When I first decided to travel, I didn’t really know what to expect, and while there are likely articles out there like the one I am about to write, I sure didn’t see one. So I wanted to make my own list for anyone out there thinking of taking the plunge. Here is an article about how to get from being at home, to actually being in the country you want to travel. This is a list of 10 things to do once you’ve decided you’re traveling.
This is a big one, probably why it’s first on the list. International travel is pretty hard without a passport. If you google how to buy a passport, you’ll find helpful results, but essentially you take a standardized photo of yourself (easiest by going to a Walgreens), fill out some paperwork, pay some money and mail it in. It’ll take a little time, but if you’re really in a rush, you can have your passport expedited to you for a higher fee.
2. Decide Where You’re Going
Here’s a fun one, but can also be a hard one. When asked, where do you want to go? It can be easy to answer “Ummm… Everywhere!” But the thing is, unless you have a large degree of time and money, it’s going to be better to plan where you’re going. You can tailor this plan along the way but at least starting with a rough draft will help show you where you need to go.
3. Budget and Save
Next is very important. The old saying “time is money” couldn’t be more relevant here. It is time to budget. Figure out how much money you will have or need to have for the duration of your trip, how much you will realistically have as you set off, and any other ways to get extra income. Then don’t spend so much. Maybe opt to not go to that bar and stay in and chill. Or cook rather than eat out. Put away a certain amount in a bank each day/week/month specifically for the trip. Just find whatever works for you.
4. Purchase a Flight
Pretty self explanatory, yet nothing up till now is real until this happens. As soon as you have decided where you’re journey begins (and possibly ends), buy that ticket. Once that’s bought, it’s happening, baby! Now it is time to start the remainder of the steps, which are tailor made for as you are approaching your trip.
5. Scrounge and sell Stuff
Sell stuff. Go to Craigslist and sell some items. Take good photos so people will buy them. Check out facebook marketplace for people buying and selling in your area. Drop off things at pawn shops. Have a garage sale. Sell big things like houses, cars, boats (I don’t necessarily recommend, although I know a few people who have done it). Scrounge your house for every last penny and take that stuff to the bank. Right now is the time to get every last penny you can before the trip starts.
6. Get What You Need for Each Country to Visit
Some countries need visas in order to go. Search visa requirements for each country you visit. Some countries require or at least recommend certain shots before going. Get these shots, they can save you from major issues later. Just make sure you do your research and have everything lined up for what each country might expect of you before you go. To be fair, usually there is not very much to do, but depending on where you are going, it is certainly worth looking into.
7. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is one aspect you may not think about immediately, but it can save you from breaking the bank if you get hurt while your traveling. I recommend World Nomads for travel insurance. They have two payment options, one for basic travel necessities, and another for extreme sport situations. If that doesn’t seem right, a quick google search should give you some more options. Or check with your credit card or business, sometimes they have travel insurance options.
8. Find a Hostel
Check out hostelword.com or hostels.com and find a hostel. After a while, you may not even need this website, you may just rock up to where you’re going and figure it out. But this is a perfect place to start. You can see all the different places to stay, choose if you want to live in a big dorm, a small dorm, or a private room, you can also choose a mix dorm or all female dorm.
9. Pack Everything Into a Backpack
Okay, so you’re nearly ready to go. Get yourself a hiking backpack with a waist strap, this is the easiest way to travel around, especially if you are moving often. Get all the necessary items you would like to put in the bag, and get packed and ready to go. A quick search of what to pack could yield some decent results, but depending on how long you are going, a weeks worth of clothes is about right. Keep it light, but mind the weather where you’re going. Don’t be afraid if you miss something, you can always purchase it for cheap where you are going. Electronics are different, sometimes it’s more expensive to get it elsewhere, so try to have all the electronics you need. I recommend bringing a lightweight computer, it just makes life easier, but if you want only lightweight, a phone would definitely suffice. At any rate, pack light, you’ll be the one carrying it, and often at some point you’ll find you won’t use lots of the stuff anyway.
10. No Expectations
This is SO important; It really is saving best for last. Travel with no expectations. Expectations seem to have a way of destroying a situation, and can lead to disappointment. You’re best bet is to just say, hey, I’m going to go for a ride, and just ride and flow wherever this goes. You might just find you’ll have the time of your life.
That’s it! You are ready to travel! Get ready for an amazing adventure! Follow these steps and watch yourself go from sitting at home doing the same thing to being off living the dream you always wanted to do. So be you. Be free. Follow you heart. And these steps. Flow and Enjoy!