Jeff's blog

Living Well and Comfortably on Your Career Break

Written By: jeff

Posted On: January 5th, 2010

career break travel, accomodation

Traveling long term doesn't mean you have to suffer. Copyright

So, where am I going to sleep? I knew I had to give that question a lot of thought since I was going to be traveling for longer than a year.  At age 36, I hadn’t stayed at a lot of hostels, and frankly, my image of hostel life wasn’t so well-informed. While the thought of a different city, town or village every night had its romantic appeal, at that point in my life, I knew I would want something more than a bunk-bed shared accommodation from time to time, even if luxury was out of the question, to recharge my batteries.  I might have to travel on a budget, but I was old enough that comfortable accommodation was a key buying criterion for me.  And, there is nothing worse than being in the middle of a beautiful, exotic locale and being completely shattered from your previous two, three or four consecutive visits to other beautiful, exotic places.  This happened to me in Cuzco, Peru almost ruining my time there.  But there are other reasons to think about your accommodation needs while on the road.

Creature Comforts.  If you are on long-term trip, career break or otherwise, at some point you are going to miss the creature comforts of home. While I have found most hostels to be good, clean and comfortable, they are still not home. And, because they are budget accommodations, they are going to be basic.  Little things like a really nice shower (more than just offering hot water thanks), a coffee pot, and dare I say, a television to allow me to veg?

Security.  If you are on a career break and traveling longer term, you are likely taking some things that, if stolen, would make your life difficult.  The good news is that you learn quickly how to secure your valuables so you can go enjoy your day outside or travel with some piece of mind from place to place.  But, even with piece of mind, you know you have to keep your guard up slightly to make sure that your iPod, extra cash, passport or other valuables leave with you and not with someone else.

Privacy.  OK, so you already know that you will be meeting some amazing people on your journey from all over the world and from all walks of life.  A few may even become lifelong friends even as the rest drift from your memory.  But, at some point, you will want to have some “me time” as you travel from place to place, not for any anti-social psychosis that you’re hiding, but simply to decompress and process everything that your experiencing.

Career Break Travel Accommodation Tips

Here are 3 tips that you can use to help you live well on the road, maintain your sanity and keep your fascination with all the amazing people and places you will see along the way…all without wrecking your budget.

  1. Rent a small, furnished apartment in a city central to your travels.  Many larger cities have agencies that specialize in these apartments for foreigners.  And, if the city has a good mass transit system or cheap taxis, you can stay in out-of-the-way neighborhoods and still have access to all the city has to offer.  This option is especially attractive to people traveling as couples or friends traveling together.  From your home base you can travel within the city and take weekend jaunts to the sites around the city.  With a home base, you can travel even lighter, cook for yourself in your own kitchen (saving you money) and really get a chance to see how the locals live.  I have rented in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Bogota, Madrid and Paris.
  2. Take a couple of extra days to rest along the way.  While you are planning your break, keep in mind that all this travel will tire you out a bit at some point, even if you have a lot of stamina.  So, be sure to plan for a few rest days every now and then.  Night buses, a different city every day, getting up for the day’s tour or activity will wear you down.  So, plan a few extra days into your itinerary here and there so that you can take a day or two to just chill and recharge those batteries.  This is especially helpful when (not if) you come across a city or town that totally enchants you.  If you’ve built in the time, you won’t have to say “Oh, I wish I could’ve spent more time in X” because you’ll be using your cache of rest days to enjoy it.
  3. Splurge on the private room.  One of the greatest joys after several nights in a bunk-bed room, is coming across a hostel with affordable private rooms.  It may be basic and you may still have to share the shower, but having four walls around you with no one else inside is a simple, delicious luxury while on the road.  Sometimes after a long day exploring or traveling by plane, bus or ferry from some other far-flung place, you may just want to get to a place that is your own, where you can recharge and then go out, socialize with the other travelers and have a great time.  Often a private room isn’t that much more than the shared sleeping spaces.  And, if it’s low season, the hostel, inn or hotel may not even charge you extra if you’re traveling alone.

What do you think? If you have additional tips for travelers for staying comfortably on the road, please leave us a comment below.

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One Response to “Living Well and Comfortably on Your Career Break”

  1. […] solo, ways to ease into it, and the advice of experienced travelers from all walks of life to alleviate some of your […]

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