Thinking about traveling but you are not sure if you can do it? How many of us are sitting down in front of our computers or smartphones right now still deciding if this year we will finally go on that trip that we have always wanted? A million thoughts cross our minds at the same time: we think about money, our jobs, family and time. All these things seem like big reasons why not to do it, but let me tell you something: “THEY ARE NOT”.
After a while, all of the obstacles that seem impossible to beat today will disappear. Traveling will teach you lessons about yourself and about the world that you will not learn anywhere else. Within time, you will also realize that traveling is easier than it seems right now. You just need to take the first step and go; and I want to encourage you to take that first step.
This post includes tips that will help you start planning your journey, regardless if you are just traveling for a few weeks, months or even years. I hope that you find it useful.
First of all, pick your destination(s). Whether its because you want to try the food, visit beautiful landscapes, learn from the religion, experience the culture, go diving, visit friends, etc. Whatever is your reason, make sure it motivates you enough to travel to such place(s).
Pick a date. Google the best times of the year to visit such destination(s) and pick the date that you want to travel. Pay special attention to the weather, you don’t want to go to a place where it will be raining 24/7. This will also determine what you will pack in your backpack (light clothes for the hot weather or lots of layers for the cold weather). Additionally, try to avoid the “high seasons” as much as possible or you will end up paying more money than you should.
Book the flight. Once you have your temtative date, book your flight. I use different websites such as www.momondo.com, www.skyscanner.com, www.googleflights.com, www.expedia.com, www.kayak.com. Look for different dates and pick the one that adjusts to your budget. Book your flights 4-6 weeks prior to your trip, prices are usually the best within this timeframe.
I also reccommend using frequent flyer miles, which can turn out to be very helpful. Even if you don’t have any right now, start accumulating. I flew from Bogota (Colombia) to Barcelona (Spain) for approximately USD 100 using frequent flyer miles.
Start planning your accommodation. To get an idea off the accommodation costs, I visit websites such as www.hostelworld.com, www.agoda.com and www.booking.com. If you want to learn more about the local culture, visit www.couchsurfing.org where you can stay in the house of locals without having to pay. Sometimes its hard to get replies so make sure you send many requests to different hosts. Another alternative I recommend is www.helpx.net where you can find places to work in exchange of accommodation and food.
Use Travel Guidebooks. I use travel guidebooks such as Lonely Planet and Rough Guides to get an idea on the costs of accommodation, food and transportation. These guidebooks give you more ideas of places to visit or stay during your trip. Subscribe to Lonely Planet and you can receive emails with discounts and special offers on their books and ebooks.
Visas and vaccinations. Research if you need a visa or vaccinations for your destination. I usually visit the website of the embassy of the country that I want to visit. These websites have detailed information on the requirements needed to visit their country including visas, vaccinations, special permits, etc.
Travel Blogs. Additionally, I recommend researching on travel blogs for more information about your destination. Usually, travel blogs have interesting stories, experiences and costs that can help you build your trip. In most cases, you can contact the blogger for more personal advices and get a better picture.
Visit www.vagamundeando.co and I will try to help as much as I can.
Follow me on Instagram: @backpackinglawyer