Deciding on where you are going to base yourself as a traveler might be one of the hardest things to do. After all, with a whole wide world out there, finding a place where you know you might want to be for more than a few days can be a challenge—especially as a Generation Y traveler when youth hostels are so cheap! However, having a place where you can kind of relax and plan your next journey is essential to long-term traveling. Here are some things I think are important for when you are looking for a place to base yourself as a traveler.
If you have a particular area in mind that you want to visit, finding a location that is fairly central can help you a lot. It will help you if you are planning on saving on airfare and other transportation, and it also makes it easier on yourself physically if you are hauling around a backpack or suitcase. The less exhausted you are getting to your destination, the more fun you can have while you are there.
However, keep in mind that some of the most easily accessible locations can be pretty expensive. I’ve been living in Florence, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. As great as the location is, paying five euro for a glass of chianti can be a bit of a pain. Weighing centrality over price is something most long-term travelers will have to consider.
Just because you aren’t traipsing all around the globe and you have a few days to relax doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advantage of the city you’ve established as your semi-permanent “home.” Enjoying what all a particular city has to offer can make you more aware of the awesome sights you will see in another place, and the right city can make the time when you aren’t on the road still exciting. Before you choose a spot, think of a place where you have felt comfortable in your former travels. If there is a certain town that you wanted to get to know better, think about resting there.
This ties into the idea of feeling comfortable where you are, but living in a location different from the one you are used to usually requires that you are fairly comfortable with the culture and lifestyle. I had lived in Italy before as a study abroad student, so when I decided to go abroad again I knew that I had a basic understanding of the language, the people, and things I loved about the country. Of course, there have been some moments where I have felt things are lost in translation, but that’s part of the fun of getting to know a new place.
Again, a life on the road doesn’t always entail actually being on the road. If you are planning on doing some long-term traveling, one of the best things you can do is pick a city that feels (enough) like home so you can continue to have your adventures.