Travel, there's nothing quite like it. If you've never done it before though and are branching out from virgin territory, or you are a rookie looking to become a novice, the thought of it can be quite intimidating. Here are the basics that everyone can consider, just like we learned in elementay school, the five "W's" and one "M" to help make your trip planning easier. There are hundreds of factors besides these ones though. It depends on the group. Traveling as a female, or if you are gay or have a disability, as a minority..etc. opens up a hundred more things to look at. EVERYONE can travel but there needs to be many things looked into before the trip (more to come on this subject soon....). However let's start at the very beginning. Let's start with the "W's".
WHO is going? Do you like being in groups and feel lonely all the time when you are not around others, or do you prefer the independence of being on your own? Both traveling in groups and traveling solo have their advantages. There is nothing more fun then doing a weekend warrior princess trip with your girlfriends....but the same applies for discovering a new place by yourself. One disclaimer I would say about traveling solo though, is that it's not always recommended as there are parts of the world where being a female is not so great. I myself have been in situations where I know would not happen if I was with one or more people. The best advice I can give on the "WHO" is to know yourself and who you are when it comes to social situations.
WHAT do you want to do? This ties in with the "WHY" of travel. Do you want to have a nice relaxing vacation and lie on a beach with a drink in hand, or do you want an adventure across "new" territory. Do you want to take a cooking class and learn the local cuisine, learn a language or learn how to scuba dive? The possibilities of what you can do are endless...which leads us into the "WHEN" and "Where".
WHEN do you go? Vacation time that work provides doesn't always fall on the ideal time to travel to the place you want to go. India during monsoon season. Cuba when it's hurricane time is probably not the most ideal month to travel. Do a little research and know when is the ideal time to visit your place of choice.
WHERE do you want to go? The possibilities are endless...and so are the options. Pick a country and depending on the country pick your hotel, hostel or resort. Know your style and know what you can deal with. Don't be naive when you travel....the first time I went to Africa was the biggest shock of my life. Have (great) expectations but also know wherever you pick, you will face some major changes.
WHY go? This one should be number one in my mind....like it was pointed out before there are hundreds if not thousands of reasons to travel. Escaping the mafia though is not one of them though!
MONEY is a necessary thing when it comes to travel (and for those of you wondering where the "H" as in "HOW" this is it). Not all countries are created equal. Thailand is not the same cost as say Switzerland. However there is a difference in price between staying at a five star resort or backpacking it around the country. An example is a few years ago I managed to backpack around Mexico and Guatemala (for 5 weeks) for less then the same price that it would cost to go to a five star resort for a week.
Although basic, the five "W's" and one "M" are significant in having a great trip. Stay tuned for tips on how to travel on the cheap, where to go as a female, best gay travel spots...and more.
Until next time The Little Princess's Guide to Backpacking