Guide To Your Slow Travel Life

Tired of dreaming of a travel life? Ready to take the first step toward your dream? Check out the necessary considerations to start your slow travel life.

The only thing keeping you from a dream life of slow travel is that you haven’t started the process of making small changes to get there! Or better yet, you don’t know where to start.

If that’s the case, you’re in the right spot. This post explains the major steps and considerations to make a life of long-term travel a reality for anyone. You’re probably tired of seeing people living your dream life, while you’re feeling stuck with the same rhythm you’ve been in for too long. 

I’m here to share how I quit my corporate job, left on a one-way ticket to put my bucket list items on the calendar, and started living for experiences. What are you waiting for? Your dream life of slow travel and adventure is ready for you to take! 

A globe against a blurry background

Table of Contents

Learn more to understand exactly What is Slow Travel, and why it's right for you.

Where To Start

Setting yourself up for a life of slow travel takes a few months of preparation, but you will thank yourself in the long run for the work you put in to set yourself up correctly! 

Of course, this depends a lot on where your life is before going into this transition, how much you currently own, what you want to experience on your travel, your budget, and your adaptability. This section breaks down some of the best starting points so you’re ready to tackle specific plans with more space on your plate.

Shed What You Don't Need

First, start assessing what you currently have in your life, in your space, in those boxes in the garage you haven’t touched for months. Now think about what you don’t need, and what you could get rid of before you even think about travel. 

Making space in your life physically will allow you more space mentally to take on new goals and projects.

A big decision that will need to be made is what to do with your current living situation while you’re abroad. Does it make sense to keep paying rent for the months you will be away? Are you in a good place to move out entirely and save on the rent expenses? Or maybe you will want to sublet your place on Airbnb to make some passive income while you’re abroad! 

Look for sustainable ways to get rid of things - Post it on a community Buy, Sell, Trade site. Donate it to a local thrift store. Gift it to a friend. Recycle it! Try to avoid sending anything to the landfill!

Get Ahead Of Your Health

In the early stages of preparing to pivot towards a life of travel, set yourself up for less stress down the line and check in with all of your health needs before you have something major on the other side of the world. We all know how long some doctors can take to get in for an appointment, so do yourself a favor and get in early.

Make a point to get a routine dental cleaning, get a routine physical, update on any recommended vaccinations, visit your gynecologist, and whatever else in your mental and physical health needs attention.


Budgeting is a crucial step in the beginning phase of planning for your travel as it will determine the plans you go with in later steps. You will have a lot of options for accommodation, transport, food, and excursions, so get yourself to a reasonable starting goal (that you can adjust later).

Be realistic with yourself and what you can afford to do, which will help you in the next steps as you ‘Take The Leap’ to full planning mode. Check out the full list of travel budgeting tips so you can cut back your costs and have a good expectation of the costs associated with a nomadic life. And in the meantime, save as much as you can!

Some additional costs that should be considered with a life of travel will be discussed more below, and include:
  • Storage Unit for personal belongings at home
  • Travel Insurance Coverage
  • Renter’s Insurance
  • Mobile Phone
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Public Transportation
  • Visas / Passport Renewal


Long-term slow travel is only possible while the funds last. If you’re planning to take a leave from your job and travel for a while off your savings, then go ahead! Just make sure to focus on your budget, and be ready to say goodbye to a life that you’ll fall in love with 😉

“The answer will always be no to the questions you never ask”

If you’re ready for a full change, think about how you can make money remotely. Maybe you have a great digital skill that you can do freelance? Maybe you will incorporate your travel into your work, like with travel photography or a skills instructor at resort destinations (surfing, yoga, cooking)?

Get creative and be your biggest advocate! This is the chance to take a dream and make it a reality with a little bit of work and commitment.

Take The Leap

At this stage, you’ve got the ball rolling in the right direction, but with no real commitments made, you can still turn back to the life where you’ve cleared your space and belongings, prioritized your health, and assessed your budget, without any major time or money put into the real traveling planning. And that’s great if that’s where it ends!

But, if you are excited and ready to continue moving forward with the journey, it’s time to take the leap and start getting into some of the specific plans that need to be considered, like where you’ll be exploring, accommodation options, documentation, insurance coverage, banking, phone plans, and packing!

Choose Your destination

Throughout the weeks, months, or years of dreaming of a life traveling, maybe there has been a bucket list place you know you want to start, which is awesome! But if not, you’ll need to start focusing on a destination that you can build your plans around, and the time of year to plan on going.


