‘Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.’ – Winston Churchill
Last time I went travelling, it was on a wing and a prayer. This time, knowing that we’re not going to be working like we did in New Zealand, it’s taken months of saving, researching and booking ahead.
I don’t like to refer to it as a gap year. The word ‘gap’ makes me think of something that’s missing. I don’t want to miss it or forget it. I want to savour every moment. Even the jet lag, food poisoning and mosquito bites; if only to give me something to moan about to people back home so my life doesn’t sound so fabulous.
So here’s my top three tips before setting out on your world wide adventure…
It’s boring. You’ll probably never use it. It’s not a tangible product that you can hold and be happy with. I’ve worked in insurance for 18 months though so I know how it works and how invaluable it can be.
When we left New Zealand to travel Thailand and Indonesia, we went with World Nomads and we’ve used them again this time. They are highly recommended and we chose their Explorer policy for a higher level of cover. We also added our valuables at an extra premium cost which they replace if stolen or damaged, or pay you the cash settlement for a replacement.
I don’t want to have to fork out for a new iPhone, which will eat in to my travel budget, so this option is perfect.
Whoever you go with, make sure you check the policy wording beforehand and if you’re into your sports/adrenaline activities double check you’re covered for them too!
Just as boring. Just as important.
You’re having the time of your life in Laos. You stumble across a dog and without any warning it bites you. You haven’t had a Rabies vaccination. The dog has Rabies. You have to try to now get yourself to Thailand to get immediate attention. It’s late at night and you’re going to struggle to do that. You get really ill. You die.
OK, OK… I’m being dramatic. Prevention is better than cure though so seriously, I’d recommend getting vaccinated.
For the countries on our list (Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and India) we read everything there was to read and eventually thought it best to get some professional advice.
We went with Nomad Travel Clinic who were quick to book us in, informative during the appointment and competitive on price.
Our vaccinations include the following:
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Hepatitis B
- Through the NHS- Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus
- Malaria tablets (these have been recommended for certain areas in Laos, Cambodia and India but we are planning our route around this).
All the prices are on their website so there’s no surprises at the consultation!
There is no point visiting a country just for the sake of it. It’s a waste of time and money that you could be better spent elsewhere! Have a think about why you want to visit a place, what you’ll get from it and whether you can give anything back in return.
By looking through blogs, travel sites and books, you may find somewhere that you’d never heard of before that you just have to visit. Will your budget or time allow it? What could you sacrifice instead?
I am obsessed (like, seriously) with Orangutans. My dream is to one day sign up to an orangutan conservation project in Borneo. This time round, my focus is to travel long term though and I just can’t afford the cost of the projects I want to get involved in. Even though I’m going to Malaysia. Even though it makes perfect sense to do it whilst I’m over that side of the world. You have to think about what your aim is and sacrifice somethings as a result.
When it comes to research, also make sure you know the local customs, etiquette and culture. A good place to start is Commisceo Global but there’s plenty of sites out there offering advice.
A rough idea of how much money you can expect to pay for food, accommodation and transport is always worth knowing so you can budget in advance. I know I’ll be paying more in Australia and Singapore than Thailand and less in countries like Laos and Cambodia. Knowledge is power so don’t go completely ignorant to it all.
Everyone has their own priorities in life and when travelling, it’s no different. Drop me a comment below with yours!