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Newbie - please help

Travel Forums General Talk Newbie - please help

1. Posted by Lou2424 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hi all,

This is a great forum and has given me some great ideas, but I wondered if people could spare the time to
share their experience with me.

As an older (in body, not spirit) 9-5 worker, I have been made redundant and want to travel for a while. I won't be doing a full gap year as I can't afford it, but plan to take 3 months out to see a bit of the world.

I would like to visit South East Asia & Oz but i'm not sure how much i can fit into that time scale, could anyone give me a few pointers please. Also as I'm not a youngster anymore I've grown quite attached to my creature comforts and I'm not sure what to take with me on my travels. I don't want to spend a fortune and would like to have a fairly basic experience and really get a feel for the places I visit, but it won't be hostels ALL the time.

Apologies as I'm not strictly a 'traveller' in the truest sense, but any tips would be most gratefully received.

Many thanks
Lou

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 7y

Quoting Lou2424

I would like to visit South East Asia & Oz but i'm not sure how much i can fit into that time scale, could anyone give me a few pointers please.

You could spend years in either destinations without growing bored, but three months is a decent timeframe to get a good overview all the same. South East Asia is significantly cheaper than Australia, so good for stretching money, though Australia is quite a bit cheaper than Europe / North America in itself already. Depending on your exact budget, I'd probably recommend splitting your time between the two destinations about equally; so six weeks in Australia, and six weeks in S.E.A.
Six weeks in Australia would be enough to leisurely bus down the East Coast, hitting most of the big destinations. Or you could base yourself for 3 weeks in either Melbourne or Sydney and do daytrips in the vicinity, really getting a feel for either city and getting more of a feeling of "living" there. (I'd recommend Melbourne over Sydney for this, mostly because between the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians and Wilson's Promontory, there's simply more worthwhile scenery in the neighbourhood; plus I've found Melbourne a really pleasant city to spend time in.) And then for the remaining three weeks you could hop over to some other destinations by plane to just sniff up atmosphere and shortly get to see them, too. If you like hiking, then be sure not to miss Tasmania (Cradle Mountain National Park is a must).
For South East Asia the options are even more endless; do you have any personal preferences of which countries you want to see / what sights to see?

Also as I'm not a youngster anymore I've grown quite attached to my creature comforts and I'm not sure what to take with me on my travels. I don't want to spend a fortune and would like to have a fairly basic experience and really get a feel for the places I visit, but it won't be hostels ALL the time.

Don't say that too loudly before you've experienced Australian hostels; especially YHA hostels are generally really high quality, and if you get a private room, you might not want anything more. (As you'd still have the benefits of social interaction in the kitchen, lounge, etc.) Also, even though the majority of people staying at hostels will be below age 30 (on account of the working holiday visa people just being that numerous, and all of them being in the country for a year or two), there's always a sizable percentage (I'd guestimate it varies between 10% and 20%) of people in the 40-90 age range. I really doubt you'll feel all that old all that often. :)
In SEA, there's many high quality guesthouses which'll cater to all necessary creature comforts while still being ridiculously cheap by western standards, and having way more character than the hotels. It can be a bit hit-and-miss finding them, but reading reviews on websites (and trusting in your lonely planet), picking places in the lower half of midrange (or sometimes at the top-end of the budget range)), I think you should be able to do just fine.

Apologies as I'm not strictly a 'traveller' in the truest sense.

Eh, holding to a strict definition of what a "traveller" is is quite silly, imo. No one can agree on what that definition should be anyway. *g* You're going out on your own into the unknown, with an open mind rather than a package tour, and that makes you our kind of people. :)

Hope that all helps you along a bit. Always hard to usefully answer really open-ended questions like this. Please feel free to ask follow-up questions. (Also, the more we know about what kind of things you like to see or do, the more we can recommend specific places to see or things to do.)

3. Posted by Lou2424 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Thanks Sander, your reply is really useful.
I'm not against hostels in anyway and plan to stay whilst on my trip, but I think I will also stay in some budget hotels and also plan on hiring a camper van for a short time. I'm just not sure I could do the '2 pairs of pants and a piece of string' to last me 3 months in the same way I probably could've in my 20's. I'm not trying to stereotype travellers in anyway, I think I just want to make sure I get the fullest experience possible seeing as I'm only doing 3 months as opposed to the 12 months I would really like to do.
I'm hoping that this trip will push me to book future trips to see much more of the world and I really value all your help.

4. Posted by Lou2424 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Sorry, I should've also said that I would like (in my ideal world) to see Thailand & Vietnam (the list goes on but 3 months is too short). I will be visiting friends in Sydney, which always helps with the budget. I would like to hire a campervan to go to the blue mountains and would also like to see the Whitsunday Islands, to hopefully sail, but this will also be budget depending.
Other than that I have no plans. I would like to build some flexibility into the 3 months so I can go with the flow and follow up recommendations or fall in love with somewhere and spend a bit longer. I like doing the outdoorsy things, but am not too bothered about doing an 'activity' everyday.
I'm not sure if this helps, sorry.

5. Posted by DaveinMD (Respected Member 198 posts) 7y

First off welcome to the board. I'm not sure I'm going to be a lot of help but I did spend a summer in Malaysia when I was 13. From what I remember Bangkok is very interesting but the floating markets was kind of a tourist trap with a log jam of tourist boats. You want to see a lot of Australia and New Zealand that's for sure.

6. Posted by Travel4gro (Budding Member 15 posts) 7y

First off, sorry. My reply may be a little disjointed.

I have been to Australia and not to South East Asia. I have been to Southwest Asia, but that is another topic.

I suggest that you be adventuresome and leave the touristy things and areas behind. I have much more fun and better experiences when I try to move with the locals. We, my family and I, shop in their smaller shops and try to use products and eat foods the locals do. We try to watch the life of the culture around us and find its beauty. It is really easy to do if you open yourself to it.

I always try to learn some of the language for anyplace we travel to. If you make persistent attempts and have a good sense of humor about yourself, you will enjoy the local culture and people much more.

While I think the other posts are more helpful to you, please consider my thoughts too.

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by rbyslipahs (Respected Member 349 posts) 7y

Mixing simple, hostel-type accommodations allows you to find great upscale places wherever you are going. It's a fun way to travel!

Instead of trying to pinpoint locations to visit, maybe think about the types of things you want to do instead, or come up with a theme of sorts. With SEA on the list, you can come up with a number of things. Beaches, mountains, villages, and cities, finding something of each to visit. You could focus on historical sites, like WWII sites (Bridge over the River Kwai) or temples in northeast Thailand, western Cambodia. Culinary tours are fun, and there are a lot of courses available to travelers. Or try to see how many forms of transportation you can take (I think I counted nine on my SEA trip, including elephant and speed boat). Also makes it easier to organize photos or blog about, if that's your thing.

Also look for websites run by locals that give information. One of my favorites is out of Koh Chang, the islands in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, run by an Aussie ex-pat.

Hope this helps, and have a great time!