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Travel for One Year

How to prepare...? - x[posted anonymously]x
18 years ago, January 24th 2005 No: 1 Msg: #1085  
I'm starting to save up to travel for 6 months to 1 year. Has anyone done this length of traveling and if so, any tips and essentials to bring?

More importantly, how much money do I realistically need to save in US Dollars (will be hosteling etc of course). Obviously, it varies on geography & seasons....

Any advice, stories, tips appreciated!


Sandy Reply to this

18 years ago, January 24th 2005 No: 2 Msg: #1086  
B Posts: 553
Read Ali's blog from back to front and front to back...

It's going to vary greatly where you plan to travel. I have done nothing but vacation, but have been saving for my eventual "getaway". I'm starting to wonder if it's ever going to happen since I'm getting older... do I travel, or do I settle down in life?

Ali recommended to me to start off with Central America and see if I enjoyed living the life out of a backpack. C. America would allow me to travel for quite some time for relativley low cost.

I guess it's going to depend a lot on where you want to go. My plan has been to have all my bills paid off here in the states (Credit Cards, Car, everything), and have about $10k in the bank, and figured I'd last out about a year.. maybe more maybe less depending on whatever happened along the way. Reply to this

18 years ago, January 25th 2005 No: 3 Msg: #1093  
B Posts: 5,200
Also read - russ PeteSarah aspiringnomad

There are many more blogs from folks on extended travels - just a few of my favourites above.

How much you need depends so much on where you want to visit - South East Asia - $20 a day vs. Europe $50 a day. If you can save up about $10,000 you will be able to travel for an extended period of time.

If you're based in the US - Central America is a really great place to start - I'd be there every year if I was based in the US 😊 Jenni Jen is wandering through Panama right now.

>any tips and essentials to bring?

Most important posessions on the road are your credit/atm card and your passport - buy an under clothes wallet/money belt and look after them, get a waterproof dry bag for your passport and try to get a piece of rigid plastic the same size as it to keep it in good condition.

After 6 months of travel without those precautions - I get questioned exessively by border guards - it's so worn that the word passport has gone from the cover. It hasn't got any worse since adding them.

Packing - less is more - take as little weight as possible and if you buy stuff - send it home - you should aim for less than 15kg total.

Digital camera - and good storage - how else will you make everyone back home jealous without the photos on a travelblog 😉

Hope you can join up to travelblog - and reply here with more questions - I'm sure you have loads :o)
Reply to this

18 years ago, January 25th 2005 No: 4 Msg: #1097  
D Posts: 3
Thanks for the advice guys!
Just joined the blog and starting to read what you've recommended...really great!
So, 10K can seriously last an entire year?
I would like to start my travels in Europe then travel east...I'm just freaking out about leaving the job, apt. etc...but if I don't do it now, I know I'll regret it forever...am actually going to Berlin in April for a few days - have either of you been there?

Sandy Reply to this

18 years ago, January 25th 2005 No: 5 Msg: #1098  
B Posts: 553
Nope, not been to Berlin, but I'm going to Italy in February for 10 days, I believe this Ali guy is gonna be there too. 😊 Berlin is on my todo list though, but then again, so is pretty much everywhere! hahah Not sure how long you have, but I'd love to get outside the cities in Germany to some of the castles, and the towns that didn't get bombed to shreds. I can't speak from experience, but I imagine that Berlin is pretty modern in most cases... but I'd personally like to visit the Berlin Wall, Reichstag, Brandenburger Gate, St. Nicholas Quarter, Charlottenburg palace to name but a few in Berlin. Pick yourself up a good book before you leave. Frommers or Lonely Planet both have books specifically on Berlin. Or just spend the day in the bookstore and take notes! 😊 Reply to this

18 years ago, January 26th 2005 No: 6 Msg: #1103  
B Posts: 5,200
Budgeting an extend travel

The cheapest way to see the world is a Round the World ticket - but you lose some flexibility. So get some quotes for RTW's - that's your highest fixed cost.

You need to decide where you want to go - roughly eg. 1 month in Europe, 3 months in India, 2 weeks in Fiji - etc etc.

