When heading off on a two week holiday abroad, preparation may be a little stressful, but it’s also relatively easy - a swimsuit, weather-appropriate clothing, and the right currency are all you really care about once you’re out there. Chances are, if you’ve forgotten anything, you can either buy from your holiday destination or you can wait until you get back home. When travelling over a longer period, however, things become a little trickier. Not impossible by any means, but there are some additional aspects you’ll want to take into account before heading off for months or years at a time.
Plan Your Route
If you’ve only got limited time and need to be at a departure port on a certain day at a certain time, you’ll want to plan a route that takes you from your starting destination to your end point in an efficient manner - preferably a route that allows for at least an overnight stop at your departure city to allow for any delays along the way. Also keep in mind there are travel restrictions in place between certain countries, such as Cuba and the United States, for example, so to avoid running into any issues with the law, make sure you pre-plan a route that doesn’t require passing between two conflicting destinations.
Hostels, hotels, motels and B&Bs are usually the obvious choice for short stays abroad, but what about when it comes to long term stays? For travellers on a budget, campsites may be the perfect option, although you’ll want to check in advance that the areas you’re staying in are safe. Perhaps a more secure option are hotels and motels with discounts for long term travellers, or ‘residents’ as some hotels say. These hotels often have onsite laundry facilities and common rooms to make long term travel sociable, easy, and stress-free. If you’re looking to be more comfortable during your trip, consider a short term apartment lease. You’ll have all the comforts of home, without needing to commit to a full on rental contract.
Get the Right Visa
Be aware that some countries require a visa to be obtained prior to travel, while others allow visitors to enter the country without a visa providing they stay for only a limited amount of time. The United States, for example, allows visitors to enter with a visa waiver form (ESTA) for up to 90 consecutive days at a time. Going to Hong Kong? You can stay visa-free for up to 6 months. However, if you’re travelling to Nepal, you will need a visa, no matter how long you’re staying. The Nepalese Government requires all visitors, except those carrying Indian passports, to obtain a visa before being allowed to officially enter the country.
When packing for 6 months, many travellers feel like they need to pack everything, including the kitchen sink! However, packing for 6 months or even a gap year abroad should really be no more different than packing for 2 weeks - just make sure to find laundry facilities so you don’t start to stink! The only real difference in terms of packing is that you should consider any medications you take an ensure you either have a good supply to last you throughout your trip, or are equipped with medical information for your destination to allow you to pick up any necessary prescriptions.
Preparing for long term travel is only as challenging as you make it. If you do your research beforehand and are prepared to travel only with what’s necessary, you should find packing for a six month trip just as easy as for a two week holiday.
This article lists some handy hints to make preparing for long term travel easy and stress-free.
About the Author: Rebecca Brown is a long term traveler who indulges in travel writing.