(As seen in the March '22 Issue)
Q: I will be turning 18 in a few weeks and want to travel a bit before going to University. Any tips for someone who has never been out of the UK before?
A: First off, I am beyond excited that you want to travel! It truly is one of the most beneficial things you could do for yourself in your youth. Since it can seem a bit scary at this time I’ll give you a few tips for general worldwide travel.
There is so many more tips and information I could give you so check out the more in depth answer on our website as well as All the Details Podcast episode 1 on Spotify or Youtube!
1. Where to go and how to go.
Look at places around you. Depending on where you are in the UK (or elsewhere), costs of transportation will vary. I suggest to find a few countries close together that you can go to within the same trip that are relatively close to you. This will minimize travel costs. Decide roughly where you would like to go and if it is cheaper/quicker to do so via train, car, coach, or plane. Planes and trains are usually a good bet if you want a quick transportation time.
When Google searching flights make sure your browser is in “incognito” mode. This will limit the remembered/recognized search history that makes Google analytics show you increased flight prices. What I mean is that on a non-incognito window, Google analytics will realize you’re searching flights to go from London to Paris and will start to show you higher prices and more excessive travel ads. Incognito windows are a great option to make sure not ALL of the information you are getting is filtered.
2. Who are you going with?
a. Is this a solo trip or a friend trip? Are you traveling with a sibling? The whole family? Establish who you are traveling with. Solo travel is one of the best forms of “self-discovery”. But for a first-timer it can be overwhelming and unfamiliar. If this is the case it could be a better option to travel with a trusted friend or two. Understand that who you travel with will change some aspects of the trip. You will probably have to set more of a plan than if you were solo and make sure everyone is on the same page and prepared. This is in terms of where to stay, sights to see, places to eat (preferences and dietary restrictions), etc. Just remember to be patient and understanding that everyone in the group will have an opinion on where to eat or what to do that day. This is best to plan ahead of time or at least have some options. Let everyone give their idea and then take a group vote. Also remember that it may not be possible to accommodate for everyone but the ultimate goal is to have a good time and be prepared.
b. If you are planning to travel solo take caution and steps to be prepared. Some countries are safer than others so please do your research ahead of time to make sure you are as safe as possible.
TIP: When navigating in an unfamiliar city, wear earbuds and set your directions to voice activated. This will limit the amount you look at your phone, and you’ll seem more confident in where you are going, making you less of a target to dangerous people.
Here are some of my recommended places for solo (or group) traveling:
3. Get to know the location
a. Do a little bit of research on the area you want to travel to. Search for safe parts of town to stay and what kind of accommodation you want, i.e. hostel (great for solo travelers!), shared house or Air BnB, hotel, etc. Of course check out some near by, walking distance, places to eat in case there comes a time you can’t get transportation or you plans fall through. Look for cute hole-in-the wall, authentic eateries!
b. Plan a few sights to see (tourist attractions), a few hidden gem activities, and a few “from a local” recommendations. These can all be looked up on Pinterest (recommended; most common to find travel blogs and real advice!) or Google.
c. If you can, try to find accommodation near a train station or bus stop for convenience. Walk if possible (given it is a safe time of day or you are with a group), and opt to take the bus at night for safety or get a taxi. Remember to use common sense when navigating. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions, however I recommend going into a shop or office building if possible to avoid any potential dangerous people on the street that could take you as vulnerable.
4. Pack smart
a. CHECK THE WEATHER! I know this sounds like common sense but a lot of times we get so caught up in the other aspects of the travel planning we forget not everywhere is the same weather as our home town. Check the weather and check it often to see the general climate and pack accordingly. The less stuff you take the easier it is to get around. If staying in a hostel, or solo traveling, or hoping from place to place, backpacking is a great option! A small suitcase is more manageable if you have a hotel or Air BnB for a few days with an option of transportation.
b. Remember your important documents! Make sure you have a checklist for yourself and everyone in your group regarding travel documents. This includes (but is not limited to) passport, COVID related documents, insurance information, money, emergency contacts, etc. Check the requirements of each airline and city you will be traveling on/to.
5. The ultimate importance is to do your research and to feel prepared. Spontaneity is great but be cautious and do your best to use common sense and stay out of danger. Explore the world and discover yourself!
Don’t forget to tag us in your travel adventures!