First up everybody needs to travel and experience what it feels like in their lifetime and I’m not talking about a holiday where you go to Bali and lie on the beach for a week even though there is nothing wrong with this, I’m talking about moving from one place to another and having that feeling of Adventure. I don’t expect everyone to benefit from traveling the way I do but just like I have I know how many people will fall in love with the freedom and lifestyle and possibly make the best decision their future self can only thank them for. Many people haven’t even left beyond the waters of our country, being Australian we are very fortunate to be able to travel to most places without requiring a visa. Stepping outside your comfort zone will change your life, a sense of adventure and going into the unknown on a daily basis is something that I can not explain in words but something you have to feel and discover on your own. Whilst away from home your head is clear from any worries that would usually linger inside of your brain such as work, problems, appointments but whilst abroad are not required so you can fully relax because for a certain amount of time. Having responsibility will help you mature as a person in so many ways you didn’t think it would. Down here I’m still very guilty of being mommas boy but overseas there is no one to depend on especially when traveling solo. I always say when you leave you might be 18 but you will come back as if you are 22 years old. You are forced to adapt and take responsibility such as initiative and socialising, which will both build charecteristics that you never had before. Adapting in situations will give you confidence that you can achieve anything and overcoming even the smallest of tasks like language will carry on to the next place. Being thrown in certain situations will make you more aware for whats at hand, in certain areas back home you may not be exposed to thieves or dodgy situations like you will discover overseas but this will make you more street smart and a better judge of character when reading and trusting people.
I cannot stress this one enough people need to experience staying in a hostel especially first time travellers. Sharing rooms with strangers doesn’t sound appealing to the majority of people out there especially ladies who are a bit more high maintenance but there are also private rooms available so you can have your own privacy and be amongst the hostel. Meeting new people could be one of the most fun aspects of travelling, the people you meet are usually people you wouldn’t normally hang around with which creates for an interesting conversation which you can learn many new things because they are not in your usual bubble. The majority of travellers are on the same page we just want to have fun and create memories that we can look back on many years later. I have made connections with friends all over the world and I know that a spare bed will be there if I ever visit and vice versa. Hostels will vary from one to another so do your research and find out which one is best suited for you especially location where some could be closer to the airport or station if just an overnight pitstop is required. I have at stayed in some places where the showers are cold, the rooms are super squashy, the aircons are broke and the mosquito’s are buzzing but don’t be disheartened you will soon learn to embrace this and you will look back and laugh about it. As you travel more you will realise these are not problems but just a different environment leading up to an even better story. These circumstances will toughen you up and make you become stronger as a person knowing that you can stay in a place that you didn’t think you could. Hostels are only a fraction of the price as opposed to a hotel which means you can stretch your dollar a lot further. I can’t recommend it enough but like I said try it once and if you don’t like it after that then it’s not for you but for the majority of people that have a big social aspect that want to feel like they are in a college dorm with drinking games, pub crawls and the chance to meet new people every day it is definitely for you. Try it you can thank me later.
What to bring on my next trip? Definitely bring a travel wallet of some sort. Being organised will save you a lot of headache and time especially in airports. Having a place where you can store all your important things such as your passport and tickets will make your schedule flow autonomously. Not knowing if you put your passport is in your back zip or in your toiletries will just take more of your time which could potentially lead you to miss a flight because if you can’t find your passport you aren’t going anywhere. Pack light and I know this can prove difficult for many people especially first timers which I was guilty of myself, but you will soon find out that all your really expensive dress or shirt will be left in your luggage after finding out how easily ruined it can be whether that may be at the club getting wasted or at the laundry mat where they have a tendency to shrink a lot of shit. Whilst packing don’t bring any of the ‘maybe’ items bring the ones you will know you will wear, I ended up posting 1/3 of my clothes back home on my first trip round thinking I was going to wear those extra jeans and jackets but didn’t. Leave some room for gifts or clothes to buy as I’m sure you will find plenty of cool things. Having a bit of kg’s spare will mean you don’t have pay for excessive weight at the airport which could add up and dig into your travel funds. Don’t cheap out on locks especially the numbered locks. These ones are great seeing as though you don’t need to bring a key but I have seen time and time again of locks not opening due to the fact that they were bought on Ebay for like $3. When it comes to your possessions it is worth protecting as much as you have a good heart there are other who are unfortunately not and look to steal what they can and that applies for in the streets and in the hostels. It always pays to be extra cautious for a good piece of mind remember laziness and clumsiness are both skill that you will learn to eradicate when traveling.
Booking everything vs winging it both have their perks. When you book everything especially early you get better deals and book the places you want before they fill out. This option is good for organised people who know exactly where they want to go and are on a strict time schedule but on the downside have no flexibility with their plans. There have been times where I wish I could have stayed a couple of extra days after finding out a massive event was on but couldn’t stay because it would have pushed back my other plans an essentially lose money on flights and accommodation something that was booked and paid for. Winging it adds that extra option of unknown and all of us travellers all know that plans will ‘Always’ change and because you have nothing locked in are able to do as you choose. I remember I was supposed to go to France but ended up meeting some top blokes who we jumped in the car with and drove to the La Tomatina in Valencia with which was such an amazing experience. In a place especially like Europe where a lot of countries are touching one another and are all just a flight away is a good place to do so with so many different options. If you have nothing planned you can pick or choose a flight to anywhere for a very cheap price, being exhausted a couple months into your trip you may just realise that you want to park yourself on a beach for a week or so to rejuvenate. On the downside if you need to be somewhere you will have to pay and that means it could be up to $500 or more on a flight if you have to get there the next day which will hurt the funds. Some of the more popular and better located places will be fully booked in peak season due to you wanting it the next day. My advice is to try do a bit of both, book the places you know you will be for those dates and on the others allow some room for some freestyle, having some freedom to do something or meet up with that girl you fell in love with at the beginning of the trip might just be the best decision you ever made.
