Traveling for more than a couple of weeks at a time doesn't just have to be a pipe dream. Even if you have a family, it's not completely unrealistic for all of you to go traveling for a few months or even a couple of years. If you choose some objectives for your travels and you're prepared to come up with a plan that will work for you, you can make the most of your time on the road. You could choose to tour the country or perhaps go on a more global tour, but whatever you do, you can get the most out of it by thinking about a few important matters.
Give Yourself the Freedom to Travel without a Plan
One of the benefits of traveling long-term is that you don't necessarily need to have a solid plan. With so much time on your hands, you're able to think a bit more about what you want to do and weigh up your options. You won't end up leaving somewhere before you're ready or stuck in a place you're not enjoying. You can afford to make your travel plans more flexible if you don't have a clear idea of what you want to do yet. You might even end up spending the whole time in one place because you find somewhere you love on your first try.
Do Some Planning If You Want to Save
Before you set off on your travels, you're likely to want to do at least some planning. You don't need to have a rigid itinerary, but an idea of your first few steps and some options for what you're going to do next and what your aim is will help you. If you have at least a vague plan, it will be easier to budget your money and save. You can do things like looking at accommodation deals in advance, which will likely get you a better price than simply turning up somewhere and trying to find a place to stay. Try to have a solid plan set out for your first couple of days, and a week or more if you need some more security.
Use the Time to Stay Longer
There's no rush when you're traveling long-term. While some people choose to bounce from one place to another for a few months, not everyone enjoys that style of travel. Is there any point visiting somewhere new for only a day or two? Having more time on your hands gives you the option to stay for longer. It might be a few weeks, a few months, or even a year or more that you choose to stay in one place. Sometimes you fall in love, and you don't want to move on to somewhere else. That's why it's a good idea not to have too rigid of a plan set in place. It gives you the freedom to decide to stay put for longer and get to know a destination more.
Discover Your Work Options
Traveling for a long time certainly isn't cheap. You need to pay for all your costs, from accommodation and transport to food and activities, and you might still be paying bills back home too. So thinking about making some kind of income while you're away makes a lot of sense. But what is the best way to make some money? If you're somewhere where you already have the right to work, like your home country or somewhere you have permanent residency, your options could be wide open. If not, you need to do some research to find out what's possible. Sometimes, there are special work visas available to travelers and visitors. Another option could be to run a business while you're on the move. You could provide services over the internet, from graphic design to English lessons.
Learn from Others for the Best Experience
When you're trying to create the best plan for your travels, it's always worth learning from others. People who have done it all before can offer you extremely valuable advice before you set off and while you're traveling too. Before you start traveling, you can connect with people online, using places like the TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet forums. You can also read travel guides, blogs and other useful resources that will recommend places to visit and give you practical advice on making the most of them. It's worth being cautious sometimes, though. There are occasions when other people's opinions are best ignored.
Connect with People During Your Travels
As well as talking to people before you travel, connecting with others while you're traveling is an excellent idea too. You can learn a lot from them and swap experiences and, most importantly, you could make some great friends. When you stay somewhere for a little longer than usual, you have more time to get to know people. You might even end up finding yourself some travel buddies and continuing your journey with them. Even if you say goodbye to them when you or they move onto your next destination, you'll still have people to hang out with while you're in each place.
Reap the Benefits of Frequent Travel
Traveling a lot within a short amount of time can help you earn some fantastic rewards. You're probably spending a lot of money with various companies, particularly if you favor a particular airline or hotel chain, and they are likely to recognize that. You can make the most of any benefits you might receive by checking out rewards programs offered by hotel groups, airlines and other companies. If you love staying at Marriott hotels, you could soon collect enough reward points to earn free stays. You can learn how to get the Southwest companion pass if you like to fly with the same airline. You could have the chance to take someone with you without having to pay for a second ticket. This is ideal if you're traveling as a couple or family, or you just want to allow someone to join you for one leg of your trip.
Explore a Range of Accommodation Options
If you're traveling for a week or two, you're probably only going to consider a couple of different options for your accommodation. Hotels or self-catered apartments or houses are top choices for short trips. However, if you're going to be traveling for longer, you can explore a few different options to make the most of your experience. In the US, you're unlikely to find a huge number of choices if you want to stay in hostels, but Europe, Asia and Australia are much more hostel-friendly. Then there are choices such as homestays, or even quirky options in some places, such as staying in monasteries, churches and convents.
Make Plans for Back Home
If you're planning to be away from home for a while, you don't want issues at home bothering you while you're trying to enjoy yourself. You can make some arrangements so that things can keep ticking along at home while you're away. First, you'll need to consider your home. If you own it, you might consider renting it out or perhaps swapping homes with another traveler. Or perhaps you'll just have someone house sit or check in now and then. You might need to tell your home insurance provider that you're going to be gone. If you rent, you'll almost certainly need to tell your landlord that you're going away. You might be allowed to sublet your home while you're gone. You need to make arrangements at work too, of course, and you need to organize your bills and mail. You could get someone to pick up your mail for you, or make sure you can get it all online.
Document Your Journey
There's something to be said for living in the moment and creating some great memories, but you also don't want those memories to fade. There is a balance you can find between not recording anything and spending the whole time looking at your phone or through the lens of a camera. Taking photos or sometimes recording video are the most popular ways of recording memories, but you need to be careful not to do it too much. If you want to avoid it, set yourself some rules about when and how you're allowed to take photos or video. For a less "in the moment" way to record your memories, why not keep a travel journal or scrapbook? You can update it at the end of the day and keep things like tickets or other mementoes in it.
Manage Your Money
You don't want to have to go home early, so be careful with your money while you're traveling. As you go, you might find you spend less on the typical tourist or traveler expenses, like tours and excursions. You can be more independent and find your own fun.
Traveling for more than a couple of weeks gives you so many new opportunities and experiences. No matter where you choose to go, you'll have an unforgettable time.