by McKenzie Stalkenburg
Whether you are fresh out of college or you’ve been putting in the hours at work for a decade or more, it’s natural to be bitten by the wanderlust bug at times. Sometimes you can shake off the itchy feet feeling and refocus your brain back into study or work gear. However, on occasion, it can be trickier to get rid of a feeling that there might be something more out there for you to explore. Having a particularly demanding boss who expects endless hours of overtime from you, needs you to exceed every target he or she puts in front of you and will often be on your mind preventing you from getting to sleep at night, can be just enough to push you over the edge. If you have the money, the means and the confidence to undertake some solo travel, there might not be a better time to take the plunge.
While the push factors towards travel might be prominent, they’ll also be the pull factors seducing you towards a year or more of travel halfway across the globe. The chance to immerse yourself in different cultures, meet exciting new people and see the world from a different perspective is attractive. There is nothing better than handing in your notice and leaving your stressful job and annoying boss behind to look forward to some extended time overseas. It’s time to start planning your trip of a lifetime.
Before you pick up a brochure, a guidebook or whip open your laptop to check out potential accommodation options, you need to sort out your paperwork. It’s vital that you consider the boring documentation stuff before you move onto the more exciting parts of the planning process. Ensure that your passport is in date and that you have the required visas. If you’re planning on visiting numerous countries while off on your travels, you may need to fork out a fair bit of your hard earned cash to get hold of the required tourist visas. There is no getting around this, and it’s vital that you obtain them within the required time frame. Some nations won’t allow you to enter their country if you apply for a visa less than thirty days prior to travel so do your research.
If you’re planning on heading off the beaten track in Mali or you’re going to trek the Amazon jungle in Brazil, you need to look into the vaccinations you require. Getting fit ready to travel only to then be struck down with life-threatening dengue fever a week after you’ve landed is going to wreck your trip and could have long-term consequences for your health and quality of life. You must make sure your travel and health insurance is in place should the worst occur. Although you may have a phobia of injections, one or two pricks with a needle is better than enduring weeks of malaria or yellow fever.
It’s vital that you plan your itinerary with a budget in mind. You need to work out how much you can spend on your trip of a lifetime. If you want to hit three continents but can only afford two, don’t overstretch yourself. You’re better off traveling without the worry of money rather than succumbing to the stress of a limited cash flow. This means you won’t enjoy the destinations you are traveling to and you may have to miss out on some key experiences. Imagine traveling to Beijing only to miss out on the Great Wall because you couldn’t afford the train fare.
When you’re planning your route, try and avoid the one nighters. They can be pointless and see you move on way too fast from a tourist spot. You need to give yourself time to fully embed within a place or community, to enjoy the ambiance and soak up the atmosphere. This is what traveling is all about; quality not quantity.
Consider the sorts of excursions you may want to plan for. Do you fancy taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon or a short flight over a live volcano? Although risky, you can keep yourself safe by choosing reputable providers of tourist experiences and by having specialist aviation lawyers like Slack & Davis to represent you should you suffer any sort of injury. You should be able to enjoy new and thrilling ways of seeing the wonders of the world.
Plenty of backpackers swear by the azure blue seas of Thailand or the intoxicating scents of the streets of India. These are common destinations for people with nothing but a rucksack on their back and a smile on their face. However, you might want to veer a little off the beaten track. Why not consider Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam or Tibet? Each of these countries is welcoming to travelers and relish the opportunity to show off their pride in their nation’s history, heritage, and culture.
Europe is another exciting continent full of contrasts, different languages and exquisite cuisine. You could take a jaunt to Iceland to see the northern lights, hot foot it to Rome to see the Colosseum or make a stop off in Paris to experience cafe culture and the Louvre. If Europe isn’t your thing, you could venture to South America and explore the Spanish and Portuguese influences in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.
The opportunities are endless; however, you need to plan your itinerary well to ensure you don’t miss out on anything on your travels. You shouldn’t account for every minute of your time away as you can miss out on those special spontaneous moments, but you should have a skeleton plan in place with accommodation options, timescales, and costings. By exploring a specific group of countries that you have an interest in rather than hitting as many as you can in the time you have, you will have a much richer and fulfilling trip of a lifetime.