In two years I'm planning to take a gap year after sixth form to go travelling. Although I'm not really sure about the things I'd like to do or how to work out the best places for me to go.
I'd probably like to go to about four different countries. I live in the UK and I've been to other places in Europe a few times so of course I don't understand the culture of every country in Europe but I'm aiming for kind of a shock that I don't think Europe can offer me.
I'm thinking maybe going to India, Brazil (or somewhere in South America, I know it's a massive area but that's why I'm asking), and maybe South Africa, and maybe Japan but now I think of it I'm kind of attracted to every possible destination but those are the four places that jump out at me most.
I'm happy to live in cheap hostels and eat cheap food, so what sort of prices should I be expecting?
This is a real mess of a post, I'm not really sure how to ask what I want to, it's like I know that I want to do this, but I'm not really sure how to start the planning process!
1.) Since budget is an issue I'd drop all first world destinations (like your consideration of Japan.)
2.) Make a choice between Asian, Indian or Latin culture.
3.) That leaves one of three major destinations for a budget backpacker looking for a real change in culture from the UK: 1.) SE Asia, 2.) Indian Subcontinent or 3.) Central/South America.
Have fun with your research.
I think India is probably my top choice. Do you suggest I only go to the one country for the entire year?
I'm not certain the VISA will allow that, it looks like the maximum I can stay is 6 months: http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/touristvisa_fees.html
I'd love to spend 6 months there but I'm wondering if I should try and get a bit more variation in. Or is that just extremely naive of me?
The spiritual - or perhaps more... self understanding sort of thing really appeals to me also and as far as I'm aware India is supposed to be one of the best places for that. Is there anything more I should know about that? Or anywhere in particular I should think about visiting inside of India?
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jun-2013, at 16:20 by Cameron262 ]
Stop worrying about numbers. How many countries you're going to end up visiting is not something you decide before you leave. A long trip should unfold naturally, on its own.
Personally I would not recommend India for a first time, naive traveller. If you're interested in India I'd suggest starting somewhere easy like Thailand, then when you get into your groove and want something more challenging then jump on a flight to India.
Thailand doesn't really appeal to me very much, would somewhere in Europe give me the same sort of insight?
Like you say I don't want to just cram as much in as I can, but what if I did something like train trips heading towards to East Europe and explore as much as I feel like I need to at each place I visit and then catch a flight to India when I feel like I'm ready?
Check out this website it's a good port of call for first time travelers.
The reason I mentioned Thailand is because it's a completely different culture/language than anything you've experienced, yet it has one of the best budget backpacking infrastructures in the world. It's filled with first timers just like yourself so it's easy to meet like minded travellers who are also discovering life on the road - but you can also get off the beaten path and away from the foreign hordes. It's also an easy jumping off place for anywhere in the Indian Subcontinent/Asia.
Personally when I started travelling I considered Europe too familiar.... I used travel to get away from western culture, not to discover different forms of the same thing that I was used to. That's just me though, different strokes.
In any case you have loads of time to think/research this.... you'll change your mind lots of times.... don't get stuck with a solid plan this early in the process....
Okay thank you! I'm really really excited about all of this even though it won't happen for another two years!
I feel like I need a target to aim for, would £12,000 (GBP) be a reasonable aim considering most of my time will be spent in India? Or am I being a bit too optimistic?
Save as much as possible, then see what happens. Who knows what the world economy might be in two years.
Right now £12,000 can buy you a LOT of quality time and fun in many destinations...