How to successfully prepare for long term travel

When you purchase through links on our site we may earn a commission, Learn More >>

Preparing for long term travel can be a daunting prospect. Leaving the life you know with all its comforts and predictabilities for a life on the road. You will need some custom long term travel planning to get everything in order before you leave. Jotting down a long term travel checklist will keep you updated on what you require and what you don’t need to do before departure.

When we talk about preparing for long term travel, we are talking about 6 months plus of travel, not just a few weeks or a month away.

How can I successfully prepare for long term travel?

You will find there are things that will pop up when preparing for long term travel that you did not realise you will need to do. There will also be things that you just will not get done. It’s important to prioritise before setting off on long term family travel.

What are the most important things to remember when planning long term travel?

The most significant things to get in order and are your house and contents, the kid’s schooling, travel insurance, what you are going to take, and long term travel insurance.

Your home and contents for long term travel planning

The first thing to organise for long term slow travel is what to do with your house or apartment etc. For those of you who own your own house or apartment, you may want to rent it out or just shut it up for the duration of long-term slow travel. If you shut it up, you will want to arrange for a friend or relative to check in on it regularly.

Presuming that you can afford to keep the internet connection while away, you can set up a security camera that you can monitor from anywhere in the world. 

One thing to remember is just because you are checking out from the real world, you can’t escape the real world. Bills for insurance, utilities etc will stay keep coming.                      

Things we had to organise around the house

  • Check your home and contents insurance to see if long absence are covered in the policy
  • Start a new email account for bills only while you are away
  • Get quotes for property maintenance such as gardening and lawn mowing
  • Organise a P.O box or mail re-direction. 
  • If you have pets, this may be the hardest part.

Luggage for long term travel

You need to find the lightest suitcase possible, preferably on wheels. Budget airlines will only allow you to take 7kgs onboard for free. 7kgs is not much, but it is even less when you take into consideration the weight of the suitcase as well. You absolutely need a lightweight suitcase, try to get something under 2kgs. Buy yourself a fold-up backpack for when arriving. It will fit nicely into your suitcase.  

Long Term Travel essentials – Passports

You should have your passports at least 6 months prior to setting off on your travels. Some airlines will require you to have a valid passport to book your first ticket. If you already have a passport check the expiry date and make sure you have at least 12 months, validity on it. Most countries will not allow you to go through passport control and enter the country unless you have at least 6 months left on your passport.

Travel Insurance

Why is long term travel insurance important, you might ask. There is no better reason to buy travel insurance than the fact you are not at home in your own country and things can happen while travelling. We often say “if you can not afford travel insurance, you cannot afford to travel”

By all means, explore as many good deals of different travel insurance policies for long term stays as you can. Some policies will have the option of medical-only which is the most important part of any travel insurance policy for long term travel. Medical is a must for travelling, and often insurance companies have a hotline that can direct you to the nearest health professionals in your location.

If you can afford it add loss and theft and last add cancellations. With free cancellation on most accommodation these days, it is really not worth the extra for this part of the policy if you intend to travel on a budget.

Having dealt with insurance companies before, we know the process of claiming for theft is usually long and tiresome with a slight chance of an excellent outcome on your behalf. Anything you claim, you must have proof of purchase, and they will de-appreciate the value of it anyway. Always read the fine print in your policy, a lot of times there are exclusions when you are doing certain activities that your policy will not cover.

We recommend using Travel Insurance Master, their website will compare the best deals from a number of providers and present you with the best value for money policy on the market. Click through to Insurance Masters to get a free quote.

Documents for long term travel

You must be sure of visa requirements for entering countries around the world. Some countries require you to obtain a visa on entry or prior to entering the country. You will find most Visas are valid for entry only within 90 days of being approved. This means getting visa’s in your home country will not work when travelling long term. You will have to visit a country embassy in a foreign countries capital to obtain your visa before entering.  

A good practice is to bring copies of passports, birth certificates, travel insurance policy, driver’s license and extra passport size photos for your visas. I usually make double copies of these, so they can be carried in separate suitcases in the event one suitcase goes missing. A backup copy on a flash drive would not hurt either.

International Drivers License

Hiring a car while travelling from time to time is a great way to see places that public transport does not reach. To hire a car and drive while overseas on long term travel, you may require an international driver’s licence. An IDP International Driver’s License is not required in all countries, in some places your local license will do.

Young woman reading speeding ticket, a policeman in the background

Having hired cars in Portugal, France, and Iceland, we were never asked to produce an IDP. You are best off to spend some time researching, as there can be a fine associated with not having an IDP. You can learn more about IDP on many websites.

Long term travel planning and budgets

Set yourself a realistic budget depending on how many people are travelling. Try to stick to that budget as much as you can in order to maximise the time you can travel for. Spending a long amount of time travelling is different from a short full-blown holiday.

On your vacation, you do as much as you can and spend a lot of money in a short time. With travelling long term, the vacation model is just not feasible. You need to pick and choose the important things you want to do that are within your budget.

Holidaying long term for some is all about the spontaneity of it all. To wake up on a whim and move to a different town or country. Our best advice is to prebook the first month or so of your lengthy travel. By pre-booking, it gives you a chance to get the best prices to your initial destination. Most airlines have sales throughout the year that you can take advantage of for the initial stages of your long term vacation.

Some cities will be more expensive than others, so while you might need a little more here, there will be places where you need a little less. There are plenty of free activities, such as city walks that offset the price of paid activities.

