Lifestyle

The world is your oyster

Believe it or not, there is so much more to life than your local Chinese takeaway, your best friend around the corner and that new drama on BBC One.

Although there are many questions that you might be thinking about. How do you even go about discovering the big wide world? How do you choose which country to go to, or knowing if backpacking is more beneficial than a simple hotel holiday? Should you go with a group of friends, or would solo travel be better suited for you? It can be quite overwhelming to think about all the decisions you’ll have to make, which is why I’m here to shed some advice on the situation, so things become a little clearer.

First of all, you’ll have to think about what you want to gain from going away; think about whether you want to spend your days basking in the sun, or if you would rather be proactive and use your time helping those less fortunate than you. Would you be able to rough it out and live out of a rucksack, or are you someone that needs their creature comforts?

Luckily, there are endless opportunities that come in every shape and form, so you’ve got every chance of finding the dream experience for you. Once you’ve figured out which category you fall into, it’s time to start researching.

If you are someone that dreams of teaching English in a third-world country, being part of a sustainability project or conserving land for endangered animals, then I have one piece of advice for you: visit the website www.workaway.info. With every destination imaginable and a whole array of projects to get stuck into, there’s bound to be something right up your street. The benefits of Workaway are that you are not only giving back to someone in need, but you’ll usually get free accommodation and sometimes even meals provided with these opportunities too! It’s a win-win situation. As well as this, each host will have feedback from previous visitors and a rating. This ensures that you know exactly what to expect and that your destination is legitimate and most of all, safe!

On the other hand, if you just want to take time out for yourself and clear your mind, simple holidays are perfect. These still need careful planning, though. You want to make sure your destination is the right place for you, and that you’re getting the best deals without being scammed with false promises.

Photo by Megan Headford

So, how are you supposed to know how to do this? Going through the right companies and websites is the most important and obvious factor. To find out information on your chosen country, visit the FCO travel advice page. This is the most reliable and updated source that will give you information on everything including local laws and customs, entry requirements, any safety and security alerts, and helpful tips. Another brilliant source for finding trip inspiration is Lonely Planet. It has all the information, facts and statistics you’ll need to make a well informed and educated decision. In terms of flights and hotels, Skyscanner is perfect for comparing the cheapest, quickest and cost effective options out there. Another great alternative is Airbnb.You can often get incredibly quirky and cool places that add some variety to your holiday for very decent prices. From boathouses to cottages, you’re spoilt for choice. What’s not to like?

Now, the final step in this process: Companion versus solo travel. This is a very individual choice and it’s something you will have to weigh up the pros and cons for. Travelling solo can seem intimidating and a very scary prospect, however it leaves you with an unlimited amount of freedom. There will be no compromise, no one to answer to and no arguments. You can go and do whatever you want, whenever you want. Additionally, it can be a poignant and healing experience that can help build your confidence, help you learn about yourself and what you really want from life. It’s also a lot easier to make friends when you have no choice but to be sociable, especially if you’re in a busy hostel! Having said this, I understand this may not be your thing. Going away with your best pals may seem like the best thing on earth, knowing you have a solid and reliable person to get through the tough times with.

I hope this has helped you start to think in more detail about your future trips, and has given you some wider options to consider. Whatever you choose, remember to really think about what it is you want, and remember that you are not limited to what you see other people doing. As long as you keep these things in mind, you’re guaranteed a life-changing experience and memories for life.

Photo by Megan Headford


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