5 Tips For Long-Term Travel
I've been doing a lot of traveling this year and consequently, have begun to develop some routines and tricks when it comes to getting about from car to train to bus to plane. So, let's just dive right into my 5 best travel tips.
1. One Bag
This probably isn't the first place you've heard this, but traveling with a single bag is life-changing. I cannot express the ease and simplicity that come with keeping everything you need with you on your back. I'll admit there are moments where I wish I was rolling my items through an airport instead of hoofing them on my shoulders, but the first time you encounter lost checked luggage, a cobblestone street, or a flight without any more overhead space, the benefits of single bag travel become startlingly obvious.
Do yourself a favor, get a 20 to 40 Liter, comfortable backpack, and never look back. As you breeze through airports, wander down some alley looking for a beer, or seamlessly transfer from the jetway, to a taxi, to a train, you'll be thrilled by your care-free experience, all the while keeping direct access to your possessions as you move from place to place.
2. Bag Within a Bag
So, I guess I cheated here a bit. While it is true that I travel with one main bag, and that gets me from city to city. Within that bag, I keep a small messenger bag for day trips.
When I'm getting on a flight, or really traveling in any situation where I plan to sleep somewhere different than I had the night before, everything goes in my main backpack (including my small day bag). Then, when I arrive at a new destination, I can simply lock up my valuables, fill my small bag with anything I need for the day (sweatshirt, camera, laptop), and toss my main bag under the bed.
Having this second smaller bag is also a tricky way to get around some airline carry-on weight restrictions. If your main pack is too heavy, but you're allowed a personal item. You can simply unload some of your backpack items into your smaller bag and carry two items onto the plane.
3. Hidden Backup Cash
I know that as you travel around the glob, you'll be street smart. I know you'll listen to locals, pay attention to your instincts, and endeavor not to wander around looking like a tourist. However, even if you do everything right, sometimes things just go horribly wrong. Pretty much the worst-case scenario for a traveler or backpacker is to lose their pack. That's likely where your technology is, your extra money, your passport, etc... So, to have someone steal it while your traveling or even take it from you under threat of injury is a valid concern.
With that said, you want to prepare yourself to have this event be an inconvenience, not a trip ender. Here's what I do:
First, keep travel insurance on your stuff if it's worth more than you'd be willing to lose in cash. That way, if this happens, you can easily make a claim to your insurer and get re-outfitted.
Secondly, keep some backup items in a place most thieves would be unlikely to bother with... your shoes. Consider what you would need to buy if you were in a foreign country and you lost all of your possessions. I like to keep enough cash in there to pay for a week or two of accommodation, some clothes, meals, etc... Because in all likelihood, I'm not going anywhere until the local embassy can issue me a new passport.
Along with cash, consider having some phone numbers written down for your bank, credit card companies, etc... Maybe even include some contact details for friends and family. I don't even know my sisters phone number these days.
4. Head Buffs
I hate sun screen. However, getting burnt is pretty bad for your skin and maybe your health. Consequently, I carry items that allow me to cover almost my entire body with clothing (instead of sunscreen). Wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt is easy, but most hats that are convenient for travel don't cover your neck and face well.
So, I pack a couple of Head Buffs. I've used these things for years. They're super versatile, packable, and handy. I love all of the combinations they allow.
5. Body-weight Exercises
Finally, it's easy to forget about your health when you're on the road. With that said, you don't really want to return from your glorious travels (which will certainly be rich in authentic cuisine) completely out of shape.
If you teach yourself some basic movements, it's actually not too difficult to maintain a moderate level of fitness while you're on the road. I don't like to travel with running shoes, so I also have cardio solutions that don't require any special equipment. Here are a few exercises I use that you can look up: Squats, Single Leg Squats, Burpees, Push-ups, Pull-ups (find a tree), gymnastics movements. I can't go over these in detail here, but consider getting some training before you leave so you know how to take care of yourself on the road.
That's it! I hope these tips have been helpful, I know they work wonders for me in terms of both my comfort and safety when I am moving from place to place.