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Backpacking Myths Busted!

Backpacking Myths Busted!

Taking a career break to go backpacking around the world can be pretty daunting. But there are a few myths out there that make it seem much harder than it really is. Here are our top ones – and why you don’t have to be worried.

1. Backpacking will ruin my career

A career break doesn’t have to be a career killer. If you are taking a sabbatical from your job, talk to your boss about what will happen when you return to work and your expectations for the future.

If you are quitting your current job, don’t burn your bridges! You may be lucky enough to be rehired when you return. If you have to apply for a new job when you get home, don’t hide your career break. Instead, highlight in your resume all of the great skills your travels taught you – conflict resolution, communication skills, problem solving, organisational skills, and so on.

A benefit to the Gen Y work era is that people are changing jobs and careers more often than they used to. Perhaps your next job change could involve an extended holiday in the middle?

2. Backpacking is expensive

Backpacking is a lot cheaper than you may expect. Once you don’t have to pay rent, utility bills, gym memberships, car registration and all the other stuff that comes with living at home, you will be surprised by how little it costs to live on the road.

Of course you have to budget and save money in the lead up to your trip. But for most of us it’s actually pretty achievable. It means going without a few luxuries like eating out, all night benders, concerts and new fancy gadgets. When you take the plunge to travel it’s crucial to sit down and plan your budget! Know how much money you need, how you will save it and how long it will take.

Travel budgets will differ from person to person depending on the standard of travel you are looking for and where in the world you are travelling – for example, $140 a day will get you nowhere in Sweden but in Bolivia you can live like a king. If you are working, volunteering or house sitting you can travel for even less! If you manage your travel budget properly,  you are very unlikely to run out of funds!

3. I will miss home

Travelling long term means you inevitably miss out on things happening at home like weddings, birthdays and funerals. While it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with family and friends online, sometimes it just won’t make up for not being there in person.

Everyone is different, and some people will feel the pull to stay at home more than others. Postponing your trip until after a big event is always an option, but sometimes this can just be an excuse for putting off your trip. Commit to calling home a few times a week, and keep busy by meeting new friends on the road. You will never really be alone! If the worst happens while you are away, you can always fly home. Often your travel insurance will cover additional expenses and pay for you to resume your trip if a close relative becomes ill or passes away.

4. I have too many responsibilities to go backpacking

Admittedly, we have chosen not to have children or pets yet, or to buy a family home with a big mortgage. These choices have made it easier for us to travel, but just because you have these responsibilities doesn’t mean you can’t hit the road.

Kids – Ok this is a little out of our area of expertise. However, there are some great blogs like World Travel Family that give tips on travelling long term with kids. It is possible!

Pets – Long term boarding kennels are an option, but probably not the preferred one. See if a friend or family member is able to help out or look into to pet-sitting websites like Trusted Housesitters.

Mortgages – We have a small unit in Adelaide that we rent out, and thankfully the rent covers the mortgage. If renting out your home won’t cover the mortgage, another option is to save extra cash to cover the difference. If this is impossible, then perhaps look at selling all or part of your property. This is a pretty big step but it has been done before! Obviously get financial advice on this before making any rash decisions though.

5. Backpacking is a bit gross

Many people think budget travel means 14 bed dorms, bed bugs, shit food and party hostels full of testosterone-filled, singlet-wearing drongos. Understandably, this appeals to very few of us. While there are certainly establishments out there that fit this bill, you don’t have to stay there.

Boutique hostels and guesthouses are easy to find now. In places like India, Nepal and Southeast Asia you can usually get a private room in a lovely guesthouse for the same price as a dorm. Booking websites such as and also make it easy to find highly rated, cheap beds. You don’t have to live in squalor!

Yay for transparency! This page contains some affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through a link on this page, we get paid a small commission. Don’t worry – you don’t pay anything extra! And we promise that we only recommend places that we have truly enjoyed staying at.

Quick Guide to Preparing For Long Term Travel

Quick Guide to Preparing For Long Term Travel

For most of us, jetting off on a long term trip isn’t as easy as packing a backpack and locking the front door on the way out. Here is a quick guide to preparing for long term travel, which will hopefully make life on the road and your return home a bit easier.

