At The Van Conversion Guide, we understand the allure of the open road and the freedom of long-term travel. Planning such an expedition, however, requires meticulous preparation to ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey. Here are our expert tips to guide you through the process.

Understanding Long-Term Travel Destinations

Before embarking on your journey, it’s crucial to understand your destinations. This involves:

  • Setting a Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend. This will influence your destinations, accommodation, and activities. Research the cost of living in potential countries to get an idea of daily expenses.
  • Prioritizing Destinations: List out places you want to visit. Consider factors like climate, cultural events, and personal interests.
  • Researching Essentials: Delve into backpacking prices, visa instructions, and public transport options. Some countries might have more stringent visa requirements or might be more expensive to travel in.
  • Comparing Prices: Different countries have varying costs of living. For instance, Southeast Asia might be more budget-friendly than Western Europe.

Saving for Travel

Long-term travel is an investment, and saving is paramount. Here’s how you can effectively save for your trip:

  • Multiple Bank Accounts: Consider having a separate savings account solely for travel. This ensures you don’t accidentally spend your travel funds.
  • Track Expenses: Use apps or traditional methods to monitor your daily expenses. Cut down on unnecessary costs.
  • Avoid Temptations: Limit impulsive purchases. Every penny saved brings you closer to your dream trip.
  • Sell Unused Items: Declutter and sell items you no longer need. This not only gives you extra cash but also makes packing easier.

Finding Cheap Flights and Other Transport

Transportation can be one of the most significant expenses. Here’s how to save:

  • Use Apps: Platforms like Skyscanner can help you find affordable flights. Set up alerts for price drops.
  • Local Airlines: Sometimes, local airlines offer better deals than international ones. Research and compare.
  • Outbound Tickets: Some countries require proof of onward travel. Ensure you have this to avoid any complications.
  • Understand Visa Requirements: Each country has its visa regulations. Familiarize yourself with them to avoid last-minute hassles.

Choosing the Right Accommodation

Your stay can make or break your trip. Here’s how to choose the right accommodation:

  • Read Reviews: Platforms like TripAdvisor offer genuine reviews. This gives you an insight into what to expect.
  • Regional Platforms: Some regions have specific platforms that might offer better deals. For instance, in Asia, Agoda might have more listings than global platforms.
  • Consider Alternatives: Platforms like Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and Workaway offer unique experiences. They can also be more budget-friendly.
  • Safety: Ensure the place you’re staying at has good security measures. This is especially important if you’re traveling with valuable items.

Medical Preparations and Insurance

Your health should be a priority. Here’s how to ensure you’re covered:

  • Travel Insurance: Always invest in good travel insurance. This covers unexpected medical expenses, lost luggage, and other emergencies.
  • Disease Precautions: If you’re traveling to tropical regions, precautions against diseases like Malaria and Zika are essential. Carry necessary medications.
  • Vaccinations: Check if your destination requires any specific vaccinations. Get them well in advance.

Packing for Long-Term Travel

Packing for a long trip can be daunting. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Choose the Right Backpack: Your backpack will be your home. Ensure it’s spacious, durable, and comfortable.
  • Essential Items: Pack essentials like medications, important documents, and any specific items you can’t do without.
  • Security Measures: Invest in security items like PacSafe to protect your belongings.

Travel Hacks

Traveling long-term means you’ll need some hacks up your sleeve:

  • Loyalty Programs: Sign up for airline loyalty programs. This can get you upgrades and better deals.
  • Local SIM Cards: Instead of international roaming, opt for local SIM cards. They’re more affordable.
  • Learn Basic Phrases: Knowing basic phrases in the local language can be a lifesaver.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When planning long-term travel, it’s easy to overlook certain aspects or make mistakes that could impact your journey. Here are some pitfalls to avoid:

  • Not Planning Adequately: While spontaneity is great, having a rough plan helps. Know the visa requirements, cultural norms, and local customs of the places you’re visiting. This guide offers insights into surviving long-term travel.
  • Not Backing Up Data: Always have backups of your important documents, photos, and other data. Cloud storage or external hard drives can be lifesavers.
  • Overpacking: Traveling light makes mobility easier. Prioritize essentials and remember, you can always buy things on the road.
Common Travel Mistakes Solutions
Not researching visa requirements Check embassy websites
Skipping travel insurance Always prioritize safety
Not budgeting properly Use budgeting apps and track expenses

Managing Budget on the Road

Sticking to a budget during long-term travel can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you manage your finances:

  • Track Daily Expenses: Maintain a daily log of your expenses. Apps or traditional notebooks can be useful.
  • Eat Local: Local food is not only delicious but often cheaper than western cuisines.
  • Use Public Transport: Instead of taxis or private cars, opt for buses, trains, or shared rides.
  • Stay in Hostels or Guesthouses: They’re budget-friendly and a great way to meet fellow travelers.
Expense Type Average Cost Money-saving Tip
Accommodation $20-$50 per night Opt for hostels or guesthouses
Food $10-$30 per day Eat at local eateries
Transport Varies Use public transport or walk

Maintaining Relationships on the Road

Traveling, especially for extended periods, can strain relationships. Here’s how to maintain harmony:

  • Communication is Key: Regularly check in with loved ones. Apps like Skype or WhatsApp make this easy.
  • Travel with a Partner or Group: Understand that everyone has different interests. Compromise and ensure everyone gets to do what they love.
  • Make New Friends: Engage with locals or fellow travelers. They can offer unique perspectives and enrich your travel experience.

Travel Hacks

Every seasoned traveler has a set of hacks that make their journeys smoother:

  • Loyalty Programs: Sign up for airline or hotel loyalty programs. They can offer discounts, upgrades, and other perks.
  • Local SIM Cards: They’re often cheaper than international roaming. Ensure your phone is unlocked before your trip.
  • Learn Basic Phrases: Knowing “Thank you”, “Hello”, and “Help” in the local language can be immensely helpful.


Start by setting a budget and prioritizing your destinations. Researching practical guides can be beneficial.

Consider opening multiple bank accounts, tracking daily expenses, and selling unused items.

Yes, apps like Skyscanner can be very helpful. Also, consider checking out Travel + Leisure for more travel tips.

It’s crucial to have travel insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses and other emergencies.

Not planning adequately, not backing up data, and not understanding visa requirements are some common mistakes.