Are You Travelling Alone, With Friends, Or A Group?
The first big thing to decide is who you are going to go with, if anyone. You will probably already know this, as it will have played a big role in your decision to go. If you haven't decided yet or want to find out more information about your decision you should read more here about Travelling Alone, With Friends, Or A Group.
Time - How Long Should You Go For?
I can't give much advice on the length of time you should go for, other than that 3 months is more than enough time to see a hell of a lot - even in 1 month you can still have a great time and see large parts of the world. It is all down to how long you can, want and can afford to go for.
When I first went I planned a minimum of 3 months so not to regret anything and a maximum of 12 months so not to leave too big a gap on my CV. Quite a big difference in time scales, but that was literally all the planning I did in terms of time. In the end I went for 6 months because I ran out of money, which is obviously a massive factor for all aspects of your trip.
Read more about Money Saving.
Budget - How Much Money Can You Spend?
Again how much money you budget for is really down to you - how much you have and how much you want to spend, but see here for a rough estimation on the minimum daily budgets you will need for a particular destination and here for different types of budgets.
For those of you that don't have too much of a budget to start with, don't let it dissuade you, you really don't need much to travel after the obvious start-up costs, especially if you apply one or more of the solutions below:
|Solutions For Those On Small Budgets|
Read more about Ways To Fund And Save Money For Travelling.
Start up costs vary from trip to trip and may include items such as:
• Backpack (£60-150; $100-250)
• Contents of your backpack (£0-250; $0-400)
• Insurance (approx £200-300; $330-500 for a year)
• Vaccinations (most free in the UK, up to £200; $350)
• Visas (£0-80; $0-135)
• Flights (£600-2500; $1000-4100)
Once travelling, a rough estimation of the scale of prices is:
In developing countries = £60-250 ($100-425) per week
In developed countries = £170-550 ($290-930) per week
As you can see from these figures, a huge difference in scale for different types of people and destinations.
For me, you can't put a price on a good night sleep, so I always pay the little bit extra a night to stay in 4 bed dorm rather than a 10 bed dorm - so obviously my accommodation budget might have to be bigger. However some travellers I met were spending £10 a day on coffee, which I could get by without, so my overall budget might be a lot less. Getting the balance right between saving money and staying happy is the key.
Remember to use our Money Saving Tips Whilst Travelling.
Where To Go?
It's very difficult to do it all first time round. I intended on visiting every continent expect for Europe on my first trip, but only managed 2 in 6 months.
The big question here you need to ask yourself is; do I want to visit loads of countries for short periods of time or only a few countries for longer periods of time?
For example if you want to visit Australia you really need to go there for a least a month or two to really get a picture of the country. Whereas Singapore you can do in 3 days. If you only want to visit a country to see a particular city or landmark, then again you only need to go for a short period of time and then move on.
"stay to appreciate"
For me, you can't really understand a country if you only go for a few days - unless it's a small one like Singapore. One of the best bits of advice I received was to stay longer in places to fully appreciate them and it's so true. Many times I was in a place for a couple of days thinking this isn't great, but then after staying a few more days I would see or experience something amazing.
You should really follow both your heart and head here. If there is somewhere you have always wanted to go, you will probably love it, if someone recommends a place that you know you won't like, then you probably won't.
There are so many other factors that can influences where you go - I didn't want to take any heavy clothing in my bag, so I only went to hot countries. Money is obviously a huge factor - you can travel a lot longer in poorer countries.
|Where To Go - Other Factors To Consider|
Visit our Destinations pages for inspiration on where to go.
You can also read here for Travelling Safety Tips.
When To Go?
A lot of people do not consider when, when planning. I can tell you it does make a huge difference. For example I went to New Zealand in Autumn, which meant it was too warm for snow capped mountains, but too cold to swim in the beautiful freshwater lakes.
It can get much worse than that, visiting tropical countries in typhoon and cyclone seasons will not be fun.
It is also important to consider when, if you want to get to places in time for a certain event, such as a full moon party, sporting contest or animal migration.
You should also check out for things like high malaria seasons or if there is any political instability in that destination at the time you plan to go. This information can be found through your countries foreign office and health service websites.
Visit our Destinations pages for more about when to go to certain countries.
You can read here for more about Travelling Health and Vaccination Advice.
Itinerary - What Route To Take?
Once you know where, when, how much and how long, you just need to decided how to do it.
If there is a country, place or a thing you have always want to visit or do, then that is a good place to start.
You should however consider not doing all the really exciting things and places at the beginning. This is because you may find other experiences thereafter, a bit of an anticlimax.
I started in Australia because I thought I would have the least amount of culture shock there, in addition to it having a good travel infrastructure. It meant I had a gradual approach to travelling rather than been thrown in at the deep end. I knew if I couldn't handle Australia then there would be no way I could handle Vietnam.
If you are worried about coping with travelling, I would highly recommend starting somewhere without too many culture differences to your own and build your way up.
Read here for information about Dealing With Culture Shock and Homesickness.
It goes without question for you to find the most cost effective route, if you want to travel for long periods.
The other thing you need to consider is how far do you want to plan ahead. I am a big believer in going with the flow. I only booked a one-way flight to Sydney and 4 nights accommodation when I first went, and planned the remaining 6 months on the go. I obviously had a list of places I wanted to visit and a route I thought I should take, but the point is you don't have to book everything before you go - these days it is so easy to plan as you go.
The best thing about not planning too much is you are free to go wherever. If someone recommends you a place you have never heard of, you can go to it. If you want to stay longer somewhere, you can. If you have gone off visiting a place, then you don't have to. If you have booked everything in advance you can't do this.
Of course it can be more expensive to do it this way, particularly flights, but you can book all your major flights or an around the world ticket in advance. Other things can be cheaper - especially accommodation - often when arriving in new places you will be greeted by hostel workers trying to sell you a bed for the cheapest price. Tours can also be sold cheaper at the last minute as they're looking to fill them up. One negative thing about this approach though is that you may find things fully booked up when you arrive.
Again with this it is really up to you. If you like having everything planned and not having to think, then book away. If you have a very tight budget then it could also be a good idea to book things in advance. I do however think going with the flow is the most rewarding way to travel and you certainly shouldn't book everything in advance.
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