Travelling or backpacking can be a fantastic experience for people of all ages. For young adults, it can be an important character builder and allow them to experience different cultures before settling down in adult life. For working adults and seniors, travelling is a great way to take a break from usual routines and explore parts of the world that you’ve always wanted to. Some may only have a few weeks to travel and others might have months or even years to wander freely around the globe. Either way, how can you start to plan and prepare for such trips?
Pick your destination, route and duration
The most important of travel planning is picking your destination. This in turn will influence the route you’ll take and the duration of your travels. Perhaps you want to explore one region in depth and spend a few weeks or months seeing the sites and experiencing the culture in one or two countries? Or maybe you want to travel the globe and hop from continent to continent over a longer period? Focus on a few key countries or regions of interest and this will help to give your route and trip some basic structure.
Set a savings goal
Money is an inevitable consideration for anyone planning a trip, especially if you’re planning to be away for a good amount of time. You may be fortunate enough to have the luxury of remote work while you travel, but most will have to rely on savings and temporary work to keep them afloat. Calculate a rough amount that you will be happy to set sail with and work towards that savings goal. Look for a savings account suitable for your needs and start to put money away where you can.
Book your travel
Once you know your destination, route and approximate dates, you can look to book your travel. Most trips will start with an international flight unless you’re truly doing an around-the-world trip from your home country. Some trips like European Interrailing may mean you can get to where you need to go via train. Depending on the length and route of your trip, you can book a one-way ticket or risk booking a return before you leave.
Book your initial accommodation
It’s always recommended that you book your first accommodation pre-departure. After a long flight or train ride, the last thing you’ll want to do is try to find accommodation in a place that is completely new to you. You might even want to arrange your accommodation for the first few nights so you can settle down without needing to worry about where you’ll sleep while you adjust to life on the road.
Check what VISAs you need
VISAs are an essential consideration whenever you are planning to travel internationally. Each country has different VISA requirements and offerings which you will need to prepare for. Some countries will allow you to apply for a VISA or travel permit on arrival, but some VISAs need to be arranged well in advance. Remember to check the expiration dates on your passport and any travel restrictions that may be relevant.
Plan your luggage
Once you know your trip duration, route and accommodation types – you’ll be able to flesh out your luggage plan. If you’re likely to stay in more high-end hotels or private accommodation then you’ll be more comfortable carrying more substantial luggage from place to place. However, if you’re one of the many who stay in hostels while travelling then you’ll probably want to opt for a backpack. Think about your luggage security too – you don’t want to be worried about your belongings every day.