So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to take the plunge and go on a backpacking adventure.
But then you’re left wondering where the hell to go: do you go inter railing in Europe or partying in South East Asia? Do you go off the grid in South America or take a tour bus round New Zealand? Or do you do a bit of everything?
And then you start to consider and weigh up all of your worries and fears about travelling for the first time, and suddenly you have no clue of where to go.
The first point that I will make is that you should do your best to not stress out about this. The process should be fun – make the planning a part of the adventure!
Here are some simple and easy steps to help you get the ball rolling:
1) Write out a list of places that you have always wanted to go
I know this is elementary, but it’s where I started when I first started planning my backpacking adventure, and it was what I kept coming back to when I was plucking up the courage to book my flights. I added to this list when I was tired and miserable at work, when I was sitting on the train, when I was tucked up in bed at the end of the day – it was an outlet for my dreams and wanderlust in an otherwise dull world.
Imagine that you have no budget and no limitations. Forget your fears of solo female travel and no-go areas in foreign cities.
Dig up every place, activity, exotic animal, and tourist destination that you have ever wished to experience in your life. Write everything down – no detail is too small and nothing is too extreme.
2) Get on Pinterest
Gather pictures and ideas, and organise them into location-based inspiration boards.
See which areas fill up the quickest.
Are there any locations in particular that you are drawn to?
Have you been pinning places that you had never even thought of, leading you to a whole new dream?
The images I have been pinning lately are photos of Italy and France, so I’m guessing that’s where my heart is telling me to go!
3) Pay the travel agent a visit
I wouldn’t recommend getting travel advice and booking on the same day, but travel agents can be a great source of advice. Chances are, one of the agents will have travelled to where you are thinking of going, and they’ll have great ideas for possible routes and budgeting.
I recommend STA for cheap flights and backpacking information, though be careful with add-ons such as their money card and insurance policy as they aren’t always the best value for money!
Check out my article “Should I book through a travel agent?” for more tips and tricks.