Writer: Rose Cavus
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”— Anonymous
Personally, I live by this quote. Travel enriches your soul, teaches you independence and fills you with a sense of childlike wonder. Some of the greatest life lessons I’ve learnt have come from locals in New Caledonia, to backpackers in New Zealand.
As a student, the ’buying’ part is always what I seem to struggle with. It’s an endless list of questions. Where do I want to go? What do I want to see? How long should I go for? What can I afford? I could go on and on. My past travel experiences have been a combination of clever choices and not-so-smart mistakes, that have led me to come up with a semi-fool proof plan to organise future trips.
First things first, what is your budget? Break it down into three simple sections: flights, accommodation and spending money. Once you have decided on what you’re comfortable spending, you can begin to research the perfect destination.
How much time do you have to travel? It’s important to factor in flying time, if you only have a week, it wouldn’t be the greatest idea to spend two to three of those days flying. After all, you want to be able to spend a decent amount of time exploring.
So, where is it that you want to go? I’m sure a ton of different places come to mind (did you imagine yourself in a hammock on a private beach somewhere with fresh fruit, or is that just me?). Choosing a destination can be a little overwhelming so don’t hesitate to do your research.
Once you’ve settled on a destination, decide the kind of experience you want to have. Do you want to spend your time relaxing with buffet breakfast and full body massages daily, or are you seeking something to get the blood pumping? (Sky diving in New Zealand, anyone?).
Now that you’ve booked your trip, here are some tips and tricks that I’ve learnt along the way. Always provide your family and friends with a copy of your passport, flights and travel itinerary. I find this especially important if you’re travelling on your own.
Buy yourself a travel wallet. This is a great way to keep all of your documents organised. There’s nothing worse than digging through your duffel bag, in the middle of the airport, to find your passport.
Leading up to your trip, keep an eye on exchange rates and check out any local currency exchange points. You want to be getting the best value possible so do your research. Often, you will get a much better rate of exchange at your country of destination. When I travel, I like to exchange a small amount of money before I leave and then exchange the rest when I get to my destination.
Check out any apps or websites that you think are informative or helpful. I love reading blog posts on places I’ll be visiting for ideas on where to eat and local things to do. Be mindful when it comes to food, water and your overall health. This comes down to common sense but I would advise against eating chicken that has been sitting out in the scorching sun for five hours. Don’t be afraid to try new and different things, just be aware of what you’re putting into your body. Before you travel, check with your local GP if any immunisations are required.
Make friends with locals. They can offer you great advice, and if you ever choose to travel to that country again you’ll have friends to visit.
Lastly, make the most of it and have no regrets. Travel is about experience, good or bad; you will always learn a valuable lesson. Tick off as much of your bucket list as possible. Even if you may feel a little afraid or anxious, there is no better feeling than pushing past your fears and doing something you’ve always wanted to do. For me, one of my biggest accomplishments was doing the world’s highest cliff jump — 109 metres in New Zealand (Shotover Canyon Swing in Queenstown, for those interested), I definitely recommend it. As scared as I was, I pushed myself to do it and I’m so glad that I did.
Once your back home, try not to let the post-travel depression get you down too much. Take the time to reflect on your trip and all of the amazing memories you’ve made. One way I like to honour each of my trips is to add souvenirs, plane tickets, photos and all sorts of things that I’ve collected along the way to a travel scrapbook. It’s a fantastic creative outlet and a great way to keep all of your memories together.
So, what’s next? I say it’s time to book your next trip!
Rose studies Bachelor of Communication at Griffith University.