Travel is the activity that will learn the most about yourself. You can go to school, get into a relationship, and accomplish many things.
When you are alone in some hostel and when you turn on the light and a cockroach the size of your hand is hanging out on your slightly off white bed – you will truly learn who you are.
This is where planning comes into play, because as human beings go – we still need to have a little bit of a plan (even if it is a back up plan), before we begin our excursions out into this marvelous planet of ours.
Some crucial things to think about as your putting your travel plans together:
1. How will you get there? What will you do from there?
Plane, train, or automobile? Take your pick and write it down. When I was going by plane abroad I knew that my host was waiting for me at the airport. I knew that I had to pay for a taxi to get to my destination.
Do you have the phone numbers of your host? If you’re staying at a hostel or hotel – do you know that (legit) taxi or bus number? The folks at the international airports are there to help travelers.
If I did not know some basic phone numbers of the services – the staff will certainly help. But it’s good practice to have those on hand with your plane ticket.
Now this is something a lot of people say don’t worry about. I could not disagree more. Knowing even the basics of the language is not only helpful to you – but respectful to the country you are visiting
Before your go on your adventure – buy a phrasebook – or sign up for Mango Languages and take a few courses before you go. You’ll thank me later.
If you are interested in going ALL THE WAY into language immersion (which I highly recommend – check out How to Learn a Language in 90 Days)
3. Getting through the (dun dun dun!) budget
Okay, I know I know.
Even the word has a boring and too-much-math-to-dooo connotation. If I was with you right now, I would invite you to a coffeeshop and we’ll work on it together. For real.
You need to put everything you’re doing aside and just trust me on this.
The Super Easy Mini Guide to Making a Budget
1. Make a list of how your money flows: Food, Transportation, Gifts, Lodging, Insurance, Safety Money
2. Find out cost of living and expenses via Numbeo
3. Put in any income that you may have coming in while you are abroad – from automatic payments of products to paid vacation money.
Now – grab a piece of piece of pretty paper and your favorite pen and write it down. If you get anything from this blog post it’s this.
4. Back Ups + Insurance
You bought your ticket, your budget is written out (you did it by now right?), but did you buy your traveler’s insurance?
Don’t skimp out on this. For $65 I was covered internationally on medical, political, and all those other bad things that might happen.
$65 is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
If something were to happen, that amount might just save your booty when it’s on the line.
(It won’t be once you become a travel pro – but better to be safe!)
The other stuff…
Say you don’t get along with your hosts? Something comes up with your couch surfing friend? Do you have a back up plan?
If you are part of the couch surfing community DO get in touch with a backup while you are there. Have the local hostel’s information while you are there.
With just a few pre-trip ideas and research you will be on your way to having the adventure of a lifetime on your own terms.
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