Are you stuck in a rut? Don’t worry: you’re not alone. Almost 40 percent of British people surveyed felt they’d become bored with their current lifestyle. If you’re craving fresh scenery and new experiences, it’s time to break up with your routine and start travelling! There’s a whole world out there filled with opportunities to have fun, expand your horizons and discover more about yourself. Don’t know where to begin? Here are 10 top tips for beginners on how to start travelling and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.
Stuck in a Rut? Here’s How to Start Travelling
1. Do your research
It’s vital to put a little time into preparation before you start on your travels; don’t just hop aboard the first flight you can find without knowing where you’re going to stay, what language locals speak or how much money you’ll need to get by.
Brush up on some key phrases for your destinations, prioritising the first stops on your trip (you’ll be able to work on the rest as you go). Look up the best places to visit, the local customs, tipping at cafes / bars / restaurants and reviews for any hostels you intend to stay in.
You don’t need to spend months researching. Just do enough so you know what each place has to offer.
2. Get organised
Make a list of everything you need to pack, with enough time to think it through. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Ask friends or relatives to check the list and let you know if you’re missing anything obvious. They might see what you can’t.
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3. Pack smart, pack light
Avoid the temptation to take your entire wardrobe along with you. You might think you need enough clothes to last weeks or even months, but you should be able to find laundry services in most hostels. Try to limit your clothing to a week’s worth, to avoid overloading your luggage.
Be realistic about your necessities. Do you really have to take your phone, your tablet and your laptop too? How about those two different cameras? Are all those shoes necessary? Remember: you’re likely to accumulate souvenirs as you travel. Make sure you have the space.
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4. Backup your photos in the cloud
Setting up cloud storage for your photos is fast and simple, so sort this out before you head to the airport.
You’ll be devastated if you lose your phone and can’t access all those pictures and videos on another device. New images and videos will be synced across your devices via your account, protecting them against accidental deletion or loss.
5. Embrace the power of GPS
GPS technology is a modern marvel we can all take advantage of. It’s never been easier to plan your journey throughout any destination, from bookmarking the best restaurants and hostels to pinpointing train stops.
With GPS on your phone, you’ll be able to create a customised map of any area and store it offline, keeping you on-track even without connectivity. Currently, Google maps is the most popular GPS app for professional travel bloggers.
6. Start small with an ‘easy’ destination
If you’re not used to travelling or are embarking on a solo adventure for the first time, make sure you start with a popular destination with a large English-speaking community. France, Germany, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands… anywhere you’ll be one of many tourists and be able to communicate. This will help you feel more confident and make it easier to prepare yourself for more remote locations.
7. Stay aware, stay safe
Remember our first point, about doing research? This applies to safety and security in any destination you intend to visit.
What are the most common crimes? Are there any tourist-targeting scams you need to watch out for? Are there any sensitive cultural factors to consider, to avoid causing offence?
Likewise, stay aware of your surroundings and never make yourself an easy mark for opportunistic thieves. Keep your backpack zipped up and in front of you in crowded places. Never leave your phone or wallet / purse in a back pocket. Even if you can’t see anyone suspicious, exercise caution.
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8. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous
Taking a break from your routine is the ideal opportunity to take a break from yourself.
If you’re usually too scared to try spicy foods or wear certain clothes, why not be willing to take a small risk? If you’re wary of heights but really want to take a trip up that beautiful, snow-capped mountain, see how far up you can get before you feel you have to turn around.
Obviously, don’t do anything your instincts tell you not to, and certainly don’t take big risks. Just be willing to open yourself up to new experiences if they feel safe.
9. Stay in touch with your life
Just because you’re breaking up with your routine doesn’t mean you should ignore the people in your life.
Make sure to send the occasional message or picture, and share your travels. If you’re away for months, ask loved ones how they’re doing from time to time: after all, their lives will continue without you.
Staying in touch with the people who matter can help to stave off homesickness too, and remind you of the good things waiting for you when your travels are over.
10. Budget wisely and know your financial limits
Working out your budget and knowing how much travelling you can afford is crucial. Everywhere you go, you’ll be staying in hostels, paying for food every day, snacks, drinks, and souvenirs. Factor in other possible costs like laundry and impromptu tours / activities too.
Work out how much you can afford on each stop of your journey, on average, and stick to it. Always try to allow yourself a little more than you might actually need, just in case.
We all need a positive change once in a while, and travelling may just be the breath of fresh air you crave. As these top 10 tips show, preparation is essential, but there’s still plenty of room to be spontaneous and have fun!
You might feel nervous. You might wonder if you’re doing the right thing. But follow the advice explored above and you won’t be wondering how to start travelling any more you’ll be booking your plane. Do you have any tips of your own to share? Let me know below!
Author: Aigerim Berzinya is the Marketing Director at Turtler GPS Ltd. and as the company’s globetrotting backpacker uses the app while hiking abroad or in the mountains to stay connected and safe. She has Master`s Degree in Social Sciences. Her hobby is playing piano, hiking and reading books.