With every end there’s a new beginning and if you’re thinking of drawing a chapter of your life to a close, such as your current job or the end of your studies then maybe it’s time to make a new beginning.
There’s no better way of getting a fresh perspective on things then going on the road. Travelling gives so much: new experiences, cultures, people and ultimately – memories.
Start dreaming and planning today for where your ultimate trip will take you. If you can make it happen, you should. It’s easy enough to just talk about but planning a trip like this doesn’t need to be overly complicated or hard work. Take it logically and look at our top tips for creating a once in a lifetime trip that will make you memories and friends for life.
Plan, but not too much
You’re only limited by your imagination and your bank balance and even then there are measures you can take to deal with the latter, more of that a little later on,
Start by drawing up a list of all the countries in the world you’ve always wanted to see. Perhaps the fjords of Norway in all their stunning glacial splendor or the hustle and bustle of a Singapore hawker centre with smells that entice you to try a little bit of everything. You might even want to just travel around your own home country if you’ve never seen much past your own doorstep. This is a great option if you’re limited on time and budget.
Go right around the world in your imagination, drawing on every piece of knowledge and friends’ stories you’ve ever heard. Write down how long you’d ideally like to spend in each country but leave room for being totally spontaneous.
When you’re travelling independently you can just never guarantee where a chance conversation or encounter will lead you. Feel like hopping on a ferry from Italy to Croatia? Give it a go. A rough outline at this stage will be just fine; you can flesh out the details as you go.
Work out how to make it happen
You might need to put some serious overtime in at work for the next six months or start selling your record collection to make this trip happen. The alternative of course is to borrow some money from a friend, a bank or get a guarantor loan from Buddy loans.
However you’re doing it, make sure your numbers stack up and don’t leave you short. Plan to have enough of a reserve, should you need to hop on a plane home in a hurry. If you have a credit card, try and clear any debt before you go and have it as back up.
Check online for various travel options. Will you mainly go by rail or are you planning on buying a car to get as far as you can in? You might want to mix it up and do a mixture of all these things. There are decent travel options out there if you look hard enough, particularly if you are under 30.
You also have the option of turning part of your trip into a working holiday. With a little research you can figure out how to go fruit picking in Australia, teaching English in China or being an au pair in Switzerland. This can be a real advantage to having an open ticket and allow you to save money for a plane ticket home or head out even further afield and on to your next destination.
Team effort or solo expedition
Next, decide if this is a venture you want to experience alone or will you try and rope in a friend or two to come with you?
Naturally there are advantages to both. With a friend in tow you not only have company on the long train, plane and car rides you’re going to take together, you also have some back-up should things go wrong. Having someone with you to watch your back is to have an additional layer of security.
Of course, there are downsides too and you do run the risk of getting a little bored of each other’s company and running into disagreements around your schedule and money. With a good friend you should be able to resolve this but you have to ask yourself if it’s worth risking a friendship for.
One way to combat any potential pressure points is to create an itinerary together. This will show you almost straight away if you’re both on the same page when it comes to your expectations of how your trip is going to go.
It will also allow you to build in some time spent apart where you can agree that you’ll spend a day or two following your own interests and meet up later in the week or even the trip.
If you choose to travel with more than one friend then the logistics do get slightly more complicated but with a little more planning it’s do-able.
The alternative, of course, is to go it alone. While this might sound daunting, it can be a life-changing experience. Travel and lifestyle bloggers across the internet will tell you what the benefits are of solo travel and of the adventures you’ll have.
Areas that concern the solo traveler tend to focus on safety and the risk of feeling lonely. Two very valid points to think about. How can you ensure your personal safety when there’s just you looking after you?
The answer is that there are no guarantees when it comes to travelling alone but that the vast majority of people come to no harm while abroad and come home safe and sound. Yes, there are isolated incidents but that’s what they are: isolated, one-offs.
Besides which, chances are very high that you’ll meet fellow travelers on your journey and at least spend some time together visiting attractions and sharing experiences. You may even decide to continue your journeys together and scoot off to the next country in your itinerary.
It might be that you just simply prefer your own company and the thought of having to compromise on when and where you visit will never work for you. There’s nothing wrong in this and the challenge of overcoming problems, facing homesickness and working out different cultures and challenges will all be skills that you can draw down on in later life.
Get trip ready
Now that you’ve decided how, when and where to start your adventures you need to start getting trip ready and put everything in motion.
It’s the time to start putting your money where your mouth is, buying up those open tickets and booking hotels, hostels and apartments as far ahead as you care to.
Behind the scenes start planning. Get a hold of those travel books and begin putting together a rough idea of what you’re going to be doing city to city. Of course, you’ll want to do a lot of research online to keep up with the latest travel situations but taking books with you is a great way to have a backup plan should your phone fail to work or you run out of data on-the-go.
Decide on what you want to do about transporting your belongings around. Will you opt for the traveler’s favourite and get hold of a large backpack or opt for a suitcase on wheels. This will entirely depend on the style of your trip and where you plan on sleeping.
Think too about the clothes you’re going to take, the climate and the time of year you’re going to be travelling. Taking clothes that you’re not too attached to is a great idea. If you’re heading to cooler climes first you’ll be able to ditch the sweaters at the airport as you head to warmer destinations, or post them home if you want to see them on your return.
In some countries the cost of clothes will be relatively cheap so traveling light and stocking up when you arrive is a great plan.
Once you’ve got everything set, think about some of the extras you might want to incorporate to make your trip really special. Perhaps you’ll be celebrating a significant birthday abroad, why not investigate how much a balloon ride over the Australian outback might cost. Perhaps you love cookery, why not book yourself into a Keralan cookery course in Southern India.
From one corner of the world to another, you might never get the opportunity to experience travel like this again. If your job is giving you nothing more than a paycheck at the end of each month or your relationship has ground to a halt maybe it’s time you do something that shakes up your entire life.
Talk to people who’ve travelled they’ll tell you it’s not something you’ll ever regret or forget. The world is out there waiting for you, so seize that bull by the horns and start dreaming of the places you’ll go, the people you’ll meet and the memories you’ll make.
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