So you have some time to travel, great. But how exactly to you go about choosing where to go? If you are anything like me you will want to go EVERYWHERE! But even for those with a heap of free time and the most generous budget this is still usually not possible. So to help you avoid the weeks and months of agonising that I have suffered whilst planning trips, I have provided a list of steps that I’ve come to rely on over the years.
1. Be really open minded
Never dismiss a destination just because you haven’t heard of it, or because your mum told you a horror story about it sometime when you were a kid. Some of the most incredible and worthwhile countries are those a bit more off the beaten track. Be savvy, do your own research and you might just discover your new favourite place.
2. Be creative
You want to travel to a certain destination but flights are really expensive? Don’t let this put you off, find an alternative. Maybe you can search flights to a nearby city and grab a bus transfer to your actual destination? Or maybe by splitting up flights you can benefit from lower fares and a stop-over somewhere cool en route?
3. Think outside the box
Every country has a ‘second city’ and it’s often a cheaper and a more unique alternative to the capital city.
4. Safe choices aren’t always bad choices
Yes, I like to be adventurous in my travel choices but a good old weekend in Paris or an all-inclusive beach holiday should never been sneered at. So what if a million people have done it before you, if it’s what you need in your life right now- go for it!
5. Ask yourself ‘Why’?
What’s your real reason for wanting to travel? A little bit of soul searching will help you discover the real reason behind your trip and what you want to get out of it. Once you know that you can rule out a bunch of countries that aren’t going to help you reach that goal.
6. Consider going Solo
So you have a bunch of time off and a burning desire to go travelling, but you just can’t find a buddy who is free or willing to come with. So what? Travelling solo for the first time can seem daunting and even overwhelming, but in reality it can offer a freedom and opportunity to really explore that travelling in a group just can’t. Check out our solo travel pages for advice and inspiration on why solo travel is so great. And check out these resources to get you pumped!
7. Factor in your budget
But don’t let it limit you. Some countries are just expensive- trying to travel Scandinavia or backpack round Iceland on a super tight budget and likely to lead to more stress and anxiety than necessary. I’ve been there! But it is possible. So if there is only one place in the world you desire to go and you’re struggling to fit it into your budget, don’t despair. Check out our handy budget tips to learn from our experiences, and make use of our discount codes to help your money go further. But in general, if you have a choice of countries and activities you would be happy with, choose the one most suited to your current budget!
8. Don’t dismiss your own backyard
I come from Scotland originally, and some of my best adventures have been in my own country. I’m lucky to come from somewhere that allows wild camping and has some truly spectacular untouched wilderness. Packing a tent and some supplies and either setting out cycle touring or hiking across the hills provided many refreshing, head-clearing weekend adventures which were a life-line while I was stuck in a job I didn’t enjoy. Be creative and look around at your own country to see how you can fit it low-budget adventures either for weekend pick-me-ups or longer journeys of self-discovery.
Read about my experiences wild camping in Scotland here
9. Consider travelling for a purpose
Is there a cool sporting event coming up in an exciting destination? Or maybe an interesting conference that your work might part fund? What about combining your travel time with the opportunity to pick up new qualifications such as a yoga teacher qualification or a PADI scuba-diving course? Sometimes it is really liberating to just travel, but combining it with something like this can give your trip new meaning and maybe even a source of income for your next trip!
You will only regret thing things you didn’t do and the experiences you never had. Be brave, do something outside your comfort zone and you will never look back!