 The world is a big place, and you will never be able to see it all. Luckily there are ways to get to every corner of it, so don’t worry, you’ll be able to explore wherever you want along the way, but you do need to start somewhere. 
Think about the destination as a region, rather than a place. Once you can focus on a broader region, the rest will fall into place with some research.
Focus on traveling slowly, so you can fully experience a place in the day-to-day, rather than focusing on plans and logistics of travel. Moving slowly will mean you stay somewhere for a longer period, get enriched in the local culture, meet people more regularly, and spend more time being than being on the move. 

When To Go

Be aware of the tourist fluctuations for the destinations you’re considering, especially if you’re on a budget. Travel in the shoulder seasons to save money in so many ways! There will be more accommodation and transport options, smaller crowds, and lower prices for excursions. Another benefit of off-peak travel, is you get a more authentic experience and meet some locals!

My partner and I arrived in Split, Croatia in mid-October, when we had plenty of summer days left to enjoy the coastline swimming in the sea, but without the crowds of other tourists!



Where you stay is completely dependent on your budget and the experience you’re looking to have.

If you’re on a tight budget, there are free options where you trade work for food & accommodation. This includes WWOOF, WorkAway, WorldPackers, and Trusted Housesitters

If you’re about to spend a bit, but still with a reasonable budget, check out month-long stays with Airbnb! This has been our top choice of accommodation, so we only have to pick 1 place for a whole month, it allows us time to settle in, and we get to fully immerse in a community. Stays over 28 days often have a long-term discount, so we save a ton vs. the nightly costs for a hotel or hostel.

If you’re doing more frequent travel and can’t commit to a month somewhere, hostels and hotels are an easy option, and has a lot of options all over the world!

Girl sitting in a chair in front of an orange building, with plates of food next to her


Depending on the timeline of when you hope to leave, start thinking about the validity of your Passport and any Visa requirements for the region you will want to go. 

These processes are the most out of your control, so it’s better to get them started sooner rather than later so they won’t hold you up, or force you to return home after a year to update, like I did!

Based on where you want to go, there are different requirements for entry that you need to check out! Some countries require a Visa depending on your country of origin, vaccination records, accommodation plans, bank statements, and even your confirmed plans of exit!

Knowing what your destination countries require will allow you to plan accordingly so you can avoid any bumps in the road (which are usually much more expensive to navigate on the spot).

Especially after the pandemic, global travel requirements are constantly changing, so make sure that the research you do is updated and accurate to when you plan to travel. Check out the Government websites on Entry Requirements to make sure you have everything you need before you go!


Insurance coverage is a big one to tackle and can get a bit complicated if you don’t know what to look out for, and to be honest there are a lot of options! You can have a combination of health insurance, travel insurance, and renter’s insurance to make sure you and your investments are protected. Learn more about the types of insurance and the best options for you.

While traveling with a limited amount of things in a foreign place, knowing that you have support in the worst-case scenarios will offer you some peace of mind that you’re covered, so keep in mind these helpful tips to get started:

  • Check your credit cards for travel insurance coverage
  • Read the fine print for health insurance to check the exclusions (especially if you plan to do any type of physical activity)
  • Invest in Renter’s insurance to protect all of the things you will be traveling in the event it gets lost or stolen

Banking Smart

This step can be very easy if you already bank with someone who makes it easy for long-term slow travel, but chances are your bank will charge you ridiculous foreign transaction fees and ATM fees, which are easily avoidable! 

The following list is the 3 biggest things you’ll want to set up for a safe, cheap, and easy way to travel:

  • Credit Card that has 0 foreign transaction fees so you can use your card for all purchases without fear of fraud
  • A Checking Account that has unlimited foreign ATM withdrawals with no added fee
  • A way to budget and manage all of your finances so you can stay on top of it

Phone Plan

An easy way to feel overwhelmed as soon as you land in your first destination is not having any connection to the internet, or a basic phone plan to get you settled. Before you go, understand everything you need to know about an international phone plan so you can stay connected and save money.

You have a few options to stay connected if your current plan doesn’t already work where you’ll be traveling to, including:

  • Planning to use WiFi with no phone plan (which is unreliable and I definitely don’t recommend)
  • Switching to a local provider via physical SIM when you arrive so you don’t have any international fees
  • Installing an eSIM on your phone so you have connection when you land (best option!)
  • Getting a travel plan with your current provider (which is ridiculously expensive in some cases)

Don’t forget to have your friends and family back home get set up on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger so you can stay in touch without accidentally incurring international call/text rates!


While all of the plans listed above are in motion, you’re well on your way to making your dream life a reality! 

Now for the fun part, think through what you want to bring with you and how you’re going to move it all around. What you bring will be carried with you to every new destination, so do yourself a favor and only bring what you need, making space for things you didn’t know you needed until you arrive, and making sure to choose luggage that is comfortable and works for you.

