Monday, March 16, 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure (pt. deux)

Alright, let's say you have gotten through the first three steps already. You have created your budget, know where you are going, and the time frame in which you are traveling. It is now time to come up with some specific details about your adventure.

How long will you be on this trip? I highly recommend looking at transportation pricing to help with this decision. Not because you are purchasing just yet, but because it will give you a better idea of how much money you will have to travel with. For example, if your budget is $3000 and your plane ticket total is $2900, you may be able to have lunch and buy a couple souvenirs before having to return from your destination.

Once you have the length of your trip under control, it is time to figure out where you are staying. Yes, we know the geographic location, but you won't be provided a complimentary habitat once you arrive at your desired location. Hostels and hotels are great, however if you happen to know anybody in the area it could prove to be a great money saver. Even if they don't have a couch for you to crash on, they could help you find accommodations that are more promising than a back-alley slum. No matter where you stay, though, do your research. Find out information about the area, reviews of things nearby, what news occurs in the vicinity. They might have great prices, but if there is a history of muggings at the front door it may not be the best bet. Hostelworld is a great website that provides a search engine of hostels all over the world, as well as reviews on cleanliness and locations of each. The website also has a record of reviews from other travelers and their personal experiences. If you are extra cautious like me, you could always make reservations at an international chain hotel such as the Holiday Inn, Hilton, Westin, etc, but even then you should still check the reviews.

After you have arrived, how do you plan to get around the area? Most places have some sort of public transportation system, such as buses and/or subway systems. If you are going to Europe, be sure to check out the rates on the European Railway, as well as the individual country's independent rail systems. For instance, I was not able to receive a Eurail pass because France is one of the only countries that does not sell an individual country pass. Instead, I will need to travel through the SNCF. If your location does not have public transportation, it would be wise to acquire a map and also find out how much is within walking distance (or, if you're old enough, rent a car).

That should provide you with a pretty solid plan of what is happening on your journey. All you really need to do past these steps is make the reservations to seal the deal. Next in the CYOA series, I will cover some important things to bring with you on your journey.

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