This may seem a strange question, but I'm curious what people think. People make decisions about how long to go travelling based on various factors, including finance, holiday leave and the possibility that they will never travel again!
I think people will often travel for a year, because they expect to be tied down after that (ie. trip after high school or college). Perhaps they would make it shorter if they expected to continue travelling throughout their lives.
People will often travel only for a short trip, because of lack of funds for anything longer, or perhaps because it's all the time they can get off work!
Well, if you had all the money you needed and all the time in the world to travel.. what would your ideal trip length be? Being away too long can bring on homesickness after all or a lack of a sense of belonging, but being away too short can make it hard to see what you want to see.
3 weeks, 3 months, a year?? What's your ideal?
I would say 3 months.
I gotta say.. No constraints with work/money? Forever. Whenever I get home I am planning my next trip. I might stay in each place for a week or even month(s) at a time, but I wouldn't ever come back off the road.
I'll prove it too... Just got to win the lotto then I can do it. (crosses fingers)
I'd go for 3 months as well. Have done it once and loved it but it was great to come back home as well. I think it all depends on where you are in life and if you seriously had all the money and the time I guess you could just invite your family and friends to come visit so the homesickness might not be that hard on you :cheesygrin
But then again what about long week-ends to London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Milan, Rome etc. etc. etc. So you wouldn't be away for 3 months, but only 4-5-6-7 days and that would still count as travelling.
Travelling for several months will allow you to get to know other people as well, to sort of settle in. That's what I liked about it when I was away for those 3 months (my first and only time for that long Wish I could do it again). Got to know the "locals", that was the great part of it, they knew my son and he could walk everywhere, people would look after him.
The damn travel bug is attacking me again, and I just can't go, looking forward to retirement already
Maybe it depends what kind of traveller you are. If you like to go to a place, sightsee non stop then move on, a week or two in most European cities, 3-4 weeks in a huge place like Oz, is probably enough. But I prefer to go and live in another place for a while, probably at least 6 months rather than 3. I did this in Japan for 4 months and it wasn't at all long enough. Even living and working in China for 18 months, I didn't see everything I wanted to see.
I think it also depends where you a based, because that is a big factor in how much you pay to get there. If, for example, I lived in the States, I wouldn't go for a six month tour around South America. I'd rather then go for 6 2 week or one month visits over a period of two to three years. If I was based in Britain and wanted to visit, say, Barcelona, I'd just fly over for the weekend.
It depends a lot too on how attached you are to your lifestyle in whereever you live at the moment. I met an American guy recently from San Francisco, who said that they only get 2 weeks of vacation a year. I couldn't comprehend how anyone would be crazy enough to devote 50 weeks of the year to making someone else's profits and only have 2 weeks of freedom to show for it. But he was really into his job and San Francisco.
I totally know what you mean Deb. I have talked to a few Americans about this too... 2 weeks just wouldn't cut it for me. Aparently you get more and more, the longer you are in a job, but still!
If I could travel all I wanted without restrictions that are money or work based, I think the question for me would be, when are you travelling and when does it stop? For example, if I travel to China and live there for two years, am I still travelling or am I settled? I could travel back to Norway (that's home at the moment) every now and then and still technically be living/travelling in China.... in that way, it wouldn't be hard to keep on travelling the rest of my life. In fact, that is more or less what I am planning for the next five years or so (first a couple here in Norway, then a couple in Oz or San Fran) ....
Anyway, I will be a sucker in love and say it is also going to depend on what my fiancee thinks about it .... hehehe
The difference between settled and travelling is probably just a state of mind. I find tuning into being 'settled' makes travelling hard to do. We've been settled in Australia for 11 years and are just about to move on. In all that time, I've only been to the Middle East 3 times, all 6 week stints, nowhere near long enough each time. Most travellers in Australia check out Uluru, Kakadu, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. No us! We went to Adelaide. You'ld have to have lived in Australia to appreciate the "untraveller-ness" of such a holiday. It was the same living in NZ. We lived in Wellington for three years and hardly ever went anywhere.
