If you don’t have a whole lot of experience starting an adventure, and doing something crazy, it may feel overwhelming in the beginning. Where the hell do I start? You may ask yourself. Or maybe you have an idea, but the obstacles lying in your path seem daunting.
Fret not, starting out on a trip is actually significantly easier than you think. Once you’ve got an idea in mind, turning it into a reality is perfectly doable, so long as you’re willing to exert the effort. By breaking it down into three steps we can find out that planning a big trip, even a multi-country one, really isn’t as hard as it seems.
You have your place in mind I trust? Ok great! Let’s get started. I’m assuming you’ve already checked ticket prices, and you’ve found them to be manageable. The next step is a Visa.
If you’re from a Western country, most countries will not require you to get a Visa. However, you want to be very clear on this. Try not to not only find government websites, but also read firsthand accounts of other travelers. Visa requirements can change at any time, especially in less developed countries.
A quick note on Visas for Europe. Many European countries fall under a single Visa (called Schengen). For an American, that means you’ll only be able to spend a total of three months in any Schengen area. For example, even you if you visit France, Poland, and Germany, they will all add towards your ninety day total.
2. Three Reason to Travel Alone
To be honest, I’m not the person who should be writing about this subject. I’m horribly biased and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon. See the thing is, I’ve never traveled with another person in my life. If I have an adventure, I cook it up and do it. This has always worked well for me, here’s why.
First, you’re not always going to be able to find someone to go on a trip with. If the choice is being doing it alone, and not going, well I hope you make the right decision!
Secondly, part of going on an adventure is meeting new people. If you have a friend with you, it’s going to be easier to hang out with him and not enjoy fresh faces. Meeting people, especially if they speak a different language, can seem daunting. If your friend is there, you’ll be way less likely to go out of your way.
Third, once you get there, you and your friend may have radically different ideas about how to have fun. Personally, I never get excited about museums. I would rather walk around on the street and go to random bars.
If your friend is interested in different things, it can cast a wet blanket over the whole trip. Neither of you is going to want to do the others activity. Then if you compromise and split it down the middle, each of you is not going to be have as much fun as you would alone.
3. Ignoring the Critics
What’s the difference between a vacation and an adventure? A vacation is safe, it’s the type of thing that everyone nods approvingly about and says:
“Oh man, that’s going to be awesome! I wish I could go.”
Then there is an adventure. This is when you head off into uncharted territory to really discover something new. This is something that many people will never do, and they will be quick to express their dissent.
“It sounds really cool, but is it safe?”
“Are you sure, that doesn’t sound like it will be much fun..”
Ignoring these people is a crucial step in any large adventure. People who don’t support you on your adventure don’t deserve to be taken seriously. Likely, they have a limited view of the world. There’s simply no reason to give them any credit. The simplest test to see whether you’re going on a vacation, or an adventure, is to watch the expressions on people’s faces. If you tell them your plans, and they smile lazily; vacation. If you tell them your plans, and their eye brows shoot up; ding, ding, ding, ADVENTURE!
Other People’s Experiences
While you’re looking for information, it’s important to ignore the bad. Look, the deal is, no matter WHERE you go, there is going to be someone who has had a bad experience there and written about it. You can’t listen to these naysayers. If you want to go somewhere, it doesn’t matter what experience someone else had.
Your Visa and plane ticket are the two most important logistical details. The rest is icing. In the true spirit of adventure, pack light! Whatever climate your heading to, pack less than you think you’ll need and it will be just the right amount of stuff. If you don’t have a backpack yet, I have some suggestions for you. What I’ve found to be most important is that you can take it carry on. After preparing your whole trip, imagine how much it would suck to lose your luggage because of some stupid airline.