Save, save, and save some more
Start saving the second the idea of travel comes to mind. And remember every little bit counts. I’ve always found the best way to save, especially in large amounts, is to write it down. Decide your ideal departure date (even if it’s a year away) and decide how much you’d like to save. Do some research. Figure out how you want to travel (Backpacking? Hotels? Solo? Bit of both?) and estimate how much you’ll spend on average each day. Then add more to account for things you can’t plan for. And keep in mind that you might need to purchase things before you leave – do you have suitable clothes? Do you need to buy a visa? Do you have appropriate shoes? Bags? Adapters? Locks? Every little thing will add up. I think it’s best to make two saving plans – one that’s achievable and you know you can make, and one that will require a bit more cutting back but would really allow you to stress less while away. Write down every single pay day you have until that date, and write how much you need in your savings each pay date to get to the end goal. Each week, transfer your money and write down how much you’ve actually saved so you can compare it with how much you should have. You’ll VERY quickly realise that saying “ill start next week” really puts you behind, and you’ll start questioning unnecessary purchases more. Would you rather spend $10 on a drink at home or $10 on a day trip in Greece? Put things into perspective.
Have a plan, but don’t restrict yourself
This really only applies for longer travel. If you’re lucky enough to have all the time in the world, or atleast a few months, don’t trap yourself. Things happen, you meet people, you might really like a place and want to stay longer, or you might hate a place and want to leave. Either way some of the best things happen on short notice. Ideally leave with a plan of where you’d like to go, how long you’d be able to stay there if you went everywhere on your list and when you’d like to be where (especially if your wanting to move with the weather). Book your first week, then just go with it. I personally always liked to have atleast the next two days booked and I always, always, always arrived at each place with accomodation booked. I didn’t find any joy in wandering around a foreign city looking for a good hostel. Which leads onto the next point..
It’s fine to stay in your comfort zone sometimes
There are some really, really, really arrogant travellers in the world. Said people generally like to tell you that the way you’re travelling is wrong. I copped so much flack (from people I didn’t even know) for booking accomodation before arriving because evidently that didn’t make me adventurous enough. You know what? Fuck those people. Your peace of mind and safety always comes first. As a young female with remarkably weak arms and minimal ability to defend myself I did’t feel the need to walk around with all of my valuables and belongings on my back any longer than necessary. It’s not that I ever felt unsafe; but for me that wasn’t something I wanted to draw attention to. If you feel uneasy talking to someone, leave the conversation. If you don’t feel safe going down an empty back street on your own, don’t. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in the place your staying for whatever reason, book somewhere else and leave. Simple as that. Peace of mind is key.
But sometimes you need to get out of it
Everyones comfort zone is different but in order to experience things sometimes you need to step out of it. It may be initiating a conversation with a stranger, going out with a group of people you just met or eating dinner on your own. Maybe travelling in general is a step out of your comfort zone. I always liked to think of it this way – there’s a high chance you won’t see most of the people you meet again. So what’s the worst that can happen if you start conversation? If it doesn’t work, move along. If you had an average night out, there’s always tomorrow. But you also might meet someone you end up being great friends with (and you will), and you won’t come home thinking about what opportunities you might have missed if you did things a bit differently.
Be frugal, but don’t be too frugal
What’s the point of going to a foreign country if you can’t enjoy? I don’t have enough hands to count the amount of people I met eating two minute noodles for breakfast lunch and dinner because they were worried about their spending. Some people are great at travelling that way and travel is such a personal thing – so make sure you do it your way. But all I can say is you’re travelling to experience. Sometimes experiences cost money. Sometimes experiences are free. Regardless, experiences are different for everyone, but I can safely say I never regretted splurging on delicious pastries in Paris three times a day even though I was on a tight budget, or splurging on paragliding in Turkey. Just make sure you remember what you want to get out of your holiday, especially if your not likely to return. It’s 100% better to cut your holiday short by a week if you’re able to come back and feel genuinely satisfied with your time away.
No insurance no travel
No ifs or buts. Let’s paint a picture for you. Morgan had her bag stolen. Everything of value gone – passport, Visa to work in the UK, laptop, phone, purse among other things stolen. Had she not had insurance, she would’ve been out of pocket nearly 10K. EVERYTHING was covered. Flights home to get new visas, laptop, phone, expensive international calls to fix the shitstorm that had just happened – everything. For me, most of my insurance claims were medical. I had severe Bronchitis for two months. Every doctors visit and every single piece of medicine down to a pack of strepsils was covered. When I had to fly to another country to treat a 3-week long bout of food poisoning, that was covered. In the long run travel insurance IS NOT EXPENSIVE. If you can afford to travel, you can afford insurance. Why even risk it.
Be an annoying tourist
A lot of people are overly concerned at going off the beaten path. Ofcourse you should always try to find quirky little things in each place that may not be as well discovered. Finding an empty beach or eating at the most amazing local restaurant that isn’t on Trip Advisor is really satisfying. But also realise there’s a reason some places are so famous. So many people go to the Eiffel Tower because its genuinely bloody amazing. Take a tacky photo infront of it – whatever. Don’t miss out on things just because your concerned about being too touristy.