Have you ever thought about taking a year off to travel? Usually, the immediate response is, “I would love to, but it’s impossible because of reasons X, Y and Z”. There are indeed a million excuses why not to buy a set of one-way tickets around the world, whether it’s kids, pets, jobs or money. But nothing is impossible if you really set your mind to it.
Making time for travel can be difficult, but it’s really important. Getting outside our comfort zones and into the world makes us grateful and open-minded. Travel isn’t only about adventure; it’s an education in real life. And in the grand scheme of things, 365 days isn’t a lot of time to travel at all (in fact, you’ll likely realize it isn’t enough!).
So as you can see, taking a year off for wanderlust isn’t so crazy. That’s why tentree’s put together these tips for how to go on a once-in-a-lifetime journey, no matter where you are in your lifetime:
1) Accept that things are about to change.
You can’t embark on such a big adventure, and expect everything to go back to normal when you return. Living arrangements, work and friends could change – and you will definitely change as well. Understand that life will be different when reality bites, but that’s definitely not a deterrent. You never know what opportunities (both personal and professional) can arise while globetrotting.
2) Don’t be afraid to take the kids with you.
One of the biggest reasons people choose not to travel for long periods of time is because they don’t want to uproot their kids. But research shows that children that traveled at a young age have better chances for career growth and success later on. Mingling in other cultures is a priceless education at any age. There are plenty of parent bloggers who’ve done it with their families and wouldn’t take that experience back for anything.
3) Your apartment’s not a good enough excuse not to go!
If it’s about not wanting to give up your pad, you really don’t need to. Websites like Home Exchange and Love Home Swap allow travelers around the world to trade spaces, for example while you stay at somebody’s in Amsterdam, they’re stay at yours in Toronto. Both companies do charge membership fees, but you can also put up free swap ads on Craigslist or Facebook groups (although Home Exchange and Love Home Swap offers insurance). Your home could even become a source of income, for example renting it out to other travelers on Airbnb.
4) It’s all about planning.
A year can go by really fast, so being organized is a must. Start by creating an itinerary of your must-see destinations (this alone can take months). Once you’ve done that, you can start looking into companies like One World, Sky Team and Star Alliance offering around-the-world tickets starting at around $3,000 US. Be sure to do your research, though: these programs come with a lot of rules, but the savings can be huge.
5) Budget like a boss.
You should budget around $15,000 US all-in for a year abroad. This may sound like a lot, but not really when you look at the numbers: blogger This American Girl says she used to spend $3,800 US a month living in Seattle, but now forks out only around $800 US a month traveling non-stop. The cost of living in destinations like South America and Southeast Asia is much lower, and she saves by walking, riding bicycles and teaching yoga (see next).
6) Learn to work remote.
We’re living in the age of the “digital nomad” – people who work using the Internet and needn’t be chained to a desk. Some professions like writers, graphic designers and tech entrepreneurs, do lend more easily to on-the-go work and travel but the options are endless.
7) Know what you need, and what you don’t.
You’ll be surprised how much pocket money you can come up with by rummaging through storage, and selling off stuff. Manage your subscriptions just as economically. For example, some mobile phone companies and gyms allow customers to pause their contract for a year. Instead of buying SIM cards in every destination, subscribe to Skype’s “Unlimited World” package, offering free calls to most countries in the world in WIFI zones.