Travel Planning Guide: Looking Ahead to Your 2017 Trips

travel planning guide

It’s January 2017 and we’re looking forward to the year ahead. With a whole 365 days in front of you there are endless opportunities for adventure and thrilling trips. But how do you go about planning them all? This travel planning guide will help.

 

Check public holidays

Public holidays are like a little free pass from the government. These extra days off are prime time for going out on an adventure, so they should be used wisely and effectively. Make a list of all the public holidays in your country for 2017 and have a think about where you could go in those three or four days. It might just be a quick trip to a city nearby, or catching a flight over to a budget destination in Europe – whatever it is, remember there’s a lot you can do in this short space of time!

 

Plan one big trip

Every year deserves one big travel experience, where you use up most of your allocated time off work and go somewhere new and exciting. Perhaps you finally take that flight to New York, get round to booking that safari in Africa, or find a paradise escape in Southeast Asia. This is the year to do it!

Start looking at flights to see when the prices are most affordable for you, and start saving your pennies now. In the meantime, buy guidebooks, read features online, and learn everything you can about that destination. This is the big one to look forward to, and you should enjoy that unbeatable feeling of anticipation!

 

travel planning guide

 

Make the most of the weekends

Most of us have two days off per week and these shouldn’t be disregarded in terms of travel. Sure, you can’t go that far away from home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a meaningful travel experience.

Make plans for seeing more of your own country, taking advantage of the cheap internal flights most of us don’t use as often as we should. Look up interesting places to stay where you can escape to for a night, and talk to friends about it so you can gather together some travel buddies. Become a weekend warrior!

 

Discover more of your home town

Many of us are guilty of wishing for the faraway when we don’t even know our own home towns like the backs of our hands. Make 2017 the year you also dedicate time to understanding more of your home, using your evenings and spare time off discovering parts you’ve never set foot in before.

And don’t forget, people are what make a place exciting, so also push yourself to make new friends. Go on adventures with these new people to understand their perspective of the place you both call home. When you think of travel in this way, you realise that the sky’s the limit and you can have a travel experience almost every day!

 

What are your travel plans for 2017?
What might you add to this travel planning guide?

Top 5 Responsible Travel Tips

responsible travel tips

The United Nations has declared 2017 the International Year of Responsible Tourism, so there’s no better time than now to focus on being eco-friendly on your next trip. These top five responsible travel tips will help you get started.

 

1. Go local

And do this in as many ways as possible while you travel. Hire local guides and shop in local stores so that you support the communities around you. This practice is imperative for ensuring your travelling is as sustainable as possible, and bringing a positive impact to the local people in the destination you’re visiting.

 

2. Don’t support animal cruelty

In the last couple of years, many stories have come out about animal cruelty and tourism, such as the Tiger Temple in Thailand and the mistreatment of elephants. While wildlife experiences may be high on your bucket list, these shouldn’t be undertaken at the expense of the animals, whereby they’re drugged or exploited for human gain.

If you want contact with beautiful wildlife as you travel, do so in a way that allows you to see them in the natural habitat, or a space where they are allowed to live as they would do in the wild. Witnessing these creatures is an honour and as humans we should respect the privilege by letting these animals be.

 

responsible travel tips

 

3. Travel closer to home

While we all want to jet away as far from home as possible sometimes, lengthy flights have a huge impact on our planet’s carbon emissions. Instead of the long-hauls, decide to take shorter flights this year to places slightly closer to home. Be mindful of the repercussions your travel have on the planet.

If you are going further away, look into getting around by a green method of transport – either by bike or by foot, for example – instead of driving anywhere. And at the very least, get around via public transport so your being in a different place doesn’t add to transport emissions at all.

 

4. Leave no trace

This is the golden rule of outdoor adventuring and should be in the forefront of your mind as you’re out in the wild world. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘take only pictures, leave only footprints’, and that phrase should certainly apply to your travel this year.

When you’re out on a big hike, make sure you don’t leave any little around or disrupt the natural world around you. Try to be as wasteless as possible with what you buy, making sure you recycle (as you would do at home) whenever possible.

 

5. Respect other cultures

In the same way we should respect wildlife as we travel, we must also respect other people and their way of life. Whenever you travel you’re a guest in someone else’s country, and you need to make sure you’re aware of their customs and follow them.

If you need to dress modestly, always carry a shawl or something with you to cover up. Some holy places may require you to take your shoes off or cover your head. These are the little things you can do as a traveller to show your respect.

 

What are your best responsible travel tips?

 

4 Essential Tips if You’re Thinking of Living Abroad

living abroad, living abroad tips

One of the greatest travel adventures you can have in life is living abroad. This could just be for one summer or maybe even a couple of years, but experiencing life in another country on a long-term basis is a special experience. These tips for living abroad will give you some sage advice on how to make the most of it and make living abroad a success.

