Not sure where to start, or, if to start at all?
That's fine – it’s natural and normal for there to be a lot of questions, ‘what-if’s’ and wonderings. It doesn’t matter if you are heading off on your first travelling adventure at 18 or at 70, and it doesn’t matter how long you’re planning to go for – there are always questions.
Here are a few quick Questions and Answers that might help get you on the road.
(Note: This is written for new travelers, not for those moving overseas - covered in other posts.)
I don’t speak the language
That’s ok – nobody speaks all the languages of the world so even those with a few languages are going to be without at some point. There are a few things you can do to make it easier.
1. learn a few basics – please, thank you, yes, no etc – just go online, or if you are going to be a while in an area with the same language (e.g. most of Central and South America), take a course before you go, or first up when you get there.
2. A smile is worth a lot of words and good will.
3. Body speak can go a long way – I traveled in China when its door first opened in the 80’s and nobody spoke English (and I didn’t speak any form of Chinese) yet I managed just fine with gesticulation and simple drawings (e.g. of the time on a clock and boats and trains) to find out what I needed to know. I picked up a few crucial words as well – boiled water being the most imperative at the time (no there was no bottled water back then!)
Is it safe?
Well clearly you don’t want to go to a war zone because then it’s probably not going to be safe. However, there are plenty of non-warzones in the world. Sure some people do get pick-pocketed (just like at home sometimes they do too), some people get murdered when they are overseas (probably less than at home though), and some people have bad accidents (like others do that stay at home). I think you get what I mean. A few tips here again:
1. If it’s your first time travelling, stick to a well trodden path for the first couple of weeks until you are in the swing of things.
2. Have really good travel insurance that covers you well for all medical emergencies in particular
3. Be sensible – don’t flash your cash (expensive jewellery, watches etc), and don’t wear a big bum-bag / fanny-pack that is shouting out “hey look, all my valuables are in here!”
4. Be cautious as you would at home – dark alleys in cities late at night are probably not a good idea anywhere!
I don’t have anyone to go with – should I go alone?
YES! And good on you for not forgetting the idea just because you don’t have a travel partner! There are so many advantages to going it alone – particularly that you can literally please yourself – what you will do each day, what time you get up, where you stay, if you will stay longer than planned.....
If you are worried about being lonely – don’t be. Stay in hostels and backpackers and meet people on the road. You will make new friends, and probably end up joining up with people here and there as well. It’s a great part of the package and comes free!
I don’t know where to go
No problem – here’s a few questions to get you going.
What do you like doing? What places have friends been to that made you think – "oh I’d like to go there?" What do you want to do? What time of year are you travelling and what weather do you want?
Answer these and you will start narrowing it down. But if you want help, send me a message, I can chat with you and help with ideas and suggestions from there.
How much money do I need?
It’s up to you – and there is no golden rule. If you are comfortable sharing in a hostel situation with others at $20 a night then it’s going to be a lot cheaper than $250 a night hotels. Of course it also depends where you are going - India is going to be cheaper than Switzerland. Think about what you want and need in terms of comfort, how long you are going for, then check online as to prices for food and accommodation where you are planning to go. That will give you an approximate idea. Be prepared to run out of money and know what you will do if so – work, go home and save again, credit card?
Again, send me a message if you want help with this.
Should I travel with my kids?
YES! I have to go back to personal experience here - I have moved countries with my kids many times and traveled with them as babies, toddlers, kids and teens. We traveled in Central America, Europe, Asia, Africa with them at all different stages (mostly younger) and it is great! Think about what kids want to do though and plan accordingly. For example, not many kids want to be dragged around a bunch of museums and art galleries in Europe! Make sure there is plenty of time for play – water generally works well with all ages – beaches, rivers etc I had a great time with the girls (around 7 -12) in the Netherlands as it was cheap to hire bikes and we could bike everywhere – including all through Amsterdam. The one that hated art galleries (one actually did love them, but she is an artist) was quite happy to take it in small doses as she got to bike around in-between and eat fabulous food in the cafes en-route! (Check out other posts I have for travelling with kids.)
As said, if you are not sure, then this is a great site for you. Contact me if you have a few questions and want help – it can often be as simple as a half hour skype session to sort it out!