How To Travel The World!
There are SO many avenues to choose from when looking to travel. Solo, Friends, Guided tour and more! If you have a desire to travel, YOU CAN DO IT! Follow me, to adventure!
January 1st, 2017 I made a promise to myself that I was going to begin traveling that year. I was 20 years old and had really only been to 3 different states (that I can remember). I dreamt of new lands, new places, new food, new cultures- the incredible feelings overwhelmed me with joy and excitement!! Imagining myself in all the pictures I've ever seen of the world. I knew I wanted that, more than anything in my life, to JUST GO!
Is this you too? You have such a wanderlust you can barley stand it? But you just don't know how to get there? Let me help you my friend.
And today, at the age of 23, I have proudly traveled to Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Ireland, and Thailand. And I am nowhere near finished! Shoot, I still have 187 to go! So if you need some inspiration and how-to, follow me.
Part One: Where?
Firstly, if you've NEVER traveled internationally before, THIS is a very important step! So tell me friend, WHERE in this incredible world do you lust to go to? The awe-inspiring Swiss Alps? The Great safari of Africa? Glacier covered Iceland? Old Eastern Europe, or sipping Italian wine and riding in Gondolas? Where is the place you always imagine when you think of traveling? Having a goal destinations makes it go from a dream to reality! Remember, NO place is more than a plane ride away, and you can and WILL be standing in the place you imagine. Take it from someone who's done it a time or two ;)
Think of the place that makes your heart soar, that makes you want to cry thinking about it, and go for it.
If you know you want to travel, but don't know where just yet, it's ok! Here are some tips on how to fix that:
1. Go with the season! Look at a time of year that is the most gorgeous, most popular, most traveled to, and follow the masses.
See the Northern Lights dance across the sky in Iceland (July-August)
Go swimming in Tropical waters in Thailand (December-April) missing the rainy season is a big plus going this time of year!
Watch Japan bloom into a pink fairytale with famous Cherry Blossoms (March)
Hit India right after the rainy season ends for the lushest greenery! (October)
2. If you want to COMPLETELY immerse yourself in a culture, you can visit during countries famous festival time!
Celebrate St. Patricks Day in Ireland with 11.2 million other travelers. Wear something green for luck, grab a Guinness, and shout "sláinte!" (Mid-March)
Octoberfest in Germany with 6 Million annual travelers. Put on your Dirndl dress, grab a Hefeweisen, and shout "Prost!" (End of October)
Rio Carnival in Brazil celebrates with bright colors, awesome feather, and jeweled fits and 2 million dancin' peeps in the streets (End of February)
Engage in an EPIC tomato flinging, 30,000 people filled food fight at Tomato Festival in Spain (End of August)
If you are in need of some festival inspo, check out this Buzzfeed article! https://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/23-world-festivals-you-wont-want-to-miss
3. Use airlines "search everywhere" feature to find your destination. You can see where the cheapest flight out of the country may take you!
Skyscanner! They have a feature that if you just punch in where you live, you can explore a ton of options of flights to ALL over the world. https://www.skyscanner.com/ (they also have an app)
Hopper (App for phone) They help you find deals to places and explore as well. https://www.hopper.com/
Google Flights: You can pull up a world map and start clicking away! https://www.google.com/flights
Southwest Airlines: Has a similar map feature that shows where they fly (surprisingly a lot of places! Less international but still good for places near the USA)
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand if all else fails, get a map, close your eyes and throw a dart! (or a safer option- close your eyes, spin in a circle and go where your finger lands)
Part2: The Plan
SO, now that you have the, where, part down, its time to begin planning! Get a notebook, title it "My _____ Plans!" and Get to it!! Things to plan out include, but are not limited to:
Things you want to see/ Itinerary
What to pack
Do you want Company?
When looking for flights, consider a few things. Do you need to leave on a SPECIFIC date, or are you a little more flexible? Do you care about layovers, or do you prefer non-stop? First-class or Coach? Which carrier is the best in that region of the world?
Having a flexible date is nice because it costs WAY more money to fly Friday-Monday than Tues-Thursday. If you can leave for a vacation on a Wednesday and return on a Tuesday, you're likely to save $100's! Seriously! The easiest way is to look with a "flexible date". Sites like Google Maps have a calendar set up so you can easily scroll through dates.
