So you’re unsure whether long-term travel is for you, as you normally just take a few short weekend getaways here and there to nearby destinations as a way to spice up your life? Well, we can definitely help you with that difficult decision, as we have tackled a plethora of different trips of varying lengths and are actually currently sitting here writing this article on our two-year travelversary!
Getting that urge to travel long-term and explore beyond your usual comfort zone may seem like an itch you can never scratch, due to sheer worry or general anxiety about finances and/or safety in a new, overwhelming and seemingly alien destination. Well, we say just grit your teeth and do it, as you will never get the same immersion and appreciation of a country from just a mere weekend getaway!
Why do we have such confidence that you will be making the right decision? Well, if you’re still undecided, here are our top reasons for each side of the argument, and we will let you work this out for yourself!
Advantages of long-term travel
- The feeling of being part of the local community and really getting an insight into the fascinating cultural heritage can only be properly grasped when you station yourself in one place for more than three weeks minimum. It’s an amazing sensation to be recognised at a local noodle shack or coffee joint in all four corners of the world! (And, no, before you think it, we are not flat earthers!)
- True freedom to do what you like, when you like, how you like! This newborn openness may seem weird at first and your mind may still be in work mode for a wee bit, but we are sure you will learn lots of enjoyable ways to really make use of all that extra free time you have suddenly accrued and will treasure it dearly.
- You can soak up a barrel-load of experiences and useful travel information to record and blog your adventures online, wherever and whenever, so your family and friends can get a real insight into your gallivanting ways. Plus, it’s a little extra something for the memory bank! You never know, you may even be noticed and headhunted by a top travel company who finds your work inspiring and wants to share those memories on their own websites. This in turn can help towards funding those outlandish wallet-sucking travel goals you have always been striving for!
- The possibility to visit more than one destination in each country you arrive at, instead of sticking to one area, which may or may not turn out to be to your personal tastes (even after all that long and hard deliberating!) Sometimes photos in your glossy travel agent booklets unfortunately will paint a better picture than the real deal before your eyes (Mui Ne, Vietnam, we are looking at you!)
- The costs of long-term travel will go way down if you do a bit of prior research online about your new destination. House-sitting, and even cleaning a couple of hours per day at a local hostel in exchange for a bed for the night (and maybe even a bit of grub), are top recommendations from us!
Disadvantages of long-term travel
- You will spend many days living like a student, while eating bowls of noodles in scraggy old clothes to help keep your tight daily budget in check. Anything to avoid going home!
- You may be awoken in the middle of the night by strange moaning noises and shaking above/below your bunk bed at your oh-so-basic, sometimes bedbug-ridden, budget hostel.
- Finding work, whether on a working holiday visa or just general freelance work, can seem pretty darn daunting at first, but we are sure you will get there eventually if you put your full mind and effort into it. We’ve found out-of-the-blue email applications attaching CVs to be very effective indeed!
- One of the biggest downers is having to leave your loved ones behind, and for some this may be one obstacle too much! These days though, with the latest digital technology, it’s so much easier to cope when you can see friends and relatives face-to-face via a video chat.
- On a short-term holiday, you will possibly take a flight if you need to traverse around, which of course is much easier, but much more demanding on the wallet! Meanwhile, on a longer-term trip with a dwindling daily budget, you’re more likely to be roughing it on a sleeper bus or train! However, you know what? We may even prefer the latter option, as you can make such great friends on a long, bumpy stop-start road, rail or boat journey. We also love watching the world pass by, observing the vastly different daily lives of locals, as well as checking out the little towns and villages along the way that we probably would never have seen otherwise if we’d taken a different route.
So there you have it – our top five advantages and disadvantages of long-term travel! Now it’s time to make your decision… We say, just go for it and enjoy every minute. Cherish every memory developed from each unique experience and, above all, learn from them!
If you liked what you read and would like more of an insight into our globe-trotting antics, then why not go and check out our Instagram page The Nomadic Pear which is updated regularly with our latest photography, advice and info on destinations past and present!