So many nice things have been said, written and sung about travelling and travelers. Historians would tell us that many hundreds of years ago travelling used to be a destiny of those who had nothing to lose and could easily leave one place for another in their searches for themselves and, of course, for a better life. Most famous scientists and researchers of old days also travelled for months and years in order to make their great discoveries and write books that are still of high value.
Many things have changed since that time. New countries have appeared. New means of transport and communication have been invented, which have turned the mankind’s ideas about the world to an absolutely different direction for the rest of its days. Travelling has evolved from the only possible way to survive, through one of the most luxurious entertainments, into quite an affordable plan for the weekend and even lifestyle.
However, there’s one thing that haven’t altered and remained the same through many centuries. This is the essence of travelling, the reason why people do it until nowadays, no matter whether they go to another city for a 3-day music festival or to another country for several months to explore its every corner.
And this is what we’re going to start this FAQ list with. Let’s go!
What Is So Special About Travelling?
A huge number of various great things can be associated with travelling. Of course, each of us will name what is closer to him or her personally. These associations will mostly depend on our lifestyles, interests and preferences, our experience, worldview and even our character. Nevertheless, still there will be something common about all our ideas. These are a few very specific features that uncover the reasons why we like and need travelling. So it is all about:
- Changing the scene: bet you know how it feels when you long for escaping from your daily and study routine to a place where nobody knows you, except for your faithful companion, and where your problems can’t get you.
- Facing something new and meeting somebody new: when you go to a completely new place, even if it’s a different city, you will always get some brand-new experience, whatever it will be related to. You may have a nice small-talk with somebody sitting at the table next you at the cozy cafe. Or you may find a wonderful small shop with unique local souvenirs. Even a short bus trip can become something unusual. These little things seem quite insignificant at first sight. But they are, actually, those small and bright impressions about your journey that your memory will store for a very long time, just like your smart-phone stores your photos and videos.
- Stepping out of your comfort zone: as nothing in our world can be ideal, there will be something uncomfortable or unpleasant about every journey. Let it be a trifle like the rainy weather (when you are spending your holidays on the sea coast). However, this is what can make you feel homesick for some time. On the other hand, finding the way out of the bothering situation and continuing to enjoy your time will lift your spirits up as well as bring some new impressions and experience, showing you what you’re really capable of even if you’re far away from home.
How Should I Choose My Destination?
In case you don’t have a particular place you want to go to, and you just wish you could get anywhere out of where you are now, you should consider these four points to make your final and satisfying choice.
Hint #1: Time
Firstly, you should know for sure how much time you can spend on your travelling. If you have holidays and can afford to spend a week or two or even more out of your hometown, then it’s sensible to plan a long journey around Europe, for example. On the other hand, if there are just a few days at your disposal, then you could think about a short bike tour to another city or some short-term backpacking trip.
Hint #2: Money
Your trip budget does matter. Find time to sit and carefully think over how much money you’re ready to spend on travelling. Mostly, the total sum will depend on your choice of the destination, which determines
- how you’ll get there (if you plan a journey to a different country, search for some discounts on plane tickets for students in advance);
- where you’ll stay (except for the cases when you have a tent or a nice travelling van to sleep in);
- what you want to see there (even in case of backpacking in the national parks you still must pay an entrance fee as well as for some special permits);
- some extra expenses including food, souvenirs, etc.
Hint #3: Season and Weather
When planning your trip, consider the season and check the weather. Such a little preliminary will help you not only to decide what clothes to pack, but also to organize your activities during the trip, so that the weather conditions couldn’t influence your impressions and mood.
Hint #4: Personal Preferences
Of course, if you know definitely what place you want to visit, all your considerations about the time, money, things to take with you and other travelling issues should be oriented towards your aim: the particular destination you’ve been dreaming about for ages. Find as much information about this place as you can, talk with people who have already been there, and let nothing prevent you from bringing your dream to life.
Hint #5: Folk’s Advice
Fortunately, today on the Internet you can find numerous blogs and forums where travelers share their experience and impressions after their trips and journeys to different corners either of their native countries or of our whole world. Search some of them through when you have some free time, chat with other users and ask them questions about some peculiar issues of travelling to this or that place. In this way, you can learn much more about what exactly you need in order to get where you want to, what you should prepare yourself to, and many other extremely useful and practical things, which you’ll never read in any guidebook.
