Choosing a destination is the easy part. The options are endless, there are benefits to any country you decide to visit, and there are options for getting your trip planned and paid for.
But once you choose a city, country, or region that you want to explore, what's next? How do you turn your pipe dream into a reality, and who will help you with the details? UnearthAway specializes in organizing and planning travel. Whether you are a crowd, a group, or a solo traveler, UnearthAway will help get you where you want to go.
Once you have a destination in mind, you should consider a few things. What's your budget? How much time do you have to travel? Who, if anyone, do you want joining you on your adventure? These primary questions are extremely important when you are thinking about international travel, and the answers will have a big impact on the trip you end up taking. Some answers will be black and white (you may only have a certain budget you can work with, or a certain number of days that you can actually travel at a given time of year). The question of WHO, however, is a great opportunity to really inform the type of adventure you are going to end up having.
Traveling alone is a great experience, and is something that will totally change the way you experience a culture. For many reasons, traveling by yourself is a real adventure and can leave you feeling stronger and more empowered than you did before.
If you decide to travel by yourself, there are some extra considerations you need to take into account. Safety is number one. When you are travelling alone, you don’t necessarily have the fallback option of a person or group who is looking out for you and keeping track of your whereabouts. While this can be totally liberating, it also means you need to take some extra precautions:
- Be sure to set up check-ins in advance (maybe with a friend or relative back home) so that you are accounted for throughout your trip.
- Be careful about alcohol and make sure you are keeping your wits about you while you travel.
- If you are staying in group accommodations, hostels etc., it may be a good idea to socialize with others staying with you while you are there, so you form a point of contact in the city you are staying in. You're also sure to make new friends there to share experiences with.
It may seem daunting at first, but traveling alone is an amazing way to get the most of your vacation. When you are traveling solo, you don’t have to answer to anyone! You can plan every minute of every day to your liking. Want to wake up super early to catch the sunrise? Do it! Want to sleep in and spend three hours at brunch? Do it! Want to spend a full day inside one incredible art museum? GO FOR IT, NOBODY IS HOLDING YOU BACK! The only opinion you have to consider is your own, and there is incredible power in that. You will be able to get the experience you want from each place, without having to compromise.
Team travel can make for a very rewarding and memorable experience but comes with necessary considerations. Maybe you have a large group of friends, family, teammates, etc. who want to travel together. Maybe you all share the same passion for tapas and want to spend a week eating and lounging on the beach in Barcelona. Maybe you are all dying to see the Eiffel Tower and can’t wait to experience the French cafe scene as a group. Or maybe you are a big group that can’t quite agree on the exact itinerary of your trip, but definitely want to be together. And that’s okay!
There are plenty of options for traveling as a large group and the great thing about it is you can always split up and come back together throughout the trip. If a few people want to do a certain excursion (maybe it’s a full day hike in the mountains that totally doesn’t interest another part of the group) they are free to do so.
It does take some extra planning and coordination when traveling with a group. You need to be sure that everyone speaks their mind and has been honest about what they are really looking for out of their travel experience. Because everyone will be paying for the trip, it’s important that everyone has the option to speak up about what they want, and have an impact on the planning decisions.
It’s a great idea to utilize the technology available today to make sure that the planning is inclusive, and that everyone stays organized. Google docs are great for throwing out ideas. You can plan and schedule every day of your trip, while allowing the group to collaborate and contribute ideas. Just make sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of budget and timeline, especially in terms of accommodations. You can take different flights and eat at different restaurants during the trip to accommodate different budgets, but if you are all staying in the same hotels or hostels, the budget for this needs to be decided in advance.
Taking a trip with one or two friends gives you the best of both worlds. You are a small enough group that you can plan and move around easily. It’ll be simple enough to get taxis, tables at restaurants, and stand together in lines. It also may be easier to agree on things to do with only a few opinions and preferences to consider.
When touring around a new city in a duo or trio, it’s important to make sure that your budgets and expectations are very closely aligned. In this scenario, if one person wants to experience fine dining while the others are planning on eating for cheap throughout the trip, this may cause tension because neither can have what they want. If you talk about this in advance it will prevent any issues surrounding money or what you each want to take away from your travels.
Aside from budget and goals for your adventure, some other good things to consider in advance are; tourism hot spots to see, shopping plans, out of the way excursions or day trips, ballet/opera/performances (or other things that require tickets in advance, and may be a large chunk of your budget), pace of travel, schedule for each day, top must do’s and don’t care to see’s etc.
Whatever the final configuration of your travel group ends up being, you will have a blast! Make sure to be honest with yourself about what you want out of your experience, and try your best to plan things out in advance to some extent. There is always room for improvisation while traveling, but if you have a general sense of a plan, you're sure to have a smoother journey. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and hop in your Uber XL, taxi, or subway. Your next adventure is just around the corner!