 

1. Take time to pick your location

Living abroad is not a decision you should rush into quickly. This especially applies if you’re selling everything back home and moving your entire life elsewhere. If you end up not enjoying the new city or place you’re living in, it can become very disheartening. We don’t recommend that you just book flights to New York City then just hope for the best!

Take some time to choose where you want your new home to be, researching and paying a short visit to that new place if possible. Look into how much living costs are, what job opportunities are in the area, and which neighbourhoods you might like to fine an apartment in. Try to look at that place from every angle so you can make an informed decision before you jump in with both feet.

 

2. Join Facebook groups to connect with other people

Once you know where you’re living, have a look around on Facebook for any local groups to join. This will help you to connect with people before you’ve moved there, and if you have any questions there might be some good samaritans in the group who will be kind enough to answer them.

Search for groups that are centred around your interests so you can meet people who share your passions. That could be anything from a fitness group or reading club. Having people to chat to before you’ve moved there will help you out greatly when you’re settling in, and give you a few contacts before you’ve even arrived.

 

3. Arrive in summer

The warmer, summer months anywhere tend to make a place more lively and full of energy. If you arrive in your new home in deepest, darkest winter, you might find it very quiet and there perhaps might not be as many people around.

In summer, you’ll find that people want to be out and about, and there will more likely be lots of festivals and events on too. If you arrive right in the middle of this, you’ll be swept away with the excitement of it all and that will help you to meet new people and feel happier in your new home.

 

4. Push yourself

Living abroad isn’t always easy. As a foreigner in an unfamiliar place, it can become lonely and there will be moments where you second guess your decision. To avoid becoming overwhelmed by these feelings, make sure you’re always pushing yourself out there to meet new people and try new things.

You have to make the effort to carve a place for yourself in this new location, and sometimes you have to go way out of your comfort zone to do so. However, always stand safe in the knowledge that this will pay off, and no matter what happens when you push yourself you can always say you gave it your best shot. Live in the moment and go for it!

 

Have you ever thought of living abroad?
Where might you choose to live?

Travel Tips: What’s the Best Luggage for You?

best luggage

With so many modern styles on the market, it’s hard to know what the best luggage is for you. The nature of your trip – length, level of adventure, and how far away it is from home – will largely dictate the kind of bag you take with you, but it also comes down to personal style. And how good you are at packing! Check out these best luggage tips to figure out what will be more suitable for your adventures.

 

Suitcase

This classic style of luggage has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades. You can now find suitcases that are lightweight, durable, and simple to wheel around, making your travels easier than ever. These are among the most hard-wearing luggage around, especially firm cover suitcases that are in no danger of getting damaged by luggage handlers at airports. Some people don’t favour the traditional suitcase though because they can get under your (and other people’s) feet and be a pain to drag around.

Best for: Breaks to a single destination, road trips where they neatly pack into the trunk, and travellers who struggle to carry heavy loads

Not suitable for: long trips where you hop between countries

 

Backpack

Cherished by adventurous travellers, the backpack has also evolved hugely over the last few years. As backpacking has become more and more popular, and increasing numbers of people choose to hop on a flight to Thailand to explore Southeast Asia or go travelling around Europe, a broader range of backpack sizes and styles has been created. You can not get backpacks with pockets all over the place and secret compartments.

The drawback for some people with backpacks is that they’re slightly cumbersome to carry. This, of course, depends on how little you manage to pack inside you backpack, but if you’re going on a longer trip and need more things, lugging around a backpack can get a bit tiresome.

Best for: young people, multi-country trips, outdoor adventures

Not suitable for: bad backs!

 

best luggage

 

Duffel bag

A duffel bag if often thought of as something in between a suitcase and a backpack. It’s got all the flexibility of a backpack, which means you can cram a lot in a duffel bag, and some of them come on wheels so you can switch between carrying your bag and pulling it along whenever you please.

The drawback of a duffel bag is that these aren’t quite as common so you might not find the right style you want. As they’re not often used for outdoor purposes, a duffel bag also might not be as durable as a suitcase or backpack – their fabric is more prone to tearing.

Best for: carry-on luggage – lots can fit in a duffel bag, travellers who want the versatility of carrying or pulling along

 

Not suitable for: trips that require durability and waterproof luggage

 

Carry-on only

Masters of luggage packing choose to only take a carry-on piece with them and not much else. The clear benefit of this is that you can enjoy the freedom of having minimal luggage to take around with you. With no heavy baggage weighing you down, your travels feel much smoother (especially when it comes to a stress-free airport experience).

If you’re not good at packing light, however, this option can be difficult. It’s sometimes not even worth the stress of trying to cram your things all into one small bag – just bite the bullet and check in a hold bag on your flight and save  yourself the bother!

Best for: quick city breaks, ninja packers

Not suitable for: long-term trips

 

What is the best luggage for you?
What do you prefer to take away with you?