Let’s talk about getting the most out of your travel experience. You invest a lot of time and money into creating one, so read this post to the end. 😎
Travel is an investment in yourself! If we only ever see the world from the perspective of our own culture, we only have a very narrow scope of life. That would be a crying shame as there are many ways to experience life and such a trip would significantly broaden your way of thinking.
What is this blog about?
My website is niche specific as I only focus on travel to South Asia. The world is too big and beautiful to try and cover the whole planet with one website and hope to deliver you quality information.
Do not expect me to go into details about travelling to Indonesia, Europe or Thailand. While I have travelled extensively in these places, my passion lies is in South Asia.
However, the information you can learn here can be applied anywhere in the world. 😁 Ever more of us want to experience travel to faraway places and I am here to help you make the most of it.
Read this blog to the end to better understand if travel is for you because it is not for everyone. Many of us enjoy the routines of life and quite frankly living out of a bag can be very challenging indeed.
What is a travel experience?
Technically it is any length of time you spend away from your home. However, when I am talking about travel, I am not talking about a weekend in Bali. In my humble opinion that is not long enough for you to gain any kind of real insight into anything.
A trip worth talking about would be one that took a lot more time. Travellers who make this commitment will want the best from your time and money and that is why I have created my website. 😁To help you create your dream holiday.
How do holidays make you feel?
A study in the UK showed that one is more likely to obtain a state of happiness from experiences rather than material things? Well, that was a massive waste of time, wasn’t it?
I could have saved everyone the trouble. You are a product of your past, right? What happens to you yesterday shapes you today. We don’t need a college degree to understand that surely?
If you live the same life every day, you can not expect different results. Einstein once said that is the very definition of insanity.
Creating your personal adventure in a foreign land is sure to be life-changing. It is not simply a time to relax. It is a time for self-development and growth.
Travel is a life-changing experience.
I would go as far as to say that nothing you can do is more life-changing than trying to see the world through someone else’s eyes.
The world is a beautiful place to live in and also incredibly varied. I have often found that seeing what other people have to deal with has really put my own problems into perspective.
I have also learnt a great deal about human behaviour and my own values. Not to mention the world’s fantastic wealth of natural history to discover. Travelling is truly food for the soul.
What is the best way to experience travel?
Let us address this critical question. It is simple. Travel locally, make new friends, learn new words, take local transport and have new experiences. Immerse yourself in what you came to see.
Too many people miss out on the best of what a destination offers because they lack the confidence to put themselves out there.
What is a travel gap year?
Generally, gap years represent extended breaks during life transitions, such as between study and work or between career changes.
The purpose of a gap year
A gap year is often used to take a step back from life and it is usually a good investment as we fleetingly have a chance to think about our lives in such depth. Plus you get to experience a little of what this world has to offer.
Who takes a gap year?
We often associate taking a gap year with school leavers and that is a very narrow scope of people who may be inclined to take a year for themselves.
Maybe you are starting a new carrier, moving home, getting over the loss of a loved one, or perhaps you are just curious about the world you live in.
You could have even watched eat, pray, love and thought that looks like something you want to try. What? It happens more than you think.
Taking a gap year is a personal choice
Who cares what the motivation is as long as you pursue your own dreams. Surly making life goes the way you want is the definition of success.
You only live once, so please do not listen to people who want to tell you that you should not be doing it.
What destination is best for travelling?
Again that’s all down to you! Do not listen to anyone who wants to influence your choice, even me.🙃 Think about what truly appeals to you since it’s your time and money invested.
I like to travel to South Asia, but that might not be for you. Maybe you want to see Thailand or Spain? Only you know what you want and there is no right answer.
However, if you want to explore South Asia, give yourself a pat on the back because you have come to the right place. The good news is that my travel tips and tricks can be applied anywhere, so read on.
How long should I travel?
How long should I travel? Well, that depends on two factors. It is a good idea to put some real thought into these points as the answer to this will significantly influence the outcome of your trip.
How much time do you want to travel?
I will be honest here and tell you that travellers will find several problems they would not otherwise have to face. Travelling is undoubtedly not all roses and rainbows.
Your life will be in a single bag for a start and that is a lot to take on by itself.
There will also be a prolonged period without your family and friends. You will probably get sick more than once and you are likely to become quite stinky.
