Maintaining long-term budget travel is a continuation of Backpacker jobs: ways to sustain long term travel.
In part 1 we looked at 5 types of backpacker jobs you can do in maintaining long-term budget travel. In that post I touched on how It’s not just about working but having the mental strength, desire and want to carry on backpacking long term. In this post we’ll dive further into them and you can keep maintaining long-term budget travel.
But first of all though, I gotta throw this out there…
We long term budget backpackers are just not that normal
Think about it, millions of people all over the world go traveling and backpacking around in their own way but then go home once their trip is done, back to normal life. However we’re the ones that don’t ever want to go home., we find a way in maintaining long-term budget travel. We look for ways to keep long term travel going, no matter the lack of funds we have. One way or another, hook or by crook, sometimes with just the clothes on our backs, with no grand plan, or even a route, we just want to roam and try maintaining long-term budget travel for as long as possible. Now does that sound normal to you?
And before you start laughing, remember you’re on this post because you want to keep long term travel going too. So you’re one of us.
Maintaining long-term budget travel
Now hold up though, before you get ahead of yourself, thinking ‘It would be so cool just to roam around the world without any baggage or worries’.
Yeah long term travel is incredible, otherwise we wouldn’t do it. I do have to pour some reality over it.
There’s no point trying to kid anybody or over-glamorize it; maintaining long-term budget travel on a tight budget is fucking hard! It’s a grind but fulfilling at the same time. It can be gruelling and amazing at the same time. There will be times you want to just give up so you need to dig deep within yourself sometimes.
You might not like hearing this but the harsh truth is not everybody can cope with it. Remember long term backpacking is no holiday.
I’ve said many, many times before, if you can cope with it and come out of the other end of the shit pipe, you will smell the roses. You will have the most unimaginable experiences and you will change as a person.
Now I’m sure you might be reading this and thinking ‘hold on, this is a travel blog shouldn’t you be promoting long term travel and not be trying to put me off?’ – Well I’m not doing either, I’m merely conveying the truth (something that seems to be missing a lot nowadays. Long-term budget travel realism’s is the other side of the traveling coin; the things that don’t get talked about.)
Just telling the truth about long term backpacking on tight budgets
So what is the truth about long term traveling on the tightest of budgets?
Long term travel is going to test you mentally, it can make or break you, it will show you what you’re really made of, help you grow as a person and without a doupt it will yank you so far out of your comfort zone. But like I mentioned above, getting through the testing times, the rewards are tenfold. It will enrich you, and even can change your life and you’ll find once you have that freedom in your own mind you’ll be able to keep long term travel going.
If you truly want to know what you are capable of, then long term traveling on the tightest of budgets will show you in no uncertain terms. Personally, over the years I have learned more about myself and my character than I ever thought possible. And that’s why I keep maintaining long-term budget travel to this day.
Long term traveling has the power to change you and your outlook on life, it can help you appreciate the little things, build your character and strengthen you. It will put you through the ringer but you’ll be better off for it – Or you won’t. Long term traveling is like being thrown in the deep and you either learn to swim or you sink.
How to keep maintaining long-term budget travel
In Part 1 of maintaining long-term budget travel: Backpacker jobs – we covered the type of jobs we can do to replenish our funds and to keep long term travel going. That’s just one side of it. The other side to maintaining long-term budget travel is on you.
There are a number of factors that come into play to maintaining long-term budget travel, some are basic, some are on your mentality and others depend on your willingness to adapt and learn.
The Passports/Visas you can get go a long way in maintaining long-term budget travel
First of all, how long you can keep maintaining long-term budget travel in one country or region depends on the strength of your passport. It will determine what countries you can travel to, how long you can stay for, and whether you need a visa or not.
For example, I’m British so I’m very lucky as my passport allows me to travel to most countries in the world with no problem. In certain countries I can stay longer than others, in certain countries there is no need for a visa, I can work in certain countries and I can travel freely through Europe (That might change because of –Brexit.)
Check if you need a visa with Visa-Central
Working is a factor in maintaining long-term budget travel
The second basic factor in maintaining long-term budget travel is having to work while you travel. It’s unfortunate (especially for those of us who hate it) but there’s no other way around it; traveling requires money. Sure you can save and start with a base and try to do things as cheap as possible but if you’re planning on traveling long-term then eventually your money is going to dry up.
Head over to Backpacker jobs: ways to sustain long term travel for a more in depth look working.
The mental side of maintaining long-term budget travel
Your passport strength, visa options and willingness to work will be your foundations but the other factors in maintaining long-term budget travel depend on you, your adaptability and willingness to learn.
Long term backpacking is A learning curve
Traveling – any form of it is a learning curve and it’s the same for your mindset too. As a long term traveler every day is an education. Sure, there will be things you already know but It’s perfectly normal to be naive to certain situations too. Just remember you’ll pick up things/life-skills along the way, so allow yourself to constantly evolve and adapt. Even somebody like me who is regarded as seasoned in long term backpacking still learns everyday I’m on the road.
That’s the beauty of long term backpacking; the way we travel, the way we think, the way our minds expand is ever-changing.
Keeping your planning loose is key to maintaining long-term budget travel
I’m sure you’ve heard this before and for good reason. For us long term travelers It’s so important to keep our plans loose. Remember, Long term traveling is a marathon and inevitably at some point during your trip plans will change.
Planning loosely has a number of benefits to you; it keeps you flexible for when things change or situations occur. There will be times you change your mind (you are allowed to change your mind.) You might not like a place or on the other hand fall in love with it and want to stay longer; these things can happen.
