Going on a long distance trip for the first time*
Long distance trips can be quite daunting, even to the most experienced of travellers. After all, you’ve got a lot of ground (and air and sea) to cover, and who knows if you’re going to have the energy to keep up when you’re on a long trip? And seeing as you’ll have to cover the same distance on the way home again, it can put a bit of a dampner on the trip you’ve got ahead of you.
But it doesn’t have to, and you don’t have to have your expectations of a long haul flight and a long distance trip spoiled for you. You can even set little points to stop off at along the way, to turn the journey there into a trip of its own, and to make sure you see as much of the world as you can whilst you drive down country roads, and fly over the peaks of the highest mountains.
If you’re about to set off on your own for the first time with a long distance trip ahead of you and there’s no time for stopping off along the way, there are some other things you can do to keep your spirits up.
So, if you’re someone who’s about to set off for the first time on a trip that’ll take longer than eight hours to complete, it’s time to prepare accordingly. It’s going to take some getting used to, and it’s going to take a bit of extra effort on your behalf during the packing stage, so I’ll try to steer you in the right direction with the pointers below.
Eat light – and healthy
You’re about to head off on a long distance trip, and you know what that means? It means now’s the time to go out shopping for light and healthy snacks! Do you know why? Because eating rich and heavy, especially first thing in the morning before you’re about to set off, can start the whole journey off on the wrong foot. Your body will be too busy trying to digest the big breakfast you just put in it, and you’ll be feeling quite tired and heavy. That’s not a great start for a hike, a road trip, or even a long haul flight.
When travelling, it’s best to be able to consistently keep your senses about you. And if you’re feeling a bit drowsy because it’s early in the morning and you’ve eaten a lot in the hopes it’ll give you more energy, it could lead to mistakes – you might end up leaving your passport somewhere! Instead, try to snack on something like granola bars and nuts and seeds – even a handy trail mix that you never take out of your backpack will do wonders for you here.
If dry and crunchy foods aren’t really your thing, try to pack some fresh fruits in your bag. You can pick this up from an airport lounge or a petrol station along your route if you’re in a car (or on foot). An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and the healthy sugars and high water content can help put a spring in your step when you’re on a long distance trip.
As I briefly mentioned above, you can always stop off to take breaks whenever you need them, especially if you’re on a road trip or a hike. The human body can’t run at full capacity forever, and even a vehicle is going to need a break from the rev of the engine every now and again.
If you’re getting tired, and need to take a nap, be sure to keep something like a blanket or a sleeping bag with you at all times, especially if you’re not in a car. Even if you don’t have a tent to carry with you as you’re backpacking, a well covered and insulated sleeping bag will keep you warm enough to catch a few minutes of sleep when you most need it. Try to settle down somewhere shaded, sheltered, and as nearby to civilisation as possible. Don’t worry, we’ve all been caught unawares by lethargy when we’re in the middle of nowhere.
If you think you’re not going to need to stop and take five, you might prove yourself wrong. Even when you’re visiting a country that you’ve wanted to see your whole life, you’re going to want to pause every now and then. Give your legs and arms a rest, and let yourself take everything in.
If you’re off on a Nepal tour, you’re going to have a lot of things to do while you’re there. It’s one of the most culturally rich and diverse countries in the world, and there’s so much to take in. But that also means you can get easily overwhelmed, and you’ll probably need to pull over to take a break. Thankfully, Nepalese people are known for being helpful and friendly, so if you do need to stop and find a layby to put the car in for a while, be sure to ask around the locals.
Pack emergency supplies
No matter how you’re planning to cover the distance ahead of you, you’re always going to need to take an emergency supply kit along with you. Of course, you’re going to need to pack it full of useful first aid items, but you’re also going to need some extraneous objects to take along with you as well.
You’re going to need a bottle of water in your backpack, as well as some dry and non-perishable foods to snack on in case you get cut off from civilisation – try to pack at three days’ worth of these items, especially if you’re about to go out in the car or backpacking across a foreign country.
You’ll also need a torch, and a way to keep it powered. Pack a set of spare batteries, and make it a rule to buy a new set whenever you manage to find another shop on your journey. When it gets dark out, and you’re nowhere near anything, you’ll be grateful for this one source of light. And if the car breaks down, and you need to take a look inside, thank goodness you brought the torch along with you.
If you want to get a bit more information about packing a proper emergency supply kit, be sure to read up on the instructions right here.
Keep yourself occupied
And finally, when you’re off on a long distance trip, you’re going to need to find some ways to keep yourself occupied. If you get bored, you’re not going to enjoy the trip. When each minute of your long haul flight feels like a slog and fight all at once, you’re not going to be too happy when you touch down on the other side.
Most of all, make sure you take plenty of audio content along with you – if you manage to keep your ears occupied, your brain will be too. Thankfully, there are plenty of podcasts you can download straight to a smart phone or a tablet. My favourite travel podcasts are BRB, So She Travels and The Outdoor Fix, so keep an eye out for those to get you in the mood, ready for when you reach your destination.
Are you about to head off on one of the longest distances of your life? Do you want to have fun whilst you’re at it? Then make sure you keep tips like these in mind for the journey ahead.