10 reasons why you need to go travelling | Travel Inspiration

10 reasons why you need to travel_deborahbazeleywanderlust

Having trouble getting beyond your fears and stepping out onto the road? Then this post is for you.

I cannot count the number of times people – particularly women – ask me about my backpacking adventures and declare, “I wish I could do that, but I’m too scared/anxious/single/frugal.”

And I completely relate to this. When I said that I wanted to travel South America by myself, a significant number of people thought that I was either utterly insane or downright stupid. People genuinely thought that the only way I could travel somewhere like Brazil was to go either with a boyfriend or a group of friends. I am also someone who is very cautious with money, and who suffers with anxiety. I don’t come from money and my parents didn’t pay for my trip – I had barely been on holiday abroad, let alone visited exotic locations and embarked on long-haul flights. All of this meant that travelling seemed like an impossibility.

But you know what? I went. I saw. I conquered.

And I was fine.

In fact, backpacking changed my life in so many spectacular ways that I was more than fine – I was fantastic.

So, want some quick inspirational points as to why you need to stop putting your travel dreams and go for it? Read on:

1. I hear, “I wish I had gone travelling” so many times. But I have never heard anyone say, “I wish I had never gone travelling – it was a complete waste of time.” Have you? Nope, didn’t think so.

2. Self-esteem. Once upon a time, an ex of mine declared that I would never travel by myself because I wasn’t capable of looking after myself in a foreign country; that I would be overcome by my anxiety within five minutes. And I kinda believed him. However, after eight countries + years of hitchhiking, trekking and travelling solo, I know in my bones just how damn capable and independent I am.

There is nothing in this world that I cannot do or accomplish if I set my mind to it.”

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Traveling with contact lenses & glasses: A Quick Guide


Should you take monthlies or dailies? How much contact lens solution should you take? Should you take your usual glasses?

Before I embarked on my Round The World adventure, I asked my optician what he thought and his advice served me well so I thought I would share it with you:

Monthlies vs. dailies

The first piece of information my optician parted to me was that if you are happy with your lenses, stick with them. Travelling with lenses you’ve never tried or tested before is risky because eyes can be very sensitive, and it could be one or two months before you realise that a new pair is causing problems.

However, if you’re reading this with plenty of time to spare and have the opportunity to try a more travel-friendly lens, definitely consider the following:

  • If you wear monthlies, opt for a pair that you can sleep in. Long days that roll on well into the sociable night, overnight buses, and air conditioning make 8 hour lenses less practical. You want to ensure that if you accidentally fall asleep in your lenses or if you have a long day out, you won’t be left gouging your eyes out.
  • Dailies are great for backpacking trips lasting three to four months, especially where sanitation is poor and quality contact lens solution is difficult to buy. Bottles of solution will only weigh you down, even if they’re travel sized, and dailies are more hygienic than monthlies. Plus, if you lose or damage a lens it’s not as troublesome as you’ll be due a new pair the next day.
  • My optician recommended that for a year-long trip I should continue using my monthlies. He didn’t think that I would want to carry a large expensive box of lenses backpacking. My monthlies took up next to no room, and I carried two bottles of solution to last me four month until I could buy more.
  • Dailies can be almost double the price of monthlies. For me, the bottom line was that I couldn’t justify the extra expense when my monthlies were working just fine.

I wore monthlies for the entirety of my trip. My only regret is that I didn’t upgrade to a pair that could be worn night and day (24hrs).

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Should I take a laptop, phone or tablet travelling?

Which electronic device should you take travelling_

I remember agonising for weeks about what to electronic device to take backpacking with me. I didn’t want to take my phone as it was new, and I was initially only going to be travelling for 6 months to a year (as it turned out, by the time I returned my “brand new” phone was an ancient brick hahaha!). I didn’t want to take my laptop as it was heavy, but I also wanted to be able to back up my photos easily and run my new blog.

At the time I thought that there must be a one-size-fits all policy, but after more than 2 years of travelling, and having had the experience of both living somewhere and backpacking, I have a much better understanding.

Answer the following questions and read my solutions, and you will be able to determine what’s right for you.

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How to choose your destination | First Time Backpacker Series


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.


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How to travel (successfully!) with a friend or partner in 5 simple steps

Photo credit: Ian Schneider

Photo credit: Ian Schneider

Many women don’t feel ready to do the whole “solo female travel” thing on their first foreign adventure, and so opt to travel with a friend or partner.

It always seems great at first – excited conversations about exotic lands and expensive tours start flying, you plan the basic logistics and you both start packing your bags.

However, without proper foresight, things can quickly go downhill. I have witnessed far too many long-standing friendships and relationships fall apart in a haze of arguments and disagreements on the road.

It’s important to understand that being best friends does not automatically equal perfect travel buddies.

However, with a few easy questions and some simple considerations, you can quickly work out whether or not you will be good travel partners.

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