Did you tell yourself that 2019 is the year you were going to travel? Did you vow to give yourself that trip you rightfully deserve after working day in and day out for God knows how long? Are you frustrated because we’re halfway through the year, yet here you are, stuck in whatever it is that confines you?
Time flies so fast and it’s going to be 2020 soon before we realize it. Whether you wanted a domestic or international trip this year, there’s still time to catch up and pack your bag. Here are eight (8) ways on how to travel this 2019:
1. Know what you want
Determine why you want to travel. You’re probably thinking, “Is that even a question?” I know, I get it – you have a curiosity to wander and see places that you’ve never been to, you want to learn about a new culture, you have an unsettled soul – and all those poetic reasons you may have. But knowing what you want out of your trip will make realizing it a lot easier. So here’s to help you out:
- Do you want backpacking and adventure?
- Do you want a retreat or relaxation?
- Do you want to party?
- Do you want to be a tourist?
The list can go on and on. It’s crucial to match your need and want to your destination so that it becomes a satisfying experience. Even if you’re in the romantic city of Paris, you won’t be as happy when you’re looking for an epic night out. You might as well have gone to Ibiza. You get my point. Have three (3) days to think this through. List them down, including the activities that you want to do, and start the elimination process. On the third day, your list should be as specific as possible.
2. Get information
(I’m assuming that you at least know if you want to go abroad or within your country – figuring that out entails several factors that could make for another blog post.)
In this digital age, we have information within the touch of our fingertips and you might as well take advantage of it. Google what you have on your list plus your destination in mind. For example, “best beaches in Thailand,” “most scenic places for photos in the Philippines,” “foodie places in Taiwan,” and so on. Put up to five (5) places that you want to visit. You can do this in one day.
3. Start scouting
Once you have those five places, have a look at the ticket prices and accommodation. To make my planning easier, I use Skyscanner and Traveloka. They are both easy to use and allow you to see price ranges for certain dates. If money is not an issue – good for you. If you’re on a budget and the prices are still a little too steep, create alerts within these apps or websites so you’re notified when the prices drop for your destination in mind.
For accommodations, I personally look for hostels because they are cheaper and because I like meeting other travelers. When I’m with a couple of friends, I check out Airbnb. If you are more comfortable in a hotel, you can check that option out too. I use Agoda or Traveloka because they often have low prices.
Tip#1: Have a target month to go. If you don’t, you’ll keep pushing back until it’s the new year.
Tip#2: Even if you use the the third-party sites I mentioned above, don’t forget to compare them with the airline’s or hotel’s own website. I mainly use the apps and sites because they organize information according to the filters (price, availability, etc.) I want, but there might be exclusive offers you don’t want to miss.
4. Dig deeper
You have an idea of possible destinations and you have alerts created. The next thing to do is do lots of research. Remember those five places you listed? Allocate one day per destination to look for the activities you want to do and places you want to see in that area. After five days, you should have a better grasp of where you want to be.
5. Gamble and go!
The universe will have a way to throw all sorts of things your way and you’ll think that it might not be the best time to travel. Guess what, you’ll never know when the perfect time is. Unless it’s a life or death situation, then stall. Note that here I’m talking about things other than the right season or weather. I mean your hesitations and all the alibis you make. Give yourself a break, book those tickets, pack your bags and go!
6. Discover the secrets
So your tickets are booked, you have a place to stay. What you want to do next is to make sure you have the most amazing time. This phase also needs a lot of research, but what are you looking for, exactly? Read about the non-touristy spots, underrated restaurants, hidden beaches and waterfalls, or upcoming festivals or art exhibits. Make your trip unique while still satisfying point#1. This is something you can do from the time you’re all booked until you’re on your way. Sometimes, you’ll know these secrets when you arrive and talk to locals or fellow travelers.
7. Always take precautions
There are always risks when traveling. If you want to do something adventurous, read about the activity, the worst things that have happened there and prepare for it as much as you can. Get a travel insurance, especially when you’re abroad. This area covers a lot of other little things like:
- Knowing the usual price for transport and other things to avoid getting ripped off.
- Staying away from dodgy streets and alleys.
- Recognizing where not to wear or take valuables.
Traveling is wonderful, but safety is priority.
8. Be a responsible traveler
Traveling is now a trend like never before. Flights are cheaper, hotels have huge discounts, cruises are more affordable, and tourists have doubled in numbers compared to the last year in so many travel destinations. As a consequence, cities and islands create a lot more waste and consume more energy and resources. Be responsible by:
- Throwing your trash appropriately. Follow segregations in place, please.
- Bring a reusable water bottle.
- Take travel utensils like stainless or bamboo straws, spoons, and forks.
- Participate in clean-ups in the area when you can. Or better yet, initiate to pick up some trash. You don’t have to do a lot like the viral #trashtag. Every little help goes a long way.
- Minimize your waste. For example, wash with soap and water instead of tissues whenever possible.
Don’t think of travel as a luxury. I’m sure you’re quite aware that there are ways to craft your trips according to your budget. You’ve made travel resolutions and it’s time to make them happen! Remember the famous quote by Agustine of Hippo, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one.”
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