As you probably know, traveling is our bread and butter, the air we breathe and kind of the only way we can see ourselves living. We really recommend it – but, we’re rather experienced by now, and totally get how it can be very daunting to start planning to leave the country when you’ve been in the motherland (or another land!) for quite some time.
For that very reason, we’ve decided to help you out with invaluable info for travel beginners, all the way from planning your trip to things to think about when you’ve arrived. Let’s get to it, shall we?!
Pro tip: Try to find a good balance between planning and spontaneity – sticking to a rigid schedule rarely works, but it’s good to have an idea of what you want to do!
So, technically most things could fall into this category but we’re gonna spread it out a bit so it’ll be more fun – you’d better read the whole thing before getting on that plane!
Perhaps a bit boring, but you’ll need to know how much you can spend before you can start deciding on places to visit. The good news, though, is that it’s fairly easy to go to most places without having to break the bank! Some imagination and inspiration and you’re good to go almost anywhere. If you need a handy resource to find out the cost of certain destinations, try Nomad List.
Yeah, without a passport, you won’t get far, so make sure that yours is valid or apply for renewal (or a brand new one!) straight away – it’s usually a rather simple procedure but there might still be some waiting. You might also need a visa and other sorts of documents; it depends on where you’re going!
Pro Tip: Some destinations require you to have a certain number of months left on your passport. So double check that!
Travel insurance is critical when it comes to traveling safely. It can cover you if flights are canceled, items are lost, in case of injury and about a million other things! We have a handy post on the reasons why you need travel insurance, check it out! Both myself and Nadia have ended up in hospital on our travels. To be honest, if you don’t you’re not really adventuring hard enough in our opinion!
If you don’t want to end up with a preventable disease, then popping to the doctor’s before you go might be a good idea. They’ll know exactly what you need if you tell them where you’re going, but if you’re on some sort of medication or have other requirements you might need specific shots, so don’t wait until the last minute! Some destinations only suggest vaccinations, others make it mandatory.
Vague, us? Never. These things don’t need as much space but are rather important anyway: bring a first-aid kit (not necessarily the band). Make copies of your passport and other documents. Take some photos of your belongings in case they get lost. Bring a power bank for your devices, and make sure that your phone will work (local SIMs are usually pretty awesome). Don’t forget adapters for your chargers. Go efficiency!
Now, the most important decision is most likely how you’re going to get to your destination, but we’re going to simplify it a bit and assume that flying will be your chosen means of transportation. Let us know if you’d like more info on something else, though!
Have a little think about what you’re going to bring (don’t overpack!) and then figure out what kind of bags will serve you the best. Once you’ve done that, you need to add standard measurements to the equation – especially when it comes to carry-on baggage, all airlines tend to have the same size requirements, but different weight limits.
Pro Tip: In 5 years of full time travel we’ve only ever traveled with a single carry-on each. Trust us, it’s the fastest way to travel.
Whether you’ve chosen to bring checked in bags or not, you still can’t bring anything through the security at the airport – hence the need for security, one would assume. Liquids are fine, but only if they come in 3.4 oz or smaller containers. Yep. So check everything before you go, or you might have to part with your favorite liquids. You’ve been warned.
If you’ve decided to travel in time and will be crossing several time zones, you’d better be prepared to have your circadian rhythm getting a bit out of sync – basically, you’ll either want to go to bed at 3pm, or 3am. Or any weird time in between. Your body decides. Try gradually changing your bedtime before you go and if sleep is what you want, aids such as melatonin might help. Because who no one wants to be a sleepy head for too long.
Pro Tip: Never ever go to sleep until it’s roughly bed time at your final destination. The first night is the most crucial.
Ah – the fun part (just kidding, we actually don’t mind flying at all)! Miles and miles of pages could be written about things to keep in mind when visiting specific locations (hey, we’ve got a couple written already!), but let’s try to keep it general, shall we.
It might be a good idea to learn a phrase or two in the language spoken where you’re going – or at least to make sure there aren’t any false friends that could get you in trouble! Even more important than that is looking up local customs and laws – a social faux pas is bad enough, but a criminal one can really ruin your trip. So hit the books (or your phone)!
Google is king and apps are the queens. Check out this post on our favorite travel apps. Nothing beats finding the best of the best. Why just have dinner at the closest restaurant, when you can google the best food in the city?! The best part, apps like Google maps have offline modes for fast, easy directions and recommendations without the hassle of finding WiFi or dealing with slow local connections.
If you’re not too bothered about the big, shiny attractions but would prefer more authentic experiences, this is a neat little trick. Go to the general area of the places you’re not fuzzed about visiting, turn your back to it and walk for five minutes, and you’ll end up where the locals go – which is usually cheaper, better and way more awesome! You can even walk back and choose another direction if you want to. There are so many of them!
Because phones aren’t just phones: they’re cameras, maps, bank cards and all sorts of apps – all very useful when you’re doing some exploring! Hopefully, traveling won’t seem as scary anymore, but if you’d still like some more knowledge under your belt – never hesitate to ask us anything!