How to be sure to make the right choice?
It is never easy to be sure to choose the right countries and determine how you will travel. I advise you to spend time on this planning part because it is she who will determine the rest of your actions and your preparation. You will discover how to plan the main lines of your trip, the right questions to ask yourself, the things to remember or how to make the right choices to ensure the success of your trip.
1) Choose destinations
The first question to answer is rather simple: where do you want to go?
You probably want to see the world and travel to as many countries as possible. Who would not want it? For the moment, try to focus on the places you dream to see and prioritize your desires. Remember, we have a lifetime to travel!
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Which countries do you dream of visiting? United States, Brazil, Kenya, Iceland, Australia …?
- Which environments do you want to find? City, countryside, jungle, desert, beach, mountain …?
- What culture to experiment? Latin, Asian, developed the country, Middle Eastern …?
- What activities do you want to do? Water sports, trekking, culinary discovery …?
Your interests and your budget will be the two essential determinants for choosing your destinations.
If you leave for several years, it is not necessary to know all the countries in advance. On the other hand, it is important to know where you will start your journey and prepare an approximate itinerary. This will allow you to get better prepared for your equipment, visas, your budget, work, etc.
Before leaving for my trip to South America, I knew that I would start with Colombia, ending with Argentina. I wanted to stay in warm places, always near the sea, which made my life easier for my bag. I knew the cost of living in each country. Colombia or Ecuador was really cheap, but Brazil or Argentina would ask for a bigger budget. Finally, I knew that there would be no visa problems because I could easily stay at least three months in each country.
Know in advance the countries where you want to go, facilitate your work of preparation and you avoid disappointments once on the spot: visa problem, country too expensive for your budget or bad season to work.
There are more touristic countries than others and we are logically attracted by so-called easy and high-profile destinations, such as Bali, Thailand, New York or Barcelona. Without question, these are places to visit. But from my experiences, I find that less touristic places are more rewarding and the relationship with the local population often more honest and interesting.
I loved getting lost in the island of Java ( see my story in Indonesia ) with a scooter, not a tourist on the horizon, discover the countryside and meet local super warm. If you already have some travel experiences, I suggest you go off the beaten track and explore lesser-known but more authentic regions.
If you run out of ideas for destinations, know that you can find suggestions everywhere: travel magazines, travel blogs, YouTube, television, podcasts, your entourage, etc.
Take a look here for more ideas:
2) Take care of the climate
Whatever your weather, cold/hot, mountain/beach… you will find a shoe to your foot. The world is vast and very contrasted! To avoid unpleasant surprises, it is important to check the climate of the desired place during your preparation.
There are three reasons for this:
- The climate is not necessarily the one we imagine (different seasons, microclimate)
- Prepare your backpack according to the climate
Confirm your choice between your expectations and the reality
In France, we have a temperate climate, but this is not the case everywhere, on the contrary! Inverted seasons, monsoon, cyclone season … look at the weather risks of the countries where you want to go before you decide. Going to the Philippines between September and November during the typhoon season is not a great idea given the risks involved.
Although these are general observations, they often prove to be consistent, especially for periods that must be avoided. My advice is to always take a look at the climate when you set up your itinerary to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Knowing the countries you want to visit as well as the climate in the target areas, you can set up a travel itinerary. It is important to have a general idea of the direction you will take and the sequence of countries. A kind of thread. There are no rules regarding your itinerary, you are free to go in the direction you want, to go back or zigzag, the main thing is to make a trip that suits you, according to your wishes.
The shorter your trip, the more important a route is. On the other hand, if you leave indefinitely, it can be really more vague, because you have a lot more time. The unforeseen and changes in plans will be legion.
Here are some tips for setting up the itinerary:
• Use maps, paper or digital on Google Maps, this will allow a better visualization
• Determine the key and unmissable stages of your journey
• Determine the key dates: flight, imperatives, events or return date
• To estimate the distances and means of transport available, the site rome2rio.com is perfect for that
• Leave flexibility to your itinerary, the unforeseen is inherent to the trip
This is probably the most fun part of a trip, so enjoy it. Dream and plan your trip without a fuss!
4) Ensuring the security of the countries in question
Have you ever heard the proverb “A wise traveler is worth two”? Well, I just invent it, but nothing truer!
You can go to a country at random, without doing any research and see what happens, haphazardly luck. But for inexperienced travelers, I do not recommend it. On the contrary, you have to do some research before you go and find out if the level of risk in the countries you want to visit is acceptable. Indeed, to go for three months in Thailand or three months in Libya, it is not the same! The first reflex to have is to look at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It is kept up-to-date and shows you the risks related to all the countries of the world, whether they are safe, political or sanitary. Be aware that the site tends to be pessimistic and aggravate the situation on-site. It is imperative to combine this official information with a return “field”. That is information from people who live locally or have recently traveled there. The reality is sometimes far removed from the image conveyed by the media or official bodies.
The best sources of information can be found on travel forums and blogs. I always recommend taking a tour on travelforum.com which is constantly powered by French-speaking travelers around the world. You can even ask questions if you need reassurance. Regarding blogs, nothing better than using Google by typing queries such as “COUNTRY COUNTRY security trip” or “COUNTRY COUNTRY travel blog” to have direct feedback from bloggers. Take a look at the date of the trip, to be certain that their story does not date too long.
As we discussed in the first chapter of the book, the world is much safer than we think. Just make sure your back is in checking the security status of a country, after that, do not ask too many questions.
5) Your plane tickets
A majority of travelers opt for the plane to travel, you will surely be part of it! For brave hitchhikers, walkers or other cyclists, skip to the next section!
Three options are available to you regarding airline tickets:
- Take only one-way trips
- Take a return ticket
- Take a “round the world ticket”
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, but the choice mainly concerns your type of trip and your constraints.