Many people, especially Americans, go away for a week or a week and a half at a time. But what is it like to be gone for longer? Three weeks? A month? Six weeks? Four months? And how do you possibly pack for that amount of time?
Short Term Travel
When traveling for just a week or so, it is easy to go-go-go. I am typically this type of traveler. I don’t want to miss a single thing because I will most likely never be in the same place again. This works for a week of travel, because you don’t get worn down and you can rest when you get home. But when you travel for longer, you have to take breaks.
Longer Term Travel
During my first three week trip, about two weeks into the trip, I realized that I was exhausted. When I thought about it, I realized that I hadn’t taken any down time for two whole weeks, which would be unheard of at home. So I allowed myself to take some time to read in a patio chair at my hostel and it was wonderful. I remembered that when I studied abroad in college, living on a ship for four months and traveling when we got to port, I took breaks when I was on the ship. Although on my three week trip I didn’t have the natural breaks I did in college, I decided that it was a good idea to take breaks from time to time when traveling for a longer period of time.
Taking a break means different things to different people. Some people want to curl up with a good book like I did. Others want to just sit on the beach for the day. I have also gone out to the movies, caught up on writing in my journal at a local coffee shop, or just hung out in the hostel with other travelers. I like to take smaller breaks as I go so I don’t feel the need to take a whole day off. Maybe a couple hours or so.
Losing Sight of Home
When you are only gone from home for a week, the first few days of the trip are exciting, then many people start looking forward to being home beginning a few days before the return trip. When you are gone for longer, the time you will return home is so far off, that you don’t even think about it. This allows you to be more present in where you are and who is around you. I find I am more able to immerse myself in a trip this way, and this mentality helps me be more immersed in a shorter trip, too.
Packing for a Longer Trip
When packing for a longer trip, I don’t pack much more than I do for a week long trip. I do laundry as I go, so I don’t need any more clothes. The same goes for shoes. A couple items I do bring extra are nail clippers and toiletries. When you are moving around from place to place as much as I do, small toiletries save space. It is a good idea to buy toiletries as you go to save even more space. I don’t just because I worry I will only be able to find large bottles of, say, shampoo, and will waste everything that won’t fit into my travel size bottle.
As I wrote about in 6 Reasons to Travel With Only a Carry On, it is much easier to travel with less stuff. When you have to walk a mile from the train station to your hostel, or jump onto a busy train, ferry or bus, having less baggage is so much easier. This is another reason I don’t pack much more for over a week than I do for just a week long trip. There are more reasons listed in 6 Reasons to Travel With Only a Carry On.
Do you have any questions? If you do, please post a comment below. Have you traveled for longer than two weeks? Comment below if you have more to add.