April 7, 2007

The Three Month Rule
Miami Beach, United States

A glimpse at one of the unspoken traveler rules.

My friend Andy recently wrote about a rule of long-term travel that travelers know about, but don't often discuss. I don't think it's necessarily taboo to quietly speak about the Three Month Rule, but to openly write about it is a violation of the rule in and of itself.

Even though I've returned to the United States (for an extended layover), I still consider myself a traveler, traveling. This reminded me of the little insight posted on Andy's site in early March.

The following is a excerpt from a larger post that Andy wrote, that can be found at http://www.hobotraveler.com/2007/03/three-month-rule.html.

When A Traveler Stops Traveling

If I stay more than three months in one location, then I have stopped traveling and have become an expat. I am living in a different country; I am not traveling or a traveler.

  1. The counting of days or months is frowned upon; no true traveler is clear about what day of the week it is or the date.
  2. Doing a Visa run to another country, and returning does not stop or terminate the counting of time.
  3. A person must have traveled for over one year, and not violated the three month rule, to be considered eligible to think or talk about the rule. All others person shall politely admit they are not travelers.
  4. The counting of days and months is to be very loosely enforce; nobody is allowed to say to a person: Show me your passport. This is bad form.
  5. The passport is the proof, yet in a accordance with rule four, no person I allowed to check your passport.
  6. This is an honor system; the only person who enforces the system can be yourself. You are allowed to cheat, lie, get quirky, and/or make up sub-rules, however in the end, you will know if you obeyed the rule or not. Guilt and shame is the little goblin on your shoulder, telling you what to do.
  7. Persons who say the rule doesn't apply to them instantly have defined themselves as non-travelers.
  8. Travelers are not expatriated or expats.
  9. After violating this rule by having lived in one location for three months, a person is required to stop the time count. They must start again. They cannot say: I have traveled for X amount of years as if it was continuous travel.
  10. A person is not to discuss these rules with non-travelers.

All the rules above, violate the Prime Directive of Travel, which is to do what you enjoy and not care what anybody else thinks or says; therefore the Three Month Rule is moot.




August 23rd, 2010

how lame and pretentious. a traveler "can not" blah blah.
rule 11 - travelers who believe such nonsense should go and boil their heads



November 8th, 2011

Interesting post, Craig. I disagree with Tom, as these unspoken rules distinguish 'vacation time' from 'travelling'. I think these two things are lumped together often, and suddenly everyone becomes a 'serious traveller' after spending a week in cuba.

Is it pretentious, or is it a earned privilege to call oneself a 'traveller'? Someone who plays football and the 'professional football player' certainly distinguish themselves, no?

Here's to your travels continuing Craig! Great blog!

The United Kingdom


November 8th, 2011

"A person must have traveled for over one year, and not violated the three month rule, to be considered eligible to think or talk about the rule. All others person shall politely admit they are not travelers."

I think i agree with Tom. How pathetic. Time is not important - its what you do with it. I could bum around in australia drinking cheap wine for a year then do the banana pancake trail for a year in south east asia getting trashed in bars all night whilst ticking off a few sights. can i then proclaim myself to be a better traveller than somebody who spent a 'mere' 5 months in central asia, the middle east or africa? travel is not a competition. this article blatantly suggests that it is.do it for yourself. i prefer jacking off to porn rather than my passport. pffff

Note: Comments are open to everyone. To reduce spam and reward regular contributors, only submissions from first-time commenters and/or those containing hyperlinks are moderated, and will appear after approval. Hateful or off-topic remarks are subject to pruning. Your e-mail address will never be publicly disclosed or abused.