Make 2013 a year of travel with these 11 tips on how to travel more and travel well.
1. Set your scope
The first thing to do is decide where you want to go, for how long and with whom. Don’t be afraid to go alone!
2. Budget and save
Do a bit of basic research to see how much your trip is likely to cost. Don’t go into too much detail though — just check out flight costs and accommodation costs, and multiply the lodging cost by two or three to get a rough estimate. Then, save: cut back on eating and drinking out, sell some stuff, get another job.
3. Make it happen
Don’t let yourself get discouraged. If your first choice of destination is too expensive, look for somewhere else to visit. Put it in your calendar and do it.
4. Do the paperwork
You might need to apply for a visa, and you should look into vaccinations well in advance — some need to be administered two months before the trip. Also, compare and purchase travel insurance.
5. Overprepare but be spontaneous
As your departure date gets closer, immerse yourself in your destination. Read up on it, work out where you’re going to stay (at least for the first night) and work out how to get to your accommodation from the airport or station. Once you arrive, go with the flow — you don’t have to stick to a strict schedule.
6. Balance cost and value
When researching options for accommodation and activities, be open — don’t just choose something easy and familiar. A tour might be a good option even if you’re a staunch independent traveller, and sometimes going it alone is much better value.
7. Pack light
Pack as light as possible — unless you’re skiing there’s no need to check in a bag. Travel carry-on size and your wallet and and back will thank you.
8. Eat healthily
Try everything, but make sure to drink a lot of water and get your 5+ a day. It’s also a good idea to limit alcohol — stick to one or two glasses a day.
9. Try new accommodation options
There are so many awesome choices: couchsurfing, luxury hostels, camping or glamping, apartment rentals, B&Bs — don’t stay in a faceless hotel unless you have to.
10. Keep those clothes washed
Since you’ve packed light, you’ll probably need to do some clothes washing. Wash undies every night or every couple of days, or book accommodation with laundry facilities. (Couchsurfing is good for this.)
11. Be prepared for problems but don’t worry
Chances are you’ll have a fantastic trip and nothing will go wrong. But keep your wits about you, don’t flash your money about, and don’t take sweets from strangers. And make sure you have insurance and know how it works.
[box]This week’s Indie Travel Podcast is brought to you by Intrepid Travel
For travelers who want to take a wrong turn every now and then, to be amazed and to see the unseen – Intrepid are your partners in adventure. From enjoying weird and wonderful modes of transportation, to visiting the world’s most eye-popping sights, or sharing a smile with a local family over dinner, it’s these transcendent moments when you know you’re really alive. We like to call them ‘real life experiences.’