Backpacking 101: You Can Afford Long Term Travel Too

Believe it or not, long term travel is not as expensive as you think. Like many things in life, there are a few upfront costs such as a plane ticket and backpack. Once you get that out of the way, you’ll need anywhere from 1000 to 1400 US dollars a month. For example, last month I traveled all over Colombia and only spent around US$1200 over the entire 31 days! That figure includes transportation, food, accommodation, beers, activities and all other travel related expenses. In New York City, my monthly rent alone was over $1200!

Vietnam - Mui Ne - Fresh Squid Noodle Soup

A $2 lunch in Vietnam, Noodle Soup with Fresh Squid

You might be thinking if you can do this too. And honestly, YOU CAN. Here’s an oversimplified checklist on what you need to do:

  1. Save some money. In general, US$1400 per month of travel. US$2000 per month if you’re going to more expensive countries like Australia or Japan.
  2. Pare down your fixed expenses. Rent out your home or sublet your flat. Get rid of your mobile phone or suspend it. Sell your car. Pay off your debts.
  3. Get vaccinated. Yellow fever, hepatitis a/b, rabies, etc.
  4. Get travel gear. You’ll need a passport, backpack, camera, clothing, bank cards, soap, travel towel, and comfortable shoes.
  5. Pick a destination. And buy a plane ticket.
  6. Quit your job. Or go on a leave of absence / sabbatical. Or if you’re a business owner, sell or lease your business.
  7. Open your mind. You’re going to go on a journey of a lifetime.

Yes, long term travel is not for everyone. But if you were even remotely considering going on a long trip (for my American readers, a long trip is more than 2 weeks!) then you definitely should go for it! And let’s be honest…instead of sitting at a desk wouldn’t you rather be sitting at the beach?

New Zealand - Auckland - Waiheke - Onetangi Beach

Onetangi Beach, New Zealand

Where would you like to go on a long trip to?

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