Now get your hands on travel guides for the regions the Lonely Planets and Rough Guides are very good - beg, borrow these - don't buy as you won't be able to carry them all! - they have rough daily estimates as to costs - so now multiply the costs by the number of days for each region - voila - you have your living costs. Hostelling will mean you can use the budget figures - keeping it cheap.

Now work out what you need in terms of kit, backpack, vacinations (anti-maleria), Visas - it all adds up.

Add your totals together - now you have your basic costs - add 10%!t(MISSING)o be on the safe side. You have a working figure to aim towards saving.

Depending on where you go - 10K USD - is enough for a year - but not a year in Berlin or Paris 😉

About getting your hands on the guide books...

> Or just spend the day in the bookstore and take notes! 😊

Or library - where you won't get thrown out 😉

I'm working slowly on a bigger long version of a beginners guide to independent travel - I'll post the link here when it's finished.


I've never been to Germany - it's one of the expensive destinations - I guess I'll go there on business one day and tack a few days sight seeing on the end - so why go now? - Anyone been to Berlin?
Reply to this

18 years ago, January 26th 2005 No: 7 Msg: #1111  
D Posts: 3
Excellent - thanks for all the advice and look forward to reading your guide for the Independent Traveler.
I'm actually going to France for work and hopping over to Berlin as I've never been...hope I can get good sense of the city in just a few days....I'll be back to the Blog to post if and any adventures!!!
Thanks again,
Sandy Reply to this

18 years ago, January 26th 2005 No: 8 Msg: #1118  
B Posts: 553

> Or just spend the day in the bookstore and take notes! 😊

Or library - where you won't get thrown out 😉

Hey "Mr World Traveller" hahaha (sorry, had to)

The book stores in the States, you're encouraged to sit and read (chairs, tables, couches, starbucks)... it's great if you're too broke to buy! Reply to this

18 years ago, January 27th 2005 No: 9 Msg: #1124  
Hi there Sandy and evryone else, I've read your tips and tricks and maybe have a few helpful things to say myself, so here goes

- VALUABLES. Cashcard is your most useful item, passport pretty much equal with it - keep 'em safe!
- BANK ACCOUNT. We each have two bank accounts and two credit cards as backups for one another
- ATMs. If you're coming from the UK, get a Nationwide account - free withdrawals from ATMs, it's really amazing
- FUNDS. 10,000 US should go a long way but much less in Europe. If you want to get value for money wait for the Dollar to appreciate relative to the Euro/pound. Do Europe next year!
- PHOTOS, one of your most valuable things too! Practice sensible data protection and get backups as soon as you can - i.e. burn your memory card onto CD and post the CDs home when they get full. Always keep at least two copies in separate places if you can! (you don't want to go losing all your piccies now do you?) For me that would be worse than losing my passport. If you want to know how to do this in more detail you can contact me through the blog - i'll be happy to explain
- LANGUAGE. Learn as much local lingo as possible and remember to smile to people in shops and bus drivers etc. It really does help!
- TIMING. My preference is to save money and travel rather than getting a loan out. Travelling on borrowed money surely won't be as enjoyable as spending your own money =)
- that's all I can think of really, I'd love to write a guide too cos I love giving people tips!

Hope that helps and if anyone has any questions, just ask
Pete Reply to this

18 years ago, February 1st 2005 No: 10 Msg: #1168  
B Posts: 5,200
> ATMs. If you're coming from the UK, get a Nationwide account - free withdrawals from ATMs, it's really amazing

Is that free worldwide? - have to look into this 😊 Reply to this

18 years ago, February 4th 2005 No: 11 Msg: #1194  
All the advice on this page is reasonable, but something I did because I'm intending to travel for 3 years or more was to make out a new will. I also had a deed of attourney made out at the solicitors - that means that I have empowered my brother to administer my estate should anything happen to me whilst I'm away.

I have travelled a lot before, and I agee that $10000 should be enough. I would stress though that, the advice that when it comes to what you should take, it should be as little as possible. Less is more. You can always buy things on the road.

