A post graduation adventure is high on the wish list for most college or university students, even some high school students. Who wouldn't like to finish their exams then jet off and spend a a few months (or longer) exploring exotic destinations?
However, it can be difficult to arrange if you are short on money or have never planned a trip before. Difficult, yes, but not impossible.
Here are some tips to help you take an extended adventure.
The faster you travel, the more research and organisation is required. It takes a significant amount of time to figure out how you will get from point A to point B and where you will stay when you get there.
If you are moving all the time it can feel like all you ever do is look for accommodation.
If you slow down, which is as simple as staying places for at least one week, you can take a lot of the stress out of traveling. Having room in your schedule also gives you lots of flexibility to change your plans as you see fit.
Trying to see too much is a common rookie mistake. You're not sure if you'll ever be back so you have to see as much as possible right now.
Just remember that, yes, it is technically possible to visit ten countries in ten days, but how much are you actually seeing? Have you scheduled some time in there for sleep?
Spending your whole trip moving from place to place and being exhausted all the time is no fun.
Slash Accommodation Costs
Free accommodation does wonders for your budget. Read our guide on How to get free accommodation.
If you can get some house sitting references or get established in the couch surfing community (or similar) before you even depart, you will have a great head start.
Ask around anyone you know if they need a house sitter, even just for a weekend, then get a reference to get you started. Join couch surfing. Attend a meet up or host someone.
To increase your chances, be prepared to go places may not have heard of before if there is free accommodation on offer.
Make Money While You Travel
Start working on ways you can make money without being tied to a particular location. Owning websites, freelancing and so on. See freelancer.com, elance.com and odesk.com to get an idea what skill sets are marketable for getting freelance work. Here is a list of jobs you can do on the road.
Depending on your skills and connections you probably won't make as much per hour as you do now, assuming you are currently working, but you can make it anywhere to supplement your travel budget.
I'm sure you've heard that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, well, a dollar earned in Bali is worth two earned somewhere that you don't want to be.
Consider English Teaching
If you're interested in a longer stay in a non-English speaking country, particularly in Asia, look into teaching English.
Read our guide to Getting Started Teaching English In Asia.
Some people turn it into a life long career but for most it something to do for one to four years. It provides a convenient way to cover your costs while exploring other countries even if you eventually return to another career.
See If You Qualify For a Working Holiday Visa
Some countries like Australia and New Zealand offer a working holiday visa for young people looking to travel.
You are generally forbidden from working for any single employer long term which rules out most serious career type jobs but you can earn some money picking fruit, working in a country pub and so on.
You will earn some money and see places you wouldn't otherwise.
Debt Makes Traveling Hard
Avoid debt like the plague. It is not super difficult to earn enough money to afford to live on a tropical island somewhere. It is extremely difficult to afford to live on a tropical island if you also have to send money home for repayments.
Credit cards in particular hurt more often than they help. Ignore what the nice person from the credit card company says about bonus miles etc etc. They are not your friend.
However, we do know of people who are heavily into Travel Hacking and are able to get great flight deals by using their credit cards. Do your own research!
Drive Down Your Expenses
If you can shrink your expenses at home to zero (or very close) before you depart you will be in great shape.
No repayments, no bills, no vehicle registration fees, no fees for storage, nothing. That way every dollar you earn is for you and your adventures.
As much as possible, cancel everything. If you start doing this well in advance of your departure it will also help with saving.
Flying Is Expensive
Once you have arrived in a region that interests you, try to avoid flying. Jetting around the globe from region to region is all well and good but it tends to be expensive.
Trains and buses take longer but are often significantly cheaper than flying. They also have the added bonus that you will see more.
In addition to offering reduced costs and an enriched experience traveling, overland travel also offers the opportunity to undertake some fairly epic adventures.
Of course you can catch trains all over Europe but did you know that you may be able to travel from Europe to India overland?
You can definitely catch the train all the way from Singapore through Malaysia and Thailand to Laos.
Trips like this can easily be broken into a series of short hops allowing you to stop along the way for however long you like.
Airports are the same the world over. The less time spent in them, the better.
That is really all there is to it. Get yourself in a position to get free accommodation where possible, start working on making money on the road, consider English teaching, look into a working holiday program, avoid debt, cut expenses, minimise flights.
That, of course, is leaving out the single most important tip. Commit, book something and go. Yes, you should plan, yes, you should save money and yes, there are things in your life that aren't perfect right now.
Don't wait for your circumstances to be perfect because they never will be.
It is up to you to actually make this happen so make it a priority to go and have an adventure, to go and have some new experiences, to go and collect some stories you can tell your kids one day and maybe collect some other stories that you hope they never find out about. Just go.