“There are far, far better things ahead than we leave behind.”
CS Lewis

Travel Pace Questions Long-Term Travelers Should Ask Before Their Journey

Like most people, my long-term travel plans involved finding answers to questions that every traveler asks themselves like:

  • How am I going to travel around?
  • How long will I be traveling?
  • How much will my voyage costs?
  • What do I want to do while traveling?

When I started to plan the Fifty Plus Nomad blog after traveling around the world for five years, I looked at this plan and realized my actual trip seemed very little like what I had planned. The most valuable part of my preparation was my travel personality inventory.

Then I thought about what I should have planned for better before I left, and the answer was: “What is the right travel pace for me?” It took me a long time to realize that travel should be as slow and flexible as possible.

I was used to traveling hurriedly, trying to see everything in the three weeks allotted by my employers. (Yes, I know that is more than most Americans get). I quickly realized that traveling would seem more like a chore than an adventure if I traveled too fast.

While you may not need to travel as slowly as me, long-term travelers over 50 often realize they have to change their travel pace during their journey.

Five Travel Pace Questions

Do You Want to Start Sightseeing or Taking a Tour or Cruise When You Arrive at Your Next Destination? 

After a long trip, some people find it easier to get over jet lag by jumping into regular activities. Some other travelers try to save money and take less time away from home by arriving for a cruise or tour on the same day as it begins. I always prefer to come at least one day (usually more) before anything.

Traveling more than three or four hours is exhausting, and I love doing nothing for at least a day before I start my adventures. Moreover, I am not too fond of the stress of meeting on a cruise or a tour right after arrival. Too many things can go wrong if you try to get somewhere in a hurry. 

How Much Downtime Do You Want to Plan During Your Long-Term Travel? 

Some people like to be active constantly, and they are frightened that they will miss something and enjoy spending lots of time with other people rather than alone. Even if you want a complete set of activities, I recommend you build some time to do tasks and plan future activities. I create a fair amount of free time, do not do much at night, and set aside one day a week for relaxation and chores. 

How Much Do You Like to Travel Independently or in a Group? 

I discuss this issue at length in my post Travel Independently or in a Group. I like to mix both independent and group travel equally.

Do You Like to Plan Things or Do Things More Spontaneously? 

I like independent and group travel, planning things, and being spontaneous. Knowing your personality type from the quizzes covered in other travel personality lessons will help you determine the answer to this question and the previous one on independent versus group travel. In my conversations with other Fifty Plus Nomads, most seem to believe that they are sure that they think that the answer to this question is one side or the other. However, I suspect that most people, like me, when they travel for a long-time, will find that the answer to this question begins with the words: it depends. 

What are You Willing to Do Cheaply, and When Do You Need to Spend More Money On When Traveling? 

When I was younger, I would try to save money on almost every aspect of travel possible. However, over time I have found that I am willing to spend more for comfort and convenience. I prefer more convenient airline schedules, use taxis and Ubers or over city buses, and get someone to do my laundry unless these options are costly. The more long-term travel I do, the more I find that saving money on transportation and laundry exhausts me. 

Fifty Plus Nomad offers personalized workshops and courses in Spanish, English, Living and Traveling in Mexico, and Long-Term Travel Book a Two-hour Free Sample Introductory Session

Want More Information About Questions to Ask Before Planning Long-Term Travel? 

Check out the extensive and valuable resources from Nomadic Matt. He provides excellent information about being a nomad on a budget (primarily geared to Millenials and Generation Y travelers). I would love to develop a similar resource for people over 50 who need a little more comfortable travel. 

Some Additional Long-Term Travel Posts From Fifty Plus Nomad

Paul Heller has been a lifelong avid traveler and language learner and teacher, Even as a child, he told Santa Claus that he wanted to visit all the children worldwide. At seven years old, Paul wanted to retire to Mexico. At eight, he memorized the name, capital, location, and some facts about every country worldwide. At twelve, he found a book "Lonely Planet: Southeast Asia on a Shoestring" and started developing his own itinerary for a future round-the-world trip. He remained obsessed with travel; after getting a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and working as an administrator, He spent his vacations going to different countries around the globe studying language, touring, and volunteering. In 1994, he quit his job and lived in Russia as a volunteer English instructor. He discovered that he loved teaching languages. In 2004, he decided to make a living out of his travels and founded a community of people who love to travel just like him. He developed 5 three-hour classes about living and traveling long-term worldwide which he taught in over 50 adult education programs throughout the US. After his parents passed, he realized his dream of traveling around the world; cruising and touring some of the most remote places like the North Atlantic, Patagonia, and Oceania; and learning new languages (he knows Spanish, Italian, French, and Russian). Paul encourages everyone to learn foreign languages. He knows that it can be frustrating and slow but that anyone can learn a language if they put in the work and, most importantly, learning a language is well worth the time and effort because it opens up a whole new set of people, ideas, and cultures. He is currently spending the next chapter of his life in Mérida, México. He is excited about using this blog and his classes and workshops to inspire and equip fellow Fifty Plus Nomads with the language, cultural, and psychological skills necessary to be successful and happy long-term travelers and expats over 50.

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