Some people dream for years of where they wish to travel to. Others have no idea.
There are a few points in particular that I’m going to focus on, but it’s always important to double and triple check all reservations and bookings – and while you’re at it double check and possibly rework your itinerary to make sure you’ve thought of each and every detail, including your transportation and budgeting (which I will talk about a little further down).
When traveling abroad, using your cell phone is unfortunately pretty useless, as most signals can be limited and it will most definitely be extremely expensive to use. When I’m traveling for more than a couple of months, I ask my cell phone carrier to suspend my coverage, so that I’m not billed while traveling – do take note that this will extend your cell contract the length of your duration. There are two other options if cellular connectivity is a must for you... 1. You may purchase a local phone with a local sim and plan. 2. Ask your current carrier to ‘unlock your phone for global use.’ If you have a newer phone with a sim card, you should have no trouble putting a new sim in while you’re traveling. When calling in to customer support, keep in mind that not every representative you talk to will know what you’re asking about, so be sure to ask to be transferred to a manager in a polite manner – they will be able to direct you in the right direction to have your service unlocked. Another option is using Skype or Google Voice, where you’re able to complete calls over a wifi connection.
Whether you’re backpacking Europe or Asia, or if you’re packing a suitcase for a beach resort, it’s important to pack right – and it’s much easier to overpack than to underpack. Below I’ve compiled in video and in list form, my own packing list for my upcoming European backpacking trip. Everything I talk about below is what I actually use myself – and I’ve not been sponsored to use any of these products.
Choosing the right backpack seems to be one of the more daunting tasks for new travelers – while there are tons of options, you really can’t go wrong as long as you keep a few key parts in mind. When choosing your luggage, it’s important to make sure you have enough space for everything that you need to bring with you (but make sure your bag meets the restrictions set by airlines, so you can carry-on your bag), that it’s comfortable and secure. Be sure that you choose a pack with strong material, so your things are slash and grab proof, yet durable to last through the duration of your trip. I chose a high quality, yet pricier bag from Duluth Pack – they specialize in canvas and leather products, which are long lasting and durable. Each one of their bags comes with a lifetime guarantee – if something rips, breaks, whatever, they will replace.
Now that you’ve chosen your destination(s), it’s time to map out where you want to go and everything you’d like to see. I suggest printing a couple of maps off of Google and with a permanent marker, begin dotting the places you would like to go on one map. On the other, dot the major cities and locations that you will need to travel to, to access these locations. For example, if I’m heading to Ireland and I want to see Glendalough (which is 20-30 minutes south of Dublin), on the second map I would mark Dublin. Do this for your entire trip – it may be useful to write down each sight, attraction and thing you wish to do and see on a separate piece of paper, and then organize them into region-specific categories. On your second map with the more generalized locations, go ahead and pencil in a routing that makes the most sense. Because just like anything else, the closer you are from point A to point B, the cheaper your transportation costs will (generally) be.
For many, choosing the destination of an upcoming trip is half the fun, but for others, it’s difficult and daunting, even. Typically for an international flight (especially those that cross an ocean), you will be shelling out a bit of cash and you may not know the next chance you will be able to do it again, so choosing the right destination is extremely important. Once you’ve chosen where you wish to go, dedicate yourself to it. Learn as much as you can, yet remain partial, as the experience you’re likely to have will be nothing like your expectations - plus, it’s never good to thrive on pre-conceived notions anyway.
When choosing your destination, you need to decide: are you traveling for leisure or culture? I define leisure travel as relaxed and quite a bit like home, but with either service or beauty influencing the destination (ex. beach, cruise, resort, etc). Cultural travel (my kind of travel) is where you set off in hopes to learn, truly experience and open yourself up to a whole new culture and way of life. If you’ve chosen leisure, unfortunately I will have to stop you here, because I don’t think I’ll have much to offer you as far as travel tips that you can’t easily find on some corporate-owned, high-dollar, travel website. While leisure travel is fine and there’s nothing wrong with it, I don’t have much experience sitting on my ass while locals wait on me, so I can’t really pretend to be an authority on the subject.
(A.K.A. Choose the right destination)
For many, choosing the destination of an upcoming trip is half the fun, but for others, it’s difficult and daunting, even. Typically for an international flight (especially those that cross an ocean), you will be shelling out a bit of cash and you may not know the next chance you will be able to do it again, so choosing the right destination is extremely important. Once you’ve chosen where you wish you go, dedicate yourself to it. Learn as much as you can, yet remain partial, as the experience you’re likely to have will be nothing like your expectations - plus, it’s never good to thrive on pre-conceived notions anyway.
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