So, you want to travel? Before you start traveling, know first this 10 important things that will help you to get started.
When you first head off to places in the world that are way too different from where you spend most of your life, a number of things will change that you need to learn to adapt. At first, it’s not easy but as you open your mind, accept the changes, and learn to adapt, everything goes smoothly for you.
You may make a lot of mistakes everywhere you go but try to learn from each of them.
Do not wait for anyone or anything. You do not need to save thousands of dollars before you started traveling. I only had $1,000.00 with me when I packed my backpack and start traveling. Until to this day, I am still on the road, traveling from one place to another. Too often we try to wait for the perfect time to travel, that time when all the stars align, but I’ll tell you, that time never comes. You will never have enough money, and there will always be someone’s wedding, birthday, anniversary, etc. Don’t wait. When you really want to go, just go even if you’ll go alone.
2. Don’t be scared.
Fear is a powerful deterrent and traveling alone is quite scary, at first. Taking the leap and being outside of your comfort zone is scary but believe me, you aren’t the first person to travel the world. You’re not going to places that you’re the first time visitor, you’re not discovering new continents or exploring uncharted territories. There’s a well-worn travel trail out there and people or travelers are there to help and guide you along the way. If millions of people, solo traveler or not, can make their way around the world, so you can. You may feel scared and nervous, it’s normal, but you’re just capable as anyone else.
3. Avoid packing too much.
I admit, when I first left home I packed a lot of things that along the way I realized that I do not need. Buy a small backpack so you aren’t be tempted to carry everything under the sun. Just pack what you think you’ll truly need and if you really need something that you didn’t pack, you can buy it as you go. Trust me, you won’t need as much gear as you think! I’ve been there.
When I started traveling I have two backpacks, one 40 liters and one 20 liters that I used as a day bag. Now, I only have my 40 liters backpack and one foldable bag that I used as a day bag. And my 40 liters backpack is not as heavy as you may think, it’s light and only weight at 6 – 8 kgs. so it’s easy for me to go around.
4. Stay connected to your old and new friends.
If you’re scared traveling alone because you don’t want to be lonely, believe me, traveling alone does not means being lonely. Along the way, you will meet a lot of people who are all going in different ways, and you may find that your paths will cross again. And sometimes, you’ll found that best friend for life on the road. Stay connected with all those new found friends of yours. It’s east with the modern technology.
Although you may not see each other more often as before, you should stay connected with your old friends. That way, you still have news back from home and when the time comes that you decided to go back home, you still have those friends that you can easily lean on to.
5. Go with the flow.
Mostly, I do not make itineraries or planned my travels. I just go with the flow and see where my feet will take me. If there would be times that I want or need to plan my itinerary, I always make sure that it’s flexible. So if there will be times that I’ll love the place and want to stay longer, or if I do not like the place and want to leave sooner, it’s easy and not stressful. If you’ll be traveling for a short-time, plan one or two activities and let the rest of the day happen. It’ll be more enjoyable and less stressful experience.
6. Take it easy and slow down.
It can always be tempting to see and visit everything. With limited time or visa validity, we try to squeeze everything in – rushing through 20 cities in 20 days, or 195 countries on our one-year round-the-world trip. In the end, all we have to show for it are photos, stress, and a whirlwind experiences but no real knowledge of the places we visited. After you try to rush backpacking around Southeast Asia, you’ll be burnt out and realize you saw everything but, in reality, nothing at all. You’ll wish you did it slower and you take your time.
7. Know you can rest your head anywhere.
When you start traveling, you often think that you either have to stay in a hotel or a hostel. But there’s a lot more out there: you can Couchsurf, rent a room or an apartment through Airbnb, HomeAway, or any other similar sites. You can also volunteer in exchange for an accommodation where you’ll have a chance to interact with locals and meet other travelers. In short, there are a lot of options out there beyond the conventional hotel or hostels.
8. Avoid giving banks your hard-earned money.
Debit and credit card fees can really add up. Try to take note all your debit or credit card fees, and you’ll realize that it’s a lot of money. Be smart and started looking deeper into it.
I usually get local currency by withdrawing funds from my Philippine-based bank account. I withdraw funds every week or try to withdraw what I think I only need but in the end, I’ll withdraw again because I got short with my budget. But when I realized that there’s an ATM fee aside from the fee that my bank get every time I make a transaction, I started to withdraw the maximum limit of my card if not, the maximum amount I can withdraw. Also, I always make sure to research first the bank that has the smallest fee if not, with no fee at all.
9. Budget well.
Always do a research before you go, keep track of your expenses as you go, and watch your money last until the end. Make sure to spend within your budget and do not spend to things that you do not need.
10. Don’t skip insurance.
Not having travel insurance is a huge mistake too many travelers make. They things “I’m young, I won’t get sick” or “I won’t be doing crazy and dangerous stuff”. But accidents happen anytime, that’s why it’s called an accident. You never know what can happen on the road, and travel insurance is more than just a health insurance. It also covers your gears, trip delays, and cancellation.
I travel with a travel insurance. I recommend WorldNomads, the travel insurance I personally use. It may not be the cheapest but it offers better coverage and benefits. With a minimal fee, you can ensure your high-end gadgets. As a digital nomad, my MacBook is really important to me. How can I work without a laptop? That’s why I travel with insurance.
Are you planning to travel long-term? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about it!
This post might be helpful when you’re for inspiration or tips on the things you need to know before you start traveling. Hover the image on the left and pin it for later!
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- Day 1: Stop spending that money.
- Day 2: Open a new bank account exclusively for your travel fund.
- Day 3: Sell your junk and be minimalist!
- Day 4: Forget what other people think. AFTER ALL, IT'S YOUR LIFE!
- Day 5: Now, DO something about it and JUST DO IT!
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