WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE?

I particularly enjoyed the South Island of New Zealand for its amazing natural beauty, as well as Cambodia for the richness of the experiences I had while volunteering there.

Different people like different places for different reasons, so I encourage you to think carefully about why you want to travel, what type of accommodation you’ll be staying in, and how long you plan to travel.

HOW CAN I FINANCE LONG-TERM TRAVEL?

I’ve been traveling for 3 years and have financed my travels primarily from the proceeds of selling  everything I own (and I do mean EVERYTHING) and then investing the money.  So, in order to make my travels last as long as possible, I’ve lived frugally and forgone the comforts that other travelers wouldn’t.  On the other hand, some of the backpackers I’ve traveled with would view my budget and style of traveling extravagant.

I arbitrarily came up with a budget based loosely on previous travel and how long I wanted to travel.  I took my net profit and divided by 48 months, which gave me 3 years to travel and a year of income when I returned.  My goal was to live at 30% below that budget, but as it turns out my investments have taken care of the difference and I’ve returned to the states significantly under budget.

Keep in mind that your budget not only has to include getting to and from, as well as accommodations while you’re there, but food, any activities or side trips you want to do while you’re there such as scuba diving or visiting an elephant rescue organization, to incidentals like tips, and taxi fare and toothpaste, plus visas, departure taxes and unforeseen expenses like medical expenses or renting a car.

Shelley and Keith’s book

4 hour work week

Study abroad

Volunteering

Peace Corps and NGO’s

HOW DO YOU FIND ACCOMMODATIONS?

Hostelz.com

Hotels.com

Couchsurfing.org

Airbnb.com

Homeaway.com

Do you want to stay in a hostel? Or a luxury resort?

I find that “the closer to the ground” I travel, the more likely I am to have the sort of adventures that make travel so appealing to me.

WHAT ABOUT FOOD AND WATER?

That all depends on how adventurous you are.  I always drink bottled water, and I usually ask the waiter not to open the bottle.  I realize that that’s not very environmentally friendly, but having an intestinal bug can really ruin a trip. I eat meat from a street vendor only if I can actually see it being cooked.  This doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick, but at least you know that the meat’s been freshly cooked.

DO YOU EVER GET SICK?

I’ve certainly had a few run-ins with unwanted gastro-intestinal visitors, but this was early on in my travels.  And as far as other types of illness go, I’m fortunate to have a pretty robust immune system, so other than a couple of sinus infections and having my chin stitched up because I was going too fast on a motorcycle, I’ve been very fortunate.

MEDICATION/VACCINATIONS/IMMUNIZATIONS

If you go the http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/website, you can look up what immunizations they recommend for any country.  You can then get these vaccination from any travel clinic.  Keep in mind that it’s their job to scare you into purchasing as many of these as possible and you can spend a fortune on this.  For example, if you’re going to an area where malaria is present, you might be inclined to take ___________.  You have to start this a week before you travel and take it daily.  It’s not great for your liver, especially when combined with alcohol, and is ineffective against certain strains of mosquitos.  Since the treatment for malaria is the same as prevention, I prefer to take my chances. There is no fool-proof protection…even locals contract malaria.

WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?

Travel/Health insurance HTH

WHAT ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY?

I’ve never had anything bad happen to me while traveling or had anything stolen.  This is mostly due to the fact that I exercise common sense and that I don’t live life in a state of fear about the boogie man waiting around the corner.  I don’t wander down dark alleys, I don’t carry a lot of cash, I put my money and valuables in a secret place in my luggage.  I don’t get drunk with people I don’t know….or wander down the street when I’m not sober.  I typically don’t go out after 10pm by myself if I’m in a big city.

DON’T YOU GET LONELY?

Yes

WHAT’S AN APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF TIME TO TRAVEL?

Depends on what your travel goals are.  My personal recommendation is to travel for at least a month, and to stay at least 4 nights in each place you visit.  That would allow you to see 7 to 8 different locations. Otherwise, travel becomes a blur, a job and a chore.

MONEY, CREDIT CARDS, EXCHANGE RATE?

 

BOOKING TRAVEL?

 

WHAT SHOULD I PACK?

 

WHO SHOULD I CONTACT IN CASE OF EMERGENCY?

 

IN ANY TOWN, WHAT ARE THE MUST DO’S?

 

CAN I DRIVE?

 

WHAT DOCUMENTS DO YOU RECOMMEND BRINGING?

 

HOW DO I PREVENT CAUSING OFFENCE WHEN I’M NOT FAMILIAR WITH LOCAL CUSTOMS?

 

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TRAVELER AND A TOURIST?

 

WHAT TYPE OF LUGGAGE DO YOU RECOMMEND:

I don’t recommend a standard backpack, unless you enjoy unpacking everything you brought with you every time you want to get something out of your bag.  The other thing is that backpacks don’t stand up by themselves….if there’s not a flat surface and a wall to lean it against, you have to lie it flat on the ground….and not necessarily in a place where you want to do that.

I personally recommend the osprey line of luggage….specifically the sojourn, because it’s a rolling case that also converts to a backpack with a heavy duty waistbelt or can be carried as a suitcase.  I’ve had to carry it as a backpack fewer than 10 times in 3 years.

But whatever you do get soft sided luggage, particularly for your carry on, so that it’s flexible and can conform to the space available.  Make sure that your checked luggage weighs no more than 44 pounds and that your carry on weighs no more than 10 pounds excluding your laptop or purse….most airlines won’t count those against you.

Most travelers overpack.  Carry only what you absolutely must have, and preferably clothing that you can wash in the bathtub or sink, or that you don’t mind losing if the hotel where you’re staying ruins it. 

Wear your socks and underwear twice, take one pair of shoes for hiking if you plan to do that, a pair of everyday shoes and a pair of flip flops.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Don’t travel if you’re running away from something…a relationship, an addiction, depression….your demons have an uncanny way of finding you even when you don’t leave a forwarding address.

Travel should be expansive, eye-opening, mind-expanding and life-affirming.  If you travel to get away from something, chances are it will come after you.

I also don’t recommend traveling if you’re trying to “find yourself”….or find anything for that matter.  Travel for travel’s sake,  try to let go of your expectations, keep an open mind and heart, and see what happens.

 

Don’t be so busy documenting the moment that you forget to experience the moment.  It’s so easy to fall into the trap of “won’t these pictures be so cool to show my friends” or “wait ‘til National Geographic sees these!”

 

CAN I MEET WITH YOU TO DISCUSS MY TRAVEL PLANS AND/OR GET YOUR ADVICE/THOUGHTS?

 

Meeting with other travelers is one of my favorites ways to spend time but due to time constraints I’m unable to meet with everyone who reaches out to me.  If after reading my responses to the FAQ’s above, I’d be happy to schedule a phone or skype session.  For a one time call, the rate is US$ 60/hour (one hour minimum) Please contact me at john@johnlangford.com to schedule a one-on-one consultation