Dropping everything and traveling the world seems to be a fad these days, especially with all those Instagram accounts of people getting paid to post pictures of themselves in exotic places. I mean, who wouldn’t want to leave behind their cubicle for a life of adventure?! Tempting, yes, but a lot of planning, hard work, and research goes into place before bolting off on your getaway. Here’s what we recommend you do to realistically drop your current lifestyle and travel the world…
Find a destination, and pick a good one.
Before picking a time limit or a budget, think of the one place (or places) you’ve always wanted to explore. Never mind the cost for just a moment, we will get there in the next few steps- where have you always wanted to travel, and why? Are you fascinated by the culture? Do you want to meet new people? Are you a nature lover looking to explore desolate wilderness? These are ideas to keep in mind when choosing a place.
Pick a timeframe.
When traveling to a new part of the world, you’re going to want to allot no less than three weeks and no more than one year. You definitely do not want to rush your vacation by cramming it into a two week trip, you’ll feel rushed and tired, and deprive yourself of the full experience. We suggest three weeks per city or thing you’d like to accomplish. Give yourself ample time, whether it be exploring England or to travel the Great Wall of China. This will ensure a comfortable time with no rushing.
Figure out your budget.
This is where “dropping everything” gets hard. There’s no easy way to budget for a traveling the world, but a good rule of thumb is to have 20% more money saved than you think you’re going to need, no matter where you’re going. A common misconception is when you assume that you’ll need less money because you’re going to a cheaper country. Don’t make that mistake, and always budget for more expenses and emergency funds. Give yourself a cushion. If that means you have to sell a few extra personal items or even have a garage sale before you leave, are you ready to commit to it? How far will you go to drop everything and travel?
Find options with an employer.
The last obstacle before buying your ticket will of course be your job. Before quitting your job entirely with no plan for your arrival back into the states, consider finding a job where you can work remotely. While this may not be the best option, it still gives you the opportunity to receive income as you travel the world- you’ll just be giving up a bit of leisure time. We suggest you talk to your employer, especially if you’re a seasoned employee, about possibly getting a referral for another job upon your return or even coming back to the same job when you get back. Honesty is key, and in this day and age traveling for long periods of time is a lot more common than you think, especially in other countries. You never know what an employer will be open to.
Time to plan out your adventure.
You’ve got your destination, timeframe, savings, and boss’s blessings, now it’s time to map out some details. Be mindful of how many places you are traveling to, how you are going to travel (plane, train, backpacking), where you will be staying, and how much you will be spending. Budgeting is going to be one of the hardest parts of figuring out your travel plans, and don’t forget those conversion rates! Be sure to visit your bank to figure out options on how you can pay for things when abroad, and what needs to be done to secure or close out any finances or bank accounts in the states. When picking a place to stay, we recommend hostels if you’re trying to save some money, as it’s a great way to really immerse yourself in a new setting with people who are traveling, just like you.
Purchase your ticket and “drop everything”.
Think about it, this is the big moment where you will have to give up a lot of your everyday comfort items. Clothes, electronics, cosmetics, furniture, etc. Get used to not having a lot, because you’ll be living out of a suitcase for the next few months! While this is an exciting step, don’t forget to think about how and if you will be keeping in contact with people back home. Will you take a phone and/ or laptop? We recommend dropping those items and taking a camera, to fully experience being alone and abroad on your adventure. After all, when you buy that ticket, you’re saying “yes” to embarking on an experience of a lifetime, and what more could you need than that?! Travel safe, and have fun!