How To Travel The World: Part Two
I stumbled across this today: 100 Reasons to Travel. If you’ve already made up your mind to travel the world – Congratulations! If not, what are you waiting for? There are 100 reasons for you to do so sitting right there. Anyway, assuming that you have made the decision, let’s move on to part two of this ‘How To Travel The World’ series.
How To Travel The World: Part Two
Plan Your (Rough) Route
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
– Susan Sontag
The best piece of advice given to me as I started to think about travelling was this: Choose where you want to go and budget accordingly. Don’t choose to go only where your current budget can afford to take you. I’ll talk more about budgeting next week but for the moment, keep this little gem of wisdom in mind. Don’t allow yourself to be limited by what you think you can afford. Remember when you were little and you aspired to hitch a ride to Mars on Pegasus? (That may have just been me.) That’s the type of day-dreaming that should be happening as you figure out where you want to go.
As we lead our daily lives, connect with friends and family via Skype, Facebook etc., watch the news and read online what’s happening across the globe, the world doesn’t seem like that big a place. Suddenly, however, when you are presented with the option of going anywhere of your choosing, you may (read: will) feel somewhat overwhelmed. The first thing I did was buy a world map and hang it on my wall. After getting over the initial shock of the scale that I was dealing with, I picked up some drawing pins and started to mark the places I wanted to see.
How to choose where to go:
- If there are any of those “OMG I have always wanted to go there” places on the map, pick those first.
- Alternatively, follow your instincts. I bet there will be one or two countries that your finger keeps hovering over. Mine happened to be a whole continent: Africa.
- Have a flick through some travel magazines and see if anywhere strikes your fancy based on climate or available activities.
At this early stage, you don’t need to have a detailed route in mind. Having a rough idea of where you want to go, however, is going to help you shape your plans. Once you have a list of places you would like to travel to, have a think about how long you are comfortable with being away for and at what pace you would prefer to travel. Some people are happy to visit seven countries in four weeks, whereas others would rather fit four countries into seven weeks. Nobody knows you better than yourself!
Once you have an idea of where you want to go, it’s time to start doing some research. Remember that there are certain times of year that are better to visit particular countries.
How to choose when to go:
- A quick search for “best time to visit ___” is all you usually need. There are also websites such as www.besttimetogo.com which can suggest places based on the time of year. Do check out when the country’s dry and wet seasons are; you don’t want to get caught out in monsoon season!
- Read up about the countries you are interested in to see if there are any holidays, festivals or events that you want to be there for.
- Keep a list of each country and the range of months when it’s best to visit, then plot them against a timeline – that’s your route taking shape already.
When I first started planning my trip, I set myself a deadline of May 2012. However, as I started to do my research I realised that I would be much better off getting to Africa for September so that I could be in India for the end of the monsoon season (December).
Having a basic idea of where you want to go will once again make your dreams of travelling the world seem more real. The next step is to take a look at how much you need to budget for and how to go about it. More on that next week!