Why plan?

 
  • There is an argument for not planning a trip at all, just booking a ticket and going…

  • However if you have limited time and/or money (as most of us do) planning a trip can help you get the most out of your adventure

  • Plus the more you plan beforehand the less time you have to waste figuring out stuff whilst you’re away

  • And remember, no matter how detailed your plan is you can still throw it all out of the window as soon as you start your adventure

  • So think of your plan as more of a rough guide to getting the most out of your trip

Where to go?

 
  • If you’ve got no clue at all where you want to go, then go speak to your local travel agent and they can give you some inspiration. Find out where your nearest STA Travel is >

  • Once you have a vague idea of where you want to go (e.g. Australia, South East Asia) you can then begin figuring out your route and the best places to see

  • The first thing I do is see what routes the tour companies do in your destination. I’m not saying book a tour, just use their trips for inspiration. This can help you quickly learn the main spots to see, which order to do them in, roughly how long to spend in each place, etc.

  • For example, if you want to see the main spots in South East Asia,   G Adventures do this IndoChina tour shown to the right > 

  • So why don’t I just book a tour? Below are my pros and cons for booking a tour

Travelling with a tour

 

Pros:

  • Great for meeting people

  • Hassle free

  • Can take you to off the beaten path spots that otherwise you may not find

  • Saves you a lot of time and effort with bureaucracy and organisation of getting to difficult places (e.g. Tibet)

  • Expert guides with local knowledge

  • Great for first time travellers finding their feet

Cons:

  • No flexibility with itinerary. This isn’t true for all tours, however if you want to go at your own pace then a tour isn’t for you

  • A tour may skip some of the places you want to visit

  • Usually more expensive that just doing it yourself

  • I’d say 95% of the groups I’ve travelled with have been fantastic, but if you're unlucky and are in a group you don’t click with, you’re stuck with them

     

When chosing to do a tour or not, the main deciding factors for me are:

 

  • Does a tour cover all the places I want to visit?

  • Will it take me to places I would struggle to find by myself?

  • Is the cost not too much extra from doing it myself?

Hop-on hop-off passes

 

  • Hop-on-hop off bus passes like the Kiwi Experience are a good way of getting the best of both worlds

  • Make lots of friends and go to really cool places

  • Activities and accommodation are discounted but not included which means you can make the budget of the trip work for you

Find out more about the places you want to visit

 

So a few tour groups keep suggesting to go to a certain place - but what is there to do there? My first port of call is always WikiTravel. Just search for the place you’re going to and you’ll find out all you need.

Another good trip is just Googling “Backpacking [insert place] things to do” (eg. “Backpacking Bangkok things to do”) and there’ll be lots of lists that come up with the “must see” things in Bangkok.​

Booking flights

 

Ok you’ve now got a rough idea of the trip you want to do, where you’re going to and what route you’ll take. Now you just need to get there. The 3 main providers I use for booking flights are Skyscanner, Expedia and STA Travel. Read more here…

Getting from one place to another

 

Rome2Rio is fantastic way to find out how to get from one place to another. Any mode of transport, anywhere in the world. It'll tell you how long the journey should take and also how much it should cost. 

 

Go to Rome2Rio >

If you're travelling by train, anywhere in the world, then Seat61 is the website for you. This website is incredilby useful with clear, detailed information on train journeys, whether you're travelling in Europe, India, Thailand, you name it. 

 

Go to Seat61 >

Remember though, these websites are good for research and peace of mind, but most of this informaton you can find out and figure out whilst you're travelling. Nearly all hostels provide lots of information and will even book your onward journey to your next place. Speak to other travellers, see what they've done.

 

South East Asia for example is ridiculously easy to travel around because every street is filled with shops and stalls selling tickets to any possible destination you might be going to next. 

Budgeting

 

The general rule I say is try and budget £1,000 ($1,500) per month of travelling. Some places will be more expensive (Australia, New Zealand, USA, western Europe), but in areas like South East Asia you’ll be fine with that.

 

One thing that really increases your budget is the activities you’ll be doing, so try and do a bit of research before you go. All of those bungy jumps, surf lessons, sky dives, white water rafting trips, etc - they all add up, and you don’t want to miss out on them once you’re there!

 

For more ideas have a look at my budget video for HK2NY:

Accommodation

 

Simple just watch this video I made:

Working abroad and volunteering

 

Working abroad and volunteering is great way of making your trip last even longer. Some countries you’ll be able to get cash-in-hand jobs along the way, others do ‘Working Holiday Visas’. Find out all you need to know about them by clicking here and volunteering here.

Saving for your trip

 

Now you’ve got your trip planned out all you have to do is save up for it! My top 2 tips for saving are:

 

  • Don’t buy shit you don’t need. You’ll be shocked at just how much you save

  • Save before you spend. Whether you plan to save £200 a month, £500 a month, whatever, as soon as your pay cheque comes in put the money in a savings account. Then you can’t touch it. If you just leave it in your normal account, I guarantee you’ll spend it.

Enjoy!

Have an incredible time and remember, your plan is just a guide - you’re on an adventure so just go with the flow!


If you have any more questions check out the FAQ section to see if it’s covered there.

© 2019 by Karl Watson. Proudly created with Wix.com

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