Are you dreaming of a long-term journey but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I know the feeling. My long-term trip began in January 2023 and at first, I was quite overwhelmed trying to gather all the necessary information. Especially with long-term trips that last for several weeks or months, careful preparation is essential. It’s not just about finding the right route and keeping an eye on the budget, but also taking care of all necessary documents and vaccinations in advance. In this blog post, I want to share my top 10 tips for a successful long-term journey, covering all the important aspects. In another, more detailed post, I will provide you with more tips and step-by-step instructions to ensure that nothing stands in the way of your dream trip. Let’s plan your unforgettable journey together!
Reflect on your motivation for the trip
Before you start, you should be clear about your reasons. Do you just want to relax or discover new cultures? Do you want to further your career or learn new languages? Clear goal setting can help you plan better and be more targeted on the go.
Create a rough possible travel route
You don’t have to plan every step of the journey in advance, but it is helpful to have a rough route in mind. This way, you can better estimate what costs you will incur and when you will be where. It was helpful for me to find out which countries I absolutely had to visit. It can be only one country, but it can also be three. This, of course, depends entirely on you. But it will help you to find out which countries you definitely don’t want to miss. At first, I had the problem that I wanted to see all countries. Prioritizing helped me a lot, also for future trips.
Calculate your travel budget
Take your time to calculate the budget for your long-term trip. Consider how much money you have available and how long you want to live off it. Also plan for unforeseen expenses so that you have a buffer. Combine your travel budget with your travel route. If you have chosen countries that you absolutely want to visit, they should also fit into your travel budget. There are very expensive countries like the USA, Australia or Japan, but also very cheap countries like Indonesia or Thailand, which can be on your travel route.
Check vaccinations in advance
If you are traveling to an exotic country, you should inform yourself in advance about necessary vaccinations. Make an appointment with your doctor and clarify which vaccinations are recommended. Especially if you are traveling to Latin American countries, this is important, as other countries may refuse entry if you have been to a Latin American country and cannot provide proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Some vaccinations, such as the hepatitis vaccination, must be administered up to 3 times at certain time intervals (up to half a year). Additionally, not all vaccinations can be given at the same time. So, make sure to take care of this in advance of your trip. Ideally, you should visit your doctor 6-9 months before your trip and obtain comprehensive information about it.
Apply for country-specific documents in advance
Some countries require specific documents, such as a visa or entry permit. The topic of Corona or other epidemics can also play a decisive role in entry. When I entered South Korea, I still had to apply for a so-called Q-code for Corona, even though the measures had already been lifted. Therefore, check in advance which documents you need and apply for them in good time. The topic is also important shortly before your departure, as regulations can always change.
Apply for an international driver’s license
If you want to rent a vehicle on site, you may need an international driver’s license in some countries. Apply for this in good time at your driver’s license office. In general, the application on site is quickly done. However, it can be difficult to find a date at authorities (depends on the country/area where you live). Also, pay attention to which version you are applying for, as there are two different versions of the international driver’s licence. Usually you can apply for the version from 1969, because most countries accept this version.
Pack your suitcase for a trial run
This point may sound not necessary, but you shouldn’t underestimate the trial packing. Despite some warnings, I only packed my suitcase a few days before and was pretty stressed because I packed way too much in my suitcase. Even on the day of departure, I slimmed down my suitcase again. Spare yourself this unnecessary stress and try packing at least 4 weeks before departure. Also, consider how much luggage you actually want to carry.
Book your flight ticket at least 3 months in advance
If you are planning a long-term trip, you should start booking your flight ticket early. A rule of thumb is that you should book your ticket no later than 3 months before your planned departure to get the best prices. But why should you book so early? Well, the closer the travel date approaches, the higher the ticket prices will be. Especially with long-haul flights, last-minute bargains are very unlikely. Therefore, plan early and take advantage