I know, the idea of travelling endlessly is THE DREAM, right?
Seeing new sights every day and visiting incredible places all the time could never get boring, right?
Well, the answer is yes… and no.
Constant travel can be extremely overwhelming on the body and the mind, so if you’re going to be on the road for an extended amount of time, or even endlessly, you’re going to need some survival tips in your back pocket.
Trust me on this one.
So, while long term travel is amazing, just be aware that you will have some days where it feels the exact opposite, and all you want to do is go home.
If you do find yourself feeling that way, don’t immediately book the next available ticket home!
Follow this long term travel survival guide and give yourself some time to feel better before making any rash decisions.
Here are my top 8 tips for surviving long term travel.
1: Take rest days
You don’t need to be constantly on the go at all times!
When you first start your journey, you’ll probably have a whole list of things that you want to see.
But you don’t have to do it all in the first days or weeks!
You may have a bit of culture shock, you may be tired after a long flight, and you may be so outside your comfort zone that you’re wondering why this was a good idea in the first place.
Give yourself some time to adjust and take it slow to start with.
And, once you’re well into the swing of travelling, make sure you take the occasional rest day so as not to overwhelm yourself.
There is no shame in taking a day to stay in bed and read a book, check out social media or watch a movie if it’ll keep you going in surviving long term travel.
The outside world will still be there tomorrow!
2: Develop a hobby
Now that you’re taking regular rest days, you might want to find something to do in that time other than binge-watch Netflix.
You could learn a new language, start drawing scenes from your favourite travel experiences, keep a journal, learn an instrument… the options are endless.
Bonus if your new hobby can also keep you entertained on long journeys!
Aside from killing time on rest days or long trips, having a hobby will keep your mind active and give you a sense of purpose.
3: Embrace slow travel
Continual travel can become very tiring.
I’ve come to love slow travel a lot more than moving quickly from place to place, seeing only the main attractions.
If you find yourself in a place that you think you could stay in for a while, do it!
Get to know the people who run your accommodation, or the local cafe. Take a wander in areas that you wouldn’t have seen if you were just passing through. Find out where the locals eat and have a true cultural experience.
Maybe you could find an opportunity to work in exchange for accommodation and food, or house-sit for someone?
If you can live like a local, you’ll find a whole different way to experience travel.
4: Stay fit & healthy
I always miss home the most when I’m not feeling well.
If you fall ill when you’re at home, you know you can spend time in bed with family and friends nearby to take care of you if needed, and an appointment with a doctor is easily obtained.
It’s different when you’re travelling; the local doctor may not speak your language, you might be staying in a dorm room where it’s impossible for you to get proper rest, and it may be difficult to access the medication you need.
Staying fit and healthy may not be on your mind too much, but it will benefit you in the long run if you don’t forget your regular fitness routine. This is so important for surviving long term travel.
Eating lots of street food, lazing on beaches and drinking beer will take its toll on your body after a while!
Check out my article on how to stay healthy while travelling for more tips.
5: Party! (In moderation)
In my first few months of long term travel, in my early 20’s, I partied A LOT.
And I have to say, it was great! I met so many awesome people and I have some incredible memories from that time.
BUT, on the other hand, it meant that I missed watching sunrises in beautiful destinations.
Sometimes I woke up too close to checkout time at my hostel and had to pack in a sweaty, panicky, messy, hungover state.
I often had a bus or a boat to catch the next day and spent the whole journey fighting nausea.
I was always very tired and brought myself close to burnout on more than one occasion.
These days, I still enjoy the occasional party, but I focus more on what I can get out of my time in a place rather than how many bars I can visit.
So, yes, party. But do it in moderation and don’t let it rob you of other experiences.
And be safe!
6: Don’t compare
Believe it or not, it is actually possible to become desensitized or even bored of the incredible things that you see while travelling.
Try to stay aware of this and don’t stop appreciating beauty, talent and wonder when you see it.
Don’t skip an ancient temple just because you’ve visited Angkor Wat, or avoid a beautiful mountain pass because you’ve seen mountains every day for the past week.
Treat each experience as new and exciting and don’t compare it to others.
7: Find some purpose
Wandering aimlessly around the planet is wonderful. We gain so much from these amazing experiences, but what can we do to give something back?
Try looking into joining a volunteering program, or take part in a work exchange through the likes of WWOOF or Workaway.
If your visa allows it, you could even find a bit of paid work.
Not only does this give back to the community and the economy, but it provides you with a sense of purpose, which can be essential in surviving long term travel.
Plus, you could end up with a bit more travel money, or free accommodation and food for a while!
And the memories from those experiences can last for a lifetime.
8: Check in with family & friends
Keep a healthy connection going with your friends and family back home: people who you know will be there to support you through tough times and share your excitement over the incredible things you’ve done.
I say “healthy connection” because I think that if you’re in constant contact with home, your mind will still be there and not fully present in the moment.
It could even make you homesick, meaning that you won’t be enjoying yourself at all.
Set up a weekly or bi-weekly check-in schedule so that your loved ones know where you are, and that you’re happy and safe.
This will also mean that you’ll have so much more to talk to them about when you do speak!
Surviving long term travel will actually become easier over time, until it’s second nature and just becomes regular life to you!
There are always tough days when you really miss home comforts. But then you’ll find yourself on top of a mountain with incredible views, or sitting in a beach hut eating delicious local food, and you’ll realise that this nomad life is totally worth it.
I hope that these long term travel tips have helped you realise that this is the lifestyle that you’ve dreamed of, that it is possible and that there are ways to get past the bad days.
Is there any long term travel advice that you’d add to this list? What’s your favourite way of surviving when the going gets tough? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
Want more like this? Check out these articles:
- How to stay healthy while travelling
- Travel Safety Guide: 12 tips that could save your life
- Workaway: an introduction to work exchange
All images in this post are the property of lastminutewanders.com
Love this guide! Especially the rest day advice and slow travel! I started slow travel without knowing it was a thing when I was young and it is the best way to really see a city and culture! And rest! Read a book by the beach or stay in your bed, sometimes we need this me time!
I completely agree 🙂 slow travel is actually relatively new to me but I love it and I definitely want to do more of it in the future!
Great tips! I feel like taking rest days is most important for me.
I often get less excited about where I am and what I am doing if I don’t take time off.
– And that beats the purpose of travel. Right?
Exactly! If you’re too worn out to even acknowledge where you are, you’re not doing yourself or the place justice! I remember when I first started travelling I wanted to do everything straight away. But now I much prefer taking it slow and allowing myself some breaks 🙂
Love it, especially the last tip, I often forget to do it and I’ve really neglected my friends while traveling!
It’s easy to do without realising isn’t it? I know I’ve neglected my friends and family at times too because I’m so busy doing things that I just forget! But I always feel so much better after talking to them, so it’s definitely a good thing to remember 🙂
The rest days are SO important!! I also always take vitamins on trips and leading up to trips, so that is sound advice!
Vitamins are a great idea! I think we often don’t realise how our bodies suffer when we’re on the go all the time, so a little something extra as a boost is greatly appreciated. Thanks for the tip! 🙂
Love this guide! I’ve been travelling long term, almost 2 years, and I definitely recognise a lot of this. It’s important to remember!
Thanks Amanda! I’m glad you can relate to the tips, it’s definitely important 🙂