Adventures Abroad

Adventures Abroad
Machu Picchu

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Ten Commandments of Travel


Once upon a time in NYC, I met an Australian couple who took almost a year off to travel the world. Currently this couple is backpacking through Spain. I'm green with envy because this couple is living the life I want...and perhaps you too. 

From left to right: James, Vanessa, Hill, me, and B
(Australians: James and Vanessa)
So, how to you plan a trip like that? 

According to Wanderlust Magazine, The Ten Commandments of Travel are:

1.             Thou shalt time your trip well: Go off-peak, or in the ‘shoulder season’ just before the masses arrive. For example, African safaris in the rainy season cost up to 40% less, and offer the chance to see more new-born animals; the Gal├ípagos Islands in May are 20-30% cheaper than December / January or high summer – and offer warmer, calmer conditions
2.             Thou shalt not book the first trip you see:  Work out your itinerary and then compare prices from different tour operators. Use comparison websites like www.skyscanner.net to check flight prices, and an up-to-date guidebook to assess the going rate for activities on the ground
3.             Thou shalt go where the pound is strongest If possible, avoid the Eurozone, where the pound is weak. Instead, head for economies linked to the dollar (the US, central America) or other weakening currencies (Iceland, South Africa, Bulgaria)
4.             Thou shalt be flexible:  Be willing to fly a day earlier or two days later, or with a stopover you hadn't thought of, to save money. For example, flying to Australia on 10 December – the beginning of peak season – can cost up to £300 more than flying on the 9th
5.             Thou shalt consult other travelersTalk to people who have already travelled to your planned destination – log on to a travel forum like our own myWanderlust or www.tripadvisor.com for recommendations and advice from real travelers
6.             Thou shalt seek out local knowledgeMany destinations offer free ‘greeter’ tours run by volunteers – a great way to save money, meet the locals, and pick up insider tips. Destinations include ParisNew York and even Thanet in Kent.
7.             Thou shalt ask – if thou dost not ask, thou dost not get: “Is that your best price?” “Are you able to offer a discount for cash?” “Could you include breakfast / an airport pickup / an activity for that price?” It’s not that hard, is it…
8.             Thou shalt book early (and late): Book budget airline tickets as early as possible, but keep an eye out for late deals on packages and tours. Sites likewww.yapta.com and www.farecast.com help you monitor fluctuations in airline fares to get the best price.
9.             Thou shalt travel to former troublespots Don’t put yourself in danger, but countries rebounding from political turmoil or natural disasters need you – and will lower their prices to entice you. Current bargains include Bali and Sri Lanka
10.             Thou shalt know when not to saveSome things you shouldn’t scrimp on – travel insurance, for one. And is it worth saving £50 on a flight if you end up flying from a remote airport at stupid o’clock with no meals?

       ***Yes, this list of ten commandments is from the UK, so please don't think too much about the euro! Take the advice and start planning! 

Good luck, fellow backpackers!

In the Bahamas with my 1st backpack.

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