Planning for a long-term trip is a lot different from planning for your regular two week holiday.
The idea of being away for more than six months, up to a year or sometimes even longer is a lot to take in when you start to imagine the details.
If embarking on such a trip is something you have set your mind upon doing, or you’re simply interested in exploring, then we have just what you need.
Sharing is caring and we have decided to share with you a complete checklist of the aspects you can cover along with practical tips to get the organization and planning of your journey from the onset of your decision to take the trip, to your moment of departure running with ease.
Checklist of Practical Tips to Plan a Long-Term Journey
Step 1: Decision and Destinations (A Year Before)
Knowing the exact reason you have decided to embark on a long-term journey will definitely help you mold your trip. Do you wish to travel to trace family routes, tour an array of cooking schools, volunteer abroad, or immerse yourself in another culture that is completely different from yours?
Or do you simply just love to travel because that is the kind of person you are? Then you would need to consider your routes with a level head.
Do Your Research: Make a list of the destinations you would like to visit. This is a very exciting stage as it will get you motivated and inspired when you see stories and articles regarding your destinations.
Visit travel blogs, read guidebooks, check out tourist board websites… Do you need a visa? What are the costs? Get as much public transport information about your destination as you can. Research also about backpack prices and grab a general idea of things to do.
Cost Estimation and Budget: Still falling under your research, you would notice that the cost of living in some countries is higher than others. For example, getting a bed in a Vietnamese hostel could cost you about $2.50 and $1.50 for beer, while getting a bed in Singapore, which is in the same continent, could cost you about $11 for starters and $8.37 for beer.
Your research will help you plan an estimate of your costs and guide you while you take into consideration how long you wish to stay in certain places, flight prices, the sort of experience you wish to have, accommodation, food, tours and transport.
If these aspects can be covered early enough, it will help you know how much you need to start saving for your trip. With this acquired information, you can then proceed to create your budget, cut off unnecessary expenses and find ways to gain extra money to match your estimation.
Step 2: Work and Saving (6 Months to a Year Before)
Soon as your destinations and budget have been prioritized, you can begin saving in anticipation of your journey. Taking on an extra job would help you greatly in this aspect (if it can fit into your schedule, then why not?).
If you have a single account, consider opening another one or two, so you can channel any extra money you have into them. You can also
- Cut back on any unnecessary expenses
- Sell items that you no longer have need for
- Sell items that may be rendered useless by the time you return from your trip
- Avoid window shopping
- If you smoke, cut down on it
- If you drink, cut down on it
Write down how much you spend on a regular day for about a week, and then find out how much you can actually live off.
If you cut back on some of the above mentioned items, then put that money into one of your recently opened saving accounts. Selling some of your items would not only help you raise some more money, but it also guarantees you have less things to move.
Find Cheap Flights and Other Forms of Transport: (Major Tip) If you are searching for flight prices on your computer, make sure to find your flights using incognito mode or private browsing so websites cannot remember your previous searches and increase their prices if they deem you as desperate.
Search for the websites of the local airlines, train and bus lines of the countries you intend on going and visit their websites directly. It would not hurt to sign up for their newsletters and emails so you can stay abreast with any deals or discounts they might throw your way.
Step 3: Passport and Visa (Less Than 6 Months)
Passport Check: If you do not have a passport, this would be the time to apply for one. If you do have one, you will need to ensure that it does not or will not expire during the duration of your trip.
Make arrangements for another one if it will or if there wouldn’t be enough space to contain all the visas and stamps you would be collecting on your journey.
Immunization Check: Many countries require you to be immunized and show proof before entering, it is important to know if any of these countries are on your destination list.
Visit your doctor early enough to collect your immunization shots, as some of them have a 6 month interval between them.
Visa Application: Ensure that you do check if any of the countries you’ll be travelling to would require a visa and apply for it on time to save you any embarrassment and last minute panic.
Set Contract Termination Dates: Give notice to any one you have signed contracts with, this could include your employer, your gym or mobile provider.
Purchase Travel Insurance: One of the most important things to acquire when embarking on any form of travel is your travel insurance. Anything could go wrong on your journey and if you are not sufficiently insured, your trip could take a downward spiral.
Remember to specify and find out if your insurance policy covers any risky activities such as scuba diving or skiing.
Get a Travel Money Card: Get in touch with your bank to see if they can provide you with a travel money card. This enables you preload with foreign currency and then link the card to your internet banking account. It’ll help you manage your finance in the long run.
Hold Some Foreign Currency: It is a good idea to have at hand some local currency so you can start your adventure as soon as you touch down.
Airports don’t usually give you a good exchange rate, so it is advisable to get some from your bank before you leave.