Planning Your Adventure: Where to Go?
Dom Stanford, WSA Intern
Daunting, intimidating, and downright terrifying are three words that perfectly describe the moment when you decide to up-root and disappear somewhere. It’s no mean feat working out where to go, how to get there, and what you’ll do when you arrive. Here’s a few tips to break it down...
The first step is working out what you want to achieve from your vacation. A cultural tour of cities? A detox on a beach? An expedition across inhospitable terrain? Whatever it is, you need a goal, even if the goal is to do nothing at all! Generally travellers can be divided into two categories when identifying a goal: the first type of traveller wants to see everything a country has to offer. The second group are those who want to do something out of the ordinary. Identifying yourself as one or the other is a good place to start and will seriously help you in narrowing down options.
Once you’ve decided the overall goal, it’s time to think about where you want to go. Personally, I stare at the world map that hangs on my wall and contemplate all the places I haven’t been. If you have a very specific goal, like climbing a mountain or eating your weight in gelato, it might be easier to figure out the rest. And don’t worry if you’re uncertain of what you’re looking for, it could be slightly harder to choose a location, but on the plus side you have the whole world to choose from.
It’s also time to bring you back down to Earth – before you go crazy planning the trip of a lifetime jetting across the globe, you need to ask two very important questions: How much time do I have? And how expensive is this going to be? These are two incredibly crucial factors when planning your trip.
You will probably have just a few weeks or a couple of months to go away, so you’re better off deciding where you’d like to visit in advance instead of buying a one-way ticket and winging it. The most important thing to remember is to try not to cram in too much. There’s nothing worse than wishing you could stay longer in a certain place but having to leave because your itinerary is too rushed. So be realistic – doing a whistle stop tour of Europe in 6 weeks probably won’t be much fun; you’ll spend more time travelling than relaxing and you might struggle to make lasting bonds with the people you meet if you’re only staying a day or two. If you want to see as much as possible in the limited time you have, then rushing around a continent could be exactly what you want. But be warned: being on the go for such a length of time does take its toll and you’ll definitely need a couple of long breaks along the way to recover from all the night trains!
The next thing to consider is how deep your pockets are. If you’re on a fairly limited budget then countries like Austria and Switzerland are probably off the table – I once paid the equivalent of $10 for a pretzel in Zurich! Realize that you might have to budget carefully in Western European cities, but this doesn’t mean that you should skip them altogether. On the other hand, Eastern Europe is beautiful, full of history, and much cheaper than cities in the West Check out our trips in Eastern Europe: Prague and Budapest!). The good news is that if you’re looking to get off the beaten track, your airfare tends to be the biggest cost. Many places in South America, Africa, and Asia are very cheap and in some you can get by with as little as five or ten pounds a day! Determine what your budget is and what it is you want to accomplish to help figure out where you should go.
Wherever you end up, you’ll have the time of your life and I swear you won’t regret it. And besides, you’ve got to start somewhere!
WSA is a great way to see a new place! They pick the greatest hostels to stay at and the best things to experience. Not to mention Bogi (our tour guide) was awesome! I met lots of friends and had the best experience of my lifeCeanna Chapman, University of Kansas ~ DIS, Copenhagen, Spring 2016
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