The ‘I-really-want-to-travel-the-world-but-I-don't-know-where-to-start’ phase has hit all of us at some point. For many students, there is the issue of having absolutely no idea how to go about this adventure you've planned in your head.
Well, there are a few things you need to know before you go, especially if you're going solo (yes, that rhymed *takes a bow*). From the inspiration through to the preparation, and a little advice for when you’re out of your comfort zone, keep reading and get packing!
“Oh, the places you’ll go!” - Dr.Seuss
Did someone say cheap flights? When you’re looking for transport, check out the cheapest deals on sites like Skyscanner or Kayak; it may be more cost effective to take different airlines there and back.. and book as early as you can!
“Travel far enough, you meet yourself”
Where to stay. Cheapest student option: a hostel (despite the stories you’ve heard, you can get lovely hostels - I promise!). If you're looking for a balcony to read your book on (cottage/house/villa/apartment), I would recommend AirBnB and Housetrip. If you can’t decide, have a look at Trivago to compare prices. For the solo traveller - these websites let rooms out too, so you could live with a family. This is a great way to meet people and immerse yourself in a different culture (hey, they might even cook for you too). Remember, if your a gap year or university student, you don't want to break the bank - budgeting is key!
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
Budgeting. The above quote is - unfortunately - very true. Set aside money you will definitely use, and then take and hide a bit of extra money somewhere else as a back up. A good way to budget is to get a Travel Money card, and put a set amount on there. You can draw money out from any country with these, and top them up via the app. But don't worry too much; the extra cash you end up spending is usually worth it!
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
All the gear and no idea. If you’re looking for places to go and things to do, some of the best books are the Lonely Planet guidebooks. Blogs, vlogs and Instagram also provides lots of inspiration, so you can start a ‘things to do’ list before you go. The best way to learn about a place is to ask the locals, especially about where to eat! You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”
Cultural sensitivity. The extent of this depends when you go, but the most important aspect of going somewhere new is that you respect it. Do your research; if it’s frowned upon to show skin, don’t show skin. You may not agree with it, but it’s not your home.
“and then I realised adventures are the best way to learn”
Don't be afraid to get lost. (I mean this in the safest way possible). Pick a place to start, and go for a wander. You never know what you might stumble upon. Give yourself the opportunity to meet new people and try new places - this might be your only chance.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
This Is Life. It doesn’t need to all run smoothly, and it won’t – when I was in Kenya, we had a phrase; TIA (This Is Africa). Whenever something went wrong or pushed you outside your comfort zone, you had to say to yourself ‘TIA’, and get on with it. I try to use this for life in general now (TIL?).. it’s a good way to get used to a place you don’t know; go with it and don’t stress out about the unknown.
Emily Moore is a StudentJob blogger, and is currently studying Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. Check out her blog Moore Issues Than Vogue, contact her via LinkedIn and follow her on Instagram.
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