How To Prepare For Long-Term Travel

Hi, Taran and Hannah here, two young English dreamers about to embark on a life of travel. Follow our story on Nomader How Far as we embark on the journey of a lifetime to Australia, share our experiences and learn from our advice as you begin a nomadic life.

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“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”; a slightly irritating phrase, most likely used by an overenthusiastic boss in a business meeting. Nevertheless, it’s true, that whilst you can have the best of intentions when you embark on your travelling adventure, you might find yourself faltering along the way. Why? Because you failed to prepare for a life of travel before you left home. And we aren’t talking about not ordering a visa, or forgetting your insect repellent, we are talking about being mentally prepared, psychologically primed and ready.

We believe, life as a nomad does not begin the day you set off with your backpack and a ticket, it begins when you decide that you want to change your life and leave home for a less comfortable but more fulfilling experience out there, in the great unknown.

The first step to preparing for any big trip, like ours in 2015 when we are heading off to Australia, is making small changes in your lifestyle, so that when you are suddenly existing on a tiny budget, it is less of a shock to the system. It’s like when people decide to go on a diet to lose weight; if they think it will just be about doing certain simple things daily but haven’t accounted for the willpower and focus needed, then they simply wont succeed.

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 #1 STOP SPENDING NOW!

The first step to preparing for your travel life is realizing you will be existing on a tight budget, which will allow you to travel sustainably, for a long time, and to many great places.

You are likely saving as much as you can for your trip, spending many a day sitting at your desk at work dreaming of the beaches, the food and the fun, in whatever far-flung destination you are heading off to. But are you really being as restrictive as you can in your spending? Could you lower your outgoings further? Are you still enjoying the ‘finer things in life’ whilst neglecting to save for a truly awesome experience in a foreign land? If you intend to live on $25 dollars a day once you are travelling, its best to get used to this kind of spending now.

The travelling life can be a big adjustment, leaving behind the relative safety, ease and predictability of your friends, family and a regular income. Once you are unleashed into the world, you don’t want to end up overspending or letting your precious pennies disappear fast just to create some semblance of the comfort and luxury you are used to; you won’t be able to have all the stunning adventures that often don’t cost a thing if you spend too much from the get-go! Also, the more you save today, the quicker you are on that plane/boat/bus to a different life.

#2 LET GO OF YOUR MATERIAL THINGS.

Travelling is about gathering memories, friends and cultural understanding, not objects. The accumulation of possession’s is something society instils in us, when we are encouraged to spend to have the latest gadgets and fashion, enticed by the cheap throw-away nature of the things sold in the high street shops. Its understandable that we acquire lots of random things, as well as sentimental objects, representing good memories, but much of what we keep is truthfully useless to us.

That’s why we have begun the process of recycling lots of our stuff, finding new homes for things we once purchased but now see little point in keeping, seeing as we will be leaving them to gather dust for a few years in 2015.

Our rule is, if we haven’t used it recently and wont be using it again, we get rid of it; clothes, things we wore once two years ago, and DVD’s of films we will never watch again, books, once read rendered useless if not pretty on a shelf. It’s not so much being ruthless as it is adjusting our perspective, to one of needing few material objects, because only a select few items will have any purpose once we hit the road.

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 #3 TRY NEW THINGS, MEET NEW PEOPLE.

You might think that when you travel, the natural thing will be to make friends and be confident trying new experiences, but if you approach life now with hesitation and fear, the same attitude might stick with you when you travel.

We are currently trying couch-surfing in our home country, which is where you host strangers from across the world, in your own home, allowing them to travel cheaply. But the experience is also forcing us to get more comfortable talking to people from different cultural backgrounds, who speak foreign languages and thus see the world from a totally different perspective. We also hope to couch-surf ourselves, here in the U.K. before we leave, to get ourselves used to that element. I (Hannah) am hesitant, but we intend to couch-surf A LOT in Australia, so it’s best I get over my fears now!

Essentially, we are breaking out of our shells now, easing ourselves into the travel lifestyle, where we want to happily meet new people, give them an insight into our culture, and ultimately, make the most of travelling.

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 AHHH, I AM FINALLY WHERE I WANT TO BE.

 It’s great if you feel ready and prepared as you are, right now. It’s fine if you think travelling will be a walk in the park, but an optimistic outlook does not change the often stressful adjustment to the realities of travelling. We invite you to take the above steps, in the hope you will get used to the nature of a nomadic life, but also start enjoying a simpler existence now. Maybe you will feel so ready to travel when the time comes, so that the day you arrive at your destination, it will actually feel like you are coming home, finally able to enjoy a more real and deep life experience that you have always dreamed of.

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If you would like to join us as we prepare to head out to the land down under, come on over to nomaderhowfar.com or follow us on our social sites :).

How do you prepare yourself for long-term travel?

(Share your tips in comments)

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67 Comments

  • Great tips, and many people could benefit from them, not just the long term travelers. I know that for us, as part-time travelers, travel has taught us to let go of our attachment to material things. We’ve simplified our lives and possessions and feel a lot happier since! :)

    • Hi katie,
      Many thanks :)
      That’s great to here! It’s been a real relief living a bit more simply, even with 6 months to go before we leave :)
      The less you have, the less you need, the less you spend we have found :)

    • Thank you sweetie. So true! I’m living a local life now and although Amsterdam seems to be a very expensive city, I can still manage to save some money on my travels :-).

