Feeling a little bit restless? Then you are most definitely not alone. In fact, 30% of workers have said that they would accept lower salaries in exchange for more business trips, meaning that travel is a growing priority for us all.
But if you are planning to jet off on a far-flung adventure, then here are 6 things you need to know before heading off:
1. Don’t take your whole life with you
When you go off travelling for the first time, it’s natural to want to take tons of stuff along, from that extra pair of sandals to your favourite teddy bear mascot. But after a week of lugging a crammed rucksack around, you will soon wish you’d left some bits at home.
That said, it’s important not to under-pack either — you don’t want to arrive at your tropical destination without that all-important mosquito net, for instance. The key is to pack smart, and thankfully, St Christopher’s Inns offers a handy guide on this.
2. You will probably spend more money than you expect
No matter how carefully you plan your budget, no matter how much research you put into the cheap eats and sleeps at your destination, you are bound to come up against a few unexpected expenses. Sometimes it will be unavoidable — for instance, a bus is cancelled so you have to fork out for a pricier train ticket instead. And sometimes it will be for a fun reason — for instance, you might spontaneously decide to go horseback riding. That’s why it’s crucial to take more money than you think you’ll need — you will definitely be grateful for that emergency fund later on.
3. You will feel lonely at times
If you are planning on travelling solo, then inevitably, you will feel a little bit isolated at times. There are two ways of dealing with this — the first is to get talking to your fellow travellers, for instance, go for a beer with that friendly group in the hostel, or even sign-up for a group tour. The second is to lean into the loneliness and realise that it’s nothing to be scared of. Embrace those solo times and use them to reflect and get to know yourself a little bit better. You will end up stronger and more self-sufficient as a result.
4. You will also get homesick
And that’s okay — in fact, it’s totally natural that you will miss your family, friends and home comforts. To deal with these feelings, make sure you check in with loved ones regularly, whether that’s through WhatsApp, Facebook or good old-fashioned phone calls (plus it will put their minds at rest to hear from you). Most importantly, remember that home isn’t going anywhere — it will always be there waiting for you.
5. Staying safe is crucial — playing it safe isn’t
Obviously, you should always stay safe when travelling – do your research, use common sense and follow your instincts. But playing it safe is different and should be avoided. Playing it safe is when you won’t try that new dish because it isn’t like the food back home. Or when you won’t go trekking because you’re afraid of mosquito bites. Or when you won’t talk to those other backpackers because you’re too shy. Playing it safe cuts you off from new experiences and stops you from growing as a person, but doesn’t that then defeat the purpose of travel? So don’t be afraid to take risks — as long as it’s not about risking your safety. Check out this Hostelworld guide for tips.
6. It will be over before you know it
Whether your trip is for a month or a year, it will feel at the beginning as if you have an infinite amount of time to enjoy it. But the truth is, that time will go by in a whirl, so make the most of every day. Get to know the local culture, embrace unfamiliar experiences and make some new friends while you’re at it. Make every single moment count before you have to step on that plane again. Travel can be wonderful, exciting and life-changing — and it can also be challenging. But hopefully, these six tips will help you to make the very most of it.
Now all you have to do is decide where you are heading to…