When it comes to flying, you have a couple of price options, Cheapest=more layovers normally, most expensive=direct flights. Personally, I go for the "mid" flight, which is normally coach with a layover or two. I just wanted to GET there, not really caring about the hours. Typically a mid-flight only adds maybe a few hours onto a direct. I can sacrifice 3 hours for a couple of hundred bucks.
When you're flying internationally, you will be exposed to a few airlines you may not be familiar with. When looking at flights, check the carrier, and do research on said carriers! Customer service reviews, flight refunds, the jets themselves. You don't want to be stuck with an international flight that can't be refunded because you didn't look at carriers.
My Long Flight Experiences:
When Garrett and I took a trip to Ireland for my 22nd Golden birthday, it went like this!! PHX-CHICAGO-DETROIT-ICELAND-DUBLIN over the course of 26 hours. But we landed in Dublin at 4 pm, PUMPED that we made it!! Coming home was just the same. I wouldn't trade our Ireland trip for anything, so sacrificing with a layover or two was A-Ok with us!(pic 1, getting on our 3rd plane in Iceland)
In our flight to Thailand, it went PHX-COLORADO-TOKYO-BANGKOK over the course of 26 hours as well. (2nd pic taken in Phoenix)
I went to visit family in Utah and took two planes! This is me landed in Vernal off a tiny 25 passenger plane! (3rd picture-Me on the tarmac in Vernal)
I know what you might be thinking..."Umm sitting on a plane for 10 hours?! Yeah right!" But, I can't stress this enough! When you want to travel, you know that spending 10+ hours to get there is nothing compared to the ENTIRE vacation you're about to have!! It is beyond worth it! The time will pass, so you can spend it making your way to the adventure of a lifetime, or spend it working and then binge-watching Netflix.
Hotels? Airbnbs? Hostels? It just depends on your preferences.
My first go-to option will always be Airbnb. I find Airbnb to be very genuine, very cool experiences, you can meet locals and do things the local way (tips from the host and such). I have always had wonderful experiences at the 15+ places I have stayed with Airbnb. They have honest reviews from travelers, which is so helpful when being able to see exactly what you're getting yourself into. They give local tips (i.e. 10 minutes to Airport, 5 minutes to Shopping) and if you've never tried it, Use this link and get $20 off your first room! Linked here---> https://www.airbnb.com/c/cheyennes665?currency=USD
If you're going solo, are on a cheaper budget or you want to meet other people who are also traveling, Hostels are another great option. Hostels typically have shared rooms (with locks for your things), shared bathrooms and shared common spaces to meet new people. I have only ever seen hostels that are split gendered so don't worry about bunking with the opposite sex, and my LADIES, there are female-only hostels as well! At the front desk, they're sure to have local tourist info cards normally as well and can point you in direction of their favorite things to do if you just ask! On my trip to Europe with Ef Ultimate Break (more on them later!), We stayed in hostels and I really enjoyed it! Granted it was all girls with my group I bunked with so I didn't get the whole stranger stranger sleeping next to me experience but.. kinda?
Traditional Hotels are never a bad idea. Having a keycard entry, mini soaps and riding in an elevator is really fun! As with every other accommodation, read the reviews online (on somewhere like TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, or Hotwire.com-- NOT the hotel's site which can have...not so honest reviews) My favorite sites are those listed above for finding a room, AND a REALLY neat thing about Hotwire is, when you need a room and aren't TOO picky, you can do their "deal of the day". It is discounted from the standard price, you chose a hotel area, a bed size and for how many guests and it's like playing Hotel Roulette! I've used it in Dallas a couple of times and I ended up with The W (by the Galleria) and Magnolia (Downtown). If you don't like the option it gave you, you can call them and "roll" one more time but basically, you're stuck with whatever you end up with after that.
Time to pick a few cities, a few landmarks, and figure out how to get between said places!
Okay, so you want to go to, for example, Thailand. That's a pretty broad statement. Do you want to travel to the Northern mountainous region or the southern beach islands? This is how we figure out how to travel around the country we've chosen.
Pinterest is your best friend!! People create pins like "Top places to see_____" , "Ten Best Things to do in ______", "Why you need to put _____ on your list while in _____"... you get the idea! People will put an entire MAP of all the best sights to see, which route is the best to take, which order to go, ALLA DAT!!! Write down what interests you, and begin to plan around there. It isn't nearly as intimidating as you'd think! Trust other travelers who've been in your shoes before, and wanted to create something they wish they would have had when they first started.
