As you will know if you follow mine and my family’s travels, we love visiting and exploring new places. Luckily for us, we have the means to go where we want, when we want. While most of the time we take short trips – a week here or a fortnight there, the idea of planning a longer trip is rather appealing.
Recently, lots of my traveler friends have been planning longer trips, ranging from a month to a year in length. This has made me wonder about planning a slightly longer trip of my own – hopefully, in the future I will be able to.
For now, I thought I would share a few of the essentials for planning a longer trip. Just in case you are in the process of planning your own once-in-a-lifetime trip abroad.
Of course, like with any trip, it’s important that you save up enough money. The difference with a normal vacation and a longer trip is the fact that you’ll need to save more money, as you’ll need more to live on. Flight costs, accommodation, transfers, food, attractions – I could go on, it all adds up. That’s why having adequate funds is a must, especially if traveling with a young family in tow.
Don’t make the mistake that many travelers make, of rushing into booking your trip, before having saved up. Yes, you could always work while you are away, but it takes some of the enjoyment out of it. Obviously, if you’re traveling with kids, working probably, isn’t an option anyway.
Start off by getting some inspiration of places to visit. Is there anywhere you’ve always dreamed of traveling to – add it to your list. If you’re traveling as part of a group, perhaps you could get everyone to name one place they would love to visit. (If you’re brave enough, you could always include the kids in this.)
Decide how long you are going for, and use this to work out how many countries you will visit. Do you want to spend your time in just one place, or do you fancy seeing some different places? Choose where you’ll be going when, and come up with an itinerary for your trip. When it comes to booking your flights and accommodation, having an itinerary is essential.
Don’t leave getting those documents in order until the last minute, as so many travelers do. If you want to make the most of your trip, be pro-active and get your documents in order weeks before you’re due to depart.
The most important thing is to check your passports. Look for any damage that may prevent you from flying, a date that’s about to expire, or a passport that has no free stamp pages. Not many people know this, but some countries won’t let you in if your passport doesn’t have two free stamp pages. If you notice that your passport is almost full, go online to obtain new passport pages. You can have extra pages added to your passport; you just need to leave enough time for it.
Next step, apply for your visas. Start by noting down which countries you are visiting require visas – to find out about this, contact the country’s embassy. Once you know where you will need a visa for, the next step is to apply for each one. It can take between three and five months to have a visa granted, so make sure to apply with plenty of time.
Hopefully, this guide will help you to ensure that your trip will be everything that you want it to be.