Hey everyone, I'll start with Happy New Year!
Me and a friend had originally planned to head out travelling at the back end of this year, around October 2009. We were gonna go the usual London - Thailand - Australia - New Zealand - Fiji - LA and make it last around a year with a bit over 6 months of it spent split between Oz and the US (that includes looking for some part time work there too).
Now, I've just got a text from him telling me he doesn't want to go. I still want to do it but I don't know anything about travelling on my own. It seems a really scary thing to do but am I right in thinking that quite a lot of people do this? I'm a 26 year old guy from Preston, UK and got the typical "I want more than this" feeling. I've got a pretty good job that I'll be leaving and a house that I'll be renting out so it's a big move but I feel if I don't do it now I never will - I don't want to let a job/mortgage get in the way of something like this.
Has anyone got any advice? We were originally looking to book with STA Travel but I've also just found out that the main ticket prices are for under 26's and I turned 26 in November. Can anyone recommend where to get a ticket like this and how much you think it would cost?
Any other advice would be greatly appreciated as I really want to do this, and do it properly!
make it last around a year with a bit over 6 months of it spent split between Oz and the US (that includes looking for some part time work there too).
That's an awfully short time for Australia, especially if you're going to be stuck in a single place working for a part of that time (note that you won't be able to work in the USA) - might feel like you're "wasting" your one-year WHV like that. I'd try to budget a bit of extra time in Australia. (e.g. 6 weeks Thailand, 6 months Australia, 2 months New Zealand, 2 weeks Fiji, 2 months USA).
I still want to do it but I don't know anything about travelling on my own. It seems a really scary thing to do but am I right in thinking that quite a lot of people do this? I'm a 26 year old guy from Preston, UK and got the typical "I want more than this" feeling. I've got a pretty good job that I'll be leaving and a house that I'll be renting out so it's a big move but I feel if I don't do it now I never will - I don't want to let a job/mortgage get in the way of something like this.
Solo travel is (imo) the way to go. You have complete flexibility in deciding where to go and what to do. You have the freedom to do only what you want to do - and if you're having a lousy day, that includes the ability to do nothing at all and just laze about in a hammock with a book and a drink. You can discover what it is you care for when you're completely free of obligations and the constraints of people around you having preconceived notions about who you are. Experience thousands of new things and let your subconsciousness take that as input for drawing conclusions about what it is you want to do with your life.
At least Thailand, Australia and New Zealand are extremely easy to get around in as a backpacker, with great infrastructure. The first couple of days in Thailand might be overwhelming, so don't be afraid to take things slowly. Don't plan too much or too strictly - allow yourself the time to gradually settle into the fabric of things, an give yourself time to sit back and assimilate new experiences. Personally I always find it worthwhile to devour most of a Lonely Planet (city specific chapters, but especially the general directory pages) before going to a new country; it doesn't really prepare you, but it allows you to better understand what you're seeing when you're there. There'll be plenty of other travellers around who could give you tips, too.
Don't have any experience with STA or student tickets myself (which I think those under-26 ones are). But for an itinerary like this it's almost always cheapest to get a Round The World ticket, which are fixed price (no cheaper versions for students afaik), and any travel agent selling them should work out to the same cost, modulo fees for the agent. I see the exact itinerary you gave on statravel.co.uk for £721 + taxes, which seems reasonable. (Note that there's seasonal variations in RTW ticket prices; if your first flight leaves during "high season", it'll be £50-£100 more.)
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 5, 2009, at 3:21 AM by Sander ]
I'm not too far from Preston myself and looking at a similar trip this year. I looked at the under 26 trip with STA but I have actually found that trialfinders have been able to provide me with a much cheaper quote of £1000 including taxes (without Fiji and LA).
There's a better than average chance we work for the same company.
You don't need your friend to do it.
It's a life goal for me and I think everyone should do something like this in their 20's so get saving in my opinon, and get to trailfinders.
I would have liked more time to research. If Cairns rainiest time of the year is April dont expect the travel agent to point this fact out to you as I found so be prepared to check this kind of thing out yourself.