By packing smart, you will incur fewer baggage fees (if any at all), save space and weight on transport which improves its efficiency, and also align more with a minimalist lifestyle! Learn the best packing hacks to stay organized while traveling.

This part can be daunting depending on your lifestyle and slow travel style, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make it easier to select what you will bring, and less stressful once you start your travels!

  • Pack Light (10 Days)
  • Use what you Already Have
  • Favor Functionality over Style
  • Versatility is Everything
An open suitcase that is being prepared for long term travel packing

On The Journey

Now that you have everything you need together, you’re ready to take off and make your dreams a reality as you take on this new lifestyle! But the key to traveling sustainably is making sure you can do everything you want, without breaking your budget or making wasteful decisions when you’re in a crunch.

Sustainable thinking has been important to get you to this point, but it is essential to keep you on this path so you can travel affordably and feel good about it! While you’re on your journey, the major areas of consideration include your transportation, what you eat, and making sure to record these memories that will last a lifetime!


The First Trip

The first step in transportation is how you get there, which is most likely going to be by plane unless you’re staying closer to where you live. Traveling by flight is not sustainable, but sometimes it is the only choice to travel. Check out how to book the cheapest flights, and learn about CO2 offsets. 

Budget flight apps like Kayak, Skyscanner, and Hopper can be great to save, but be aware of what it might cost. These options usually have an extra fee for luggage (including carry-ons), long layovers, and risk of missed flights. Skyscanner and Kayak are search engines, whereas Hopper is a booking agency. If you book a flight (or hotel) through the Hopper App, there aren’t as many guarantees as what you’ll book when going through Skyscanner and Kayak.

I also use Google Flights (in incognito mode) to check for the lowest dates, and compare this with a search on Kayak. I’ve found the most affordable options through these 2 methods, especially when you factor in the hidden costs that get tagged on the cheap flights.

Over 8% of global carbon emissions are from aviation alone. Try to take other transportation options like train, ferry, or bus to get between destinations! If you can't cut back on flights, where can you cut back your carbon emissions?

Continued Transport

Once you get to your destination, unless it is in a very rural area, you will find public transport to be much more accessible and reliable! Thankfully this is almost always the cheaper option, and way better for the environment for so many reasons. 

You won’t always be able to get exactly where you want to go the second you want it as you would with a car, but immersing in public transport is a great way to get the local experience, meet people, save money and see more of the country than you would on a major interstate highway.

For transport in between destinations, it is a great time to kick back, reflect, catch up on some sleep, or see the landscape. Trains are the most efficient means of transport, and often more comfortable than long-haul buses, but do be aware that almost all long-haul transport will have baggage fees which should be incorporated into the pricing (another reason to limit to 1 backpack)!

View out of a plane with a yellow sky and clouds


No matter where you plan to travel, food and nutrition are major necessities but how you do it can be impactful to both your budget and the planet. Unless you’re doing a work exchange program where food is provided, you have the options of either eating out or cooking at home, both of which will give you a taste of the local cuisine and have their pros and cons.

Ultimately, grocery shopping and cooking at home will likely be your best option for your budget, but you can find some amazing deals around the town or city you’re staying that will cost you the same, get you out meeting locals, and prevent all the dishes you would have to do otherwise.

If you have any dietary restrictions, respect those as needed and make sure you know what the words are in the native language to prevent a reaction. Food is a major cultural aspect, so I encourage you to lean into the local cuisine as much as possible. 

For some, this may be easier said than done. I was a vegetarian for the greater part of 12 years and I got very used to this diet, especially living in California where everyone seems to be an organic, GF, vegan-only type of person.


At this stage, you put in all of the work and you made it to the other side. As much as you’ll want to disconnect and just be, these are moments that you will look back at with fondness as you share your experiences with friends and family for the rest of your life!

Take some time to reflect and record the places you go, the things you do, the people you meet, and everything you’ve learned (and unlearned). Take a small envelope/packing cube to keep memories stored while you are on your journey. You never know what you’ll want to bring with you, whether it’s the local currency, photos, tickets, coasters, or shells. And as beautiful of an area you’re in, don’t forget to get some photos with you in them as well!

Summary - Slow Travel - Guide to Long Term Travel

Like any long-term goal, the end may feel far from where you’re at.  Start the journey now with small steps every day, week, and month, and you’ll get to your goals in no time. Start with the small bites of addressing where you’re currently at, and make some space for the new.  As you free up some mental and physical space, you’ll be able to tackle specific planning of where you’re going and make sure your basic needs will be covered.  Most of all, be proud of yourself for making the jump and doing what you’ve always dreamed of.  

This is your one shot at life, what do you want to do with it?

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Posted by Taylor Mallaber

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