Things to consider when planning your trip

There is a lot to think about when you are planning a trip. Whether it’s booking accommodations, finding a decent flight, or finding out the cost and location of things. It can cause you to overlook some other important things. Below are some things you shouldn’t forget to think about when going abroad.

Scams

Traveling isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes, you will need to be smart enough to read situations really well to recognize when you are being conned. Both in Asia and Europe, this was something I encountered. Whether it’s taxi drivers in Bangkok telling you certain sites are closed so that they can take you somewhere else instead, or some dude from Cyprus showing genuine interest in you to eventually take you to a club in some grand conspiracy to rob you of every dime you got. There is even a chance you could be led into a Japanese brothel somewhere in Tokyo when you just wanted to find a coffee shop. LUCKILY FOR ME, I never fell into any of those traps. Amen, advice given to me was to read the news and look up stories of people who have been scammed in all sorts of ways, so I was able to avoid having any of these bad stories myself. There are lots of testimonies online you can run through to get an idea of what to look out for, such as someone coming up to you randomly asking for a cigarette or inviting you to join them for drinks. There are a lot of really nice and generous people out there, but it’s always good to play your cards safe. #DoYourResearch

The price of rice

In an extension to the above point, getting an understanding of how much things cost and how much you can expect to spend will save you a lot of grief. The tricky parts are those fees you rarely think of such as a ferry tax, departure tax, and all sorts of other miscellaneous expenses you did not expect. So it would be a good idea to look at what your trip will entail and have part of your budget put aside for that, so just in case there are any surprise fees you are forced to pay you won’t need to break a sweat.

Having a contingency plan

Imagine leaving your card in an ATM, then later realizing you’ve been robbed of $1000 bucks lol. In Europe, my credit card had to get canceled, my own fault. Now here I am, semi-panicked,  like shit, I’m screwed. I only had a limited amount of cash left on me, and it would be a while before my debit cards would be up and running again. I had to call my bank and have them send me emergency cash while I was in Istanbul, then have them mail me a new card. I had a couple stops to make in the next few days, so I had to time it perfectly so that I would comfortably be in Serbia and Croatia then arrive in Amsterdam where the package would be delivered at my hostel. This was pretty frustrating but in hindsight was quite easy. The stressful part was when I was in Istanbul trying to collect the money from Western Union, my middle name was on my Western Union account, but not on my passport. I had to call and have that all sorted out before I could actually get my money. Nobody in the Turkish bank could speak English well enough so you can imagine how it went. Make sure you account for emergency situations. Definitely, talk to your bank before traveling, let them know where you will be and how long you will be there. Learn the procedures for gaining access to cash where you are. Hide money in your suitcase, in socks, in random pockets of your shirt, etc. You get the idea. Have a plan.

Holiday Calendar

I expected to binge drink the entire time I was in Thailand for the first time. To my surprise, in the middle of the week, it was Buddha’s birthday! That meant that there was no alcohol available anywhere, and restaurants and most establishments closed early leaving me with nothing to do that night. So it almost felt like a waste of a day since I hadn’t prepared for that. Again, if I had chosen to go to Beijing during their New Year instead of the Philippines, I would have also had a pretty dry time since it is a national holiday and most things are also closed, making it difficult to find something to do. Granted it all depends on why you are going somewhere, but it’s worth checking if your trip falls on any special holidays. Vice-versa, your trip could also fall on a holiday which could be great.

Travel time

This depends on your preference, but the least favorite part for me is long drives, ferry rides, and flights. Some like it, I don’t. 5 hours in a bus sometimes crammed with a bunch of other people isn’t always my favorite thing. There are times where it was cool if I met other people who were down to chat, granted I was in the mood for it myself. Have a small book to keep you occupied, update your music on your phone with stuff you won’t get bored of for a while, or just have something to do, even if it’s packing a handheld gaming device. It can help you get through those long rides.

Having snacks is also key. You might not be able to stop anywhere that has food for a long time and you may not always like what you see. Pack some medicine if you get carsick and/or if you wanna get some sleep. Quite useful for when I was busing overnight from London to Paris.

Planning a trip, especially for the first time, can be overwhelming. Even more so if you are traveling alone. To maximize your experience and cut out bullshit that you don’t wanna deal with, follow these four easy steps for planning any trip. Happy travels!

If you have any questions about this post or travel in general, feel free to send me a message!

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Multi-passionate West Indian-Canadian living in South Korea. Artist, Teacher, Traveler.

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