We all spend far too much time planning our next big trips. Whether we do it on our lunch breaks at work or too late at night when we should be in bed and asleep, those of us with wanderlust in our hearts always have a long list of places we plan to go next. But it’s one thing looking at exotic far flung places to travel to, and another thing actually planning a trip for real. Here are some practical tips to help you venture off on your first big trip.
Choose Your Location
Not many people can afford to take six months off from the rest of their lives to explore the whole world, so pick out a smaller area that you want to travel to. Maybe you want to take an epic train journey through Europe, or you’d like to backpack through Asia, or you want to trek through the Andes. Make sure you check that the climate is good for the time of year you want to travel in, and plan out your itinerary. You need to make sure that you give yourself some space to change your plans – travelling can be unpredictable and you don’t want to lose any money from pre-booking all your hotels and being a day behind. You also might fall in love with a city and want to stay there longer than you initially decided – give yourself space to make new decisions.
Do Your Research
Check out travel blogs like the Travel Ninjas to find out what other real travellers have said about the places you want to go to. You’ll get more authentic stories and tips from them than you will from official tourist board websites, and you’ll also get a lot of helpful advice that will help you out when you’re travelling.
Make A Budget
It’s important that you’re realistic with money. You should always overestimate your costs instead of underestimating, so you never end up in difficult money situations. Remember that you’ll have to be careful with some aspects of your trip – some nights you’ll be eating supermarket food in your hostel kitchen but other nights, save some money so you can experience Parisian fine dining. Give yourself enough room in your budget to be flexible. Book your airfare in advance so the price is lower, and look for deals and discounts on museums and hotels. Also consider travel insurance – it could come in very useful!
You need to take a lot less with you than you think you do. Leave space in your luggage for souvenirs, and remember that a lot of hostels give their visitors space to wash out their clothes so you don’t need to take too many with you. Stick to basic clothes and toiletries and make sure that you take extremely comfortable shoes with you. Ensure you break in your hiking boots before you start the Inca Trail. You can pack by rolling up all your clothes – it will save a lot of space and it means that clothes are less crushed when you take them out. All you really need is your passport, credit cards, phone and laptop – everything else can be replaced. Try not to take anything else with you that you’d be horrified to lose.
Most of all, enjoy your trip! Chances are, this is a once in a lifetime experience – enjoy every moment.