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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Five Things to Consider Before Traveling

With the news of my travels out in the open, I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I'm able to share the fun (and the tough) bits of planning an international adventure without having a clue what I'm doing (trust me, we're all just pretty much faking it at this point).

What better way to start off my excursion than to share some of my top 5 things to consider when planning a trip. These are especially necessary for international travel.

1. You can never do too much research 

For as long as I can remember, I have always been the "planner" of my group. Especially for trips and vacations. My senior year of college, I successfully planned a Spring Break for 30 girls single-handedly. It's one of my fortes... my future children are in luck.

I have been doing research daily for the last few months. Once this idea popped into my head, I wanted to know everything I could about traveling, backpacking, each country, etc. I couldn't gather enough information.

I'm not saying that you have to plan everything all of your trip in one sitting but research the country that you're visiting. Learn more about the culture, the foods, the activities. It will only be more helpful in the long run.

I've been looking forward to traveling to Thailand since I discovered this beautiful country. I've been doing a lot of research on the culture and have found that it's offensive to travel to the temples with revealing clothes on. Given that it's summer, I would've shown up in short shorts and a tank top.

Do your research! It'll only make you more prepared for your travels. Less surprises, less fear.

2. Research whether or not you will need a Visa for international countries

For Australia, you will need a Visa no matter how long you plan to stay, even for a short trip. This is something that even I didn't know. It's very inexpensive--less than $15 USD to order online and it took about 5 minutes to receive.

I would recommend looking into this information long before you even purchase your plane ticket. There is the slight possibility that your Visa could be denied then you're in even bigger trouble.

3. Reference travel blogs (ahem!) and other people's experiences

Who better to trust then people who have done this before? I have a few of my favorite travel bloggers who have been everywhere I've ever even considered going.

They provide helpful information from your budget to accommodation to activities, it's all there! Once you find a travel blogger that has similar expectations to yours then you know you've found some great recommendations.

There is also a chance that someone within your circle has traveled to where you're venturing. Lucky for me, I know a few people who have traveled to a lot of places I'm going. If anything, they saved me from staying at hotels that were less than impressive.

Ask around and always check in with people that you're not even close with. Everyone loves an opportunity to relive their travels. My hope is that my blog will be useful for someone else one day.

4. Be realistic with your saving goals

Personally, I fall more to the "heavy spender" side. I had to be honest with myself and take this into consideration while saving. While some people are geniuses and able to travel Eastern Asia for a few months with just $1,000, I knew this wasn't a plausible plan of action for me.

Set a goal. Take the total number of days that you will be traveling and divide it by the total you aim to save. For example, let's say you're traveling for 50 days and you want to save $5,000. This roughly gives you a daily budget of $100. Does that sound reasonable for food, shopping, and activities? If not, then shoot higher! Once you have a trip on the books, it is much easier to turn your saving dream into a reality.

5. Focus on the things that you want to do

Since people have found out about my excursion, some have expressed disinterest in traveling to Asia. While I understand it may not be for everyone, visiting Australia and Asia has always been on my bucket list. I'm a beach goer and find I'm at my happiest when I'm lying in the sunshine. (Also, I'm basically getting a free pass to skip out on winter for the next few months. Score.) If you're someone who hates the beach... might be best for you to travel during their winter or perhaps, check out somewhere that requires you to wear a parka.

Don't feel like you have to travel somewhere because someone else did. I'm lucky to be traveling with friends so there has been a little bit of head-butting to ensure that we're all happy with the itinerary.

p.s. 5A. Don't decide against a place before you know anything about it

When I tell people I'm visiting Bangkok, a lot of "Hangover 2" references pop up. When I mentioned to one of my travel buddies that people were unsure of Bangkok, he was appalled! He said it was absolutely one of the best cities he's ever traveled to.

Just because someone doesn't like something doesn't mean you won't either. Try to get a first hand experience from someone who has traveled to your particular country or city of interest. This is especially helpful if this person has similar tastes.

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Please feel free to comment any of your suggestions for those looking to travel. Also, share some of your experiences in different countries. How many of you have traveled to Australia, New Zealand, or Eastern Asia? Tell me the top 3 things that you had the most fun doing! What is something you wish you had done? Looking forward to hearing from you!

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  1. Great advice! In general, I also save equivalent to $100 of spending money per day. In NZ, my favorite experiences were bar hopping in Wellington (no cover fees), visiting a Maori home, road tripping up to Rotorua (from Wellington) and zorbing. I wish I would have had time to visit Hobbiton and also want to go back one day to see the South Island as I couldn't when I was there. In AUS, favorites were driving the Great Ocean Road (my first time driving on the left side of the road), kayaking and taking a surf lesson in Byron Bay and visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, where I held a koala and feed kangaroos/ saw little ones in their mom's pouches. Adorable. One thing I regret is thinking that I would be okay with limited sunscreen. I actually got sun poisoning from my 2 hours of kayaking in Byron Bay. So be careful please! The sun is much stronger (and my skin is super sensitive). I would have loved to travel more around Australia/ visit the dessert. Haven't ever been to Thailand but looking to go sometime in the next 5 years. I'll be waiting for your advice and feedback! ��

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    1. FYI I meant visit the desert. Haha. Just had to correct myself.

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