As the late great author and travelogue Hans Christian Anderson put it, ‘Travel is to live’. Travel is one of the surest ways to cure a case of wanderlust. It allows you to stretch your legs and mind while getting a break from everyday life and learning new cultures, languages and hitting the reset button. The best way to travel is to keep an open mind, be willing to try new things and open for adventure. While leaving home may seem daunting, it’s not impossible to make your dreams happen. For one, it is important to make sure that everything is taken care of before leaving. This means making sure bills are paid, your housing situation is dealt with either by renting or having friends take care of your plants and or pets. Here a few ways to help you best prepare for your journey.
Prepare, Prep, Prep some more and Pack
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and go of on a worldwide adventure. One of the most important aspects of getting ready to go is to prepare your travel essentials. The time of the year and your destination matters in this case. No matter where the destination is, having the right gear will make or break your journey. For one, it is important to have a good, weatherproof jacket, that will survive rains, the cold and whatever else the weather has in store. Secondly, a good backpack or reliable luggage is a must. Luggage should be lightweight, easily stored (a bizarre shaped back back will do you no favours when trying to be packed into a tuc-tuc!) with plenty of pockets and zipper space to pack and store clothes and equipment in an orderly manner.
Home is Never Far Away.
Before travelling, make sure all of your affairs are in order at home. This includes managing bills, taking care of plants or animals, ensuring your residence is secure and letting people know where you will be going. Managing home life requires a bit of patience, but is doable. Create a list of things that need to be maintained. Keeping tabs on home is easy. Make a list. Keep informed using hot spots wherever you go. For homeowners, preparation for heading abroad may include making sure your payments are auto-debited, or you may consider other funding options to ensure the trip runs smoothly. Renting your place out may also be a consideration to save money while abroad.
Enjoy the Journey
Now that you’ve secured your finances, you can focus on the most important part – the adventure! Travelling on a budget, requires a little bit of foresight and planning. Depending on how many countries and where you are going, you’ll want to make a budget and try not to stray too far from it. If there’s something you absolutely must see, put it in the budget. For other things, check out recommendations from fellow backpackers and locals – there are some great backpacking groups on Facebook where members will be happy to help you prioritise what you should see and do.
The major areas of focus when travelling on a budget should be transportation and accommodations. Local buses and transport systems are a fare bet for cheaper travel. Make use of online booking sites such as 12 Go Asia to compare are pre book public transport prices. Always pay attention to what the locals do. They know best. Taxis can be more expensive and may try to take advantage. For finding accommodations, check couch surfing sites or sites like AirBnb. Hostels are always a favourite of backpackers but you can also find some great deals on sites like Booking.com and Hotels.com. Before you go, do a little research as to where the safest and most affordable places are. Check out reviews of hostels and other accommodations so you can get a rough idea of what to expect. Next, you’ll want to figure out food. Go to local grocery stores and markets, especially if your staying somewhere with a shared kitchen. Again follow the locals, for the best cheap restaurants or food stalls. The general rule of thumb is to eat where you see lots of locals eating. This is a good sign that the food is good, clean and won’t break the budget.
And finally, keep in mind, it is the journey that changes you. Travelling is about getting out, experiencing new things. With the right equipment and good preparation, backpacking around the world is easy as can be. Once the hard part is over, all you have to do is enjoy.
Check out our Global Travel Advice pages for more information of planning your trip and ‘know before you go’!