If you’re considering a gap year, trip around the world, or taking a few weeks off to travel, this is my travel guru advice for long-term trips abroad. If you’re a digital nomad or part of the expat community, this is for you too! And if you’re looking for more short-term travel advice, then check out “Travel hacks & tips” and “8 ways to save money WHILE traveling“!
Why am I giving you this advice? My bf and I packed up our stuff in Texas back in September 2018, and we have been traveling since then! After spending anywhere from 1 week to 3 months in new places, I’ve gained some experience in how to make long-term travel work. We started in Mexico and now we’re in South America making our way down to Argentina!
I’m sharing my knowledge with you for the same reason I created this blog and my travel planning service – to encourage and inspire YOU to travel more! And of course, feel free to leave in the comments below any additional advice you want to share with us!
These are 10 tips to make long term travel work for you:
1. Before booking, message Airbnb host to check for internet speed and hot water.
(If hot showers are as important to you as they are to me!). We stay in Airbnbs instead of hotels to have more space, to have kitchen access for home cooked meals, and to save $ since most hosts will apply a discount for stays longer than one week. Click for first timer Airbnb credit!
2. Take a double look at your monthly recurring expenses back at home.
Don’t pay for membership fees that you won’t be using for a few months, you can always re-establish once you return. Another option is to switch to the most basic plan to minimize your expense.
3. Travel with more than one credit card and debit card.
I’ve gotten my cc held hostage by an ATM machine in a foreign country. I’ve had my cc denied while making a purchase despite the travel notifications in place. Having more than one card at hand solves this issue while you resolve the issue with the other one.
4. Support your local entrepreneurs.
Did you find a local neighborhood gem throughout your stay? Really pleased with the tour company you hired? Leave a Google or Tripadvisor review. If you can, snap a picture to upload as well. This simple act goes a long way for the business owner!
5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean your body can take a long term break from reality. Stay hydrated, eat well, exercise. Also you don’t have to let go of your workout routine if you have one. These are two options:
Option A) At home work outs, I personally prefer Kayla Itsines BBG.
Option B) Inquire at your neighborhood gym about day passes. I paid $2 per day for gym access in Medellin, Colombia and $6 per group exercise class in Lima, Peru.
6. Pack light, try realllly hard not to overpack.
Because whatever else you need you can buy, haha. Check out the list of travel related gifts that are worth taking with you!
7. Don’t leave your tech gadgets at home. We love our Amazon Echo Dot!
I realize this is a “nice to have” and not a “need to have”, but it has saved us from construction or neighborhood noise while working at home. It’s so light and affordable that I strongly recommend the investment. We get to jam out to our music anytime, anywhere!
8. Make friends abroad!
You can join language exchange groups to meet locals and travelers, this helps you build a community around you away from home. You can use Facebook, meetup.com or couchsurfing to find them in almost any city!
9. Plan (a little) ahead.
Booking about one month in advance is a good idea to secure better prices or secure entrance tickets to major sites. For example, we booked accommodation two months in advance for Baranquilla Carnaval and barely had any options left (second largest carnaval in the world). I went to Oktoberfest in Munich at the last minute and had to sleep at the train station because there was NO AVAILABILITY anywhere in the city…. Trust me, you don’t want to happen to you!
10. Stay up to date with the local news.
I usually rely on news updates through my phone – but consider picking up the local newspaper and airline magazines. You’ll find a different perspective and local news to help you understand your surroundings and even find out about concerts, events, etc.
And most importantly… have fun!!! This is a once in a lifetime experience – enjoy it to the fullest. Never have I ever heard someone say “I really regret traveling”! If not now, then when?
Signed after drinking too many coffee cups in Colombia,
Salma Travel Guru
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