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February 19, 2009


Jeffery Patch

Great post. I'm hoping to hit the road in the next couple of years and these tips are invaluable.

Happy adventures!


awesome, leigh! you're spot-on in all of your comments. i hope you're loving it up north, we miss you down here in BA!

Home Base Holidays

What an inspirational and informative post! I'm glad you included home exchange as a free lodging option. If you plan to be away a long time on your travels (or to never return to wherever 'home' is), selling your home and belongings make home exchange impracticable. However, if you are able to keep your home, using it (and having it looked after) for home swaps along the way, this option makes good use of your assets.

If you do look into home exchange, think laterally - choosing the largest agency, or one based in your own country, is not always the best choice. Rather, look for services based in the country you want to exchange to as such services will generally have the best balance of listings in their own countries. If looking for a home swap in the UK, I hope you will check out our listings - Home Base Holidays (based in London) has been operating since 1985.



Oh my heart is aching right now...I want to do this SO bad. Thank you for this article! I look forward to the follow-up!

Leigh Shulman

Thank you all for your positive comments on this post. If anyone has tips or ideas of your own, please feel free to add them here.

I know many of you have your own travel websites, so also, please add them in the comments as a resource for others (and myself as well)

Kimberly: Let me know if there´s any other information you would like. I think for many, the fear of leaving everything is the biggest obstacle. I know it was for me.

Lois: Yes, homestays and swaps are very important. I didn´t go ito it as much as I could have because I haven´t done it, but there are many resources out there that can help.

Dan and Jeffrey: It´s good to hear when fellow travelers agree. Hopefully our paths will cross at some point soon, too.

Lisa Lubin

Great post and all so true! I just returned from 2 1/2 years traveling around the world and couchsurfed, volunteered, got an apt, cat sat, taught English, worked at a cafe amongst other things. Long term travel is way cheaper that most people think! Way to go!

Annabel Candy

Sounds similar to our travel experiences. People think it's impossible for them but it's not. You just have to want to do it and take the plunge. Good on you!


Leigh, this is an exceptional post. And I completely second your thoughts on Couchsurfing, it has changed our lives for the better in many, many ways.

Thank you for sharing your expertise!

Casual Kitchen

Travel With Kids

Hello, this is all so true! We took a year off and traveled around the world and it was the greatest experience of our lives (so far.. hope to do it again!) Most people dont understand that it is cheaper to be away than at home.

We even started our own travel guide television show called Travel With Kids that is on air in 10 countries and has a line of DVD travelguides. travelwithkids.tv for more info.

I want to learn more about couch surfing for our travel guide show and our future travels. I hope you get the chance to go to South East Asia!


How much money do you think a family of four would need saved up in order to set off to travel for a year?

Leigh Shulman

It would depend on where you plan on traveling. Places in Asia, South America and even Central America will be cheaper than most places in the US and Europe.

It also depends on what type of travel you plan to do. Obviously, with the backpacking, hostel, couchsurfing route you'll need less.

As a very basic figure, not knowing the above details, I'd say you'd be good to start with 25K or more. And remember, there are also ways to make money along the way.


Hey, you are right about what you say that in Buenos Aires you can find apartment rentals for 500-800/month as opposed to the at least 75 dollars a night you would pay at a hotel. I did that last year when I whent to Argentina. I was looking an apartment for rent buenos aires
because I had been told that they were affordable and comfortable. It was true! They were classy and near the downtown. I had a great experience.


This seems to put it all in perspective that it is possible, but how frightening! I think you are brave for completely uprooting and going and I love what you're doing & hope to someday have the courage to go on an adventure like this myself!


This sounds awesome! I really want to just drop everything and travel and see things. I wonder if I could talk my wife into it.

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