I read A LOT of blogs but none of them have mentioned how they decide where to go, how to go and what route to take. Obviously there are guide books, and the blogs I have read do mention these but my question is, what did you use to know where you were going next?
It really scares me to think about arriving in a different country, not speaking the language, just how do I get to my hostel? How many days should I spend in the next town? etc
Did you plan what route you would take in China, for example, before you went? Or did you just get a flight out there and follow the Lonely Planet?
Sorry for babbling, im just not quite sure how to ask what I want to know. Reply to this
Firstly, what you are experiencing is common pre-travel nerves and completely normal. I remember how scary it was, and how anal I was about planning every detail. I was a project manager in the UK, so it's hardly surprising, but I was used to being in control of little details. None of which we particularly used when we got to Asia. Actually, Kris says I'm terrible at budgeting so he just lets me have ideas now! I have ideas and I still read a lot of guidebooks. I have two SE Asia guidebooks on my shelf now, plus a Vietnam guide, and I live in Vietnam. I try to be more easy going and just have ideas and do research about where to go, and then play it by ear a bit.
Initially, before we left, we got a map and some pins and some Lonely Planet on a Shoestring guides from the library. And I read them and worked out how you could get from A to B and what sounded like a cool place to go. Then I looked on sites like this and travelfish to get more ideas and see some pictures of the places. I was clearly totally over ambitious about how many places we could see in the amount of time we had, but I think that's normal. We flew to Bangkok, and then we just adapted our route as we went along.
Where are you planning to travel to first? We started SE Asia in Bangkok on the Khoa San Road. Where practically everyone speaks English. There are the people who run the hostels, the restaurants and the bars, fellow travellers......They can all give you advice on where to go next. Of course, don't trust everyone you meet, but you get ideas from people.
You arrive somewhere and you check it out. You meet a few folk. They have visited places that sound good. So you check those places out. Then you think perhaps you want to move on. Perhaps you meet another traveller who is thinking of moving on too and you move on together. Perhaps you look at info in your hostel or ask in a travellers cafe/bar etc. for advice as to how to get to the next place/where's good to go. Lots of hostels advertise other hostels. They can arrange bus/boat/train/ferry tickets for you.
While you stay on the well-trodden travellers trail it's like this. Perhaps it's good to stay on it until you feel confident and comfortable, and the venture off the beaten track.
Hope this has been useful. Happy planning (it's still one of my favourite things about travelling - even if noone else ever sees the plans!).
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Very little of it is down to guide books for me. I only look at those when I have decided where to go. The guidebooks help a bit, when I have narrowed it down to one or 2 countries. I then use them to check costs, safety, visa rules .... Then I choose based on which will be the least hassle and the least expensive.
What inspires me about where to go is often what other travellers say about a particular country, or if I dont know anything at all about a country I decide to go there to find out what it is like.
Sometimes, I make a list of possibiliites and then narrow it down based on costs and hassle. I dont avoid a country because of hassle but if 2 countries are of equal interest to me, I choose the least hassle one.
I have been in many countries where I dont speak the language. It is best to be able to speak the language, but not impossible if you cant. Things like looking for hostels and deciding how long to stay are things that guidebooks are very helpful for.
Did you plan what route you would take in China, for example, before you went?
I choose a route based on interest, convenience and time available. Sometimes I just fly into a city and then go to the nearby villages.
Sorry for babbling, im just not quite sure how to ask what I want to know.
No problem! That is what forums are for. :)
Mel Reply to this
Hi Tina, I compleatly understand how you feel.I myself am heading off to Thailand (South East Asia) at the end of August/September time and Im too thinking like you are.How do you know were to go ? And so on. Iv looked at quite a few posts on various travel sites and still Im a bit unsure on how to plan.
Last year I went to Oz for a tour of the east coast and like Kate says there was very much a "travellers trail" there too.So. . .my plan is to fly into Bangkok and find out the wheres and whens when I get there. I have quite alot of time on my hands for this time around though. . .I have 12 months or even more if I like so Im happy to let fate lead me to wherever Im going with whoever I might meet.(With a small bit of reasearch of course) :-) Reply to this
If you need goot tips about where to go, why, why, and how long.. get the travel book series called..
lonely planet. you can get lonely planet vietnam lonely planet canada lonely planet china.. whatever country you want. it's great they tell you everything and anything you need to know about the country's cities, towns, areas, landmarks, etc. GREAT RESOURCE. good luck, happy tripping :)
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It is scarey!
But you'll be following well-worn tracks and paths laid down by other backpackers and travellers like yourself.
Whenever you end up somewhere, there will be people waiting to help you into their taxi, or show you their hotel rooms, then sell you a trip to the local sites, feed you with the local food and then book you a ticket onto the next destination...
In fact one of the annoying things you'll find is that it is very hard to get off the trail and discover things for yourself!
I look at a map (Google maps are great because you can read the Wiki entries and zoom in on photos) and then look for a good route or a loop I could take. eg, along a coastline, or following a river.
Some routes are obvious eg, through Vietnam or around Australia, because of mountains and roads or trainlines. Some you'll have to beat out by yourself, and guide books are good for the maps etc in this case. Bt don't spend your whole time travelling with your head in the guide book - chat to people around you and ask questions, get ideas... if someone suggests a new idea - say yes!
I would like to see a forum area on here where we could list overland itineries and ideas for routes. 'Inspiration Needed!' i would call it.
For example, The Mekong Laos Loop - Bangkok, overnight train to chiang rai, bus to the border Chiang kong, 2 day slow boat on the Mekong to Luang Prabang, bus to Vang vieng for tubing, bus to Vientien, overnight train to Bangkok - 1-2 weeks.
Admins? Reply to this
The crash packer that souns like a really good idea. Then you could even merge loops together. Like it. . .good thinking,perfect for new travellers that dont want to miss out! :-) Reply to this
Suggestion taken and arranged. There is now an 'inspirational journeys' thread on the Overland and Sea forum. Put your overland itineraries and routes on there.
Kate Reply to this
Well My Self I will depend on the Lonely Planet 80% and the other 20% on what tourist & locals will say. But I think first you should specify the path you want to take; from where you will gonna start? Are you landing in the North then heading South or the other way around? After deciding this; head to your first destination. 100% you will find other toursit where you can share with them about their trips. Get as much advices and ideas from them, and ask the local people in the guest house and outsiders, and do the same. Based on what information you will recieve then you can compar with the travel guide and see if you would like to see it or skip it.
I do it in that way and iam Happy with it ;) Reply to this
Well My Self I will depend on the Lonely Planet 80%....
How do you know which Lonely Planet book to buy in the first place? You would at least need to have decided on a country before buying a Lonely Planet book? Reply to this
You would at least need to have decided on a country before buying a Lonely Planet book?
What i have understood from Tina's post that; she dosen't know what to do next? Mean's she already choose the country and arrived safely
So I was talking about how to decide in routes and places in the country you want to travel to. But fine no problem, if the tourist dosent know where to go, then I think he/she should know what they would like to see in their travelling ?! what's the budget?how long is the holiday? Do u want to enjoy beaches/jungles? Hicking/cycling? Historical / Nature?! rural areas/modernized cities ?!
Check what you want to see/do this holiday, this will make it easier :) Reply to this
I've chosen the countries but I'm going to decide what to do based on stuff from information places and most of all word of mouth. Nuf said. Reply to this