Be candid to yourself and others about what’s most important to you in a voyage.
Go somewhere that has something to unique/exciting to see or do. Here are some examples the alpine slide in Switzerland (Katie’s list), the Northern Lights in Norway (Emylee’s list), and a London play at the Globe (Both on our list).
Go to the library to find/borrow travel guides. It gives you good incentive to get a fabulous planner/journal to take notes in.
If you’d like a reference, the Rough Guides travel guides were the best we’ve used so far.
Go to second-hand and indie bookshops for travel guides (if you’d rather buy them).
Check out books for valid and up-to-date information. Not everything is correct on the Internet (though we use it constantly).
Go on Pinterest.
Watch documentaries and/or series if you aren’t much of a reader or have limited time (but lots of info to cover).
Find out the international deals for your cell/smart phone. It’ll save money on extra data.
Take a personality test from AirBnb and here’s another for a second, more-in-depth opinion. It’s to help figure out where would be the best places to travel for you. This includes finding activities you’ve never done and possibly like to try.
Stage 2: Make Plans
Make an itinerary. A rough draft is better than nothing.
Consider two extra days in planning the time frame (i.e. A week of travels should be 9 days).
Make lists. You’ll find things written and broken down become less stressful for voyage prep.
Make a list or document that states the hours a place, an attraction, and/or site so you’ll save time and data (instead of looking it up on your phone).
Consider planning trips [out of the country] at least six weeks to three months in advance (no matter how much money you have).
Try planning to go somewhere outside of high season. You’ll miss the crowds and gain more insight.
Get a checkup before traveling. You never know and it couldn’t hurt.
Go cheap on sleeping arrangements so you can indulge on food and shopping.
See where you’re flying into. Countries like England and France have multiple airports, so it may be worth it to pay more for your flight to be closer to your hotel and the mainstream areas in your itinerary.
Budgeting should be fun if you get to keep one of your luxuries. Katie’s is her Starbucks lattes.
If time is short, plan a tour or two. There’s no shame in planned expeditions. You’d be amazed what can be covered and can even get a private tour.
Using apps like TripIt will make your itinerary and reservations a lot easier to keep track of.
Search admission passes like the GoCityCard from Smart Destinations. One fixed price, unlimited access to the city of your choice.
Stage 3: Prep
Make photocopies of crucial documentation (i.e. Passport, plane tickets, proof of airline ticket purchase) and leave one with those you trust as well as place the other(s) somewhere different.
Enroll in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) to have your travel details on file as well as given travel alerts regarding safety/security.
Electronic essentials include phone and laptop. Tablet as another option if you want to go lighter (you could sync your phone on it).
If you don’t already have one or access to one, sign up for a credit card. Even if you are just starting out on making good credit, you have to start somewhere. You have a backup on funds and travel-related purchases always have perks.
It’s recommended that, if you’re using a backpack for travel, you must make sure it’s no more than 70 liters.
Follow Instagram accounts that surround the themes of travel and budgeting.
Add the cities, you intend to travel to, into your weather favorites.
Download Duolingo. It’s essential and courteous to know the linguistic pleasantries of a foreign country.
Read travel memoirs about the places you are going to.
Get/use an e-reader or tablet to reduce the paperback load in your bag.
Get one journal for your travels and (if you’d prefer) another for your ideas (for anything). Traveling brings out your inner artist and writer.
Efficiency and utility shouldn’t trump travel style. However, style shouldn’t override comfort. Take great care shopping for globe-trotting.
Look at stores that sell solid brands for great deals. You need the best stuff but not for a crazy price.
Online stores, like Amazon, eBay, Poshmark, and even Etsy, are great to find your voyage needs. Emylee found her flannel blanket scarf on Poshmark for $65 (reg. $100) and Katie found her backpack on Amazon for $79.99 (reg. $200-$300).
Pack the bare minimum and take great care of your options if you’re backpacking. You’re traveling for the experience; not going on the runway. Plus that’s what shopping is for when traveling.
Check up on market days and local groceries (of the country you’re visiting). It’s cheaper and healthier where you’re exploring.
Do not, I repeat, do no buy your voyage necessities at the last minute. You’ll either be missing something or the store will be out.
Stage 4: Recommendations & Considerations for Travel
Leisure reading is always a great way to come down from that wanderlust high.
If you’d rather travel with a friend/companion, make sure that person really wants/intends to go.
Weigh the distance from where you’re staying to where you’re going. How much is the journey worth versus the price of where you sleep? Whether you pay more for transportation, i.e. Uber, taxi/cabbie, bus, tube, etc.?
Consider carefully who you’d like to bring–whether it be the first or the next time.
Develop/get a hobby you can do anywhere (i.e. yoga, running, meditation, drawing).
Use apps like Splice for quick-and-easy video editing your adventures.
Try getting/using a real (digital) camera rather than your smartphone to capture those moments.
If you cannot attain or afford a camera just yet, use the app Yonder. It can capture pictures almost as good as a Nixon coolpix s3700. Almost. Just ask Emylee.
Use social media for documenting your travels ONLY. You can always check those notifications later.
If you’re going on epic adventure with fellow vagabond, the value of sharing helps limit the heavy weight on your back.
If looking for insight outside your comfort zone, it’s fascinating and fun to get perspective from tarot or oracle cards (but have someone else buy them for you).
If you want to create a blog about travel, look at paint swatches to get ideas for a layout.
Check who exactly is managing your flight. By that, I mean the website and especially the airline. Skyscanner is a great source for finding deals but always see who is handling your transportation.
If you can postpone from booking a coach or shuttle, DO IT. Katie was out of $40 for two non-refundable shuttles she planned and missed because of a flight delay. It’s far easier to do that than be on a time crunch only for a delay to happen. OR make your shuttle tickets time-flexible. It costs a little more but it can save you from trouble.
If you’re traveling where there is distinctive time difference take day one (and two, if needed/anticipated) to rest because jet-lag is mind & body numbing.
Take a day off from the itinerary you made. It’s always good to break away from the plans.
Stage 5: While You’re There
About every attraction has an admission office where you confirm your online ticket. Always check and go there first before getting in line for the event/site/museum.
Always get the guidebook. The price tag can range between five to fifteen bucks when you match the currency exchange. It’s a great souvenir and they have all the details as well as the photos you may not have been allowed to take in person.
Stage 6: Reflect
Ask/take input from your fellow vagabond.
Don’t be afraid. If you can’t overcome the fear, embrace it and it will become anticipation.
Dedicate yourself to the experiences. Focus on the view rather than the angles.
After a voyage, think about you’ve seen and explored in that country/place. Then make a list of what you’d like to do now that you’ve done something outlandish as well as extraordinary.