I have been diagnosed with a certain type on epilepsy so cannot drive for a year. I have now made the decision to go travelling rather the be miserable in the uk for the next 12 months. But I don't know where to start with organising and planning it. I'd be open to travel anywhere. Europe, Oz, NZ. Could anyone help me on where to start? Should I go though a company/organisation or do it all myself? Quite nervous about doing this but feel it's the right time to do it.
Any help / guidance would be appreciated.
It depends on your budget and what you want to see and do. There's also climate to think about.
S,E.Asia is cheap and hot, there's an established backpacker trail. Thailand is perhaps the most popular place.
New Zealand is popular if you don't want hot and humid, culture is similar to home, lots to see and do - hiking, mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, Maori culture. Again lots of backpacker infrastructure but more like uk prices (food is dearer than at home). Heading into winter now. Australia similar but maybe dearer and less to see. Both offer working holiday visas for under 30s if you want to work to offset costs.
Those are the most popular options. Of the rest:
North America is expensive and, if you want my opinion, not too varied and interesting.
South America can be cheap but has fewer flights, is maybe more challenging for a traveller - less English spoken.
India is cheap, rewarding but challenging.
Europe - if you're British maybe this isn't far or alien enough. But eastern Europe and the balkans are cheap, though few world class famous sights. Western Europe has lots to see but is expensive.
Africa - doesn't crop up much. Dangerous and less geared up for travellers.
You could sample a load of these with a Round The World flight ticket. You can explore these on the airline networks' websites (skyteam, oneworld and star alliance) or go into a specialist travel agent like Trailfinders or Travelbag.
Personally I'd do it all independently but the likes of Trailfinders will offer you tours or whatever you want.
A great place to start, seeing as you are in the UK, might be to travel by train to various points of Europe so that you can see things as you go and get off at different areas that appeal to you to spend time there. Search the internet to find things that appeal to you and that are within you budget. Branch out as far and as long as it is interesting to you. Europe can be beautiful this time of year.
Thanks for the information so far. I don't have a specific budget right now. But open to anything right now so would welcome ideas/feedback/suggestions. What is a good amount of money to have as a budget? I want to get out of the uk and see things, I'm not one who needs to see everything. Also a little nervous about doing this by myself.
Costs vary widely, depending on style of travel, destination and duration. Rtw or long haul flights are a big lump but offset over six months or a year makes less of a dent on a per day basis. Developed countries maybe £50 a day, Asia maybe £30, but these figures can go up or diwn depending whether you want dorm beds or singles, or hotels, whether you're a drinker and partier, how often you move on and how much you spend on activities.
If you follow the beaten track (eg Thailand, Australia or New Zealand) you will find plenty of travellers and will easily make friends and have chances to link up with people to travel for a time. Staying in hostels you'll have conversations in the dorm or lounge, you may also meet travellers on transport and at attractions.
As it's coming up on the Northern hemisphere summer you could follow the suggestion of Europe by rail as a trial run and see how much money you plough through and what that leaves you wanting to do. After that you could take on something more alien. It has the advantage of no expensive long haul flight and if you're unhappy and lonely just fly home for £50.
"... I don't have a specific budget right now..."
That's the first decision you have to make. Everything else will fall into place after you decide how much money you'll have for the year of travel.
Sometimes it's easier to join a tour. It also might be cheaper than if you were to do it on your own. At this point, don't rule anything out. Keep and open mind.
Can anyone reccomend any good tours to join?
[ Edit: Edited on 04-Apr-2015, at 01:23 by Boaters321 ]
It's somewhat difficult to make recommendations without knowing something about you and your interests.
There are many kinds of tours and tour companies. For example, some are geared for more independent travelers interested in far-flung destinations. Canada-based G Adventures is one such company, as is Australia-based Intrepid. I've used both, as well as Nomad of South Africa. Their tours are a good way to introduce yourself to destinations where traveling on your own may be somewhat more complicated than, say, Europe and Southeast Asia. You get the lay of the land, so to speak, so you can return and do it yourself. In any case, you'll find that -- just as merchants of yore with their trade routes -- tour companies and most independent travelers tend to follow the same travel routes. Few go off the beaten path, such as birdwatching in Ethiopia's Gambela National Park, on the border with South Sudan.
Some tour companies use third-party providers for their tours. Some have their own vehicles and drivers but hire freelance guides. Some are better than others.
Many companies tailor tours to specific groups. For example, there are tours that cater to those interested in partying. These usually involve camping; and often are cheaper. "Accommodated" tours use mostly hotels and lodges; and cost more. People on those tours tend to be more interested in sightseeing and cultural experiences than partying, although some of that occurs, too. Some tours are basic, others are luxurious, some offer a mix. There are lots of choices.
Some travelers eschew tours. They want to do it all on their own. That's fine. But I find that tours, including day tours, sometimes are useful and convenient. I'm about to hit the road again, traveling mostly on my own, for several months. I'll use public transportation, hire drivers, etc., to get where I want to go. But I've also booked a three-week tour of Papua New Guinea, including the Trobriand Islands. It was easier -- and cheaper -- than doing it all on my own.
So, it's up to you. Whatever you decide, it's going to be a voyage of discovery, about yourself, about others. It will be an experience you're not likely to forget.