Saturday, 27 July 2013

Travel Planning: The Beginning

When I made that big decision to go travelling, it all seemed so clear cut - book flights, save up, fly but I am now realising that was such a naive and simplistic view to have. Yes, these are crucial parts of your travelling adventure but there is so much more to bear in mind.

I booked my flight back in May and, as expected, was and still am, completely giddy with excitement. I genuinely have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that this is the start of the rest of my life. It sounds cliche; I don't expect to go out there and 'find myself' but I do feel like being away from everyday life will give me a clearer perspective as to what direction I want my life to head in. I think sometimes it's really difficult to get clarity when you're surrounded by influencing characters such as friends and family - definitely not in a bad way, but sometimes you fall into ways of life through influence rather than actually tackling them head on, knowing this or that is 100% your own decision. You know what I mean, if you're like me, it's hard to make a decision without asking advice first - I want to make my own decisions and create my own path for the future...I think if I remained in Marketing, in Sheffield, in the same way of life I'd been experiencing for the past four years, that I may never break out and see what the world has to offer me. It's a big, big world we live in, why pen yourself in a little corner of it?

So, having completely strayed from my original book your flight, you're giddy, you think it's a matter of saving up and in a few months you'll be boarding that plane at [insert airport here] and off you jet, into a idealistic tropical paradise. Sorry to burst that dreamy little bubble but there is A LOT to do in between booking and flying, especially if you're planning a 6+ month trip like I am. There's the backpack, the travel insurance, the injections, the malaria tablets..etc. Yep, the things you don't think about when you're pressing 'confirm booking'. But now with just over 6 weeks to go, semi-panic is setting in - I AM UNPREPARED. I wrote this recently about travel planning about being prepared but I really don't think I even absorbed this information and scared myself into being more prepared. 

Now, with 6 and a bit weeks to go I still have to sort out - my Australian visa, the rest of my savings, a hostel for Bangkok, a hostel for Koh Phangan (which are filling up worrying quickly), trekking/walking shoes, a daypack, malaria tablets, travel insurance...yes. Alot. I also, worrying, have two free weekends between now and then to sort these things. PANIC.

This post is basically a bit of helpful advice - plan your time, be organised. You can't plan a trip like this and do everything last minute; you need to shop around for the best travel insurance (price and policy), there are a million and one malaria tablets, there are a million and one brands of trekking shoes. Basically, every brand/company/whatever has competition and that means you need to read, try etc. 

From the beginning - try and be realistic. Travelling is a big thing. It's expensive and there are a lot of things you need to do beforehand. Saving up is not as simple as you think - despite working full time and paying nothing rent/bill wise at home, I still have my car to run and with an hours commute there and back each day as well as weekends darting around, that rinses petrol. And petrol is NOT cheap! As much as you try, it's also near impossible to not spend a single bean on anything during your pre-travelling months. I am too easily lured in by online shopping, food (as you know) and random things I will never, ever need that ALWAYS end up on eBay. 

Guys, seriously, just be sensible. Make sure it really is realistic that you can afford to go travelling. An example? My backpack cost around £150 for a top-notch all singing all dancing Osprey; trekking shoes are at least £40 for a good pair; most of the jabs I've had are free but Rabies alone was £135 with Japanese Encephalitis even more pricey than that; travel insurance isn't cheap, neither are Australian visas (if you're going).

Basically - travelling is not just a flight there and back and a bit of spending money for cheap hostels and street food while you're there. You need to have the proper kit to go with; seriously, do you want to be walking around yet another temple with blisters and sore feet because you got some £7.99 walking shoes from the bargain bin at Primark? No, no you don't. The same with your backpack - think turtle - your backpack is your shell for however many weeks/months/years you're away; you do not want one that absolutely kills your posture and makes you walk like really don't.

You don't want to feel like this...

Source: The Almost Organic Traveller.

Blog post summary: Kinda felt you needed this as I've just poured out my trail of thought here...Just bear in mind that travelling is not cheap - the preparation beforehand is not cheap. Have your wits about you; get the right stuff, shop around for the quality, cover and prices. One of the main things? If you don't know, ask other people that do - other travellers, experts in shops, online forums. I spent hours reading up about backpacks online and headed to a local shop, Outdoors in Hathersage, and the staff were incredible. These are the people that have been there, done that, bought the tshirt. 

I promise, I'll start being more organised soon...Maybe.

N xo


  1. you missed the cost of malerone which was almost £1 a day maybe more and insurance is always a nightmare too! eek.

    I cant wait to see what you get up to on your travels- whats your route?


    1. Yeah malarone are notoriously more expensive - I got mine from Tesco Pharmacy though and they will sell you them without a prescription as long as you book a travel appointment with their pharmacist. I think I got about 8 weeks of malarone for about £120 which, although much more expensive than doxycyline, is a bargain in comparison to some of the quotes I got for it!!

      Starting off in Bangkok, then down to Phuket, more of the Thai islands, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Bali then on to Perth :) not sure about my Aus route yet but after I've worked there a while I'm hoping to see New Zealand and Fiji too! All very exciting :)