I have decided that I will be going on a trip to South-East Asia. I have done a little backpacking in the past, but not in Asia or in any country where English is not the prevalent language. But I am excited for this trip and want to make the most of it. I am not making a deadline to go back home and not restricting myself to an itinerary. At this point I’m not sure how long I will go for, but I will plan it so it should be a good length of time. But planning a trip like this has had its challenges.
Planning of a big trip has not been quite as easy as I thought it was going to be. I’m at a crossroads it seems. How much does one plan when they’re not sure for how long they will be gone? Should you plan when you know that you’re too spontaneous and stubborn to follow your own plan? This is where I am now. I want to plan enough to feel comfortable once I arrive in a country, but still have the freedom to stay somewhere longer if I wish or leave earlier if need be.
So how I’ve started planning my trip with this in mind. I plan to only book one hostel at wherever I first arrive, of course along with equipping myself with good directions from the airport to the hostel, or at the very least cheap ways to get to the hostel. I have also started researching places to see and things to do with a rough itinerary mapped out. I have found that web sites such as www.wikitravel.com and bloggers such as Nomadic Samuel with his country and city guides extremely helpful! With these resources, I find planning things to see and do fairly easy, as well as finding what the “must-see/do’s” are. So I’ve made a list of the countries I plan to go to, then a list in order of the cities/towns I plan to visit with what I want to see there. This way I should be able to get to things on my own time, and not miss out on the “must see/do’s”.
I started researching places to stay as well using resources such as wiki travel again along with hostelworld.com and trip advisor. These sites have user entered reviews which seem to be updated with many reviews coming in weekly. I plan to stay in hostels for the duration of my trip so that I can stretch my money as far as I can so that I may travel as long as I can! I have been making notes on several hostels for multiple cities. I keep track of approximate pricing and what the reviews were like. Of course I’m not going to put bad hostels in my list, but my plan is to have these as a reference so if I plan to go somewhere, I don’t need to spend much time researching hostels in the area before I go.
How do you plan trips so that you don’t miss out on must see/ do’s, and yet have the ultimate freedom we all crave?