You can probably prepare as much as you want for any trip, you will still find yourself having to adapt here and there. I’ve met different kinds of people on my journeys. There’s the ultimate planner with a laminated hourly itinerary. Then there are the ones that weren’t too sure where they would be staying that night. Whether you are either of those people, I would like to try and inspire you to leave some things up to fate and perhaps book things with a little flexibility.
To start, it’s obvious there are a few necessities, especially if you have a fixed time frame. Flights, visas, vaccinations and cash are some basic essentials. Equally, if you want to do something like the Machu Picchu trail, this also need to book this months in advance. Otherwise, it’s really up to you.
The first time I regretted booking anything in advance was when I was bribed on booking the next five days of my trip in Thailand. I was new to the whole backpacker thing and they made it sound so great. I would be trekking in the jungle in Northern Thailand, riding elephants and they would even sort out the transport to get me to my next destination, Laos. All sounded so great at the time but when I got there I wanted to stay longer with the people I had just met. It wasn’t too much of a big deal, as I just canceled my transport to Laos but if you’re tight for money it’s not great.
You’ll meet so many people on your trip that will inspire you to go places it would be silly to not go because 5 months before you had planned to be somewhere else.
If you don’t like where you end up – you move on.
Most well travelled places are very well set up. You can book transport the day before, sometimes even the same day to get to your next destination. So if you don’t like where you end up – you move on. A great compromise that allows flexibility is the hop-on hop-of buses. They can get pricey with the temptation of activities but they are great to meet people. The only time I couldn’t book my bus for the next day was in Vietnam. My ticket covered the whole journey up the coast but I had to book each leg a day before. Which meant I had to spend one extra day on this gorgeous beach in Hoi An – shame.
What is meant for you won’t pass you by
The thing is, you’re never really going to know how you feel or who you’ll meet until you get there. If you are like most of us in a 9-5 job with someone dictating your work hours day-to-day, wouldn’t be nice to give yourself the opportunity to just go with the flow. The things that are meant for you won’t pass you by. If things sometimes don’t quite work out so well, you’ll learn to laugh at them. So as I said, I think it’s important to plan some things such as visa, passport and cash. But do you really need to know you’ll be getting a bus at 9AM three weeks from now from a destination you haven’t even been to? Probably not.
* Have you ever had to change your plans for the better? What is something you would tell a first time traveler? Comment below and let us know!