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What do you need to Become a Traveller?? My advice from 5 years as a Traveller!!

Camel in Morocco

What does a person need to Become a Traveller like you?  One of my readers in China, Twinkel Auho asked me this via Facebook.  To inspire others who also want to Become a Traveller let’s discuss the question below using my 5 years experience!!

Many of us “Travel,”  that is take holidays and vacations.  But a traveller is someone who takes it a step further and makes travelling more of a lifestyle.  Perhaps they spend months at a time away from home, even years, finding work along the way to fund their travels.

So what do you need to Become a Traveller?  

A constant yearning to search for experiences

Travellers are always in search of something new.  It could be beaches, jungles, wild mountains, cities, intense isolation.  Whatever it is there, they have one thing in common.  We all enjoy new experiences.  New friends, new languages, new food, new cultures.  It is what makes our life interesting and therefore we continue to search for it.


Be flexible

Become a Traveller

Early morning in Venice. The night before, Graceie and I slept in a boat on one of the canals. We arrived in the city at 2am after hitchhiking from Slovakia.

I can honestly say that almost every day something happens that requires flexibility.  Maybe a change of local bus timetable, bad weather, you didn’t make it to the destination or didn’t feel safe at your hostel.  At times like these you will have to be flexible and just “go with it.”  If you are easy going and can think out side the box there is no situation that cant be solved!

To avoid these sort of problems travellers tend to have less set plans.  And the best experiences are often spontaneous and can happen at anytime!   “Must see” places can always wait for next time.

Don’t expect to travel like a “tourist” every day for months on end.  If you try to see every sight and do every tour everywhere you go you will get burnt out fast.  Learn to pace yourself and enjoy the moment.


The ability to leave behind many things and become unattached

This is more for the really long term travellers like me.  Every week or so I say good bye to new friends.  Awesome people that I might have been forever best friends with if I lived in one place but because I constantly move it hard to keep in touch.  I do keep in touch with a lot of people via Facebook but its challenging.

My family and I keep in touch via Skype and email regularly.

I also never get homesick, or miss anything almost ever.  In some ways you actually become a bit heartless.

Its ok to miss a few things but to be a long term traveller its better to look forward at what amazing experiences are coming next.  Rather than dwell in the past missing home.  In most case home is always going to be there when you go back so just live in the moment and enjoy!


Don’t have a drain of money at home

This is very important.  As a traveller you don’t tend to have a lot of money.  Or at least the goal is to make it last as long as possible.  So to make travelling easier I recommend having as little on going expenses as possible.

Some common ongoing expenses to try and avoid are:

  • Cell phone plans, a waste of money!  Just buy a sim card in the country you travel.  Saves so much money.
  • Student loan.  Hard to avoid.  When I had my student loan ($10,000USD) my priority was to keep it as small as possible and pay it off fast.  I worked overseas in a country with higher salary to pay it off the fastest.  Therefore I was still experiencing a new country and culture but earning money too.
  • House/apartment rental.  Before leaving for extended travel try to leave your stuff at a friends or parents house.  Or in cheaper storage. You don’t want to be paying rent while travelling!
  • Credit card debt….that an obvious one!  Just don’t borrow money


Some savings but not as much as you would think

Yes you need money to travel.  But no you don’t need as much as you think.  How much?  Well I travel for around $1000 a month.  In a good month that’s $1000 New Zealand so $700 USD and an expensive month its $1000 USD.   I try to get jobs that include food and board and work intensively, 7 days a week to save money faster.

See my jobs as an Outdoor Instructor in China and Expedition Guide in Antarctica for ideas.

If $1000 a month is too much for you don’t worry.  There are other ways.  You can try volunteering, Woofing or best of all working and travelling!  My best travel memories are from working in different countries.  See This Link for everything about working holiday countries.

For some ways to save money while travelling please: 10 Awesome Money Saving Tips For Travellers


A backpack and small amount of equipment

Become a Traveller

Number one you need a backpack!  Don’t take a suit case!  A backpack gives you the freedom to go where you want when you want without relying on other people and paying for taxis and stuff.

Also take just the minimum of what you REALLY need.  There is no point carrying extra things.  I have never been to a country that I couldn’t find everything I needed anyway!  Don’t take extras and spares of things.

To read more about what you REALLY need to carry please read my post:  Whats in my Backpack?


Unless you are in the EU travelling in the EU then you will need a passport.  And for Americans, true travelling starts when you leave your home country so get that passport and be free!

Some passports are surely much better than others.  I have been very lucky to have a “good” passport.  However if your passport requires you to obtain visa’s for most countries then it will be a bit more work.  Every passport can travel to some countries without a visa so start with these countries to get the hang of travelling and then move on to countries that require a visa.


Know that travelling isn’t always a easy

A common misconception is that travellers are always on “holiday” or “vacation” therefore life must always be perfect and amazing.  Yes lots of the time it is but to go with that there also the harder times.  Like the long haul flight, or 10-20 hour bus rides.  The sleeping in rough hostels or hotels or sleeping on the deck of ferries.

For example in Turkey I spent 30 hours on a bus trying to get somewhere.  My longest flight was 36 hours from Malaysia to New York.  The most sleep I have ever managed in an airport over-nighter is probably 3 hours.  Unless you have a high budget these sort of thing may well become apart of your adventure too!   Don’t let it put you off!  Be prepared and embrace it!  You generally forget the hardships and just remember the good times!


And what DON’T you need to Become a Traveller?

Equally important is what don’t you need to Become a Traveller?

  • The latest Iphone or smart phone.  Yes it makes things easier I agree but I travelled for 4.5 years until May 2016 with just an old slow tablet or old laptop.  The $700 I saved not buying the latest Iphone could help me travel most of a month.
  • Lots of money, as discussed above and in My 10 Awesome Money Saving Tips!
  • Rich parents.  Yes that would help!  But gone are the days of only rich people travelling.   Most people can earn enough money to travel somewhere these days.
  • A data roaming plan.  Just a waste of money unless you have lots to spare!

Now its your turn

I hope to inspire others to also travel like I do.  If you find this post useful or know someone who wants to Become a Traveller then please share this post around!

Remember:  “Don’t listen to what they say…go see!”


1 Comment

  1. This is a great post, Chris! 🙂

    I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger award, you don’t have to accept it but if you do, the instructions and nomination are over on my post:

    Hope you accept my nomination, keep up the great work! 🙂