All of this takes a toll on travellers. If it is your first trip for a prolonged period, then a whole year may be a bit much.
How much money should you budget for travel?
The answer to that question depends on what you want to do? If you are simply backpacking, it is best to work out a daily spend and try and stick to it.
However, if you plan to do something like an organised tour or scuba diving then of course, you must include that in your final figure.
So how much does it really cost to travel?
Now you have found out approximately where you are going and what you will be doing, you will need to make a detailed plan.
I know how many travellers simply want to turn up and see where the wind takes them, but this is a very bad idea. You will waste time backtracking and have no idea how much you will be spending.
You will not be able to manage your money correctly. In fact, not having a plan at all would spell disaster for your bank account and your adventure.
The quality of your experience hinges on your having the best travel plan for you and being able to stick to it. Not to mention it is a good reason to get out of bed on a Monday morning during the hard grind of normal life.
Pro-tip for planning your holidays
Sketch your desired route on a map and include all destinations and then you can see what to see to avoid backtracking. No one wants to spend more of their holidays than they need to on the back of a bus.
How to discover how much things cost on your holidays
I am sure there are many ways to find out the answer to this, but I will tell you how I do it and it has always worked for me.
Buy a copy of the lonely planet or whatever guidebook you trust and work out the costs given. Total it up against the current conversion rate on what you think you are attracted to. That should give you a rough guideline of what to expect.
Why use a guidebook to find out how much travel costs?
Because books like the lonely planet have up to date and current prices for just about everything. Hotels, transport, food and destinations of interest are all listed. Reading one will give you a good idea of what to expect and few resources give such a sweeping view.
How to work out the cost of your travel
How to work out the cost of travelling is a vast question and deserves its own post. We could talk about this for hours, but in a nutshell, here it is.
Budget the total number of days together
Now you have searched the guide books for a baseline for the daily costs. You should now total the days, which means all of them! Including flight days. Then total them up and hey presto, you have your basic cost for your trip.
But wait, there is more
There is no definitive amount of money you will spend in a day as every one of us has a different idea of an acceptable level of comfort. We all want to experience travel differently.
You will need to ask yourself this question honestly, as those who favour low-end spending means travelling locally, eating locally, and sleeping in cheap hotels. This is certainly not for everyone.
The different categories of travellers
Broadly speaking, travellers fall into three categories.
- Budget travelling
- Midrange travelling
- Highend travelling
I can’t give a price at the end of that because I have no idea where you are going. However, it is safe to say that like most things in life, the more money you chuck at something, the better the experience will probably be.
A word of warning
Here is a little food for thought for those people who want to experience travel on the very low end of the scale.
You have already spent time a lot of time-saving up and putting a lot of thought into doing it. Trying to make your daily spending as small as possible will often lead to disappointment.
You surely would want as good of a time as you can possibly have on your holidays?
Worrying about having enough money to eat without going over budget is not the best way to go around that, in my experience.
Here is another
Be careful what you listen to when they talk about the cost of travel to a particular destination. It depends on that person and where how they experience travel.
Where did they go? Did they stay in the city or spend their time in the countryside? What did they do? Suba diving or drank a whole lot? Did they travel alone or join a group?
How to research your travel
Again it is far better to stick to well-researched travel guides such as the lonely planet. I will mention them again as they have a team of travel experts who thoroughly research how much lots of stuff actually costs.
The lonely planet even has a guide with dollar signs that clearly state what restaurants and hotels will suit which person. Obviously, the ones with $$$ characters are the most expensive.
The problem with other sources of information on the cost of travel.
The problem with using other websites such as trip advisor or booking.com is that they only give a very fragmented view of the costs.
Budgeting for further travel expenses
Coming back to having a coherent plan. If you want to be doing anything expensive like, join a tour group on a trek in the mountains you should account for that separately. That can not come out of your daily spending.
I carry an extra amount I call my float. This is for any eventuality not budgeted in your daily spending. If you fail to do this on a tight spend, well, it is not hard to see the implications.
Changing money when you travel
On any long adventure, we will all have the problem of changing money. There are several solutions to this problem.
What not to do
Many of us will simply be taking a bank card when we travel and why not? However, if you experience travel like this, you will lose more money than you need to, especially if you pay for stuff individually.
