Long-term budget backpacking life: everyday life, is part 6 of my traveling realism’s series.
The glamour of long-term budget backpacking.
So, you’re ready to go on your first ever budget backpacking trip? You’ve done all your research and planning, you’ve read just about every travel blog there is to read. You’re excited by the glamorous pictures filled with amazing adventures from one day to the next and you want some of that action.
You’re about to swap your ‘normal’ life for a life of daily adventure. You can just imagine it, you’ll be ticking things off your bucket list day after day, you’re friends and family are going to be so jealous of your new life.
And, why wouldn’t they be jealous, while they’re stuck in their everyday life, the mundane routine, you’re going to be gallivanting around the world, going from one adventure to the next. Your days are going to be crammed with new experiences, meeting new people, drinking cocktails on paradise beaches and discovering hidden gems on a daily basis.
Well…that’s not entirely true!
Long-term budget backpacking life – Everyday life.
While there is no doubt your trip will most likely be an incredible journey full of adventures, mystery, meeting new people, discovering hidden gems, new cultures and crammed with unforgettable experiences; not everyday will be an adventure.
It’s unfortunate but a lot of travel related information like blogs, magazines, websites, videos don’t like to actually educate and prepare you for what long-term budget backpacking life is going to be like. They give you snapshots and like to ‘sell and showcase’ the idea of traveling being glamorous all the time. However they don’t tend to mention what happens in-between the adventure days.
Not trying to put you off long-term budget backpacking.
Before anybody starts to think that I’m putting a damper on budget backpacking, or trying to put you off, that is not what I’m doing. I’m just making you aware of another traveling realism.
Over the years I’ve come across so many first time budget backpackers that were so under-prepared but it wasn’t always entirely their own fault; they just didn’t know any better. They saw and read about the glamours of traveling but just weren’t clued up on what everyday budget backpacking life was going be like and felt lost.
It’s not just others, I was exactly the same before my first trip. I read all these amazing things about traveling, watched incredible videos and vlogs and my mind was bursting with endless thoughts of what my traveling life was going to be like. However it didn’t take long to realize I was not prepared for everyday long-term budget backpacking life.
So the reason for this post is not to put you off traveling but just to give you an insight into what to expect when you’re not ticking something off your bucket list.
Long-term budget backpacking life – How everyday life progresses.
First few days and week:
The first few days excitement will be bursting out of the seams, you’ll want to see and do everything all once. The adrenaline will be pumping and you literally will be bouncing off the walls. Those first few days are the days when you will be going from one adventure to the next without giving your budget a thought. Everything will be brand new, you’ll be wide-eyed and it will feel like a dream or a fantasy. Those first few days, you’ll be trigger happy with your camera to make you don’t miss a thing and you’ll be so excited to upload them to show your friends and family back home.
After a few weeks…
It will have started to sink in, you’ll have started to adjust to traveling life, things will feel more normal and you become more conscious. You’ll still be doing a lot of trips and activities but you might give yourself a couple of days to rest and re-cooperate. Now’s the time you’ll start to catch up and talk to friends and family back home, or have days when you’re hungover and need to recover. By now you probably will start to or learn to cook for yourself rather than eating out, and by this point already made some friends. After a few weeks you will understand how things work, gain better knowledge of local costs and will look after your budget better than those first few days of reckless spending.
As weeks turn into months…
Your pace will slow down, there will be days you’ll just lounge around your accommodation or just hand around with friends you’ll have made. You may find by now you’ve started to stay in places longer, you’ll be known as a ‘long-termer’ in hostels. You’ll be more methodical and conscious with your budget, like really stringent. So, there will be less needless spending and trips will be prioritized, skipping ones you don’t feel are worth the money. With that, you’ll have figured out ways to make things cheaper, haggle and take advantage of any free things on offer. If you are in one place for a prolonged amount of time, locals will even start seeing you as a local and not a tourist, which really helps the longer you travel.
When Months turn into years…
Well, traveling becomes normal life, it’s just what you do now. You’ll move at a snail’s pace, taking as long as you can in one place. Those days when you can’t be bothered to do anything will turn into weeks and even months in some cases. Your everyday life will be just living in a foreign country, and moving on or doing activities when you can be bothered to.
Truth is there are only so many touristy things you can do and more than likely be fully immersed in local culture. You will have more fun hanging around with locals, going way off the beaten track.