  • Woah you guys are coming here? What are the details???? Hopefully we can meet up! feel free to ask any questions on Australia! and what’s this? A SECOND blog? How do you guys keep it all goiung?

    • Hi Andrew! We are Taran and Hannah who run Nomad’er How Far :) haha! This is our guest post for eTramping :P

      Glad you enjoyed reading it tho, we are heading to Aus in March and we can wait! Head over to our site if you would like to know more :)

  • This makes sense. Indeed, one of the biggest battles is fought in the brain. I couldn’t agree more when you said that a person should be mentally prepared to what awaits in long-term travel. Thank you fo such brilliant advice.

    • We absolutely agree. Theres so much to experience that costs hardly anything/nothing at all. I think you realize the value of every penny especially when you enforce a tight budget on yourself. It can be challenging but the more frugal we are the less bothered we are about material things. And we will get to our savings goal sooner :)

  • I love the idea of couchsurfing while in your own country – that’s such a good move. As well as getting used to living on a budget. I think its super tempting to live big before you leave and while its fun… its not super smart

    • :) We have lots of places we’d like to visit in England before we leave and couch-surfing is probably the only way we can do so on a budget.
      It’s funny, i think to myself, “when can I next splurge?” and i realized, it will be when we go traveling, and not before. Hard to take but we are determined!

  • Hi guys, nice to meet you.

    It sounds as though you have the right mindset in preparing for your trip. It should be an epic adventure and I adore Australia.

    “Failing to plan is planning to fail” is what my father always told me as a child and it still rings true today. It is great advice no matter what the situation.

  • Good luck and all the best for planning your trip! I agree with your preparation tips and can relate to them all! Have the time of your life :)

  • Great post! I’m Scott from China. I’m also a world traveler and I have been running my travel blog in Chinese for several months. Long term traveling and travel blogging are still quite new to Chinese audience but I would love to share the beauty of the world to more Chinese fellow travel lovers. I have been thinking of translating some great articles to Chinese for a long time and I think this post is a very good start. I’m wondering if you allow me to translate this article and post in on my website. Of course I will also leave the reference. I’m waiting for your reply. Thanks and safe travels!

  • Terrific advice, even if the whole failing to plan is planning to fail scenario sounds out of place for the adventurer….. it’s true. Best of luck on your travels guys….. let me know when you reach Australia it’d be great to get in touch.

  • Great advice, thank you for sharing! I keep trying to cut down on my spending and failing, but when you think of it this was it’s definitely more encouraging – will give it another try!

  • I wish we had done these adjustments before we started our long journey last February. We could have prevented several hard moments…The changes in us happened anyway, the process lasted a bit longer though :-)

    • Well its great that the changes happened for you, I would imagine its easier while you are on the road though.. As at home its harder to do things like spending less and having fewer things when you have the space and the income.

      Where are you travelling? :)

      • I think every time you want to buy something not necessary, you should think of the number of days you could spend in South-East Asia from that money, at the ocean, breathing in the beautiful salty air…:)I swear I don’t miss any of my clothes or shoes from home, and we have been on the road since February.
        We are on Koh Phangan, Thailand right now, and we are totally in love with this island!
        Another thing that we learnt on the hard way: don’t overplan, don’t buy tickets in advance, you never know where you find your dream place and want to stay longer than you planned before. RElax and enjoy! ;-)

      • Sounds amazing!! How long do you think you will stay there?
        Also how cheap is it? :)

        And yea we agree, that’s why we have only made loose plans for what to do while in Aus, which will allow us to go with the flow :P

      • WE are staying on Koh-Phangan until the end of November. My hubby is going to do a yoga teacher training here. :)
        The island is not the cheapest, but you can really find cheap places to eat or stay. If you need any tips, let me know!average price for a meal is 100-150 Baht (3-5 dollars), but you can eat for 2 dollars as well if you know where to go. We pay less than 10 dollars/night for accommodation (the 2 of us), and we have air conditioning, fridge and swimming pool :) Of course if you look for a short term accommodation it costs more than this.
        What is your first stop? Australia? Are you going to do a working holiday there?

    • Absolutely! You are kinda setting yourself up for a bit of trouble if you live lavishly at home, because then on the road that isn’t really an option! And that could sting! I have actually been living SO frugally that travelling will probably be the time i loosen the purse strings a tad!

  • Great tips indeed! Also I mean what is the point of spending up all my money for an extra house which i will probably never live in and curb all my travel dreams whilst I can still travel. I am Gonna bookmark this article on my husbands browser :P

  • Great article. I would love to travel full time like you but maybe I have too much holding me back. Maybe when my blog is making me thousands will I chance it!!

  • Wonderful insight indeed! Super valuable content for all travelers. These are the little things that can strip the joy form any adventure, big or small. Preparatio is not only critical but can be enjoyable if done with the right frame of mind. Great stuff, keep it up

    • Thank you Melisa :)
      I’m sure people do the opposite and very much go into their travels with pure spontaneously – why that might open you up to more adventure, it can also make it harder to sustain long-term travel, especially as a couple!

  • A great preparation is always go with a successful story. These ideas are great for long time travelers and short time also. Travelers from around the world can implement these tips for their travel life making interesting. Hope you all will be a great traveler with the tips and share your travelling story.

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