Stuart - Stu's World Tour Reply to this

18 years ago, February 8th 2005 No: 12 Msg: #1218  
The best advice I got before travelling for 15 months 6yrs ago was -

Pack your bags. Then take out half your stuff and bring twice as much money.

My necessities (female)- One pair of shorts. One pair of quick dry pants, one pair of convertible quick dry pants, one quick dry button up t-shirt (that looks presentable), one other quick dry tshirt or long sleeved that has roll-up-able sleeves, one tank top. One quick dry wrap around skirt (for temples and dinners out). One light fleece sweater and a waterproof jacket if required for the area. One pair of sturdy hiking shoes, one pair Tevas (if you are doing no hiking then can get away without hiking shoes). One weeks' worth of underwear, a few quick dry pairs (a bit more expensive). 2 normal bras and 1-2 sports bras. Bathing suit. 1-2 pairs of socks.
ZIPLOC BAGS in a variety of sized (2-3 of each) - a life saver!
I use a mesh bag (like a delicates wash bag) - I have two with different colours, one for undies and socks, one for dirty clothes.
I use a small length of cord (in my pack it acts to pull everything together, I use this instead of straps) which doubles as a clothesline.

I'm a diver and snorkeller and so I bring my mask and snorkel - I find them light and easy to pack and use them a lot, it depends on how much you will do this. I HATE rental masks and snorkels. A bar of Sunlight soap - this is actually laundry detergent soap, you can rub it on a wet garment and wash it easily in the tub or sink. I usually cut it in half to bring a smaller size.

Bug repellent.

About $30 in $1 bills. I also got about $150 in USD cash and hid it all over my luggage in different places in case I got stuck.
Camera, travel journal. You can buy film easily in Asia, cheaper, but if you have a special brand etc bring some film.
Tampons (small supply to get me through-can't get in some countries like Vietnam)
Hand sanitizer-can't get in Asia easily
I always bring a bottle of Pepto Bismol tablets - Power of the pink, baby!!!!
Roll of toilet paper (can buy this there but you need it)
Most of these tips are for Asia. I bought more clothes in Aus because I was younger and went out a lot to bars, so had a few "nicer" outfits.

I spent just over 10 K (USD) 6 years ago, not including my ticket. I spent 4 months in SE Asia, 8 mo in Australia and 2 in NZ. I probably could have gotten away with a bit less but I travelled at the "mid range budget" category, so I stayed very cheap but not the cheapest. I bought my ticket from Air Brokers and got a good deal. I recommend if you want some flexibility to consider a number of one way tickets. For instance I bought one way to Bangkok, then a one way from Sydney to LA with stops (I could take as long on my stopovers as I wanted) at Auckland, Fiji, Cook Islands and Hawaii. I made my way overland from Bangkok to Singapore, bought a flight there to Bali, then one from Bali to Australia. I liked having this flexibility because I could go wherever I wanted and no backtracking. Price it out, may be cheaper or more expensive. Consider the country you are visiting, some require an onward ticket.

For instance, flights within Vietnam are cheaper if you buy in Vietnam (Average $30-50 USD for a 1 hour flight if bought in the country). Look for "travel packs" if flying lots - like the travel asia passes.

Mistakes I made - bringing too much stuff (sent a bunch home with some stuff I bought in Chiang Mai) including a water filter and some clothes.
Bringing a "camping" towel. Wouldn't dry and got very stinky so I threw it out.
Buying a 'first aid kit'. All of the things in my kit (Immodium, benadryl, polysporin, etc) I could have bought in Thailand for 1/10 the cost. I bought birth control pills in Thailand for 50c each package. For anti - malarials we used Malarone which is UNAVAILABLE in Asia (to prevent misuse). You can easily get vaccinations and doxycycline and larium at the WHO office (with the STD clinic and the Snake Farm) in Bangkok.

I kept my Nalgene (water container) to try to fill at restaurants serving potable water that they buy in large cooler sized containers. I would offer them half the price of a large bottle of water, to try to cut down on the amount of plastic consumed.

