If you’re like me, you love to travel. Another thing we might have in common is the financial instability that makes us hesitant to pack our bags and go. There was a time when I thought I was never going to leave the states because of my financial status. I was under the impression that I was destined to take the typical path of getting a decent job with decent pay and moving up the ladder until I finally ‘made something of myself.’ But something in my head kept replaying the thought ‘there is more out there, you just have to go find it.’ So I did. I followed the typical travel bug infested mindset and worked strenuous hours to save every bit of change I had to buy my first ticket out of the country. This was one of, if not, the most rewarding decision I have ever made. But like anything we do in life, we always finish wishing we knew certain tips, tricks and tools of the trade before we set out on the journey. I would like to share some knowledge I have gained from my time traveling in hopes to encourage anyone and everyone to travel as far and as long as possible and to do so comfortably and confidently. Enjoy!
The first step is planning. There are a few ways to prepare for your travels and the first approach is to have a well thought out agenda that covers your desired vacation needs. This style can be rather gratifying since you leave your home knowing exactly what you are going to see and when you will see it. If you book your travels through a tour or agency, they will likely have the transportation, accommodations, attractions and meals scheduled and arranged-which can be comforting, worry free and ideal for a relaxing vacation. This approach to planning is wonderful if you want to avoid making decisions what to do and where to go but generally these expeditions operate in large groups of tourists so you have to expect to observe rather than experience. Tours typically allow for a small breaks for exploration time but you still have to be prompt to get back on the bus to continue with the planned activities. There are many travel and tour companies that can provide a vast variety of options, just check in with a travel agent or online for pricing, duration and locations to find what fits best for you.
Time and money are typically the most troublesome obstacles to overcome for those that wish to go abroad. Booking tours may help you save money while simultaneously guaranteeing that you see what you came to see. Major tour companies book thousands of room and restaurant accommodations every year and in doing so, can offer prices that an individual tourist will lose out on. The tour approach is a very efficient and worry-free way of beginning your experiences as a traveler, however you should expect to experience the country through the eyes of the guides and not the locals. If you want to see certain monuments, locations or attractions with no room for change of plans, booking a tour may be the way to go. However, if you’re easygoing and can handle yourself under pressure you might get more out of a different approach.
A potentially more stressful style of travel can also be the most rewarding if you are willing to go with the flow. Following a less prepared outline of your trip might seem daunting to some but many solo, short and long-term travelers, including myself will not hesitate to stand by this method. Establish an open itinerary that allows for spontaneous change of plans. This permits opportunity for unique experiences and encounters. I will always stress to do your best to become embedded in the culture and in order to do so time and freedom must be an option. I’m an advocate for taking the unbeaten path, not to say monuments and acclaimed cities are not worth the effort but most of my most memorable stories were developed in places where I often could not speak the language or did not have previous expectations. Not being restricted to a duration of time leads to spontaneous moments to go to places that are less known and that you may not have expected to be so influential. Hidden gems will always be my favorite part of traveling and I hope to inspire you through my photography to find new ones.
You have heard my thoughts on the basics of traveling, now it’s your turn!
Do you have any tips or tricks to share? What are your favorite destinations to travel to? Do you prefer the observe or experience method of traveling? Don’t be shy and reach out if there’s a specific topic you want to discuss. I would love to start a dialogue and share our leanings.
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