The rest of the questions you guys sent through on Instagram (@ailsarenk) were more generally related to travel – advice on starting; on making friends; on making money; etc. So for the more specific answers related to my own trip, see my last post. Otherwise, carry on reading for my advice on exploring the world!
Tips On Starting To Travel?
Obviously this answer could be HUGE – and will differ depending on destination, current situation, person etc. And as such, I absolutely welcome any specific questions you have, send them my way in a DM.
But fundamentally, my biggest and best piece of advice is pretty simple: just do it – don’t overcomplicate or overthink. If you have even the smallest inkling to pack your bags and explore what the world has to offer, or to up and move to a new place, and so long as there’s nobody else genuinely relying on you to stay… then just go.
In my case, I’m young and I’m on my own – by which I mean, nobody else relies on me: no children, no partner, no dependent family-member or friend. And I admit that this is quite a privileged position – So if you’re also in it… stop finding excuses and please please please fully embrace this freest period of your life. We might never have this again.
Any other reason we find not to travel when we really want to, other than staying put for someone who truly needs you to, is simply an excuse founded in the fear of the unknown, of risk, and of discomfort. Hey, I was pretty terrified and unsure when I set off too. But there is always money to be made and saved; there will always be jobs when you return; starting a career in your early twenties is no longer necessary; saving for a mortgage isn’t really that crucial if you think you’d rather spend that money on seeing the world. Travelling and moving is filled with risk, with discomfort and with unknown entities… but these are exciting just as much as they are scary, just prioritise the former emotion. And know that you can always come home.
How Do You Make Friends When Travelling?
Had you asked me this before I lived and travelled in Australia, I’d have straight up told you that making friends when travelling is so easy that’s it’s virtually impossible not to. Because that’s how I found it throughout South East Asia and New Zealand. But Australia through a little spanner in the works there for me.
Weirdly, I found the backpacking/hostel community in Australia to be fairly unfriendly – perhaps it’s generally a younger crowd; they seem more interested in the party side of travelling; and are often in established groups already. So my advice here is actually to book organised trips and tours (something I actively tried to avoid in other places) – we had the best time and made most friends on the Fraser Island Dingoes tour and Whitsundays sailing trip.
As for the South East Asian destinations we explored, the backpacker community in these countries was so much more open – everyone in hostels is in the same boat – you’re all in a culturally different country and often this difference is what unites you. People are open to giving and receiving advice, to exploring new places together, to sharing thoughts and experiences of the new world you’re both exploring.
So yes, join them – be open: be open-minded; emotionally open; open to engaging with people you would never engage within a usual life setting. And say yes to every opportunity to engage and socialise (within safe reason of course). Just have fun, fundamentally that’s what you all want.
When And How Do You Make Money For Travelling?
I know I said above that if you have an inkling to travel, then “just do it”. But also be aware that such a move might not be absolutely instant. The “just do it” part is about putting the whole process in motion – and a huge part of that process is the saving.
I worked for months before each of my trips. In order to explore Bali, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Fiji and New Zealand for 4 months, I worked back home for about 6 months (and still used up my overdraft and much of my savings). Similarly, in order to travel Australia’s east coast and Bali again for 3 months, I worked for a huge 9 months in Melbourne first. Travel is absolutely a case of ‘work hard, play hard’ (just the former for much longer than the latter). But believe me, it is so so soooo worth it.
Other people I’ve met along the way; people I see as something of a goal to be honest, have established themselves as ‘digital nomads’. They work online (be that in the digital space, creative space e-commerce) and can do so from anywhere in the world, thus travel and work simultaneously. That is the ideal to me – but I definitely need to work on finding that balance.
Where And When Do You Book Flights For The Cheapest Price?
Hahaha does anyone else have a better answer than SkyScanner? If so – please do tell me! As for when. I haven’t mastered this – really is there actually a tactic for this that I just don’t know about, because the price seems to fluctuate all over the place with no kind of pattern if you ask me!
How Do You Make Long Haul Flights Bearable?
Again – open to receiving advice on this too, especially having just flown back from Bali to London and endured a very disturbed 24 hours in the process.
I think the ideal long-haul flight has as stop in the middle somewhere that makes the first and second leg pretty much the same length of time. So tip one – pick a flight like this. Having done so, work out which leg to sleep on (figure out how best to time this to force your body into the time-zone of your destination), then choose a window sleep on this leg for ease of sleep. An aisle seat on the ‘awake’ leg will allow you to take walks, toilet trips and stretches at your own will.
When approaching a long-haul flight, prep for a serious movie marathon. Don’t go to the cinema in the weeks leading up to the flight so you can save all the new movies. Get yourself pumped for 24 hours of guilt-free binge watching, wrapped in a blanket where someone literally brings you food and wine. When you put it like, that, a long-haul flight almost sounds like a treat!
What I always take on a long-haul flight: (Aside from the obvious toiletries – teeth, face wipes/refresher, deodorant, pain-killers, etc)
- Back support cushion. I originally got this because my scoliosis-back requires much better posture than the slump encouraged by plane seats. But I recommend it for anyone – having an arched back can honestly make your flight so much more comfortable in the long-run. The cushion will probably also be ten times better than the pathetic attempt they provide you with on the plane.
- Layers. I’m talking fluffy socks, a jumper with a hood, maybe even a scarf. If you’re not already planning on wearing long-trousers then you really should know better.
- Sleep essentials. Eye mask, hoodie, earplugs all combine to create your very own sleep-world.
- Sanitary Pads. Okay this is TMI and obviously more aimed at gals. But, personally, I like a fresh pair of pants for the second leg of a flight. Now trying to change ya pants in the confines of an airplane bathroom just isn’t a mission worth embarking on… if you’ve tried, then you’ll know what I mean. But starting a flight with a sanitary pad and then whipping it off to reveal fresh knicks is far less hassle and just as rewarding.
- I’ve never actually done this because I’m always hungry, but I think it’s a pretty ingenious idea. If you’re one of these people that would prefer to sleep through than be disturbed whenever a meal is dished out (not so much judgement as I would normally give someone prioritising anything over food, because its plane food we’re talking about) – then make yourself a little sign saying that!
Okay, I think that’s everything you asked covered. Remember that this is all founded in my own opinion and experience – you’re travels may well differ. But I hope if nothing else, I can give you a little bit of confidence to get the ball rolling! Travelling has been the best experience of my life.