It’s always been exciting to go to a new place for me. In the past years, I’ve been to more than 20 countries around the world. I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert traveler, but I really have some experiments to share:
- How to decide where to go?
a) Where do you like/interest in?
Ask yourself honestly, what kind of attractions do you like to see? What kind of adventure do you want to have? Not the “must see” from traveler’s websites or magazines but what you really interested in. I think this is the most important thing. There are many choices to enjoy your trip as natural scenery, historic landscapes, shopping in the mall, or relax with a foot massage. If gourmet food means a lot to you, then you’d better choose those countries/areas famous for cuisine like Italy (Sorry, England). Anyway, choose a place that you really like to spend your time. You won’t look forward to going to a place that you are reluctant to.
b) How many days do you have?
Before departure, be sure to make sure how much time you have. It doesn’t matter that you only have few days to enjoy your trip. But if you are planning a long-distant trip, be sure that you have enough holidays because you might take many hours on the flight. Also, ask yourself, how many days do you want to have (before you have homesick)? Some people would like to be a wanderer while some people just want to escape from their life for couple days.
c) How many budgets do you have?
The last but not the least: MONEY. I think we don’t even need to mention it ‘cuz if you don’t have money, you can’t go anywhere even though you have plenty of time. Just plan your trip on the budget. If you have a dream place which costs a lot, you might have to start saving money earlier!
2. What to do to prepare for a trip?
a) Alone or with other people (family, friends, boy/girlfriend, group)?
You can always travel by yourself, of course, but it always makes more fun to share with other people no matter they are family, lover(s?), or friends. You can take photos of each other, take care the luggage for each other, and share the hotel room costs. However, if you are planning to travel with a friend or some friends, make sure you have similar interests. You don’t have to be the same in every aspect but mostly get together well, or just find an easy-going person. Joining a group trip is another choice: with the tour guide, you don’t need to prepare Google map or look for directions. Of course, you still need to compare the itinerary and the price-performance ratio among different travel agents.
b) Transportation, tickets, and accommodation
When you decided when and where to go, you can start to look the air/train tickets and hotel/hostel/B&B rooms. Make a reservation of air tickets and train tickets as early as possible would save you more money while accommodations maybe not. Of course, the early booking will secure your stay, however, the booking website will have some discount sometimes when the date is getting close but the room is still not be reserved. Maybe some people will have the good luck to get a better deal… see if you are a gambler!
c) How hard to apply for the visa?
Some countries are fantastic but it’s really hard to get a visa. Also, visas of some countries are not easy to apply for some people (normally it’s about some political or religious issues). For example, I have been to some Muslin countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, this made me be grilled for 5 more minutes in the customs when visiting Israel. For beginners, to choose those countries which are visa-free or providing visa on arrival for your country will make things easier.
(2015, South Korea)
d) The expired date of your passport
Normally, if you want to travel abroad, make sure that you have more than 6 months from your passport expires date. I think not every customs officer looks it carefully but it is better to be on the safe side.
3. Some precautions
a) Packing luggage
In order not to miss any items, you can make a list of personal belongings for traveling before packing. It would be better to check the weather forecast before setting off to determine what kind of clothing you are going to prepare. Also, different countries have different voltage and plug types. Moreover, please note that each airline has its own rules for checked/carrying baggage.
b) Safety issues
When you are traveling, not to expose the money–opportunity makes the thief. It may be better not to put the cash in the same wallet but separate in different pockets. Some cities are beautiful and charming, but there are many thieves and pickpockets (e.g. Barcelona), so always pay attention to your personal belongings in public places. Besides, a sincerely advise for women: it would be best to avoid walking alone in the dangerous neighborhood.
It is a good idea to prepare for travel insurance before departure.
c) Money exchange
When you determined to go for a trip, it’s time to start paying attention to the exchange rate of local currency. No matter you prefer to bring cash or traveler’s checks, to buy them before departure would be a better idea because the exchange rate in airports is usually not so good, and you might be charged a handling fee as well. On the other hand, the quality of the Money Exchange points at the hot spot area is uneven. Of course, in such an era with information technology developing rapidly, travelers still have some smart choices such as Revolut or WeSwap.
d) Allow yourself enough time buffer
Many people would make their own travel itineraries, or mark the sights on the map before setting off. These are very useful ways, but what I want to say is that there are always some unexpected situations during the journey, sometimes they might even affect your travel schedule. Therefore, my suggestion is not to arrange the schedule too tight when planning. As a result, you can enjoy the trip deeply and won’t be so hurried. At the same time, when you are going to travel to the next city, remember to preserve some buffers and arrive at the station or airport a little bit earlier.
e) Respect the local custom, tradition, and culture
Before going to a strange country, get some basic understanding of local customs or taboos: For example, some gestures are considered impolite in some countries. Some temples or places of worship may have different gender requirements. The most practical principle is that if you do not see local people doing it, you’d better not do it. Before taking pictures of local people, be sure to get the consent of them. If possible, learn some simple local greetings, such as “Hello, how are you?” “Thank you,” “I’m sorry.”
Planning for a trip by yourself is just like all of the project management: money, time, and people are the most important three factors. But when you are away from home, personal safety is always the first priority – Everything that can be solved by money is petty things. Do not let any accident or unexpected situation spoil your good mood!
Enjoy your trip!!
Written by Melody #Meettheauthor