Planning Long-Term Travel Series: This weekly series breaks down the steps we have taken to plan our long-term travel. This helped make the process less daunting. We hope you find it useful in getting your long-term travel goals off the ground. Keep a look out for a new post each week.
Being designers we know how important it is to collect inspiration for nearly all that we do, so planning a trip was no different. This was something we did early on and continue to do. It is a great way to collect ideas on where to go and what to do before creating a plan and whenever you are stressed about the rest of the planning and preparation steps, to remind you exactly why you are taking your trip.
Look at Lots of Images
Who doesn’t like looking at pretty pictures? Whether it’s photos of remote beaches in Thailand or gelato in Italy, browsing through photos can help you hone in on exactly what you want out of your trip and giving you ideas of things to do along the way. We have learned about locations and activities we had never heard of just by looking at random travel photos online, such as the glowworm caves of New Zealand. We often just looked at the “Earth Porn” category on Pinterest or Imgur, but do not, under any circumstances, Google Images that term (especially while you’re at the office).
Read Travel Blogs
Travel blogs can be a great resource to help you gain tactical information about travel, but they are also useful just for inspiring you to try something you maybe didn’t plan on (it even helped when trying to figure out how to pack). Additionally, we have found it comforting to read others’ accounts of long-term travel. Beware though, there are lots of doom-and-gloom posts out there telling you that you will be mugged at gun point or kidnapped in every location you visit. Take it all with a grain of salt and if you still have questions…
Talk to People
Talk to others who have traveled to the places you are interested in or who have traveled for long periods of time. Throughout this whole process, the most helpful thing has been to talk to others who have done a lot of traveling. We have been to local travel MeetUps, talked with friends who have spent long periods of time traveling, and just talked to others about our trip plans. This has been probably the most useful way to learn about places and travel options. For instance, we learned that renting a caravan in New Zealand is a cheap and simple way to see the whole country and save on accommodations. Something we hadn’t really considered (now I just have to convince Maya to live in a caravan for 3 weeks).
Resources of Inspiration
500px – A great photography showcase site.
Pinterest – Chances are you already know what Pinterest is.
Imgur – Prepare to waste hours of your life here.
SkyBambi – Lots of blogs like this have great inspirational photography.
A Year to Think – This family spent a year traveling and did a great job of capturing their experiences through photos and videos.
Frugal Traveler – A very well known travel blog by the NY Times with tips on traveling on the cheap.
AFar – Search by destination and get bite-sized tips on things worth checking out.
Combadi – Don’t let the “Mind, body, soul” categories turn you off. Browse their travel packages for some new ideas on things to do on your travels.
Atlas Obscura – One of my personal favorite resources for odd and interesting sites off the beaten path.
Cool Hunting – They have a great series on travel destinations.
Meetup – Get out and talk to people at local travel meetups.
Couchsurfing – Post questions to the Couchsurfing community in locations you are interested in.
Got other recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!