I have not backpacked in Europe except Britain (which was expensive but a long time ago), I found Costa Rica much more expensive than I had expected, but I have heard that it is cheaper in Guatemala. For instance, an average "jungle tour" in Costa Rica with guide and transport was about 60-75 USD per person. In Thailand an equivalent tour would be about $5-15. Same kind of comparison with accommodation.

If you are a commonwealth citizen you can arrange a travel visa to Aus/NZ/Canada to work as you travel. Usually crappy jobs, but helps to pay the way, or give a rest from travelling for a while to stay in one place.

Anyway, I am definintely rambling now but I am excited for you about your trip. I loved mine, and wish I could go again - perhaps to S. America next time...?
Hope some of this helps.

Caroline Reply to this

18 years ago, February 8th 2005 No: 13 Msg: #1227  
B Posts: 553
Great stuff.. good advice. Reply to this

18 years ago, February 10th 2005 No: 14 Msg: #1236  
D Posts: 3
Yes - thank for all of the incredible advice! Really, really appreciate it! Reply to this

18 years ago, February 20th 2005 No: 15 Msg: #1310  
B Posts: 580
I got a message from 'Conor' but do not have his email to reply, so I'll post here. Hopefully other people will find it helpful

Q.I was wondering, do you always travel overland, taking in many countries in your trip?

A.I've been travelling for about 8 years on and off. first went to Thailand in 97 - got the bug.
Then fly over to see a friend in Cyprus a month after and threw away my return ticket and did the overland back to England ...and I was hooked.

completed my degree...
Then went off to Indonesia for 4 months, then Australia, for 4 months and travelled around Eastern Europe.

made a few short trips to the Middle east (flying).
completed my masters...
then I did almost a year from Mexico overland to Brasil (through the Darien gap)

Last trip I went from India to South Africa overland.
..and this time...well you know...but where I am going next nobody knows? can anyone suggest somewhere?

Q.How do you finance your travels?

A.I work a bit back in Europe, doing absolutely anything; I get my head down, spend as little cash as possible at the weekends and then I'm away!

Q.I hope I'm not getting too personal, but roughly, what age are you?

roughly 28;-)

Q.Unlike you, I'm planning on going through Iran rather than the Caucusus, and then taking the KKH, rather than the interesting, but tough route you chose through Tibet, to India.
I just have a couple of questions:

Q.How long did you wait for your Uzbek and Kyrygz visas in Istanbul?

A.I didn't get them in Istanbul... got my Uzbek in England. then my Kygyz in Uzbekistan (it took about 5 days) but it is very easy to get visas whilst travelling there so don't worry!

Q.Did you hear of any travellers being issued with transit visas for Turkmenistan?

A.It's tough and there are no set rules, but if you already have your Uzbek and are in iran go to Mashad and they will probably issue you one. Although very short - perhaps just 3-5 days!

Q.Could you please tell me, if you have the time, about your previous trips? Just where you went, your favourite places etc.

My favourite places are (in no particular order):

Georgia, Iran, Colombia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, Nicaragua, Panama, Brazil and Ethiopia -
for me it's the people that make a place, and I find the least touristy places nearly always have the most hospitable people.
but there is not really such a thing as an 'unfavourite country' - except maybe Egypt! ;-)

Q. How was the ferry to the Andamans? - it's definately in my head to go there, and I love ferries.
A. you may hear horror stories about it being dirty and crowded - it is but it's really not a problem.

>Sorry if this is really long, your journey has fascinated me, I always look forward to your next entry.


Conor, from Dublin.


I would also like to add comments about what others have written here:

$10,000 will should last you 18 months, if your not going to the west i.e. US, Western Europe etal.

Central America is actually quite 'pricey' - maybe $20+ a day.and maybe more nowadays. But that's also because they have good beer!

South America was cheaper to travel, even though you are travelling larger distances.
(but Venezuala is very expensive)

Last trip I spent approx. $12 a day from India to South Africa.

This trip approx. $16 a day. but the dollar has plummted 30%!i(MISSING)n the last year - so this trip is comaparable to my last.

These prices are based on living fairly cheaply but not being tight!

and bring what you think you'll need and can't live without. I always have too much: incl. a tent, stove and hammock and a fluctuating library of about ten books!!!

