To Planning A Year Off
In two short months we will be quitting our jobs, saying goodbye to our friends and families (and puppies!) and going on an adventure of a lifetime. Road tripping America, Christmas in Costa Rica, volunteering in Bogota, island hopping in Thailand and beyond – we have an amazing year ahead of us that we will be sharing with you. Here are our 5 tips to planning a year off – we hope they are helpful!
1. GO WIH THE FLOW:
Time is fast approaching for us to leave on our year of travels. What seemed like a far distant plan is now only two months away (eeeeek!). The year leading up to going has consisted of plans changing, destinations changing and the dates of departures changing . We have found, whilst planning a big trip, you just have to go with the flow. Plans change, what you are dreaming about doing might change and flights can also change (thanks Delta!). You might start the planning thinking you wanted to travel around South East Asia for a year, but then after a bit more research, and lots of blog/Instagram reading, you might decide you want to spend half the time in South East Asia and then head over to South America – and that is totally fine. Some of the best experiences are the unexpected ones. If you want to spend an extra week in a city because you have just found out their yearly Carnival is in a few days – do it, it’s your trip!
2. SPEAK TO PEOPLE:
We have found in the run up to going away, everyone will want to tell you where you should go, how long you should spend there and what you should and shouldn’t do. It’s great to talk to as many people as possible about your travels, some of the best places you visit will be on other peoples recommendations, and fellow travellers tips can prove invaluable in new countries. Ask people about how they got around, how much a beer cost and could they recommend any great places to stay/eat. We did this recently when we visited Rome. A work colleague told us to go to a place called Trastevere and have lunch. We asked the receptionist in the hotel and she recommended a restaurant there called Grazielle and Graziella and it was AMAZING!
In the same thought, remember that everyone will want something different out of their travels, and just because someone did their trip a certain way, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. There’s not a one-rule book for travelling – that’s the best thing about it!
3. USE SKY SCANNER
We have booked pretty much all of our flights for this trip with Skyscanner.com. You can search by country rather than city, and use their monthly planner to get the cheapest dates! Sky Scanner made the whole booking flights process so much easier, and because we were so flexible on dates, we have been able to plan parts of our trip around the cheapest flight options, which has really kept our air travel costs down!
We did speak to people at STA and Fight Centre, but found that it was more cost effective and easy enough to do our own – plus we were so indecisive that we probably would have driven them mad! Flexibility is key when travelling on a budget as flight prices can vary by hundreds of pounds, just a couple of days apart. Also, sometimes it is a lot cheaper to take slightly longer routes. For example, when we were looking at flights from Colombia to South East Asia, they were coming up at thousands of pounds per person. However we found we could fly to New York from Cartagena for £150.00 and then New York to Bangkok for £250.00 –saving us well over a thousand pounds each!
4. PLAN TO NOT PLAN
I know, a massive contradiction! One of the aspects we found hardest of prepping for this trip was not knowing how much to “plan”. Neither of us have ever done this sort of travelling before and a lot of people we have spoken to said “don’t plan to much and don’t try to fit too much in to a small space of time.” Being a (slight) control freak, meant that there was no way we were going to pack a small bag, fly to the other side of the world and see where life took us – not that there’s anything wrong with doing it this way, it’s just not us. We decided that certain parts of the trip needed to be more thought out, ie Road tripping around America. Cost wise it just wasn’t feasible for us to show up and hope for the best in such an expensive country, also we are staying with Family at different points in the trip, so we needed to be able to let them know when we would be with them. So for that part of the trip, we know pretty much where we will be, and where we will be staying. Booking.com has been our savior for this (and all of our ever changing plans!), and we have reserved rooms – all with free cancellation – for the majority of our USA adventure. With the other parts of our trip we have been careful to not plan too much. We have booked a room for the first night or two of each destination, and know when we will be entering/leaving the country, but apart from that, (and lots of pinterest ideas of places to see!) we will be doing whatever we feel like doing whilst we are there!
5. GO WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
Money. Money. Money.
The biggest blocker of people following their dreams to travel the world. For a long time money was our biggest blocker too. Online you read blogs, and watch videos and the most common thing that people research is “how much does it cost to travel the world”. Do not Google this! We felt like cancelling our plans after reading a blog that told us you need £40,000 for a yearlong trip! Of course having that amount of money would be amazing, and you could go to tones of places, stay in the best hotels and eat in the most expensive restaurants. But you don’t need this amount of money to have the best trip, and experience the world. You do need to have a rough idea of how much things cost in countries, be able to afford flights, and have enough money to support yourself whist you are away, but depending on how frugally you can live, that doesn’t need to be a lot. Also remember that not all cities around the world are as expensive as places like London! A beer may cost £5.00 here, but in Bogota it’s more like 50p! There is no set amount of money that you need to go travelling, save up, research your trip and go with what you have! Money shouldn’t stop you living your travelling dreams, and as cliché as it sounds, if we can do it, then you definitely can to!
We hope you liked this post and that you join us for our next one – 10 Top Tips – New York on a Budget.