Solo travel or group travel, here is a list of things to consider before your trip.
Travel priorities are like the invisible pillars of our itinerary and overall travel. We might not be aware of them, but they are there, holding our mood up and allowing us to have an amazing experience while traveling.
So what happens if our priorities are not respected or taken into account?
Why is it good to be aware of our travel priorities?
Sometimes, traveling can just feel off. It can happen to the best of us. Find ourselves in a situation of discontent, irritation, or even frustration. We are not exactly Burned out from traveling, yet we are not happy either, as if there were certain needs that are not being met.
In situations like these ones, where we feel like we've hit a brick wall and can't seem to figure out how to lift our mood, it's good to be aware of the things important to us, revisit our list of priorities, and see where we've been lacking.
Here's an example of why it's important to be aware and discuss priorities before traveling:
You and your group of friends —whom you've known for 5 years — decide to travel/go on a vacation together. Everything is set to work out perfectly! The group is excited, the planning is done, you've boarded the plane, toasted to the five-year-friends-anniversary, and are all ready to have a great time! But then you land at the chosen travel destination and one friend hates the humidity and complains that the group should have picked the colder destination over the warm but humid country. Then, when the group arrives at the accommodation two of the friends don't think the place is nice enough and want to book another, slightly more expensive but much comfier and luxurious accommodation. This is fine with most of the group! When another member of the group voices their concern. They are on a tight budget and would rather stay at the original, cheaper place BUT they don't mind the rest of the group going to the nicer place and meeting up there later. This seems to be a good compromise until one of the friends voices that it's very important to them that the group stays together, and does 'everything together'.
Everyone feels exhausted . . . things seem to not work . . . and it's only day 1.
But Why is everything 'off' when it works back home?
Priorities such as weather, nice accommodation, 'group mentality', and staying within a budget are just some of the priority categories we've seen in the group of friends mentioned above.
If priorities are not talked about prior to traveling or addressed right off the bat they can keep causing friction or even clashes and add to the underlining tension that could very quickly ruin the entire mood if not the entire vacation. If you would like to make sure your travel priorities are compatible with your friend(s)/significant other(s) before you start traveling, I've put together a helpful guide for you.
LET'S TALK ABOUT PRIORITIES
aka the invisible pillars of our trip
Krabi, Thailand (Unedited Photo)
Now BEFORE we start, just remember, priorities change! And that is completely fine! This is just a guide to gain a general overview of some of them.
Here is a list of the priorities worth taking into account when planning your next trip.
Budget is a big, if not the biggest, factor in many travelers' itineraries! It can have an impact on a wide range of other categories. It can mean the difference between taking a 12hr bus ride over a more expensive, but shorter plane flight.
Don't be ashamed of setting and making a budget plan and allocating a sum you'll be comfortable spending on certain categories (food, accommodation, transport, activities, etc.).
What sum of money are you willing to spend on this vacation/ backpacking trip/ traveling?
Set a sum that you truly feel comfortable with!
A sum that won't leave you dreading coming home.
And if you are planning on getting a job and working abroad, that's okay too! You can still set 'Budget priorities'. You can save up money or you can spend it on experiences, or save up some money and experience some parts of the country.
You can work and spend freely and experience as much of the country as you can. (In this case, the main priority would be Activities/ Experiences over Saving up.)
You can also mainly work and occasionally go on adventures, and opt to stay in cheaper accommodations. (In this case the main priority would be saving up or keeping within budget)
What are you willing to compromise on? Be honest with yourself.
A good accommodation, where you feel content with your choice and the money you've spent on it, can make your traveling/ vacation 10 times better.
Keep in mind, the accommodation is often the traveler 'safe space' where we can take a break from the craziness of being on the road and recharge in our own, little space, or if we are staying at a party place, recharge by spending some time by the pool chatting or partying with others.
I'll put together a guide on how to find your perfect hostel/hotel but here are some questions worth asking.
How much do I want to spend per night for accommodation?
