You want to travel?
Travelling has become a very common activity in the last few decades. The world is now a global village. Not just because of the internet but also because the standard has increased, infrastructure has developed, transport cost has gone down … Most of my friends are still not doing the next step and moving from wishing it to doing it. Below is how I approach my travels. Hope this will help move you to some nice location.
Table of Contents
Before the trip will happen you need to firmly decide that you are going on a trip. So put aside all the usual excuses; it costs too much, I have no time for this, it is too complicated, nowadays is not safe …
What path will you choose after deciding, it depends on what kind of person you are. I had trips that were booked upfront completely and on the other hand trips where I had just visa and plane ticket without even checking destination online. Both options have their own merits. I prefer a middle path, some planning and some spontaneity. So I would suggest reading about a destination before leaving, chart general route of the trip, leave one or to days as a reserve for unplanned detours, weather, transport or health problems.
The main questions are What? When? How much? Where? Who with?
First, you have to answer what would you like to do while on your trip. If you want to scuba dive, you will not go to Mongolia. For me it is important to experience something new; it can be a new country, continent, food, activities, monuments, landscape … For relaxation, I would suggest a beach or mountain. If you travel with kids I would suggest a team park, an appropriate museum or national park. Adventurers should pick up something of the beaten path and out of their comfort zone.
Time is one commodity that is limited for all of us. So you need to schedule a trip in accordance with your other obligations (work, school, family, …). Usually, the best time to travel is to do it while studying or between jobs, with kids 5 till 15 years old. I don’t plan in advance so for me trip frequency ranges from 1 trip in 4 years to 4 trips in 1 year. You will have to decide on what part of the year you will take a vacation and for how long you will be on the road. If you don’t like cold don’t go to Alaska in December. You might want to book a trip during the holidays as many do. Just have in mind that this will significantly increase prices.
Money (How much)
Most friends complain that money is the main reason why they don’t travel more. But it is more of an excuse. Of course, you need to save some money. But in the end, I have done trips from 400€ up to 2000€ that lasted 2-4 weeks. But I also did a 3-day trip for 800€. While I do mostly budget trip money limits my choice. Airplane tickets are probably the highest cost for trips outside Europe and with planning this can be reduced significantly. If you are prepared to share a room you can additionally save sleeping in hostels. Attractions can be another big cut in the budget, so booking in advance can save you some money. Parties are also one of the things you should have in mind. Night out in Bangkok can easily cost you as it does in Europe. Food is usually on the low side of costs if you are not going for Michelin stars. Calculate approximate value, ask other people who have done the same trip about their experience and then start saving.
Look for places that will satisfy the conditions above. But in the end, these components have an impact on each other. If you plan to have a long weekend trip it will rule out long haul flights. For some people, money is not an issue and other components will prevail. When you narrow down to a few possibilities it is time for additional research and final decision.
People (Who with)
The last component is the most important component for me. The choice to travel alone means you will probably meet more new people, but it can be less comfortable. If you are not alone, you will have to be ready for compromise, when planning and later while traveling. When traveling around Europe I look at who I can visit. Outside Europe, I look for people that will join me. Longer trips I don’t usually travel alone, a group of 2 or 3 is my optimum.
There is no perfect combination, each person, each trip has its own specifics. Collect information about those 5 components and make an educated choice. From there on just go with the flow. But do that move and make that step because trips can give you so much!