Sometimes we all feel like jacking everything in and hitting the road indefinitely. If you’re wondering if you should go travelling, here’s our ten pence on the subject.
Going on holiday is a great way to recharge the batteries and feel like you’re really living life, but travelling…? Well, that’s something else. With a longer time frame and the freedom to follow your nose, a good long term travel trip can literally be the trip of a lifetime (pardon the cliché).
If you’ve got some money in the bank (or even not) and you’re looking at your work rota with a sense of dread, here are some of the best reasons to buy that one way flight and see what happens.
The Carefree Life
Waking up in your room knowing that your only agenda is to find some food and go for a wander. Or lie on the beach. Or just call home to gloat… Yeah, thats the dream.
A carefree existence, making new friends at the drop of a hat, a permanent tan and fun every day. Just some of the reasons why going travelling is a great idea.
In our modern lifestyles, having time to ourselves is a luxury that we often dream of. No more schedules, deadlines, expectations… Just a vague plan to get to point B within the next month. That’s how travelling should be done!
Con – I Have A Job/ Children / Other Commitments
Don’t think you can do the carefree travel lifestyle because you’re climbing the career ladder? Maybe the kids mean that you can’t go far for long?
There are always ways to squeeze in at least a month of quality down time, you’ll just need to plan it a bit better. Christmas holidays in Asia or South America are a great time to escape the dreary European weather (or North American snow), and with proper planning you can wrangle about a month.
If you have children this can be a lot trickier – especially if they are over 4 (in the UK, this is the point where compulsory schooling kicks in). But, working an extra few days either side of a Christmas holiday (taking it up to around 3 weeks) should be OK if you play your cards right!
As for the dog/goldfish/grandparents – someone will look after them until you get back!
Meeting New People
You’ll never meet more people in such a small amount of time than when you’re travelling. Everyone has something in common with you, which is, you are strangers in a far away land. And in fact, locals will often want to get to know you because you’re a stranger from a far away land! You’ll make friends waiting for the bus, sat eating noodles in a side street, in every hotel you arrive in and sometimes just by walking down the road.
If you’re worried about meeting people when you travel, then put that fear from your mind. It’s not if, but how many!
Cons – I’m Not Very Sociable
If you feel like you’re not the sort of person who makes friends easily or you’re a bit shy and introverted, this might be exactly the reason to go travelling. Yes, you’ll meet that extrovert type that you meet everywhere (of course), but equally you will meet so many people that you’re bound to meet people you click with. And, if you’re not liking the vibe somewhere, move to the next place!
Expand Your Horizons
Only ever been on a package tour to the Costas or Cancun? No shame in that, a beach holiday is a great way to get away for a week or so. But… There is nothing like getting lost in your own travels for a few months. You’ll do things you never thought you would, eat food you wouldn’t have ever tried in a chain restaurant in Barcelona, meet people from places that you probably didn’t know existed and maybe even end up in amazing places that no one else has heard of! This is the text book reason why you should go travelling…
Cons – I Get Scared/Anxious Easily
Not too keen on getting out of your comfort zone? Well, maybe that’s why you need to get out of your comfort zone! You can always create a schedule that keeps you within your realms of comfort, such as going from point A to point B to point C with some potential for pit stops or diversions along the way.
If you really do feel that you wouldn’t be able to handle travel alone or ‘independent’, there are plenty of companies who can take you on a scheduled tour or a region with other people. G-Adventures are one of the best known and offer a massive range of adventure tours (link below).
Money Is No Object
Travel is expensive. Really? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Travelling on a budget does mean you have to be more careful with your expenditure. Example: Less speed boat parasailing and more bracing walks up hills, less plush meals in beach side restaurants and more self-catering or street food. But, you can experience so much of a different culture without splashing the cash – so long as you choose your destination wisely.
So if you’re a budget traveller, avoid the USA, France, Italy, the UK, Brazil, Japan and Australia and instead explore Peru, Mexico, Ghana, India, Romania and Indonesia.
Insider tip: CouchSurfing is a great way to get a free bed around the world (although there is a code that you need to follow – in a nutshell, respect your host); and WWOOFING is a fabulous opportunity to work and get digs without shelling out much money (if any).
Cons – I Have No Money
You will need some money to get started. The more the merrier of course, but even with $1000, you can get on the road and see what happens. But, saving money to travel is money well invested.
You might need to do ad hoc work if you’re really on a budget, which kind of takes the carefree bit out of the travel – but it’s not to say that working won’t be fun itself. Check our guide to working your way around the world to prepare for budget travels.
What About Security/Terrorism etc?
Don’t believe the hype. Sure, there are terrible things happening in the world but your chances of getting caught up in them are pretty low. In fact, you are more likely to get hit by falling masonry in your home town then you are getting abducted by terrorists in The Philippines or caught in a mass shooting in the USA. Don’t use the fear of terrorism or whatever to put you off travelling!
Pros – Use Your Head
Avoiding terrorism and unrest is often a case of common sense. Most tourist trail destinations are 99% safe*, with armed guards and infrastructure to prevent attacks. But, if you’re trekking around the Inca trail or South East Asia, your chances of encountering anything more disconcerting than an unsavoury taxi driver are pretty low.
(*no where is 100% safe! – so why worry about it…)
Avoid dangerous areas everywhere, don’t flash your money or expensive items around and respect the locals. You’ll be fine!
Oh and don’t forget your travel insurance!
Tourism Is Killing The Planet
The world’s a big place. If you think that by turning up at Angkor Wat you are going to ruin it, or by visiting turtle nesting sites in Mexico you’re going to help wipe them out, well… Go somewhere else. Yes, most people go to the same places and take the same pictures of themselves doing the same thing – but you don’t have to!
Pros – Eco Tourism
Or, better still volunteer to help with conservation programs! You’ll get to have a holiday and you’ll help save the world…
Still wondering if you should go travelling? Hopefully our pros and cons of going on a long trip will help you make up your mind. Here at GoneTravelling we’re obviously advocates of getting out there and seeing the world, so of course we’re going to say, go for it!
In all our years of travel, from long term trips to shorter weekends, we’ve only ever come back with great memories (and sunburn and the occasional upset stomach). So if you’re not sure if you should go travelling, well, take it from us – if you can you should…
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