You should still go!! Your friend is gonna be the one missing out on a great opportunity. Your itinerary includes the most backpacker-friendly destinations, which means there's always gonna be other solo travellers there. I've always travelled on my own (I'm f/24), and while I had been planning an upcoming trip to Canada with a friend it looks like she's gonna be a no-show too. So while it woulda been kinda nice to have a friend along for once, it's definitely not gonna stop me from going. I'm a Kiwi so can give you lots of pointers for NZ....as well as Aussie, Fiji and LA. PM me if you like and keep planning and researching cos you're gonna have an amazing time full of awesome experiences and new friends
I'll be travelling on my own for the first time this year too *feels butterflies* It's been my dream for 7 years and something I regret not doing earlier in life as im also 28, 29 this year, but I've been delaying going away for various reasons...trying to establish a career first which was a bit of a stop-start in my 20's due to a couple of redundancies and struggling to get another job to keep saving for my dream...im pretty much settled on going this year as I've hit a '..it's now or never..' approach and im also currently in a relationship and yes im not sure how that will pan out with me going away for 6 months to a year and him staying back home, but he know's I can't settle until I've got this travelling out of my system first...
Anyway I was just wondering if there's anyone out there worried about quitting their job in this economic climate and how they'll get work when they get back? I'm a Graphic Designer which is a hugely competitive job, some of my friends think im crazy to leave my job they way things are right now - especially when it's taken me so long to find one where I've yet to be made redundant again
Thanks for your reply
I'm in a similar situation with regard to the job, I'm actually a Web Designer. I work for a local College at the moment and do freelance when I can for extra cash. If I think too much about the job/house etc then I start questioning the whole idea and I'm the same with regard to the "now or never" thing so I'm just going to cross that bridge when I get to it. Hopefully the economy might have sorted itself out a little by the time I'm home and providing I keep on my toes with design I should be alright when I get back, I'm pretty confident with that. My brother is a director in London so he's already told me when I'm back I should live with him for a bit and cash in on freelance in London, it's an idea but we'll see - it's a long time away.
I completely understand your worries though but the way I see it is that I'd rather risk it and travel whilst I'm in my 20's than to wait x amount of years until I realise I should have gone years ago. Jobs will no doubt come and go but, as you probably know too, your 20's seem to fly by - it doesn't seem two minutes since I was 18 saying "wow, I'd love to go travelling"
Thanks again, appreciate the reply.
Yeah I echo everything your saying..also I do design at a College too! and freelance to keep me in shoes I've been doing some reading online whilst at work today and I'm just trying to figure out the money situation. It seems what I have may not be enough and thinking about it - I suppose the worst thing would be to get there and not be able to do everything I wanted to do because I didn't have enough money. I was hoping to do 6-12 months and suggestions are 1k a month, so I'd have to be back in under 6 months. I'm gonna have to do some thinking because I can't keep putting it off.
Anyway let me know how you get on and where you decide to get your ticket from? I was gonna go through STA but discovering shopping around definately pays off!
Just thought I would add that I am 29 yo male planning a RTW trip for around October 2009 too! I have always wanted to do it and decided last year that this year(2009) would be the year I leave everything behind and go experience the world!
I am also a Web Developer, funnily enough, but I do not have any responsibilities - no children, mortgage or significant other to think about so it makes the decision to go slightly easier. I am planning on visiting LA/SF, Fiji, New Zealand, Oz, Indonesia, Yap(Micronesia), SE Asia (not sure where yet excluding Thailand)
My advice from what I have read and been told by friends is travelling alone is liberating and it is the better experiene than when travelling with someone else. You leave your comfort zone and you then start learning things about yourself you never knew.
Well, I'm a 34 man who is in the process of closing down my own business and giving up my house in order to just be able get out there and travel. It has been on my mind for too long now. I honestly don't care what I'll do when I come back...I will probably scrape a load of money together in a crappy job and clear off again until I know what I want out of life. Just do it or you'll always regret it.
well, my answer to all of you is to just go! You will be so much happier that you went, and that you went alone. you will definitely meet more people on your own and i think once you get out there, you'll be able to stretch your budget a lot further than you thought. in the end, you make so many friends on the road, your choices will really be with whom to travel and when can you get some time to yourself. you also never know, you might have friends who will come and join you along the way as well. i'm a graphic designer too, but did quit my job to travel 10 years ago and i never regretted it for a moment. ever since then i've freelanced so that i can travel and my time is my own. good luck and keep on planning!