Planning The Trip
Tips on how to plan a trip and make the most of your time abroad.
PLANNING THE TRIP
Your travel experience will become so much more enjoyable if you have a plan set in place first. Think about the details to know that you’ve gone through everything you need before your trip begins.
GETTING INSPIRATION FOR DESTINATIONS
Ah, the inspiration. That’s the best part about the whole planning process. Sometimes when you’ve been on the road for quite a while you run out of ideas or want to see places, which are less touristy. Then what do you do?
Reading award-winning blogs and travel publications can give you a guidance towards places you possibly haven’t previously considered. Get in touch with people you know, who have been out exploring the world. Talk to your friends and your friends’ friends.
Instagram is a cool way to get inspiration as well. A lot of travellers go at all kinds of places that you don’t even know existed. Even if you only have a week to travel, pick a more exotic place to go to and it may surprise you with the possibilities that are worth exploring.
Check out the flight destinations as well. This way you can research if there are any flights taking off soon, which you can afford, and you can go to places you’ve never visited before. Often flights make deals with accommodation so check those as well to see if you can afford and want to plan anything additional prior to your arrival to the new location.
If you choose what you prefer to do, this will narrow down your options. Do you have an adventurous soul, or do you prefer to play it safe? There are places suitable for every traveller’s style. Pick out the activities that you want to do, and chances are there is a perfect place where you can do that thing and maybe even become expert at it. There isn’t a better way is there to find yourself in the middle of a rain forest, sand surfing in Peru, cycling the Death Road in Bolivia or climbing glaciers in Iceland.
This is a different process for everybody. It depends on your destination goal as well as on the places you want to see and how much time you actually have on your hands. Planning isn’t always easy, nor is the most fun part of the whole experience. However, try not to stress and be more spontaneous about it if that’s your character.
Some first timers prefer to map out their trip with a familiar starting point. Maybe you have siblings, who live in Brazil or you have long-term family friends, who have moved to Bolivia a couple of years ago. Why not start from there? Pay them a visit and explore the place. They can show you around and give you a tour of all the things worth seeing and exploring. It’s a way to meet some locals too and get to know the place from their perspective.
Other people prefer to dive in the deep. Start from a place you’ve never beet at before or head towards Mexico to see the towns’ corners that your sister went to see a few months ago and talked about with such passion. Whatever your route stops are, you’ll see and do things that you cannot possibly have planned in advance. This is the fun part of the process as at times you just kind of have to trust your instincts and make amendments in the plan in order to experience the things you enjoy.
Quite a lot of people stumble across places they haven’t intended to stop by or even knew existed but choose to stick around for a few weeks or so. When this happens, you know you’re standing right in the middle of a treasure location that will become part of you at some point along the way. It’s the best kind of moments. You just feel drawn to this particular place and everything about it – the people, the music, the language, the culture, the views and traditions…
For the long-term travellers, a trip around a continent is often preferred, regardless of whether they choose to roam around Africa, Asia or somewhere else. In this case you really need to think about the picture in more details and plan beyond the travel insurance and the initial starting point. It’s good to know where you’re going and have at least a rough plan outlining how much time you can stay at a certain city before you move on to the nearby village. Although we do recommend having a plan, trusting your instincts is equally important so make sure to go at your own place. We believe that travelling is not about seeing as many places in as little interval of time but getting a sense of belonging and understanding the characteristics that make a location so unique. For us is important that our nomads travel with the intention to get to know a place before they move on to the next and hope they become more culturally aware with time as this is a great way for people to connect with each other even when there is a distance between them.
The short-time travellers and the ones with gypsy souls, regular trips around Europe and even more exotic places probably often take place. Then, little by little, with each trip you become a more experienced nomad and can do the whole planning thing with your eyes closed.
There are a number of online tools that you can use now to map and explore the route you want to take. They are easy to use and once you find your favourite one, it becomes easier to use it to schedule trips with different length. Although being time consuming and maybe even overwhelming at first, travel planning doesn’t always have to be the last thing you want to deal with when you’re planning to become a nomad for the next few months or so. Technology, the digital advances of travelling and the connections we establish among each other through our roaming experiences have helped us become a free and wild at heart travelling community. Now more than ever it’s easy to share our stories, learn from each other’s experience and research destinations. Planning your trip when talking to other travellers and reading recommendations from travel publications just might make this whole process a bit less stressful.
Choosing an airline is crucial so you need to be careful about how you book your flight. It is not always the case that if you research flights in advance you can book great destinations for cheaper. The prices of the tickets vary, and you need to pay attention to your baggage allowance as well. Generally, the cheaper tickets mean that you are only allowed to take a carry-on bag with you at the plane and you’re not allowed additional luggage. This becomes more complicated as every airline has a bit different sizes of the bags, which are allowed on the aircraft.
Then there is the whole situation with the regulations about what you are allowed to bring with you on the aircraft and what you are not supposed to take with you. Make sure to become familiar with the expectations of the company you’re flying with. If the ticket price sounds too good to be true, there is a chance it probably is. Recently, there have been some changes in the regulations of some big names in the airline industry about the restrictions of the size of your bags and the fact that you are only allowed to take one bag on the aircraft (laptop bags count as one, just so you know), so having more than that will result in paying additional fees.
Buying cheap tickets is possible, but you need to fear the fine print as well. Going to less-touristy destinations or choosing to travel at off-peak season will make a difference to your expenses.
There are a bunch of charges that airlines like to add to tickets such as pre-booking your seat. You don’t always have to do that unless you really want to and don’t mind sparing the money. If the aircraft is not full, you can move your seat and if you travel with somebody else and book the tickets together, more often than not the seats will be positioned next to each other, although there are always cases when this doesn’t happen.