I never travel with travellers cheques but use a visa card and always have a stash of US dollars, of about $500 when I set out, with some small denominations. I am yet to travel anywhere where these things aren't liquid.

hope it helps.
If anyone has any specific questions just PM me.
I'm in madras at the moment twiddling my thumbs until I meet my mother next week!;-)
Reply to this

18 years ago, February 22nd 2005 No: 16 Msg: #1317  
Thank you for your reply Jason - I've sent a reply to your questions to your e-mail address, enjoy Madras!

Happy Travelling!

Conor. Reply to this

18 years ago, March 27th 2005 No: 17 Msg: #1490  
My wife and I (in our thirties) saved for two years, planned for 18 months and quit our jobs and travelled for nine months in the late 1990's before the kids came and we got a house (and a mortgage).

Our trip was three months in continental Europe, one month in the UK and Ireland, an African safari and Turkey / Greece (5 weeks total), then off to Asia -- two weeks in Japan, three weeks in China, two weeks in Hong Kong, then three weeks in Thailand, six weeks in Austalia and four weeks in New Zealand.

We were in our mid thirties and set a comfortable budget of $115 day for two people (which would be $57.50 per day single), broken up as $50 per day lodging, $40 per day for food (we wanted to try local foods and not just subsist on cans of tuna and loaves of bread) and $35 for attractions, entrance fees for museums etc, and other necessities. This did not include the major transportation costs of a RTW airline ticket ($2,999 for 28,500 miles), our rental car for the UK, and our Eurail passes for three months as well as several other air tickets (London -- Nairobi for the safari)

We chose not to stay in hostels each night (though we found a lot of great hostels throughout the nine months), preferring to stay in pensiones, 2 star hotels etc.

I wholeheartedly agree with the earlier post that you will soon relieve your backpack of at least 1/3 the weight. We left on day one with 38 lb packs....at the end of week three, I got rid of 15 lbs of clothes, etc.

From a planning perspective, we planned out a daily ininerary to think though travel logistics (like exactly how do you get from Milan to St. Moritz or Wales to Ireland) but then we were loose with the actual schedule, moving at our own pace....

Please email me if I can provide more info.....

Steve Lavey
Chicago, IL
Reply to this

18 years ago, March 30th 2005 No: 18 Msg: #1505  
hi guys, i've not been on this forum for a while but i'd like to answer Ali's question on the Nationwide bank account (UK) - it is BRILLIANT! any person coming from the UK will be charged maybe 2-3pounds for each withdrawal by any other bank I know of - with my Nationwide card I can go to almost any cash manchine and have free withdrawals (ok, you are paying an exchange rate where the banks obviously make a little) but it basically means for me and Sarah that we use our cashcards like we do in the UK - little and often and you don't have to worry about it. My Lloyds TSB card is just the backup - and with internet banking I can pay off both my credit cards and transfer money between all my accounts online. Check it out if you're from the UK - and give it plenty of time to set up - 6 weeks is about right as you'll need an appointment with someone at a branch etc. etc. etc.
Hope that helps! Reply to this

18 years ago, April 14th 2005 No: 19 Msg: #1641  
To Sandy:

If you haven´t departed yet and still have any questions on Berlin, I´d be glad to answer; I lived there for a year and have been back many times since to visit!

Reply to this

18 years ago, April 21st 2005 No: 20 Msg: #1677  
right, if you haven't left yet and need more info (everyone else seems to have taken care of most everything); one thing i would have is a skirt for traveling on bus and pit stops on the side of the road. there were times when i regretted not having one and spectators to watch my toileting habits.
no need for a bra, i just took 2 tanks (quick dry) with shelf liners which acted as both bra and top, less to carry. wash one wear one. you get tired of the same clothes, but if you have black and grey, it should go with whatever bottoms (if you're concerned with how you look). same with underwear. quick dry. only need 2-3 pairs.
buy whatever clothes you want to wear along the way and either send it home or give it away.
be prepared to not have a shower daily or weekly even (but still be able to wash clothes).
zip lock bag or plastic bag for shampoo or anything else that may leak.
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