Many beautifull countries stay almost untouched, simply because people don’t even think about going there. Also because they have a bad reputation. Countrys like wide parts of Africa, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan (of course, some of them for good reason.)…. Recently traveling them got more popular though (atleast some of them). That’s a great way to get off the mainstream and meet some tourism-unspoiled locals. However, some points to consider, to shape your unique trip:
Number of countries?
That’s about the most important point to consider when planning. Rule of thumb is atleast 1 month per country. Everything below doesn’t make sense. If you travel countries in less than one month you barely get a feeling for them. Altough I think 1 month is way to less time. When you are on a budget and have a set time limit you need to somehow stick to your pre-made plan. So consider carefully, what are your must sees, and what can be done on a short holiday later on. Rushing from one sight to another is about the worst thing you can do. It’s probably nice for about 2 or 3 months, but you will likely get a “travel burnout”. Which means you can’t take in what you see anymore and get unenthusiastic. If that happens: dump the plan, stay where you are and just do yourself good for a few days (or weeks). My recommendation is to choose a few “must see countrys” and a few “can see countrys”. If you get bored in your must see country you can spend more time in one of your can see countries. If you want to stay longer in your must see country you can skip a can see country.
How much to plan?
Another really important point. Some travellers may have a weekly plan for their budget and location. Others just book a one way ticket with a few destinations in their mind. If you have a detailed plan you’re on the safe side, since you’ll never end up somewhere you don’t want to be. On the other hand, as mentioned above, you are more likely to get the “travel burnout”. If you just have a rough plan you are more likely to run past a lot of beautifull places. Simply because you have never even heard about them. The reward is the feeling of absolute freedom and indepence. You just get up and decide spontaneously what you are going to do today. If you like the place you’re at you stay, if not, you leave. A mix of both is probably the best way to go.
How to move?
Taking the round the world ticket? Getting single tickets, which gives you some more flexibility? Tramping, never really knowing whats coming next, but rewarded with a whole lot of great stories? Buying a boat, probably with some diving equipment, for almost unlimited freedom? Buying a Campervan, or a 4×4 vehicle, to go anywhere without ever carrying a backpack, irrespective of hotels and etc.? Going by bycicle, for slow and intense travelling, while still beeing mobile? Or the real hardcore way of going as far as your bare feet can carry you? Actually I’d like to try all of these. Every single one has it’s unique benefits.
Once in a lifetime opportunities:
If you come home and all you did was getting from sight to sight you missed a whole lot. There are many things to do, besides taking pictures.
- Festivals: Holi Festival in India, Loy Krathong in Thailand, the Ice and Snow Festival in China, Oktoberfest in Germany, Burning Man in Nevada, USA… Those are probably hard to time but leave you with stunning memories.
- Voluntary work: The best way to get to know locals. Also a good way to broaden one´s horizon and it leaves you with a good feeling.
- Discovering new sports: Almost a must do, especially if youre heading towards Australia/Asia, is diving. Once people realize how colorful the underwater world is they get addicted almost instantly. For those that don’t trust into a bottle filled with air on one´s back, snorkling is an option. Others are maybe more interested in a cooking class. Yea cooking is sport!
- Websites like Couchsurfing, HelpX, WWOOFING etc.: Should be well known but i’ll give a short explanation anyway. Couchsurfing: Sleeping on a strangers couch in exchange for conversation. Great way to meet locals. HelpX: You help your hosts for a set amount of time in exchange for accommodation and/or food. Great way to meet locals, staying for a longer time in an expensive country and getting an insight into different jobs. WWOOFING: Live and learn on organic farms, with like minded people.
- Learning foreign languages: If you go to South America it makes sense to take a spanish course at the beginning of your trip. If you are in rural regions you can’t expect everyone to speak english. Also a great opportunity to find some like minded travellers.
As always you are very welcome to leave additions/suggestions/opinions in the comments!
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