Planning loosely also saves you from burning out too quickly, a big reason why some travelers struggle in maintaining long-term budget travel is that they try to do too much too quickly. Trying to be on the go all the time stresses people out, and in most cases, people don’t get to appreciate what they’re doing or seeing at that moment in time.
Plan loose, research well!
However In saying that, you shouldn’t get planning and having a heavy itinerary confused for research. Doing good research can really make a difference to a long term travelers journey and saves on needless spending. There’s a difference in having the knowledge of a country to trying to cram everything it has to offer in too quickly.
This should probably have been at the top of the pile. It shocks me on the number of people I meet traveling that have ZERO common sense. And, it’s those who have no common sense that ends up getting into difficulties and trouble.
As a budget backpacker, more often than not you’re going to in and around locals, sometimes you’ll be in less advanced or poor countries so don’t be a tourist, don’t flash your money or belongings around. Don’t make it obvious that you’re a tourist, don’t think you’re better than them, don’t act like you own their country and be respectful of certain countries, beliefs and values – You are in their country!
Quite simply, don’t be an idiot when traveling, use your common sense!
The majority of people who start backpacking either already have or want to open their minds. People want to learn new cultures, experience new sights, sounds, and tastes. At the end of the day we all want to experience something new otherwise why would we travel?
However in saying that there will times and situations when you come across or experience a culture shock. It could be something you’ve grown up believing is wrong but to natives it’s normal; this will happen at times and even though it’s hard, these are the times you need to try to keep an open mind.
If you’ve never stayed in backpacker hostels, especially party hostels, this may be your biggest culture shock. Anything and everything can happen in them. What you need to remember is, the other travelers are just being free, letting go, so it’s not your place to judge. I’m not saying you have to do the same as them, just keep an open mind.
Open your mind, go with the flow and don’t judge others – but as mentioned above use your common sense.
Don’t be fussy
This was a huge thing to learn for me personally. I used to be very fussy, especially with food before I started backpacking. However over the years I’ve learnt to just relax, let go and and not be fussy. Funny thing is whenever I go home I turn back to being fussy, but once I’m on the road backpacking, that fussiness just leaves me.
So, if you’re somebody who’s quite fussy, you should learn to do the same. Now I’m not saying it will happen overnight, it does take time and sometimes it can be a struggle but as long as your willing to try and let go you’ll be fine.
And it’s not just with food, remember you’re a budget traveler, quality all around is going to be lower, hostels are not hotels, cleanliness will be lower in places, hygiene is none existent in some places – All these things tie in with keeping an open mind.
As budget travelers sometimes you just have to suck it up, you don’t have a choice, and I don’t mean to sound nasty but expectations may need to be lowered and be less fussy or you won’t last very long.
Learn to lose your inhibitions
This is one of those that definitely comes with time and the more you travel and will help in maintaining long-term budget travel. The more you do the more relaxed you are and the more you know how certain dynamics work. Over time you get used to not caring about certain things, as you become more open-minded, lose your fussiness, your inhibitions will start to fall away to.
I’ve met so many people over the years who have started off with being self-conscious, cagey, fussy, riddled with anxiety but slowly over time they learned to let go. Again, it happens with time, not everybody can strip away all their inhibitions straight away, some people force themselves to do it, while to others it happens naturally. From experience though let me tell you when it does happen – it feels like the shackles are off and you’ve been set free.
Becoming flexible, adaptable, resourceful and creative is key to maintaining long-term budget travel.
A key to maintaining long-term budget travel is to become flexible, adaptable to situations and circumstances and resourceful.
The flexibility comes in handy when things don’t go to plan, and there are times when plans just go out the window. If you’re flexible then it won’t matter too much, you can just change the course of direction.
There will be times when you have to adapt to certain situations if something unexpected pops up, be ready and adapt to it. Like I always say, be prepared not to be prepared. Things will happen, they might go wrong but you have to suck it up, learn and adapt.
One of the biggest keys to maintaining Long-term budget travel is learning to become resourceful, use what’s around you, seek out bargains, get creative in your thinking. For example, it there if a tour you want to do but can’t afford it, look at other ways of doing it, trust me where there’s a will there’s a way. Take the dirt cheap local option rather than the comfier nationalised transport option or walk to places if possible. ( I walked through the andes to Machu Picchu and not on the Inca trail with countless other budget backpackers).
The word ‘FREE‘ will become the best thing you can come across and like a dog sniffing out a bone you will be able to sniff out anything that is free.
Keep your eyes open and lean from other budget travelers
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or if you’re a seasoned budget traveler, you never stop learning, and there’s no better way of learning than to keep your eyes open and to learn from other budget travelers. You should never think that you know it all, there will always be methods, ways to adapt and evolve to make your traveling life easier.
You should bear in mind when you start off budget traveling, you will be a novice. You’re not going to know much of how budget traveling works but over time these things will come to you, you’ll gain the experience, you’ll become savvy and all around you’ll be able to keep long term backpacking going.
Over the years, having met some incredible and inspirational people, it didn’t matter if they were in their first few days or had like me backpacked for years; they’ve taught me things that I wouldn’t have known myself. There are people I’ve met who were 100% better than me at managing their budgets, people who found cheaper ways to travel. There are those that just have a better understanding of things around them that others. So keep your ears, eyes and mind open and learn from them and it will help maintaining long-term budget travel.
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