Picking The Places You Want To Visit

Location
Home, UK

Now this is hard! It is very easy to get carried away, I know personally my “places to visit” list is becoming ridiculously long, but at the same time, a trip isn’t a trip without places to visit! With this in mind there are a couple of things you should take into account when choosing where to go.

Places You Would Like To Visit

List

Traveling makes you an expert at list writing!

It’s going to be pretty hard to get anywhere if you have no idea where you would like to go. I don’t think many people will have a problem with this part, after all, the world is filled with amazing and inspiring places. For the few of you that may find it a problem, start by finding travel blogs and looking at pictures! If somewhere looks amazing in a photograph, the majority of the time you can almost guarantee it will look better in real life. Add it to the list!

Alternatively, if you know some one who has travelled, or has told you a story about a location and you like the sound of it, add that too. At this point don’t worry about where in the world they are, or how you are going to get there, just focus on making a good list and don’t worry if it gets quite long.

Order From Chaos

Right now your list will probably be a complete mess. If you tried to travel to your chosen destinations in this order, or indeed in one trip, unless you have more luck than sense bad things will happen, and you will no doubt end up spending a fortune.

Try grouping your destinations into their continents as a start, and begin to think about possible routes of travel. You want to be economical here. Flying to Brazil, then to New Zealand, and back to Chile is probably not the best idea. If you’re in Brazil, head to Chile first, then New Zealand. You get the point, it’s not a complex idea, but it will save you sitting on a plane for longer than necessary, and should also make your trip cheaper.

Don’t be afraid to split it up into separate trips either. As much as we all would love to visit everywhere in one go, it is almost never feasible. Assuming like me, you want to visit quite a few places in your lifetime, visiting all of them at once would be very expensive. I think the key here is common sense. You know what your budget is, you know how long you have to spare, so think wisely. There will be nothing worse than rushing around and missing things as you try and keep up with a relentless timetable.

Practicality

Everest

Err yeah, I think we'll avoid Everest

Some things just aren’t practical. It would be great if we could traverse the Amazon Jungle as the crow flies, or walk right beneath Mount Everest, but the chances of this are slim to say the least. Ok, so these are pretty extreme examples, but you do need to be aware of the difficulties traveling to certain places. Whatever you do though, don’t be put off. Once you arrive, that 48 hour bus journey¬† will soon be forgotten.

Its not just physical barriers either. What about language? Foreign languages, although part of the authentic experience, can make things much harder. Again, by all means, please don’t be put off this. We plan to backpack across South America and I can tell you now our Spanish is lacking, and our Portuguese, well, lets not talk about that!

Trust Your Instincts

I think what I’m try to get at here (and forgive me if I’m making a meal of it) is that this really needs the time spent on it that it deserves. Don’t rush into booking any tickets, or you could end up realising you have made mistake, don’t always stick to the beaten track, you might find something amazing, and don’t be put off by difficulties. But most importantly, trust your instincts. If you see somewhere you would love to visit, do your best to get there! If there is somewhere you’re not sure about, don’t dismiss it straight away, do your research and then if you still have a bad gut feeling about it, give it a miss.

(Oh dear, I feel I may have trailed off a bit during this post. Note to self, keep focus while writing posts. Oh god, I just realised, its probably because we ONLY have 1 month left until we leave. Where does the time go?)

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  • Jacqui

    Yet another good post, all reasonable points & good to get it down in writing. Travelling is great but forward planning is the icing on the cake & surprises on the way, a bonus.

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  • what about the old spin the globe with your eyes closed and where ever your finger lands trick?
    i think its important to not try and see everything in one trip. we travel really slow but get to know people and places pretty well. i think its better than just running from tourist hotspot to tourist hotspot without ever stopping. something to consider when getting your plans drawn up. good post!

    • What if you end up in the Sea haha! Yeah you definitely don’t want to be rushing though, slow like a snail is the way to go.

  • I feel your pain! My “Must Visit” list is so long that it’s hard to prioritize where to go first.

    • I know! Everday I keep seeing more places I want to visit

  • Great list of tips here. You really do have to plan well so you avoid cross travelling and so you can see as much as you possibly can. Try to reduce the amount of places so you can spend quality time instead in certain areas and get to know it better.

    • Yes it should definitely be quality over quantity

  • Great tips! I especially liked your one about practicality since some destinations are much easier to reach than others due to money, cost of traveling in the country, distance, language, etc. and thinking in practical terms makes it much easier for people inclined to put travel off for one reason or another. It’s much easier to save for a $1500 trip than it is a $15,000 trip.

    • You’re spot on here. Its good to have travel goals but they need to be obtainable

  • Anonymous

    Only one month – that’s going to fly by!!!
    We got a big map a drew out a tentative itinerary to make sure we didn’t jump around too much or miss anything.
    For us though, we made hardly any plans and since being on the road changed our minds soooo much! We were meant to be in Oz by May this year, but more likely going to spend at least another year in SE Asia!

    • I know! It seem like only yesterday we had three months left! Where has it gone? You are right though, you don’t always need definitive plan or route, like you said though its good to have a rough idea

  • I might add a little point to the barriers you mention: For instance I would love to travel right around the Mediterranean, over land. But, there are Lybia, and Israel on the one side and Lebanon, Syria etc on the other. If you have a visa from one, you won’t be allowed into the other country. So, when planning your trips take the political situation into account or, where possible, apply for a second passport.

    • This is a very good point Inka. Strangley enough I watched a program over christmas where they did just that and needed two passports (Top Gear, a British motoring program) It would be pretty horrible to be denied entry at a border. Would put a real spanner in the works!

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  • Sounds like you’re at a really exciting stage of planning, anticipating your big trip.

  • Being practical is #1 for me. I’d love to travel to Europe but 1 day in Paris buys 4 in South America.

    • You are completely right! Europe and the UK is expensive your money will go much much further in places like South America

  • Jim

    You guys have a whole life ahead of you. Don’t try and do too much or travel to far as there’s plenty to see and plenty of time to do it. The first time or new traveller does tend to want to try and see it all, but as time goes by, you become less focussed on how much travelling you can do, and you start picking a country or place and spending more time exploring and savouring it in depth. It’s a natural progression from rushing around, to slowing down and chilling in less places. Throw the map and itinerary away. And you’ll find a surprise around every corner each day.

    • Thanks for the comment Jim. You are right though, new travelers, especially young ones like us can easily get carried away!

  • Amy

    Great post though I would add, be prepared for your plans to change like crazy while you’re on the road! At least that’s been my experience … in a good way mind you.