You will be charged every time you use it, so it is better to withdraw money from an ATM unless you feel super flush.
Taking foreign currency from your country
Some of us will want to take all the foreign currency needed with us and that sounds like you are being organised. However, you will discover that you have been given a terrible rate and would have lost a lot of money.
Changing foreign currency abroad
Most of you planning to do this will change everything in an airport. Please do not do that, as this is the worst rate you will get for your cash.
Changing cash for travel FAQ
It is a simple fact you are getting a better rate for cold hard cash than you would be using a bank.
What I do to change money for travel
I like money, so I take a lot more than most people are comfortable with. Of course, it is a personal choice, but it’s what I do.
I change a little money at the airport for a base rate for my daily spending.
So if I am visiting the Indian subcontinent, I get 93 rupees to the pound at the airport. Thirty pounds is what I usually go with here, so 30 times 93 is 2790. That will be my daily fixed spend.
When I get into town and change money at a bank, I will be given a better rate. Now I get 96 rupees per pound. The three extra rupees per pound will be 288 rupees per day extra.
That can all be banked if you wish and put into your float for something constructive later.
A long journey anywhere is not cheap so keep a close record of your daily spending as you will need to control it.
At the end of each day, total up how much you have spent on everything and always try to keep on track. If you are consciously aware of your spending, you are far more likely to stay on budget.
Making money with your savings while you travel
After totalling the days spent, you can either add or take away from your float to keep you on track.
It feels much better to make money than lose it, so you will be more inclined to stick to your daily spending, although sometimes it is simply not possible.
Travel insurance is something that is a personal choice.
If I were going to write simply what everyone else does, I would say absolutely get it and you need it.
The truth is that sometimes it can feel like a very costly lucky charm and not much more. I know this is controversial, but this is my genuine opinion. There are pros and cons to having it and we will take a look now.
The problem with travel insurance
The problem is that there are so many clauses in travel insurance policies it can be very off-putting for many of us.
Most low-end travel insurance plans will not cover you against hiking. It seems reasonable, right? It is a high-risk activity after all. However, when do I stop walking and start hiking?
Furthermore, no policy will cover you from acts of God? What the hell is that? Indeed if you believe in a God, that’s everything, then? How would insurance companies even know this?
I will be honest with you and tell you I have taken many expensive travel insurance packages and have only ever made a successful claim once! It was for dental work in Thailand.
The benefits of travel Insurance
When you explore our world, it can be undeniably dangerous. Sure some destinations are dicier than others, and it depends where you decide to go.
I specialise in travel to South Asia and here mother nature can be extremely unforgiving indeed. While it is unlikely you will be involved in such a catastrophe, you can’t really rule it out.
You could walk out of your hotel door and get hit by a car. Medical costs can be huge!
If you have decided to wander off the beaten track, you may discover you need an airlift and that can cost $$$!
It’s down to you now
Now you can make an informed choice over travel insurance and if it suits you or not?
I thought it much better to tell you the facts and share my experience than recommend a company. You can search for one of those yourself.
Pro travel tip
If you do decide travel insurance is for you, then search around. Once you have found a site that you like make sure you read the small print! It could be very relevant if you need to make a claim.
I know it is long-winded and boring to read the masses of information on every site, but you will have to if you want to decide if you should purchase this policy for your holiday. It is a simple must!
What is immersive tourism?
It is a form of tourism in which the tourist is interested in immersing themselves in the culture and traditions of whatever place they are in.
This involves them typically getting far off the beaten track, which is easy to do in this part of Asia.
Finding the perfect experience travel group for you
Finding a decent company for group tours is an excellent way to start your travelling lifestyle. Organised tours can be a great way to make lifelong friends and get off the beaten track.
A good tour company will also know the routes you will be taking very well and be able to cover much more ground than you could possibly do by yourself. If time is a factor, it is well worth you considering this as an option.
A tour like this will cost considerably more than if you organised it yourself. However, they can be the only practical way for some.
Here are the best two ethical tour companies I know
Intrepid Travels https://www.intrepidtravel.com/
Gap adventures Adventure Travel & Tours – Book Your Trip – G Adventures
What countries do I cover?
You can find everything you need to know about planning your dream trip to South Asia. I have visited almost one-third of all the countries in the world, but I have found that travelling here is fantastic!
