So, one of my favourite things about talking to other travellers is finding out why they travel. Why they have this urge to jump on a plane and see everything. For some, that’s the reason; to see everything. For others it’s cultural, and for many it’s cliché, like finding yourself, or losing yourself in something new; but they’re cliché for a reason. They’re cliché because they’re true.
For me, I travel because I want to see everything, there is a world out there and I don’t want to miss it. When I decided to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, I did it because of a boyish-ness inside me that sees something and wants to climb it. It’s like seeing a tall tree in a park, you want to climb it because it’s there, because it’s climbable. I’m like that, but with every country in the world. My name is Matt Eastland-Jones and I am a 21 year old travel blogger at Matt’s Travel Blog based in Oxford, England.
As a student, both time, and money, is a juggling game. A lot of people think that as a student you can only really travel during summer outside of term. But that is simply not the case. My girlfriend and I visited both Rome, Berlin and Budapest during term time this academic year, and I jetted off to Uganda just weeks before my midterms, it’s just a matter of knowing your timetable and preparing for a 4/5 day break from university. As long as you’re up-to-date with university work, and you’ve got the funds, you’re golden! But because of these restrictions, travel is a little less spontaneous and a little more meticulous. For some that may take a bit of the beauty away from it, but I personally love researching and planning almost as much as I do traveling. My process is split into 4 stages; budgeting, researching, planning, and lastly, doing.
Budgeting is a pretty important key step, working out how much money you have to spend for your trip, whether that is a fixed sum for the whole trip or whether you plan on raising additional funds whilst travelling by working. That’s the most important thing, how much are you working with.
Once you’ve got your grand sum, you need to split it into 4 categories; travel (flights, transfers, etc), accommodation, food and drink, and lastly disposable money for tours / activities / additional fun stuff. Depending on the location, where your traveling to, and where your traveling from, the proportion of how you delegate those funds will vary. For example, flights to Thailand are relatively expensive, but once there other costs such as food, accommodation, and travel is pretty cheap. Comparatively, if you’re traveling to Europe then flights tend to be a fair bit cheaper, but food, accommodation and activities are more expensive.
There are however some simple ways to make you money stretch further. Walking is free and public transport is so much cheaper than taxis. AirBnb can be much cheaper than hotels, and hostels cheaper than both. Flight prices vary massively thought the year, so get tickets for the off-peak season and book in advance!
Following on from you excel spread sheets and finances, is research. This is where you can really sink your teeth in and pour hours over your laptop reading blog posts, watching YouTube videos, and flicking through Lonely Planet maps and guides. One fundamental though for research is making sure you research a breadth of topics. There is no point researching the 10 best coffee shops in Berlin if you have no clue how to navigate the metro system. Don’t just research the obvious, research the currency, cost, weather, transport, language, culture, social cues, do’s and don’ts. This is when you can really get excited about your trip!
Right, so this is when you put your budgeting and researching to the test, this is when you plan your itinerary. This can be as detailed, or open, as you want it to be. I like to make vague plans for how to spend each day; so for example, do these things one day, and these things another day, and then just do the days in whatever order I fancy when I’m out there. This gives you the flexibility to change plans, but also gives structure so you make sure you do everything you want to do!
There is nothing more to say, you’ve budgeted, researched, and planned. You know what you’re doing, where you’re going and what you want to do there. You’re ready, now go enjoy yourself!
I’d now like to leave you with 5 key pieces of information, if you take anything from this blog post, let it be this.
- Carry on, always, saves you time and money
- If in doubt, bring your camera, you’ll regret it if you don’t
- But don’t always have your camera out, make sure you enjoy the moment
- Never be self-conscious, nervous or embarrassed in a new place, get stuck in
- You can either be a tourist or a traveller, be a traveller, you’ll understand the difference when you are one
Good luck with your next trip, and remember, Live The Adventure!
Find Matt here!
Matt’s Travel Blog – http://mattstravelblog.ghost.io
Twitter – @mattstravelblog
Snapchat – @mattstravelblog
Instagram – @mattejones