One of the hardest questions travelers ask themselves is “where to next?”
While it may be refreshing to lay back and daydream about venturing off to a tropical paradise, getting lost in a mess of city lights, or trekking to the top of a rocky cavern, the reality of traveling is that planning a trip is hard work.
Of course, there are countless websites dedicated to making this easy for you. Just about anyone will happily take your money in exchange for promising “the best deal” or “the best place” or “the best way” to travel. But what can be trusted? And what’s really best?
Part of life is making mistakes, but you don’t have to lose all your money in the process. I will never pay for something I don’t already have the money for – and that I’m willing to risk losing. Ask around. If no one knows anything the company or country you’re considering, don’t blindly hand over your full travel fund. Wait a few days after arriving in a new place before making any major investments and make sure you see the product/place in person, first. My friend once put down AUS$1000 on a condo in London only for it to be a scam. Learn from others’ mistakes!
Trust your gut
God gave us some amazing intrinsic abilities; one being the skill to see a scam before getting sucked into it. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t just accept what your tummy tells you – investigate it. Google can hack up some incredible information. On the internet, everything is public. Research can be redundant, but it is invaluable to a traveler. When in doubt, ask advice from another seasoned traveler.
Be travel savvy
I love going to places knowing as little as possible about them, leaving myself open to being awe-struck. There is some common knowledge that all travelers must have, that can only be learned through travelling. It is a vicious chicken-and-egg cycle, through which you’re likely to make mistakes (but remember, that’s okay!). Let common sense guide you. Don’t do, or go, anything/anywhere/with anyone you feel uncomfortable with. Travel is about taking risks – but some risks are not worthwhile to take.
Take advantage of information
Read the latest blogs. Watch Scam City. Listen to other travelers. Don’t simply accept advice – seek it. From everyone. Drown yourself in a cacophony of information.
And then get up and sort through the pieces. They’ll start to form an intricate puzzle, and there you have it: your next trip.
Excited? I hope so. Scared? If you’re not yet, you should be.
The last thing to do is hold your breath, push the “purchase” button on that ridiculously low airfare, and strap yourself in for a bumpy ride.
(My next terrifying trip? Looks like I’m going to be putting my trust in Citytravelreview and flying to Berlin for a month of crazy experiences this June. Stay tuned!)