I'm planning to do a big round the world trip doing a combination of volunteer work, teaching english, backpacking and possibly working as a freelance designer, when I run out of money when I hit the UK. its going to be my first trip travelling alone so i guess i want to pick you brains and get some travelers tips off you because i think the best travelling info comes from other travelers.
So here's my top 3 tips:
1. Slow down. Last year i went on a whirl wind backpacking trip around europe and i visited 12 countries in the first 1 and a half months.... in that first period, my travel buddy tried to see everything, all the museums and monuments as well as partying hard every night in every city we travelled. after that we got sick several times, ran out of steam and by the time we reached Venice we were cursing every chappel and museum we saw, and were so desensitised from all the beauty that we could not appeciate anything. lol. from then we decided to go to croatia and sunbake on the beach for the rest of our trip (one month). Best decision we ever made! Moral of the story is, slow it down and take the time to appeciate the city you are visiting.
2. Be sponanetous and step out of your comfort zone. the reason why we visted 12 countries in 1 and a half months is that we booked accomodation for the first month in advance, we didnt get to spend enough time in countries we fell in love with because we had this tight schedule. So future reference, don't worry if its high season, booking accommodation a few day in advance is sufficient.
3. If you are using budget airlines like ryan air, arrive at the airport early and dont even be a minute late. I found out the hard way when i missed my flight by 2 mins and had to wait at the airport for 10 hours for another flight. Ironically my dirt cheap 50 euro flight had turned in to a 150 euro flight. It happened to me a second time from stutgart to london, only this time i was one minute late and my plane was delayed anyway! damn u budget airlines! I swear they make there money on disorganised travelers. lol
anyway i went on bit of a rant. I'd like to hear from all of you. so maybe i wont have to learn these lessons the hard way on my next trip.
1. Plan ahead.
2. Learn to read maps.
3. Pack some tissue.
1. Pack a needle, alcohol wipes and Band-Aids.
2. Wash your clothes before you run out.
3. If you really want to do it, splure. You can make up the extra expense when you get home.
1. Don't start of with a full backpack. You will need space for stuff you pick up along the way.
2. Schedules are made to be broken. If you want to go somewhere and it's not on your schedule, go!
3. You don't have to see everything there is to see in the place your visiting. Relax and enjoy your surroundings.
1. Non crinkly (don't want to wake up fellow dorm mates) completely white (because any print or color will wear off onto all your possessions after the first few months) plastic bags. You need more of them. No, still more.
2. Plan less. Have more days available to just insert into your itinerary when a good opportunity presents itself.
3. Keep taking out time to not do anything, but just sit with a book and a cup of tea. You might not yet feel like you're really needing it, but you are. Take that time.
I agree with most of these tips already said so I'll re-iterate them and add some more.
Don't have a plan or much of a plan at least. Just go where you want when you want. Having a tight itinerary is boring and while you're on the road you'll hear or learn of places that sound interesting or cool and want to go, if you're all planned and booked ahead then you can't do this. It's much more fun being spontanious.
Make sure you have time for relaxation / chill days. Travelling and sightseeing is tiring work. Make time for beach or pool days or even just have days where you sit in a park and relax without doing anything much.
Travel light. All you really need is one pair of clothes which you're wearing and a spare set plus toothbrush and toothpaste. Seriously don't take much more than this, you can wash your clothes no problem. Take clothes which double as clothes for travelling / sightseeing and that you can wear at night to restaurants / bars / clubs. Swimshorts with proper button / zip pockets are good for wearing during the day and when travelling, you sweat less and are more comfortable. If you insist on taking more clothes you can have the swim shorts for day and another pair of shorts or trousers for at night, 3 t-shirt / tops max, a hooded top is good incase it's cold and some underwear and socks. That's all you need really. Oh and nearly forgot, flip flops and hats.
Plastic bags are a good thing to have, useful for dirty / wet clothes or dirty shoes.
There's no need to book hostels way in advance even in the hight of summer / high season. Do it one or two days in advance on hostelbookers.com or hostelworld.com and that will be fine. Never had any problems this way.
Check that the destination you plan to visit next actually has stuff you'ld like to see and do, don't just assume it will as it's a capital city.
Go off the beaten track every now and again you'll no doubt be pleasently surprised.
Make as many friends as possible, it'll open up new opportunities.
Be open minded and step out your comfort zone.
Before booking rail passes (this is particularly relevant in Europe) make sure they are actually value for money. Research before you go how money tickets cost from place to place when bought on the day. If travelling in Southern and Eastern Europe you'll find the rail pass a waste of money. Trains cost as little as £5 from country to country and usually no more than £20.
oh with regards to travelling light and bringing only a pair of clothes... you may want to consider the weather/climate of your destination... like if you'd be going to a tropical humid place... you'll be sweating profusely the whole day... that is of course if you're not on a beach... while going to a cool temperate country you might consider bringing sweaters..
oh.. in packing your bag... to save the baggage limit... wear the heavier clothes on board the plane and not on your luggage... jeans, jackets, and rubber shoes may add about a kilo or 2 to your luggage or eat up some space..
1. I definitely second Slow Down. i was moving at a glacial pace on my travels after realising that it was silly to try and pack in too much. No point just getting stamps on the passport for the sake of it. Travel to really travel.
2. Dont give away too much information to every person you meet. Talk to everyone, be open to new friendships and experiences, but equally be careful of giving away too much inforamtion to people. I think it's a smart way to travel, especially if you're travelling solo.
3. Sometimes go against your tendencies. Instead of turning down that dinner invitation, just say yes and see what happens Do something you would never normally do at home. Test yourself as often as possible! That's why you're travelling right? Experience new things.
1. Don't worry if it doesn't go to plan. When it doesn't go to plan, those are the most interesting stories when you get back.
2. Take pictures if you want, but remember to stop and look at stuff. Sometimes I have gotten back, looked at my pictures and not even remembered seeing what I have a photo of. Take a moment to make sure that you capture the moment in your MEMORY as well as on your memory stick.
3. Wear comfortable shoes.
1. Go with a smaller pack - you just don't need that kitchen sink!
2. Be FLEXIBILE!!!
3. Go with your "gut feeling"