What Is Better: Travelling with a Tour Group or on My Own?
Actually, there can’t be a single and universal piece of advice regarding the issue on how it’s better to travel: by joining an organized tour group or by arranging everything on your own. Let’s see what your choice can depend on.
Your Personal Preferences
In most cases, it depends only on your own opportunities (because guided tours are usually quite expensive) and general views on travelling. If you think you’d better plan your own trip with your faithful friends and see things you really want to see than go on a tour with people you don’t know and listen to a guide you don’t like, there’s nothing wrong about you. Moreover, that’s going to be really cool. On the other hand, you may still prefer organized student trips when everything is arranged for you, even a visit to the store with local souvenirs.
Your Travel Experience
Sometimes, it’s recommended that if you go to some far place for the first time or if this is the very first time you go travelling at all, you should choose a well-organized group tour. Nevertheless, there are guys who find some special beauty and romance in going to a new place on their own, even when it’s the first time they’ve decided to “step out of their comfort zone”.
Some Specific Regulations About the Place You Want to Visit
Still there are a few very popular tourist destinations on our planet where you’re not allowed to go alone. Most of them are referred to as natural wonders and natural heritage of our world, and are strictly protected by local governments. On the other hand, some places may be not safe for solo travelers due to some local or international political issues. The Tibet Area in China is one of the examples that can be related even to both of the mentioned features. So when you choose your destination, make sure you’re aware of them.
Do I Need a Passport or a Visa If I Plan to Go Abroad?
In case you’ve decided to travel abroad, you always need a passport, and very often you’re required to have a visa. If you plan to go to another country in your own, you should visit the official website of its embassy (all of them are available in English) and find what particular documents you need as a student when your purpose of visit is tourism. You can also contact the representative of the embassy by phone or via e-mail if you need some more detailed information. Besides, don’t hesitate to join travelers’ forums and ask for some help.
How Important Is It to Have Health Insurance Abroad?
According to what is stated by the Michigan University International Center, it’s highly likely that your present insurance won’t cover you when you’re abroad. That’s why they strongly recommend that you purchased one if you plan a personal trip. On the Internet you can find a lot of special services for students and consult them about insurance issues. You can also inquire of your college or university administration representative whether you can get the insurance with them.
What Health Precautions May Be Necessary If I Go Abroad?
They’ll depend on the region where you plan to travel (usually special precautions are required for less-developed regions). So you should find out whether you need vaccines and medications against particular diseases. Also, you may need to take special precautions about drinking (for instance, the water you’ll buy at local shops may be not good for your health) as well as eating (again not all local foods may be good for you).
What Are the Best Ways to Keep in Touch with Me While I’m Far Away?
The first solution that comes to mind is the Internet and social nets. Indeed, in many countries you can get free Wi-Fi at local airports, cafes, hostels, and even on the city streets. However, there are still some countries and regions where it’s really difficult for foreigners to assess the local Net. So if your visit is going to be quite long, you’d better think about providing an international plan for your cell phone contract or purchasing a new SIM-chip on the spot.
How Can I Cut Costs When Travelling?
Except for the tickets, the most significant expenses always relate to accommodation and food. However, you can manage to spend less money on these two rather expensive but very important travelling issues. When planning your trip budget, you can search for youth hostels, which sometimes provide discounts for students. Also, you can find out how couchsurfing works.
Couchsurfers are people who share their homes with travelers for free. So this will be a nice opportunity for you to have a nice accommodation, meet new people and learn how they live literally from inside.
Should I Plan the Entire Trip in Advance?
It’s certainly up to you. If you’re a type of person who doesn’t feel well if there’s no clear plan of actions, then you should probably think your trip through and over considering all the details. If you’re not afraid of making on-the-spot decisions and are always ready for spontaneity, then you can rely on your own flair and change your trip plan when and as you like.
What Benefits Can I Have as a Student?
Discounts are those wonderful options which are provided for you by your status. So don’t hesitate to use them. By the way, the ISIC card, which provides most student discounts on hostel accommodation, cafes, tickets and places of interest, is recognized worldwide, so wherever you plan to travel, you should definitely get one.
What Are the Most Important Things I Should Take with Me?
Your documents, money (both cash and credit card) and cell phone are the things you should prepare first. Don’t forget to take some medicines against cold, stomachache and headache, some warm clothes (even if you go to a very hot place) and something to drink. The rest can be found quite easily almost everywhere.