Youtube is my other BFF! I give credit to a handful of YouTubers for inspiring us to come to Thailand. They gave me tips on everything! From what to wear, how to find accommodations, their favorite places to go as a traveler/expat, what products to avoid/make sure you bring and most importantly- THEIR itinerary! We basically copied a Youtuber's exact itinerary, except backward. Plus it'll visually show you the cool places they've gone to 1. Inspire you more and 2. Help you decide if that's something you want to do.
Join a Facebook Group for that specific place! Not only will other travelers who love that SPECIFIC place you're going to be more than apt to answer any questions you may have, you'll get 100's ( and I mean 100's) of suggestions on places to go/food to eat/places to stay/ routes to take/ bus vs train, etc!! Also, my ladies- I am part of this amazing group called "Girls Love Travel" on Facebook, filled with women from around the globe who help other women travel with their own tips, suggestions on how solo women can tour a place and even offering up their homes to women in need.
Linked here----> (https://www.facebook.com/groups/GirlsLOVETravel/)
p.s. This is an important part to be taking notes on. Keeping organized will help you from feeling overwhelmed with all of this new and exciting information! Especially for planning in another country, where they have such different words and names than in English! Do you think you're going to remember off the top of your head that you want to see the Jungfrau or the Stanserhorn Mountains in Switzerland? Probably not... write it down.
What to Pack
Summer? Winter? Eastern Europe, Australia or Canada? If I've never been there how do I know what I need to wear?!
Google what a week of average temperature that time of year is, and create an idea from that first. Aka "I should bring Pants if it is cold" generalization. Look at highs and lows, and overnights. Does it begin the day at 60 degrees and climb to 92 by noon? But then dip back to 55 after dark? *cough cough* Chiang Mai I'm looking at you!
Remember that the southern hemisphere is in the opposite season as the northern hemisphere! (aka its summer in the north, and winter in the south at the same time!) But most places around the equator are typically warmer year-round.
I typically look for the most recent year's averages. When it is about 2 weeks out, and the week prior to leaving, I look again to make sure I really have packed all of what I need! (I am accustomed to Texas weather where it literally can be 80 degrees on Sunday and 32 by Wednesday!! So I am prepared!)
My favorite website for all this info is linked here --->www.timeanddate.com
Okay, so we want to look absolutely fab right? Buuuuuut, you only have 50 lbs check on and um... how am I supposed to fit it ALLA DAT in there?!
I introduce to you, the art of Mixing and Matching your clothes! Pack clothes that can be worn with multiple different pieces! That way, you aren't stuffing your bag to the brim, but you're also managing to look cute every day. I tend to bring more shirts than bottoms for picture purposes, but if you throw a jacket over a shirt you've already worn that trip- it will hardly be noticeable!
I only brought 12 shirts, 1 pair of pants, 4 pairs of shorts, 1 dress, and 1 romper to Thailand for 3 months!
If you need outfit inspo for the specific country you're going to, again Pinterest is your friend!!
Now, this... this part is completely up to you. I have never had any pickpocketing issues while traveling abroad, but I did opt to leave my favorite necklace in the world, safe in the US while we were in Thailand. I brought some cheaper necklaces and earrings to be stylish, but nothing that I couldn't live without! I ended up losing my earring I got from Swavorski in Switzerland though.. RIP. And my belly button ring unscrewed itself and the top is MIA.... also RIP. As sad as loosing both were, I knew I chose to bring them and oh well, (Guess that means I have to go back to Switzerland for more earrings, right?)
Do you want Company?
Who could you imagine yourself hopping on a plane with and spending an extended period of time together and not want to completely *kill* each other?
Here are some options for you!
Solo Travel. I have yet to do this, but I have met PLENTY of women who do so. I They say it is an invigorating and liberating feeling of traveling by yourself. Finding out who YOU truly are! I traveled by myself in the EF Ultimate Break trip, but it was with 30 other people, but they were all strangers when we met (BFFs after!) I loved being somewhere new and not knowing anyone! No expectations of who you "are" to live up to. It expanded my entire outlook on myself, my life, and helped me grow more than I could have even realized in those moments.
