I’ve been asked time and time again how I am capable of traveling to so many different places and be gone for so long. While I’m fortunate in some terms, such as a job that doesn’t care if I take my vacation all at one time, I feel anyone is capable of at least some form of international travel. In the past few years I’ve visited roughly a dozen countries across Europe, South America, and Central America with a few more trips coming up in Asia. Here are some general tips I think anyone can use to start planning their first international trip. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be downing a liter of beer in Germany, hiking the Inca Trail or simply roaming the streets of Paris.
- Pick a goal for your destination. While it seems completely simple and meaningless – without a goal you have nothing to work for. In fact picking and setting your destination goal is an extremely important part of the process and has even been scientifically proven to increase your happiness. Who thought you could increase your happiness and start planning a trip of a lifetime with one easy step?
- Save what little vacation you have. Unless you are from one of the dozens of first world countries ahead of the US – we unfortunately do not have much vacation to spend (I’m not kidding – we are at the bottom). Resist taking that Friday off because you want to go to the beach. Keep your destination goal in sight – a day here and there can easily add up throughout the year.
- Save. While again it seems like an obvious tip, it’s one question I get a lot – how do you afford to travel so much? I am not rich by any means but I make saving for trips my first priority. If you don’t make traveling one of your priorities then it will be impossible to realize your destination goal. Things come up – but resist the impulses for needless spending so you can buy that plane ticket to Europe. Some people’s car payments alone could fund a trip a year to somewhere exotic.
- Don’t be afraid to travel cheap – book a hostel. Staying in hotels is nice – but your dollar goes farther in a hostel. Ignore all negative connotations about hostels painted by Hollywood – in all of my travels probably my worst accommodation was not a hostel but rather then a hotel – in a first world country none the less! I was once woken up by a hostel owner playing Mozart on a baby grand piano – try that in any standard hotel. Hostels are not only cheap, but a good source to meet travel companions or find out information guide books glance over. Fellow travelers are a good source of information on what sites are worth a visit and what are worth skipping over and hostels are a great place to meet them!
While these tips may seem simple – they are extremely important guidelines for anyone that wants to travel but thinks they can’t.