Anything you can plan at home takes the hassle out of doing it on the road and can save you some money, giving your travel budget a boost

Some money saving tips for long term vacations

  • Book some accommodation before you go at a good price so you have that locked in
  • Pay for some of your activities before you go if you are able to.
  • See if you can have a room with breakfast included. It is one meal you don’t have to pay for.
  • If there is a public transport card you must use, pop some money on it if you are able to, so you can hit the ground running.

If you start planning well in advance, this may give you the option of paying for some things well before you leave. If you can pay for the few flights and maybe some accommodation, this will kick-start your budget in the right direction for success.

Medical needs for long term trave

Plan a visit with your GP at least 6 months out from departure to chat about the required injections for the countries you will be visiting. Your Doctor should search the CDC (Centre of Disease Control in The United States of America) for the latest information and recommendations for any injections you may need.

consulting a doctor prior to departure
Make sure you see your GP prior to planning a long travel holiday

Take the opportunity to request a chat about medicine that you may need or are required to take in your daily life. Your doctor will be able to write you some extra scripts, so you can take the medication with you.

We think this is an important step before travelling to get your medication organised. Don’t forget you must get a letter from your doctor stating what medication you have been prescribed to take with you when travelling internationally. You will need this just in case you are asked about the medicine you are carrying or if it is a banned substance in another country.

Long term travel packing list

Packing for long term travel comes down to two things, what we want and what we need to pack. It comes down to a suggestive long-term travel packing list to guide the children in what you think they will need. With four small carry-on suitcases that can’t weigh more than 7 kg each, there is not much room for all the luxuries of home.

Can you do carry on only?

Many people are able to do the carry-on only, which helps with a long term travel budget. A suggestion is to maybe have one suitcase that you can check in to allow you to travel with a computer bag as carry-on luggage. One thing to remember is that it’s better to start with too little than too much, as you can always buy extra if needed.

a suitcase overfilled with stuff for long term travel planning

Besides clothes, you may want to bring some other travel essentials 

  • Bluetooth Speaker – For music. We all love music, this one may be more for the parents than the kids. Nothing better than unwinding at the end of the day with some tunes and a glass of wine or maybe having some background music when cooking
  • First Aid Kit – Being in a foreign country or even a foreign city you may be without transport available or need something really fast. A first aid kit provides a valuable resource for family travel. Small cuts and scrapes can be fixed on the spot
  • PowerBoard/Cube – You will find many places you stay in won’t have a lot of power outlets. This is where a power cube comes in handy especially one with 4 sockets and USB connections for phones, camera, and laptops. Remember to buy a universal power adaptor to go with it.
  • Luggage Scale – Do not get caught with overweight suitcases. When travelling with kids on a budget, every cent counts on long-term travel, and the airlines really know how to charge for an overweight suitcase. You can know exactly how much all of your luggage weighs before you leave home or your accommodation.
  • Amazon Fire Stick – Maybe the best all-around accessory for the whole family. If you are travelling long-term or even short-term an Amazon Fire Stick gives you access to the Amazon Prime movie library (Amazon prime membership is required).Unlike Netflix, Amazon Prime is not geo-locked so it can be used anywhere around the world. Especially good if you are in a country where your home language is not spoken or on bad weather days

What qualifies us to talk about this?

We spent 14 months doing long term travel with 2 kids in Asia and Europe on a budget.

Homeschooling/World Schooling for kids long term travelling

Any idea’s on how to plan a long trip with kids must include education. Long travel with kids brings up many opinions, ranging from you can not take kids out of school for that long, it’s not a problem, it is irresponsible for them to miss any school. Everyone will have a different plan for what to do with the education of their children and what level they will need while travelling.

reading outside of school
Any long travel will require education for the kids

In all honesty, the best thing you can do is consult with your school before leaving. The school may be able to supply you with guidance and even materials to help. There are numerous homeschooling, world schooling groups on Facebook where you can get help and ask for advice. You can find online schools if you want to keep some sort of structured education going.

Your children will learn plenty while travelling, we recommend making them read books, keep a journal and get them used to using local money and working out prices. This will cover the basics of maths, reading and writing. By visiting museums and cultural sites, their minds will be expanding with the experiences they are taking in.

We hope this article from Wyld Family Travel helps with your planning for long term travel. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. Long term travel is daunting for anyone planning travel. If you are planning long term travel with kids or even a couples long term travel trip, there are so many things you need to consider.

More travel inspiration for your trip

2 thoughts on “How to successfully prepare for long term travel”

  1. Great list for pre-trip preparation! A few things I’d never have thought of – the fire stick for example. We are thinking of embarking on long term travel with our family in a few years time. Will definitely keep an eye on airline sales before then – what a great deal with Air Asia!

  2. Greetings from Perú country 45 for me ?

    You guys must be getting excited now, I look forward to following your adventures.

    Just a couple of suggestions that have come in handy for my long term :
    1. An extra long USB cable, I have a 3 mtr and it helps when power points are in strange places in a room/dorm. (I am actually using it now)
    2. Battery pack for charging devices on those long travel days.

    3. I got 12 months free travel on my credit card, but you need to read the fine print to see what it covers excludes eg quad bikes not covered, nor motorbikes over 250 cc etc

    Like you guys I also travelling with scales for the piece of mind on my flights.

    Enjoy your travels.



Leave a comment