1. Commit yourself

Long term travel isn’t for everyone, and it can be easy to get spooked and want to back out of a trip. This is because travelling for a long time isn’t always easy. In fact, you are going to have quite a few crap days on the road. You will pine for some home comforts (for me, this is usually peanut butter and Milo). Everyone misses their family and friends. You will most likely get sick, become lost or get ripped off during your travels – perhaps more than once. But the bad days are always outweighed by the good, and it will be a life-changing experience that you will never forget. Make sure you are committed to a leave date, and don’t let anyone talk you out of it!

2. Start saving

Saving is probably the hardest part of deciding to travel. You will have to sacrifice a few luxuries – big nights on the town, eating out, concerts, new clothes and new gadgets. But how much you need to save depends on where you plan to travel and what you plan to do. It may not take as long to save for your trip as you might think.

We have chosen not to work during our travels, and we move around relatively quickly, so we have had to save more than others. If you are working, house-sitting or volunteering while travelling, or if you have your own tent and cooking gear, you will be able to travel on a much smaller budget.

But you should always have some extra money in the bank for emergencies, and to cover your expenses when you get home. That first pay cheque never comes as quickly as you think it will! Managing your travel budget so you can afford a few hiccups on the road and living expenses when you return home will seriously reduce your stress levels.

3. Talk to your employer & clients

If your heart is set on long term travel, give your employer as much notice as possible about your plans. Whether you are asking for a sabbatical or resigning, do not burn your bridges. Break the news to work colleagues and clients promptly once you have a confirmed departure date. You don’t want them feeling left out of the loop.

4. Set a departure date

The first step to any long term travel is to set a departure date and stick to it. We have found the easiest way to do this is to tell others about your plans (so they can hold you to account!) and book your flights. No chickening out at the last minute!

5. Start downsizing

We somehow acquired tonnes of useless crap when we were living in Melbourne, even though we were in a small apartment. The more stuff you have when you leave, the more you will have to pay to move it and store it. Start culling your stuff early. Websites like Gumtree or Craigslist are a godsend. Less is more!

6. Start pre-trip chores early

There is plenty of boring admin to do before you leave. Here are a few of the main items for your ‘to do’ list:

  • buying flights
  • buying travel insurance
  • getting travel vaccinations
  • setting up your travel bank accounts
  • applying for visas
  • arranging new passports (if necessary)
  • cancelling utilities and subscriptions
  • making pet sitting arrangements
  • breaking your lease and finding new tenants
  • buying travel gear
  • packing up your belongings
  • organising removalists and storage
  • selling furniture and clothes

It feels like it will never end! Write a list and get started early.

7. Schedule ‘goodbye’ time

Once you finish work, put aside at least one week to spend time with family and friends before you leave. You will be surprised how quickly this week passes, and it’s a great chance to say ‘proper’ goodbyes. It also gives you a chance to do any last admin/prep before you leave.

How To Ask Your Boss For A Career Break

How To Ask Your Boss For A Career Break

I was lucky enough to get 12 months unpaid leave from my job for our Silk Road trip in 2016. But I’m not the only one! More and more workplaces are allowing their employees a sabbatical or a career break to travel long term. Here are a few tips on how to convince your boss it’s a top idea.

1. Be good at your job

Your boss won’t give you 12 months off if you’re not worth keeping – it’s that simple. Put in the hard yards and get yourself noticed for the right reasons. Make yourself indispensable. Your employer has invested time and money into your development, so show them they shouldn’t let it go to waste. For a company to allow you to take a career break it needs to work for them as well.

2. Be honest

You don’t have to tell your boss every travel idea that pops into your head, but you also shouldn’t make empty promises. Don’t offer to take the lead on a major project if you are planning to ask for a career break during the same period – it’s not a good look.

3. Read your workplace policies

Every workplace usually has an unpaid leave policy. While they may not be intended to cover sabbaticals, it will at least give you an idea of the criteria your boss will look at when making their decision. It’s also handy to know your rights regarding leave.

There is likely to be a formal approval procedure you need to follow to get your leave sorted. Once you have broken the news to your boss get onto any paperwork quickly while it is still at the front of their mind and follow the correct procedure.

