Sunday, August 05, 2007

Travel Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions answered in mine and Kristina's book, Do It While You're Young: A Travel Guide for the Modern Girl.

What kind of luggage should I take?

It all depends on where you’re going and what you need to take with you. For the most part, you’re probably not going to need near as much as you want or think you will need. You’ll probably want just one medium sized suitcase (or if you’re backpacking you’ll want a good backpack). Then you’ll probably want a carry-on bag if you’re flying as well as a day bag or purse. This is probably all you will need. See chapter 8 about for more info about packing.

Isn’t it unsafe for young women to travel?


Absolutely not! As with anywhere you go in your own city, you need to take precautions for safety. We’ll discuss common safety practices that you can and should do no matter where you are in Chapter 8.

How much time to I need to travel?

It depends. If you only have a few days to get away and relax, that is fine. Whatever it takes to get you out there and experiencing the world it fine by us.

If you have more than a few weeks, that just means you have more wiggle room. Some people take months off to travel and others take years. It just depends on you and your resources (money!)

A big group of us want to travel together? How is that going to work?

Well, it may take a little more planning on everyone’s part to get the logistics right, but it is definitely doable.

Set rules and guidelines before you go about deciding on destinations and how to mediate disagreements. It is so much fun to travel with friends and the memories can be shared for a lifetime!

Shouldn’t I wait to travel until after I have retired?

Why would you do that? Why wait until you no longer look hot in a swimsuit to go tropical beaches or you no longer have the stamina to hike to the top of a mountain peak?

Will traveling now be a bad career decision?

If your employers frown upon employees who are interested in learning about the world around them and don’t like the characteristics of people who travel such as determination, ambition, self-motivation and organizational skills then, yes, it’s probably a bad career decision.

Won’t I feel lonely?


It is possible that you might feel lonely on occasion. Once you get out and start exploring you will get over that quickly. You will make new friends and, if you have to, your friends and family are only an e-mail or phone call away.

What if I don’t know what to do?

Believe in yourself! You will figure it out! If not, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help or research for information in a book or online. The great thing about traveling is learning to rely on yourself. For many of us, traveling is the first time we really get to learn independence and it can be so much fun!

What if I don’t know anyone?


Talk to people! The surest way to make friends when traveling is to talk to them, ask them questions and make yourself available. Just like how you make friends back home.

Am I too young?


There may be instances where you are too young. For example, if you are in a country where the drinking age is 21 and you are 18, then, yes, you are too young. Luckily for you, and don’t tell your parents we told you this, the drinking age in many countries is 18 or measured by if you can see over the bar!

Other than that, no way! If you can read this book, for the most part, we believe you are old enough to travel the world.

Am I too old?

Of course not!

Where should I go?

Use your imagination. The possibilities are endless! In chapter 3 we will discuss possible destinations.

What if I get lost?


Well, that is highly unlikely in this day and age. There are GPS systems, online maps, and who knows what else. We don’t think you will get lost on accident. At least not for very long. And we do recommend you get lost on purpose!

What if I get sick?


Before you leave home make sure all you vaccinations are up to date. Pack your prescriptions and if you can, bring extra just in case. We also recommend travel insurance. Often times you will return home having never used the insurance that you paid for. There may be a time that you do need your insurance on the road and having taken the precaution to invest in insurance will save you a lot of hassle, worry, time and money.

You should also be aware of the food you eat and what you drink. In countries that are famous for their unsafe water buy bottled water with sealed caps and be wary of ice made with the local water.

What if I don’t speak the language?


Take a language dictionary if you think you will need it. Sometimes locals will know a little English and will be very pleased to practice on you! If you cannot speak with the locals, try to be polite and courteous. Use gestures (the nice kind!) and be mindful that smiling is a universal language. Remember that speaking loudly will not help them to understand you any better!

What about my friends and family back home?


We will give you tips in Chapter 10 on how to keep in contact with friends and family while you are on your journey.

What if I don’t have enough money?


With a little bit of savings and some creativity you can find a way to stretch that budget. We’ll give you more tips on how to save money and to make money while you are on your journey in chapters 4 and 5.

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