One thing I am super paranoid about is backing up my photos after all my memories are the most important thing to me. As a photographer I know the importance on having duplicate copies just in case something is lost and believe me this lost happens frequently with travellers on holiday. The horror stories where people have their whole trips worth of footage on their phone or Gopro and in the last week of travel is lost at the bottom of the sea by a careless mistake. A simple solution is to buy another card or bring a hard drive or even multiple USB sticks to back them up. Surely you can take 10 minutes out of your trip to sit behind a computer and back up your precious memories that can never be recreated again. Alternatively use a cloud where you can back them up online. The wifi in a lot of the hostels are more then sufficient enough to transfer all your photos and videos and lets be honest it’s not hard to turn on a setting at all. It’s better to be safe then sorry the last thing you want to do is go on a three month trip and have no recollection in whats happened. With my next trip I am definitely going to bring or buy a diary. Especially with long trips it is very hard to remember what you did every day and especially now since I’m blogging about my travels I know I’m missing heaps of good bits that have happened but can’t remember. I mean you can always write it on your phone but I like having that personal touch which leaves it that bit more sentimental. It will also give you an opportunity to pass sometime in transit. I think following out these tasks will be a case of I’m so glad I did after all your memories are priceless and after your first big trip you would have wished you took more photos are wrote it all down, trust me!
Everyone is a different traveler and I can’t expect everyone to have the same interests as me. With more experience you really discover what you like and where to dedicate most of your trip towards. People are there strictly to party and some people want to stay as far away from all that and see more of the historic side. For myself I have tried to steer away from the tourist side of things and see the city or country for what it really is in the suburbs. That way you can experience the real lifestyle and culture which only that place has. I’ve been to Thailand and have seen so many people flock to the Aussie Bar to get a Parma as a daily routine, seriously I know you didn’t travel 8hours by plane to eat the same food you do on a weekly basis. Try some new food and go outside that comfort zone I was talking about, Pad Thai might be your new favourite dish. I like having a balance of both party along side seeing the culture as it provides a break and to opportunity to party because lets face it we all love a bit of a boogie.
Another big tip I would highly recommend is getting a travel card especially one like the Citybank Plus. It in my eyes is the ultimate card and is so handy especially when travelling to a continent like Europe knowing you are going to use multiple currencies. You pretty much just load it up with Australian Dollars and it will convert it to the desired currency using the current exchange rate at the time for you. This is a major advantage as opposed to other cards where you have to pre load the card with lets say Euro, Pound, Kuna, Franc which you might not spend all of it in that country, meaning you have to pull all of the remaining out and exchange for the next countries. This way with just using the AUS Dollar as well you know exactly how much you have especially when allowing a budget which can be easily checked online. There are no startup fees and only in certain places they charge a withdrawal fee (even my Commonwealth gets charge for not Commbank ATM’s in Australia) and in some countries even have Citibank branches. I have yet to find a better card then this as travel cards usually have an area that stings you. Another hot tip will be to apply for another card incase one gets damaged, that way you don’t have to wait for a few days and can pay for that accommodation or those space cakes in the window you can’t seem to get your eyes off.
For people wanting to travel who just can’t justify saving or spending the money will always have that thought linger and ultimately regret for the rest of your life. You will soon learn that money is just a fictitious object and that there are somethings that money can’t buy and teach you for when you do travel. For me personally I had to experience this and my curious side came out of me and it may have been the best decision I ever made. I bought my plane ticket with the money I had which forced me to save. I wanted it that bad that I worked at a job I hated but was well worth it knowing I was going to places I only dreamed about since I was a kid. Make sure you go into every place with an open mind and positive attitude and be the traveler you want to meet. No one wants to hang around that stuck up guy who thinks his better then everyone, be nice have fun and I can assure you will make plenty of friends and create memories to last a lifetime. I haven’t heard of anyone that has ever regret traveling and if they did I know deep down they didn’t get outside their comfort zone. When you travel you will come back home more appreciative then ever, especially traveling to a third world country which really makes you realise how truly lucky we are to live in Australia. People that have never stepped foot outside their bubble have no idea how good they really have it and live a very ‘materialistic’ life. Something that traveling teaches you which isn’t necessary to have that $5000 Louis Vuton bag but rather invest your money memories and experiences that will change you as a better human being.
Traveling is something that truly makes me happy and has become a very important part of my life which I hope to do as often as possible. Every time I come back I miss my friends and I wish some were with me to share my experiences with whilst abroad but besides that the toilet, the bed the shower situation constantly changing I didn’t mind it at all and I like the random company. One thing I did miss though that I totally forgot the feeling was drying myself with a big thick Egyptian Cotton Towel as opposed to a micro fibre towel, ohhh that feeling of actually being dried.
What it feels like traveling for the first time is like falling in Love for the first time. For anyone that has fallen in love can relate to the beginning where you don’t really know what your exactly getting into and are nervous but excited at the same time. All these feeling are something you are uncustomary to but are willing to embrace. By the time you settle in and are going through the honeymoon phase you are in you’re element and are at the happiest (possibly ever) and by the end of it knowing you have to leave and say goodbye is like a broken heart that it has to come to an end. Don’t be sad that it’s over though be glad that it happened knowing this will definitely not be the last time you travel. Below is a photo of all the bracelets I collected at all the major cities on my last trip as a reminded of the good times and friends I made that I wouldn’t change for the world. Also my collection of some a few of my favourite photos last trip and I tell you what I cannot wait to take more. It is NEVER too late to travel and feel truly alive.