Tuesday, 10 June 2014 10:45

Before Traveling. Prepare for your travels

“I can’t go on my own?” This is one of those phrases that are beginning to rile me. You can, you would just rather not. The first thing to establish when planning your trip is ‘who is going?’ Loneliness is a little like the red devil on your shoulder when trying to convince yourself that you can see the world independently. The angel on the other side however, is telling you to consider the incredibly attractive, single, like-minded individual who will, at the last minute, sit in the vacant plane seat next to you where you will chat about all the things you have in common and eventually get married.

So realistically it is more likely to be a crying child or deodorant-hating chatterbox but those individuals and opportunities are out there, on every long bus ride and in every new hostel room. In actual fact I even know someone who met her now husband on a bus in Australia.

The other option is to go with someone, on the plus side, you can’t be lonely and you are guaranteed a friend. However, doesn’t everyone have a story about a friend who went travelling with their friend and they fell out or broke up and have never spoken again? It is important to note however that simply because you chose to travel with a friend does not mean that you are not travelling the world independently.

So both options have their advantages and having seen areas of the world both individually and with my awesome friend, and survived both, this time I’m trying it with the boyfriend. Naturally I have heard, both whispered and to my face, peoples enquiries as to whether it will last. It doesn’t help that my brother returned home from a year away without the girl he left with. Well, is it really worth missing out on the experience just in case you break up and as established earlier in the unfortunate event that a break up occurs what better place to be alone, than surrounded by those attractive, single, like-minded individuals. Sadly, and just for the record the married couple on the bus ended in divorce but that’s not really the point.

Having decided to go, it’s now time to sift through the masses of websites, books and companies who can take you to the paradise you crave. Amazingly and frustratingly each and every one of them can create the perfect trip for you. It can be a bit of a headache at first but taking the time to look over different tours and gather together various prices will help you get the best deal in the end as travel agents may know a lot but they may not know everything about the places you want to visit. Any travel agent worth their currency will be pleased to learn what you have to tell them about a place as they can use this in the future.

People deal with planning in different ways, spontaneously or meticulously. It is worth mentioning that these two planning strategies do not always work together in perfect harmony, as the boyfriend and I have found with our amazing trip together almost over before it had began.

Spontaneous booking has always favoured me well, you are guaranteed to have an incredible experience whatever you do because that is what travel is about so sometimes just ‘seeing what happens’ can be the most liberating of experiences. In short, just leave it up to fate there is a lot less stress. Not everyone can live this way which is why proper planning is also important and I have to agree, only slightly, that meticulous planning was beneficial for this trip. We were booking more than one tour and co-ordinating dates actually resulted in a migraine.

The other hugely important factor to take into account when booking tours is to work out actually how much the local payment is going to cost you. The boyfriend and I got giddy one evening with tours that seemed really good value and by the time we had added on local payments we added nearly fifteen hundred pounds each to our budget. It was then crippling trying to decide which tours we could and couldn’t do.

“You do know that the Galapagos Islands are expensive?” This response resulted in serious loss of commission. The travel agent we went to first not only belittled us and thought she knew it all, she then realised she was getting nowhere, most likely due to my glares and sarcastic responses, and so decided the only way to get back on track was to flirt with the boyfriend whilst I took a phone call.

What this story is meant to say is that when making your booking remember that you are about to drop some serious cash and so do not accept anything less than perfect service. The lovely lady in the travel agent a few doors down, which was actually not a student or young person based travel agent, will be a friend for life and deserved every penny of the commission she received.

Paperwork done? Not quite but nearly there. Visas and Insurance. Simple advice, most visas’ can now be obtained directly from the country’s website so there is no need to spend money getting someone else to do it. You will also benefit from the exchange rate, possibly for a limited time only though so get in there quick.

So now you’ve started, you can take a well earned break and celebrate in a sweet-tasting pint (schooner for the Aussies) of cider before you have to think about jabs and how much work you need to undertake before you leave for your travels.

Travel & Food

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