China was somehow different. I was always saving up for the next trip when I was there - came there from 5 months in Japan, went to Hong Kong twice, the UK for 3 months, after China went to Sydney. I was only in Sydney for 11 months, but the travelling was over. I did all the same things in each place - looked for somewhere to rent, got a job, got a phoneline etc - but in Sydney the feeling of travelling was gone. I was nesting, recuperating, veging out.
How do you know if you are nesting? You save for a house instead of a trip. You have children, then don't even consider taking them out of school to travel. You view your travelling window as the paltry 4 weeks leave you get, not 52 weeks of the year. You take a permanent job and then, horror of horrors, get attached to it. In my case for 7 and a half years. You don't have birthdays - you have new decades instead. 30 and 40 become coming of age rituals - in the NEST! You hardly go anywhere. The weekends dissolve into brunch and the supermarket. Thoughts of travelling, let alone actually doing it, give you a headache and get dumped into the too hard basket. Your main goal in life is toilet training.
What would a traveller have done instead? Gone contracting instead of permanent - greater freedom and more money. Worked for 3-6 months, saved like mad, then given up the flat, shoved everything (if they were coming back) into storage (preferably free so the garage at a friend's house) and headed off again. Say to Europe, with a couple of weeks en route to explore Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and a few more days in somewhere like Dubai. Base somewhere cheap and nice to live - Dublin and Manchester come to mind - and start the cycle again, i.e. work for 3-6 months, save like mad.....
I started off like this. Only in retrospect do I realise that children need not have interrupted such a journey. The work for 3-6 months may have been for a couple of years each time, but still the way of life, the mind of travelling, would have been maintained.
My advice to everyone who fancies the life of a traveller is to resist all urges to nest. Make "whereever I lay my head is home" your motto. Forget your career, and the house. The career will be someone else's the day after you quit and the house will survive you to the grave. As for children, they travel quite well, even in countries where you don't speak the language.
I'd say three months as well. Any shorter and it's a total gutter when you have to come home. But after three months I'm usually in a nice reflective state of mind where I've totally enjoyed the holiday but I'm ready to return to real life for a bit.
If I had all the money in the world, I wouldn't travel at all. Because, I would buy a house by the ocean somewhere, where I take vacation at home everyday, and no need to go anywhere else!
However, just to answer your time-question, I would say, it depends on what I want to do. My travel often related to photography, and curiosity. For intance, couple months ago I took a flight from Dallas to Torronto, rent a car and drove 60 miles to Niagara Falls. There I checked into a hotel, took my tripot headed down to the fall took some pictures, go have dinner, and went back to the hotel and slept. The next day, I went back and spend 3 hours taking pictures at the fall before driving back to the airport and flew home to Dallas. I guess, if I had time, I would stay a couple more days to look around. It also depends on the location. The first time I was in Honolulu, I spent 10 days. Everyday, I went to a different beach. After 10 days, I felt I needed another week. Now, after traveling to Hawaii about 10 times, I think 4,5 days is enough. Now, if I got a chance to go to Australia, I might stay 1 month. I have never been there, and from what I've been told, it has plenty of things to take pictures and experience!
Ideal legnth of time to travel?
For me, Indefinitley. Stop when you feel like you want to stop, and not because the calender says you have travlled for a year or whatever.
Although i respect anybody who travels at all, and am aware that everybody has different circumstances/desires etc, I find it a bit depressing that people take a gap year and go around the world. Interrail for a month and see Europe. They do the gap year RTW (which from Europe almost always tends to mean maybe India, then Thailand/Malaysia, Oz and NZ for 7or8 months, some random pacific island, US for a bit then home. Very rarely anything different)
because they are expected to travel. Then they cross off "travelled" on their list of things to do, and don't even seem to believe that the possibility to travel again may exist.
So many people do Interrail/Eurail for a month. Most have an amazing time. But very few even consider that it would be possible to do a second interrail trip/see different parts of Europe. Once it's done it's done. And I just think that's a bit sad