functional or multi-functional and something you can personally carry for long periods of time. It is a good idea to carry the pack around for a while before you go to get a good feel for the weight. 

When it comes to long-term travel, you have no choice but to try to make more room for travel in your life, here are some tips to start getting the most of your available time off: Make More Time for Travel.