Couple/Bff travel. Traveling with someone else is GREAT! Your costs are split, you have someone to share the memories with, someone to watch your back. will
With your significant other. This will be a true test of your relationship! From planning and execution. It will put you in stressful situations, joyous occasions, and build a better foundation for both of you. I'm going to share a story about what we call "The Cliffs" Flashback to 2018, Garrett and I were taking our first vacation together (where he asked me to be his girlfriend.. I'll dive into our trip in a blog later!) We wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher. I had been to Ireland twice before that, so I felt comfortable there and knew sights to see. We got a bus from Dublin to Galway, then from there, down to the Cliffs. Halfway to the Cliffs, with nary an extra battery pack for my phone to spare...I realized that our busses home...weren't going to line up. As in we are kinda...screwed. On the other side of Ireland, with no way back to our Airbnb...which we were checking out of to leave to Cork THE NEXT DAY. *insert calling mom panicking please help us wth do we do!!* We still wanted to enjoy the Cliffs because HELLO we didn't go through all of this to not see them! So we ended up at the Cliffs, 2% left on our phones, sprinting down the dirt paths to see all the way to the end of the cliffs, pausing just long enough to snap a pic and sprinting again. We only got about 1.5 hours there, but it ended up being one of the best memories of Ireland. We always say "If we can survive the Cliffs, we can survive anything"
Part 3: Savings:
Now it is time for the magic behind it all, the money.
*gasp* money? such a faux pas thing to talk about! Uhm.. yeah I don't think so! Here are a few things I've learned about money that will better your relationship with it, and make it easier for you to earn and save it for this amazing trip you've planned!
1. Money is the root of amazing, not evil. Don't feel ashamed for wanting it, because having it pays for some pretty fly things in life! (Think about food, souvenirs, experiences, clothes, bus rides, etc) To do and experience all amazing things on a trip, you need to have plenty of it saved in order to maximize the awesomeness. How lame would it be to make it to a whole new country, yet have to turn down that DELISH plate of pasta or no to horseback riding through fields of vineyards because...erm... I don't have enough.? Change your mindset to an abundance, and give yourself a why you want the money. You're not greedy for it.
2. Once you've decided that you deserve awesome experiences, and you need some cassshh monayy to pay for it, let's figure out how we can get it together.
Cut back on existing spending. Find areas in your life you're being a little extra every week and cut it back some. When I was saving to come to Thailand, I cut out doing my nails ($70/two weeks), we stopped eating out often (RIP Canes runs), and opted for cheaper haircuts for my trim ups instead of an expensive salon (and I still looked FLY).
Pick up a side hustle, 2nd job, or extra shifts at your existing job! I am Queen of multiple jobs! I have been hustling since I was 16. I was a hostess at a breakfast place on the weekend mornings, and then a hostess at nights at an Irish dinner/pub place. When you want money bad enough, to get the things you desire, there is NOTHING in your way!!! If I can do this, you can too! You just have to have priorities over your time. -Back in 2017 when I promised myself I was going to go travel if its the last thing I do, I had 4 jobs. Yes, you read it right, four jobs. I was a CNA (3, 12-hour shifts a week), A waitress (days I was off from the hospital) A dog walker (whenever I had scheduled a walk) and I sell Younique Makeup (post when I possibly could and made it happen!) -In 2018 when I was saving for Ireland, I had an 8-4 (M-F) job, so I picked up a job at a country club serving tables from 4:30- close, and weekends. -In 2019 when I was saving for Thailand, I was a waitress/bartender at a different country club that was great money during the day, but night shifts kinda sucked... so I picked up a second waitressing job at a restaurant that was POPPIN in the evenings. When I say, if there is a will, there is a way, I mean it.
If you need more inspiration and help saving, watch my Youtube video, "How The Hell To Stop Being Broke" it is 15 minutes that will change your life!
Linked here -----> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA1BdVlvsHY&t=27s
I am so proud of you for wanting to expand your mind, travel the globe, and see new and awesome things! I am currently writing this from my apartment on the island of Ko Samui in Thailand and I can honestly say that traveling has changed my life for the better. I've met friends in so many different countries, seen some of the most beautiful places, and experienced food I could ever imagine! I have grown in 100's of ways, expanded my heart and learned to embrace life for all that it is. So, GO YOU! I hope that this outline helps you get your bearings in the travel world.
Check out my Youtube channel, linked
or linked under "Videos" right here on this site, (https://www.dreamerseye.net/videos)
I have tons of stuff about Traveling, What to wear, tips and tricks and I'd love to see you there.
Until next time my wanderlust friends,