So you have decided…You are finally going traveling!
Great, you have made a wise decision to take the journey of your life into the unknown. Don’t worry about leaving your job or giving up a steady pay cheque. Saying goodbye to your family and friends might be a little tough at first but after all, you are only a plane ride away!
Deciding to go traveling is a big decision, especially if you are in your early twenties or thirties when a lot of people are “settling down” and taking out mortgages etc. But you won’t regret your decision and you will find a way to make it work, enjoying the sights and wonderful people and experiences you will encounter along the way.
For many, one big trip or extended gap year is their first time to really travel properly not just like a 3-day break away to Western Europe. Is this like you?
Packing your bags and leaving stuff out is difficult, especially if you are a girl! We need stuff on the road, or at least we think we do. But as you set sail on your voyage you might find yourself getting rid of clothes or stuff that you thought you would need. There are loads of places to buy, sell, trade, or donate your stuff on your adventures.
Before setting out, having done some research into the destinations you wish to visit is important. Information about visas, money, local taxes, transportation links and your accommodation bookings are important to get insight into so you won’t be panicked when you arrive. If you are a newbie traveller, below are some great tips to help you prepare for your trip.
7 great tips for the newbie traveller
- Get travel insurance
There is a wide range of safety and crime rates across the globe. Also, some places are more prone to the spread of disease than others. With that in mind, a solid insurance policy is essential. For example, for taking part in extreme pursuits or water sports, please ensure that your insurance covers you for these, as some insurance companies won’t deal with certain activity.
- Passport check
Make sure that your passport doesn’t expire any time soon. This seems basic but you would be surprised at how many travellers do overlook this before they jet off. It’s actually quite simple to forget your passport’s expiry date because if you haven;t been using it very often, then you wouldn’t have a reason to check it. You don’t want to be shocked on your flight day that you can’t fly due to an expired passport!
As a tip on the road, ensure that you check the expiry date before you intend to book your next flight.
- Communication technology
Some people keep their existing phone plan and smartphone when they go on long term travel. This might not be the best idea, with charges for roaming and issues with data and signal, it might be better to start with a local phone and sim option. Obviously, this would depend on where you go and for how long.
Just use your common sense. Maybe hold off on buying a new high spec smart phone before your trip. Around the world, there are good phone and/or sim plans available. But remember, being on your phone every minute of the day is not what you want when you travel. You will miss out on events, interactions and the experiences of it all.
- Stick to the beaten track
Especially as a solo-traveling female, you should strongly think about going somewhere well known, not too remote and with a lower crime rate against women. Do some research and be smart. Joining a group is a great way to chat to travellers who may have been to the area, they can give you the low down.
With everything going on in the world today, watch the news and local updates on anything that would make the destination a little dangerous. For example, some Arab countries have different laws for women that us in the Western world wouldn’t adhere to at all! Check out guide books, blogs and forums that will help you to understand the destination(s) better.
- The right baggage gear
Get yourself a quality comfortable rucksack and/or small suitcase as hand luggage if you’re going to bring cameras, laptops or similar. Shop around online and visit some of the outdoor-adventure shops too as they often stock solid products. The key is that you want to pack your bags lightly. Try using a rigid “in or out” system when you pack. Also, get yourself some luggage padlocks and maybe some name tags to recognise and protect your luggage on the road.
- Be open minded with your accommodation
For meeting other travellers on the go, staying in a hostel or camping are two great ways that also won’t break the bank. The world is full of great hostels and campsites. Prices can vary from place to place and in the different seasons. Hostels are supposed to be basic, so you may only get a bed in a shared dorm room, with no bathroom but the communal one down the hall. Be prepared ladies! Most hostels are quirky, fun places and usually have decent wifi.
- Backup your documents
Making copies of your drivers license, trip route, flight itinerary, boarding passes, insurance policies and obviously, your passport is a wise move.
Remember too that some countries will require a certain visa to enter and stay, so making digital copies of any visas that you may require will give you some reassurance if your real documents did happen to go missing or get stolen. Before departure, back up whatever you can and save them to a USB key and also create a folder on Google Drive or a password protected folder on Dropbox with to save the digital copies to. You will then have access to your important documents from anywhere with internet or through the USB key in the hostel!
All set? Just to recap
- Travel as lightly as possible and keep an eye on your baggage
- Hostels and campsites are great fun at a low budget
- Make a copy of your documents (USB key and on the cloud)
- Check your passport well in advance of booking a flight
- Do some due diligence on your destination and try to stick to the beaten track
- Consider a local phone/sim plan
- Get insurance for your persona and valuables