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It doesn’t matter whether you are eighteen and fresh out of school ready to take a gap year or whether you are in your mid thirties, bored in your job and looking for a new adventure, it is never the wrong time to consider a trip of a lifetime. Travelling is one of life’s most enriching experiences. To be able to immerse yourself in a new culture, meet new people and see new vistas is incredible. We are fortunate to even be able to consider travelling to distant shores to see the world.
Planning a trip of a lifetime can seem like an arduous and complex task. And it is. However, if you are organised, determined and keen to explore the planet, you can prepare for your travels and have a more enjoyable and meaningful trip whilst you are overseas. Wanderlust is a fantastic feeling; you just need to make sure you have the capability to act upon it.
Before you hot foot it onto a plane and wave goodbye to your homeland, you need to consider a range of factors. What do you need to organise before you leave? How long will you be going for? How are you going to fund your travels?
If you have a full time job and own a house and have a mortgage to pay, you may think that you have too many responsibilities at home to even consider taking off to explore the world. While it may take a bit more organisation, you are never burdened so much that you cannot sort out your baggage at home before enjoying a trip of a lifetime.
If you do own bricks and mortar, this can actually be a blessing in disguise. Rather than seeing it as a poisoned chalice, see it as a readymade source of funding for your travel plans. You could, of course, list it in the traditional way with an estate agent and wait for the offers to roll in. However, this process can take months, and even when you have sold your property, the funds might not be available to you until property lawyers, surveyors and mortgage people have had their say over the completion of the sale.
Alternatively, you could sell your home faster to a company like House Heroes LLC, who will offer you cash and not even bother you with a survey or even need to come and inspect your home. Their offer may be a little below market value, but if you have built up equity within your home and you need to offload your property quickly, this could be the perfect solution to help you fund your trip of a lifetime.
There’s nothing worse than trying to organise your trip to realise that you have forgotten the most important thing: visas! Forget your plane tickets for a moment, and stop looking at those amazing five star hotels, and instead focus on the visa requirements for the destinations that you are planning to visit. Often you need to apply at least a month in advance so keep an eye on requirements and make sure that they don’t change.
Occasionally, you will need to have a vaccination or two before you can set foot in a country. Try and heed this requirement as advice. There will be a reason why you need this protection so follow the guidance. Also, take a look at the sorts of diseases prevalent within the country that you are looking to visit, and take malaria tablets or have your yellow fever shot even if you don’t need it to get through customs.
While you might be keen to hit as many destinations as possible on your time away from work, logistically this might not be feasible. Staying in a place for a couple of nights and then moving on will not allow you to get fully immersed within a culture and really get a feel for a destination. You need to think about the quality of your destination stop offs rather than the quantity. Spend a few weeks in a region, meet up with fellow travellers, share stories and converse with the locals. While you might feel like you have to cram as many sights as possible into your time away, you may run the risk of suffering travel fatigue and forgetting everywhere you have been.
Book your flights before you venture off on your travels and consider your accommodation options. While you don’t have to book a roof over your head for every single night that you are away, it’s good to get an idea of the sorts of hostels and hotels on offer. To fully immerse yourself in a culture you may even want to consider a homestay to discover what family life is like in a region.
While you could take the most expensive tech to make your journey more comfortable, those expensive Beats headphones could get stolen and are pretty bulky to pack. Instead, opt for some cheap earbuds, a simple smartphone, a GPS device if you’re planning on heading off the beaten track, and a camera to record your memories. Invest in a decent travel camera if you love travel photography as your smartphone might not cut it. If you adore music and having a soundtrack to your time on the trains in Goa, get yourself a cheap MP3 player. Keep your gear compact, so your packing doesn’t become too laborious.
When it comes to packing for your travels, forget the 60 litre hard cased wheeled suitcase and opt for a front-loading forty litre backpack instead. All you will need to pack is a week’s worth of clothes, your essential toiletries and tech. Anything else, you can buy abroad. If you have a bigger backpack, you will carry more, and you don’t need to. Forty litres is plenty. You will need to wash clothes, so there’s no point taking a month’s worth.
Heading overseas is exciting, whatever age you are. So, prepare well and enjoy an incredible trip of a lifetime.