Now I will go through each place you can rely on me for the best up to date and honest travel advice. 😍
If you Mention India to someone, there is a good chance their minds will fill with exotic thoughts. Visions of rich culture, spices and spirituality will all spring to mind.
Travelling to India has been on many people’s bucket lists since forever and with a good reason. India is like many countries all wrapped into one. The North of India is so different from the south that it really does feel like a whole new country.
India is packed full of world-renowned destinations such as the elegant Taj Mahal or the beautiful beaches of Goa.
However, India also provides the perfect chance for travellers to get off the beaten track and create unique adventures. From the steaming jungles of the south to the high Himalayan mountains of the north, it has it all.
The impressive island of Sri Lanka will blow your socks off. Sri Lanka is the epitome of a tropical paradise. Its well-oiled transport infrastructure means the country is easy to explore.
Sri Lanka is a land of incredible food, diverse traditional culture, and fantastic wildlife. It is a very wise choice for your holiday and a delight to discover.
Again, the north is very different from the south, so you will need to plan on a lot more than just one week to see the country in depth.
Sri Lanka is another excellent place to make your first intrepid holiday. It is easy to get a good dose of what Sri Lanka offers as everything is so laid back. I wholeheartedly recommend you experience travel here.
I have had some of the best experiences of my life in this country. The elevation changes are more dramatic than in any other country in the world.
This extraordinary fact has given rise to a diverse array of landscapes throughout a tiny land space. You will find the lush tiger jungles of the Thari in the south and the snowy capped peaks of the Himalayas in the north.
What’s truly incredible is that you can get from one to the other in a single bus journey.
If you lack confidence or are on your first independent trip, then Nepal is an excellent choice for your holiday experience. The Nepali people are very hospitable and there is an excellent tourist infrastructure across a portion of the country.
It’s a fact that Bangladesh has more people living in it than the whole of Russia? Think about that for a moment and look at the size difference on the map.
Bangladesh is a riot of humanity. It sits on the expansive Ganges delta in a tropical climate. You do not need to be a genius to discover that Bangladesh is bursting with life.
Despite it being so densely populated, massive swaths of land are dedicated to the natural world. Some parts are yet hardly explored by the outside world.
You will also find good food, grand historical ruins and welcoming culture. It is fast becoming the chosen underdog for those looking for big adventures. To experience travel here is to experience South Asia at its most raw.
Pakistan has an unjustified reputation for being unsafe. For those who have the confidence, the vast portion of Pakistan is perfectly safe and the people are amazing. You are sure to make many friends with hospitable people.
The north of Pakistan is mountainous and rugged. The south is flat and culminates into the vast Thar desert to the east.
This place will make you want to come back for more, from fantastic scenery to mouth-watering food. Come to Pakistan for raw adventure travel.
Pakistan is shrouded in mystery. Not many people know the secrets of this country and there are more than you might imagine. For 33 reasons to visit Pakistan, simply click the link provided.
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is the only place where the land is carbon negative, where the people’s success hinges on the gross national happiness rather than the strength of money.
It really is small and is no bigger than the northeast tribal states of India it is adjacent to. However, that is a good thing as visiting them costs a small fortune.
You will have to put some thought into where you to see as you will only be able to spend a little bit of time on your visit unless you are super-rich.
Bhutan is stunning with unique landscapes. It also has a rich cultural heritage that is sure to be amazing for any traveller to discover.
Last but not least is the tiny archipelago of the Maldives. Again, this is one of the more expensive destinations to visit in this part of Asia.
The biggest issue, of course, is getting around as the islands are widely scattered over the tip of the Indian subcontinent.
Throughout the Maldives, you will find countless picture-perfect islands. They may cost a fortune to reach, but you would have found paradise on earth.
What a place to experience travel! The Maldives are wall to wall palm trees and sunshine. It is undoubtedly an excellent place to spend your holidays.
I know I have spoken a lot about money and how to do things, but I want this advice to be practical.
I don’t just want to tell you that there is this in this city or travel here for an excellent experience. There are a million blogs for that and I want my work to be a little different.
well, I hope you have enjoyed my work and If you would like to find out more or need any advice, then leave a comment below. Until then, happy travelling guys. 😎