4. Pick your timing

Give you boss as much notice of your intended departure date as possible. This will give them a better chance of making alternate arrangements. Consider whether finishing up at a certain time of the year might be helpful for your employer (for example, the end of financial year). Be willing to compromise. This could increase your chances of getting the answer you’re looking for.

Also, don’t ask your boss for a sabbatical or career break when they have just had a day from hell or they are super busy. Wait until they have a relatively quiet moment, and perhaps even make an appointment in their diary.

5. Explain why

Think about why you want this break from work to travel, and explain this to your boss. It will help them to understand your motives, and hopefully show that you’re not leaving simply due to a lack of commitment to your job. Have you always wanted to travel? Are you planning to volunteer or learn another language? Do you think this trip will help develop life skills that you can apply to work? Or is life simply too short? Be clear about why you are going and what you want.

6. Be thankful!

If your boss approves your leave, make sure you say thanks. It can be easy to forget that your travel adventure is probably a gigantic pain in the ass for your workplace, and they have done you a huge favour. Shout them a coffee or a beer at least.

And if they say no? Well, then you can obviously consider resigning. If you quit, don’t burn your bridges. You might be rehired or need a reference when you return!

Need more tips on preparing for your career break? Click here!

How to Survive Travelling as a Couple

How to Survive Travelling as a Couple

Travelling with your partner can be awesome fun and very rewarding. But long term travel as a couple can be hard work, and if you don’t go in prepared you could be in for a very average trip. Here are a few tips on how to survive a long term trip with your partner.

1. Ask a few questions

There are some important questions you should ask yourself and yourself and whoever you may be travelling with. Do you both love to travel? Are you interested in doing and seeing similar things? Do you have similar budgets and travel styles? It’s important to consider these things when choosing your travel partner. Make your expectations for the trip clear before you leave. You don’t want to work out two weeks in to a 12 month trip that you partner wants to go on benders every night and you prefer yoga retreats.

It’s important that you are both on the same page from the beginning, so be honest with each other. If you’re not 100% committed to the trip say so early on, not a month in when you’re having a shit time and want to go home!

2. Get over it… quickly

You are going to have arguments while travelling. Everyone does. To be honest, most of ours occur when I am hungry (known as the ‘hangry’ phenomenon). The important thing is to talk it out (or eat) and get over it as quickly as you can. I hate the cliche, but it is true that you have to be a team on the road so the less time spent battling with each other the better.

3. Remember ‘me’ time

Whether travelling for a week or a year you will spending a lot more time with each other than you normally would at home. You will probably shift from seeing each other before and after work during the week to being with each other all day, every day. It can be quite daunting.

I like my own space so it’s important that I occasionally have a day to myself. This doesn’t necessarily mean being physically alone. It just means having some time to yourself even if you’re in the same room together. Read a book, listen to some music, go for a walk, have a nap, meet someone new in the hostel kitchen, or FaceTime your friends or family.

4. Treat yo’self

It can be great for both of you to have an occasional ‘day off’ from travelling. Do something you would normally do at home: see a movie, get a manicure or massage, go out for a nice dinner, or book a ‘weekend away’ in a nice hotel. It’s a great way to rejuvenate yourselves if you’re starting to get a bit weary of constant budget travel.

5. Realise travel can be hard work

Being together on the road is not like being at home. You won’t love every single day of travel, and at some point you will probably hit a ‘travel slump’ when you wonder why the hell you ever left home. You will be putting yourselves in stressful situations more often, so it’s important to be patient and understanding. Don’t stress or feel guilty if one of you is not digging it for a few days. It’s normal! Just ride it out.

6. Support each other

Often you will have to be the positive one when your partner is having a shit day (and vice versa). If your partner or you gets bad news from home, is sick or is just simply over it then try to support each other through it. You’re not going to have family or friends around so you have to stick together. You’ll probably find yourself in situations where if you don’t laugh you will cry – so try to make each other laugh!

7. Be prepared to compromise

You aren’t always going to want to go to the same attractions, eat the same things or stay at the same places. Both of you need to be prepared to compromise. Choose your battles wisely!