So your friends have returned from their annual trip abroad and you can no longer suppress your jealousy. Or you’re about to finish your studies or have been dismissed.
You know it’s time to hit the road, but how and where do you even begin? The questions are seemingly endless and it’s hard to know where to start.
Don’t worry, with these tips on how to get started travelling, you’ll quickly go from being a travel slacker to a travel lover.
You don’t necessarily have to dress fancy, but there are a few basic rules you should follow. Most importantly, never consider fanny packs or fanny packs. Under no circumstances. They’re easy to rob, mark you as a tourist, and worst of all, they’re incredibly ugly.
For North Americans, leave white socks, white trainers and baseball cap behind as well. It’s certainly fine to keep your own style, but if you want people to treat you more fairly, avoid the stereotypes.
You can plan down to the penny, but in the end your trip (whether it’s 2 weeks or 12 months) will cost more than you budgeted. Whether it’s replacing stolenor lost items, sending things home, or signing up for expensive tours…
…you might take home a lot of souvenirs, or you might just find that the cheapest places are that way for a reason – that’s the nature of being faced with the unexpected. Most importantly, don’t stress when things cost more than expected. (That’s just the nature of things. If you’re just broke, you can find lots of sites on the Internet about working abroad.)
We live in an age where planes, buses, trains and cabs can take you almost anywhere in the world. But if you’re worried about carbon emissions, afraid of flying, or just want a more immersive experience, consider alternatives. Slow boats can sometimes save you a bit of money.
Once you reach your destination and explore it by bike, horseback or on foot, your trip will change dramatically – almost always for the better. A hike or bike ride of just one or three days becomes an epic journey. Plus, it’s better for the environment.
Don’t expect to have fun every moment. You won’t. Also, be aware that you’ll need to set aside a few days to rest. The first week you’ll be on adrenaline and enjoying every moment, but your body will retaliate. Most importantly, don’t plan to visit too many places. Many first-time travellers are (understandably) eager to see the world.
But don’t cram too much in. You don’t want to spend most of your holiday in transit, and you don’t want your memories to be all castles, temples and train rides. There’s virtually no place you wouldn’t want to spend at least a week. You need to have enough time to do more than just snap a few obligatory photos before you leave for your next destination.
Before and especially during your trip, you’ll be inundated with well-intentioned advice (including in this article). Listen to what people say, but always form your own opinions. People will warn you about dangers or tell you that something is impossible when in fact it’s quite doable. Guidebooks are even more conservative.
Your best guide is your own sense of what you’re comfortable with. If you want to visit a place that’s considered dangerous, don’t let vague information scare you away. Ultimately, it’s about people telling you what worked for them. You shouldn’t ignore obvious warnings, but you’re also not obligated to change your plans based on every rumour that comes along.