If you travel with baggage, check the weight of it as there is nothing more annoying than trying to check in and finding out that your luggage has exceeded the allowed baggage weight. The fees are big, and you really don’t want to deal with this or waste your savings for travel on things like baggage fees. Before packing you really need to think about what you need to take with you and what you can leave behind.
It’s a good idea to check-in early so you know you haven’t missed the deadline. Different companies have different regulations. Try to do it at least two days in advance so you have time to think about other things around your trip and print your ticket.
Before you leave, there are a few essential things you need to do to make sure you’re all set and ready to enjoy your travels. It is not enough to pack your bags, have your ticket ready and your route planned. You need to pay attention to the small details as well. Here’s a list you can scan quickly to make sure you’ve covered all the points:
Scan your ID and documents so you have copies of them, and you leave a copy at home
Let your bank know you’ll be away so they don’t block your cards because of unusual activity
Check what currency you’ll need and make sure you have physical money on you just in case
Check your flight again to make sure it’s not cancelled
Book your first accommodation and double-check if everything is okay
Check if you’ve packed everything you need and you’re not forgetting anything
Make a list of emergency contacts
Make sure you have what you need to be able to stay in touch with people at home
Cancel any bills if you haven’t already
Charge ALL your devices
TIPS TO TRAVEL LIGHT
If you're planning a short weekend away from the city or you want to go on a month-long expedition around Europe, there are a few things you can do to make sure you pack accordingly. A lot of people need the comforts of their home whilst being away but packing smart can be a real game changer. There are a few things you can do to organise your luggage, make sure there is enough space for everything and know that you have packed light.
Size of the bag
It's important to choose a bag that fits the purpose of your travels and has a space for everything you need. It's always good and preferred by travellers, who are not planning a luxurious break away to take off with a carry-on luggage. It fits on the plane and you don't have to think about paying extra costs for the bigger option of a suitcase. Considering you are keeping your bag organised, keeping your belongings with you are all time and having them easily transferable will prove to be the best travel strategy.
Think about the space
Do you really need everything you've initially planned? It is easy to think that you can't part with anything you've originally planned to take with you. This goes for the clothes that are your favourite and the ones you bought because of their functionality, which would be perfect for your trip. Think about your packing from multiple perspective. When you first pack your bag, think about how heavy it's going to be to carry later on and make sure to only take things that you actually need. The initial stuff you will take out of your wardrobe and lay out on the floor before deciding how to pack them will possibly be more than what you actually nee. Think twice about it and when you make sure this is your final decision in many cases you could still take a thing or two out. It's all about having a smart approach.
Keep it simple
Not all of us are minimalists and that's okay, but when you're packing for a short trip you have to rethink the advantages of this lifestyle. Pack only a few pairs of everything you need instead of going overboard by sticking to the "what if" philosophy. Take things that can be used in several different ways, such as scarfs you can adapt to your beach towel needs and take them with you on a cool summer night. Combine your clothes by colours to make sure you can wear pretty much everything with everything. This will safe you having to think about what you can wear and taking too much with you. This can mean that it's a good idea to take a few items that are considered "smart wear", which you can wear in multiple combinations depending on the occasion you're about to attend while on your trip and what look you're going for - elegant, simple, smart-casual, etc. Also, consider your destinations. If you are planning a weekend getaway in a place where you'll stay out in the sun pack clothes according to the weather and only take one item that can be useful if gets colder. This way you are still prepared but you've only got enough of what you need.
The small stuff
Everywhere you go, you will find the small things you possibly couldn't afford to take with you when you were thinking about the space. Leave the toiletries behind and only take things such as accessories and make up items that you can't live without. Pack them smart instead of putting them in multiple separate cases so that they don't take a lot of space in your backpack. You don't need to take all the bottles you own, from perfumes to sunscreens and skincare products. Instead, think about how you can combine the products and take what you need to use versus what you like to use sometimes. Most places you are planning to visit will have laundry facilities and things you need to use on daily basis. Hotels and hostels have thought about providing the needed facilities and if it comes to it, you can use the advantages of a simple sink depending on the situation you are at. You can always find a way to make things work, which is why you need to let go of the idea to pack things for that "just in case" scenario.
Leave some of your technology at home
This is a difficult tip to follow by people, who love the advantages that the modern-day technology provides, especially when you're using them every day or if this has become part of your work and lifestyle. If you have a smartphone than you are already holding a pretty advanced device in your hands. You can download all the apps you need to make sure you are prepared for the trip - from budget managing apps to photography editing ones and booking apps. Leave all the heavy technology and the thing that are not a necessity. Technology is heavy to carry around, it requires additional gadgets such as chargers and lenses and it needs to be set up properly, depending on the devises you are using. Clothes and small bits are possible to take out of your bag and leave behind if it comes to it, however same doesn't go for technology. You can already see why thinking carefully about what you need will safe you lots of headaches and back problems in the future.
If you are planning a spontaneous short-lasting adventure, you probably don't need to think about your destinations from the perspective of the living costs there. For those of you, who are planning to hit the road for several months in a row, researching your destinations in more depth is essential. We put together a quick list of the money aspect and the travel advantages of a few countries. Take a look.
Countries with lowest cost of living:
Countries with highest cost of living:
8. Hong Kong
9. South Korea
NOTE: This date is taken by Numero, the world's largest database of user-contributed data. The locations shown above are listed according to the standard that suits the lifestyle of a digital travelling nomad, meaning that the information on costs follows the lifestyle of people, who are looking to combine working and travelling abroad. The provided information then doesn't fit with the lifestyle of individuals, who are planning to start working an office job abroad.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
© NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine 2023. All rights reserved.