Other travelers now will be gobsmacked when they find out how long you’ve been traveling for and to some you will be an inspiration. The budget you started with will have evaporated by now, so you’ll work as and when you need to. You’ll be an expert on finding things for free and you will just see life from a different perspective. That wide-eyed novice backpacker you started out as will be a distant memory, in-fact reality and the normal life you once left will also be a memory.
Long-term budget traveling life: rest days
Well, it’s as simple as saying you’re only human and not a machine. You cannot physically be on the go all the time, you need rest, you need to recuperate, you need time to take in what you’re doing. You’ll be surprised at the amount of long-term travelers I meet who come armed with pack itineraries. They get burnt out within weeks of traveling or look so stressed out because they don’t give themselves time to enjoy the moment.
These are people who have every minute of every day planned out. Now, let me just say, if people are traveling just for a few days, weeks or even a month I understand why they would want to cram as much as they can in; they are on a time frame. However if there is no time-frame, remember this – Long-term budget backpacking is not a sprint; it’s a full-blown marathon. Between big trips/hokes/activities – chill out, soak in what you’ve just experienced…Enjoy the moment!
Long-term budget traveling life: Partying too much.
So, resting is one reason, however if you’re young and it’s your first trip the most likely case is you’ll have days of not doing anything because you’ve just partied to hard (backpacks and booze). There will be some people reading this and turn their nose saying ‘I don’t travel to party’. Well that’s fine but a lot of first time backpackers are young and like to party (That’s not to say only young people party). I was one of those people and although I hadn’t planned for it, I became part of a party culture during my first trip. There were a lot of lost days through partying over the years for me.
Long-term budget traveling life: Needing to work.
Something you should really comprehend before your trip is if you planning to travel long-term, and I mean months and years (some people thinks a couple of months is long-term. I’m talking 9 months+) The money you saved for your trip will not last forever. Some of you will be really good and make it stretch as far as you can, while others will be like how I used to be; useless at budgeting.
If budgeting isn’t a strength yet, you will run low or even out of money quick just like I did. However there’s no need to panic; these days come and go. There were days I didn’t even have a penny to rub but a few days later with my pockets were full. How did I replenish my finds? I worked.
When you’re long-term budget traveling and your initial money runs out there will be incredibly high and lows. However When times get tough, just stop and replenish your funds, find a job if your visa allows you to or work for food and accommodation. (Long term budget travel…How to sustain it).
Long-term budget traveling life: Emotional and mental states.
A part of your everyday traveling life will be to deal with your emotional and mental states, I’m going to be brutally honest, long-term budget travel can be excruciatingly painful at times. It can be a battle with your mind and sometimes it gets the better of you.
There will be days when you just feel down-right depressed for no reason. It could even be as simple as having a come down from doing an amazing activity the day before and from that high, you have a downer. It could be from having to say goodbye to another traveler you got close to, or starting to miss home. You may even have to deal with a breakup during your travels, or been given some bad news from home.
Whatever the reason, we all go through it, we all have to deal with it, and sometimes you just feel fragile for no reason what so ever and sometimes the best solution is just to hide from the world. Like with everything, these feelings and emotional states pass, you just have to ride it out and a few days later you will feel right as rain.
Long-term budget backpacking life: The longer you travel.
The longer you travel, there will be days and weeks you just take some time out from traveling. There are literally days when you wake up and just want to be lazy, do nothing, catch up with friends and family back home, or binge watch on TV series. And when these days come, don’t think you’re wasting your time, trust me in the long run it’s healthy to just stop. It helps with longevity.
I know some long-term travelers who just pack a few things go check in to a hotel and hide away for days to have some times to themselves. They collect, re-group, re-fresh themselves and come back a few days later.
When I first started to travel, I would see people in my hostel just lounging around, so I would ask why they’re not doing anything. The answer of “Just can’t be bothered to do anything” would shock me but over the years, that’s the same response I give when I’m asked the same question.
I just can’t be bothered to see or do anything.
‘I just can’t be bothered’ – Sounds ridiculous right? And some of you are probably laughing reading this and thinking this guys is talking shit, how can you not be bothered?….Well, it’s just what happens sometimes, it’s the truth.
There will be days when the most exciting thing in your day is what you’re going to eat or doing your laundry!
Long-term budget backpacking life – Are you ready for it?
I hope this post helped prepare you for some of the things to expect when you embark on your first long-term budget trip. If you would like know more traveling realism’s that you will face just follow this link…Long term budget traveling realism’s.
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