If you have never tried long term travel, the idea of doing so could conjure up much idyllic imagery. You could easily imagine yourself relaxing in a hammock strung between palm trees on a beautiful Hawaiian beach as you casually read a great book. You could then picture several weeks of this life before you simply hop onto a plane and spend a further few weeks exploring amazing historical structures in China. And, then, you'd be off to the United States.
However, you might also think that this kind of trip away seems like a ridiculously unrealistic idea. After all, would you be able to scrape together anywhere near enough money to afford it all? And would your employer even give you enough time off for it? Actually, these issues and many more can be overcome more easily than you might expect. Here are seven issues to take strong account of before, during and after you make the various bookings necessary for a holiday that will last a while.
Is the timing right?
For many of us, finding the time and money to set aside for a short holiday, such as a weekend at the other end of the country or even a week's stay overseas, can be fairly straightforward. However, realising the right circumstances for a long stay getaway can be much trickier.
Veteran nomad Marek, in an account on his website Indie Traveller, has recalled when he was laid off in 2012. Though he initially reacted with disappointment, the severance offer was generous - giving them an ideal opportunity to journey around the globe.
If you don't get such a golden opportunity, you might still have the option of taking several unpaid months away from work, should your company be going through a slow period. Alternatively, you could travel while making an income online, therefore keeping yourself financially fuelled.
Research, research, research
Should you reach the conclusion that, yes, heading off for a while is indeed the right move for you, it should be a very exciting moment. You can now endeavour to decide which places you should visit - and there might already be plenty of ideas flashing through your head.
Nonetheless, you should be wary that finances may dictate where you can go and what you can do - even if money matters don't have to restrain you as much as you may initially expect. As for why, that will be explained later in this article! Researching subjects like handling visas, staying healthy on your travels, keeping safe and exchanging currency can also pay dividends.
Consider how you will actually get around
This feeds into what has just been said about researching. At this point, it's worth pointing out that attempting to plan each of your journey's steps well ahead of time can actually be counter-productive. You could, after all, devise one plan only to find, once you have reached the point where you would put it into action, that it is actually impractical and there are better alternatives.
Instead, stick to simply putting together a rough plan. Your financial situation may play a part here. For example, if taking regular flights or visiting major cities would put too much strain on your monetary reserves, you could instead take a train or bus to travel slowly along a continuous route. Along the way, you could visit several countries in a largely sequential manner.
How else could money influence your approach?
Travelling the world would bring you limited enjoyment if you lacked sufficient funds for staying in reasonably comfortable accommodation and seeing and doing lots of exciting things. This is why it's worth taking careful account of how much money you have on you during your travels.
If your home country is a high-income one, you could be pleasantly surprised by how far your money could go when spent away from somewhere expensive such as Fiji or Switzerland. Indie Traveller has drawn attention to some destinations that offer great attractions despite being cheap. These destinations include Mexico, Thailand, Portugal and South Africa, all of which are great value.
Don't overly fret if you feel overwhelmed
Exciting though the early researching can be, you could be excused for soon feeling more concerned than thrilled. In fact, more than simply concerned, you could feel hopelessly daunted and overwhelmed. Maybe various practical realities have suddenly hit you - and uncertainty over various aspects of the holiday has sparked a spiral of negative thinking.
Here are some words of reassurance: This is actually a standard phase to go through, especially if you are preparing for your first period of long term travel. Marek has explained that many people who are experienced in this kind of travel would admit to having gone through such feelings. He adds: "But trust that things will feel very different once you're actually on the road."
Don't be afraid to let some things go if you deem it necessary
A big part of the fun of travelling is the freedom: you can go where you want, when you want. You can feel even more liberated when you dispose of many of your current possessions. Now could be the time to sort through belongings that you no longer need and then sell them. This will add to your budget for the trip and reduce how much stuff you would need to store during that holiday.
You could further lessen your financial obligations by cancelling a mobile phone contract or gym membership that you wouldn't be able to use while travelling anyway. You might even need to resign from your job if an unpaid period of absence is not available to you. If you do this, however, stay professional while avoiding burning bridges, as World of Wanderlust advises.
Will there be opportunities to stay with friends or relatives?
This could be an option if you know such people living abroad. You might be able to arrange time with them by using Planet Numbers, which allows cheap calls from the UK to the US.