Do you think that long-term or full-time travel is an extended vacation?
You’d better think again and approach the idea of traveling for a long time in an entirely different way. If you don’t, you’ll be setting yourself up for major disappointment.
When you take one or two yearly vacations, you estimate how much you’re willing to spend during the time you’ll be gone and then choose a destination that fits within that budget. Or you might choose a destination and then figure out whether you have enough money for that spot.
In either case, your daily spending on a vacation of a few weeks will most likely be more than it would be if you were going to be gone much longer. In fact, short-term travel allows you to have lots of splurges on accommodations, restaurants, shopping, and so on – with the idea that you’ll pay off your credit card bills when you return home to your job.
Yes, vacations provide the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to luxuries that might normally be out of reach. By giving yourself these special treats, you return to your daily routine refreshed.
However, unless you have an untapped trust fund, long-term travel doesn’t permit that kind of spending since you won’t be returning to work for quite some time. In fact, you'll probably need to change many of your current spending habits before you even depart on your adventure.
Hitting the road for an extended length of time gives you a lot of freedom in some ways, but it may require you to pull in the reins on spending for a kind of budgeting that you haven’t done before. You may not generally like to follow a budget, but it is this budgeting that will help you make your money last as long as possible.
Yes, becoming a modern nomad can be very liberating in some ways, but are you ready and willing to restrict your spending? Are you willing to forego many of the pleasures you currently take for granted — dinners and drinks out with friends, designer coffees, clothing purchases that aren’t really needed? I think you get the idea.
And then when you're actually traveling long term, you will not be splurging on yourself on a regular basis. You will certainly treat yourself from time to time, but in general, you will need to look for ways to not spend money, such as:
Does the sound of any of this bother you? Do you think that none of these tips are really necessary? Please do not be naïve. It is important to be realistic about budgeting so that you can decide whether this type of travel will suit you.
My next post But Is Long-Term Travel the Right Road for You? goes further into whether long-term travel will suit you.