In lieu of the fact that I have in fact got the first parts of my big gap year trip booked I reckon it’s about time I share a few tips that I wish someone else had instilled in me months ago. but they didn’t, and instead I shall bequeath this wisdom unto you (I’ll give you the info).
- Go to a travel agent. The brilliance of this move is that while it’s in their best interest to encourage you to purchase something, going to a travel agent for advice is 100% free, until you book something, and when you do buy something you do pay any extra because of their service. Same price for flights you book on your own, but you can get someone else to do all the leg-work, including ringing up flight companies, searching the back catalogues for otherwise unseen flights and deals, buying travel insurance, and customising your trips without any of the stress. I consulted two, and I went with the agent who organised my German Exchange, and hoenstly lads I am so glad I went to her. It made everything fun without any stress (except parting with the monies haha!). She also helped me find and book my tour, which is something I needed a push to do, and now I am so so so glad I am doing it – I’m going to so many (so many!!) countries I never thought I’d get to go to this year. So I highly recommend shopping around for a good travel agent, so that planning and booking is a fun and positive experience, rather than stressful, time-consuming and dreaded.
- Search around on Facebook for travel networks. So far I have joined a meet-up group and a travel network group for solo female travellers, which is a life-saver! Even if you aren’t actively travelling, there’s heaps of room for inspiration, providing and receiving support, sharing stories and experiences. Its a group of like-minded people, and let’s be honest sometimes the people in our everyday life get a bit sick of us sharing story after story about our crazy travel experiences, so it’s nice to have this outlet (as well as on here 😉 ). I found this group integral for taking the plunge into doing solo travel, something I never thought I’d do at 18!
- Work backwards and forwards. When planning your itinerary it can be a mad mess, and it can get just the teeniest bit (incredibly) stressful. If things aren’t working, try working back. Go from where you’re departing from, how long do you need in that place? Okay, so what places are you going to on the way to your end destination? How long do you need there? It helps clarify where you need to be by which date so you can start connecting the start and the finish.
- DO NOT RELY ON OTHER PEOPLE. I love my friends. They know it, you lot probably know it, I certainly know it. But man, if I’d waited for someone to travel with me I wouldn’t be going overseas this year. Solo travelling can seem terrifying, and I’ll get back to you in November when I’ve done my solo travelling, but waiting on other people, and trying to negotiate around others plans, finances, and prior commitments is a fresh hell. It’s not worth getting annoyed off with your friends over. instead, I recommend making your own plans, and seeing where you’ll meet up. Tell them, don’t ask. Do YOUR trip. Your travelling for you, and money isn’t an easy thing for most people in this age group, so don’t waste money on things you don’t even want to do, or might not even work out.
- Be flexible. Be adaptable. Be open to your original plans not being the end result. Some places are non-negotiables, some places are I’d Like To‘s, and others just happen out of circumstance. I planned to fly to and from compeltely different cities to what I am actually doing, and making a stopover that I never expected but am SO BLOODY EXCITED FOR.
I hope you got something out of these tips, and if you have any for ME do let me know in the comments because I will take any and all advice available!
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Until next time loves,
Lui xx[The Gap Year Girl]