Location? Am I willing to walk further to the accommodation if it means it's cheaper?
What Amenities are important to me? 24/7 reception, pool, in-house-keeping, social space, cafe/pub lounge, etc.
How safe is the accommodation?
What is the comfort level? I want a room for myself and I'm okay paying more for it Or I want my privacy but I'm on a tight budget so I'll book a hostel with cubicles or curtains.
You can get a general reply to these questions from pictures and reviews.
ALWAYS READ THE REVIEWS BEFORE BOOKING AN ACCOMMODATION!
(Trust me, I've learned the hard way)
If your main goal is to sleep at luscious hotels/ resorts / (even some hostels) or you would like to experience a very unique stay (like sleeping in treehouses or bungalows in the middle of the desert) cut a bigger slice out of your budget and set that as your priority.
Some travelers have a deep craving for culinary experiences, for getting to know a country through its spices and seasonings. Letting their nose take the lead, following the delicious scent leading to the nearest food hall, filled with hundreds of stalls wrapped in the chaos of preparation while content chatter snakes around the utensils of happy guests.
On the other hand, some travelers like grabbing a quick sandwich from 7-11 on their way to their next plan.
Kathmandu, Nepal (Unedited Photo)
Everyone has an ideal travel pace. A busy itinerary, packed with activities from morning till dawn or a more leisurely, relaxing for a week by a big lake type of plans.
If you want to find what travel pace suits you the best, avoid Travel Burnout, and maximize the things you can see while still feeling rested when returning home, read this helpful article on Slow and Fast Traveling.
Most of the time there is a reason behind us choosing the country we are about to travel to.
It might be because it has the best waves or wind for surfing, or it has the cute, Instagram-able cafes, or it has the trail you've always dreamed about hiking, or it has the luxury stores you need to be surrounded by and want to shop at to truly feel recharge. It all depends on you.
But it's good to be aware because it influences everything else!
If you want to RELAX, maybe splurge a bit more on a nice place, close to the beach or a hotel with a pool, or a cozy hut on a snow-covered mountain. But there might be small compromises. The accommodation might cost more, or the food options might be limited or catered to tourists and not an authentic experience.
If you want ACTIVITIES or an ACTIVE travel experience, you might want to book the tours, look at the adrenaline junkie programs, and go from one destination to another while chasing the experience. However, you might have to compromise and pay extra for the quickest transport, or book last-minute hotels/hostels that might not be up to your standard.
6) MEANS OF TRAVEL
Some people like traveling fast and comfortably and wouldn't give it up for the world, while others see a goldmine in the amount of money they can save when opting for the veeeeery NOT luxurious, but significantly cheaper travel option.
If your priority is to travel as cheaply as possible, it's doable! But you might have to wake up at 3 am to get to the airport in time or spend 25hr on a bus (YEP! That's what I did) to save that flight ticket fare.
If your priority is getting to the destination refreshed and ready to enjoy it, you might want to opt for the more expensive but more convenient travel option.
Would the weather make or break your travel experience?
If your main goal is to get to a country and be there as cheaply as possible, off-season might be just for you! But remember . . . the are off-seasons for a reason.
If your main goal is to enjoy the best, possible weather a country has to offer, you might want to go in peak season. But this might mean bigger tourist crowds and higher prices.
Remember priorities change!
When I'd gotten ill in Indonesia, I abandoned all my plans and budget plans and booked a very fancy accommodation. At that moment, my health was my priority.
Now let's get to RANKING.
It's all about compromising.
What is a part of your travel that you ARE and AREN'T willing to compromise on?
Maybe you are willing to break the bank but want adventures and good weather without caring too much about the accommodation. Your priorities might look like his.
You really want to travel to many places, but are tight with time and also money.
2)Traveling Fast (busy itinerary)
3) Means of Travel (spending money on flights/taxies/cars to get quickly places)
4) Accommodation (spending less on accommodation, compromising on the comfiness)
You want to stay at nice accommodations and have culinary experiences but keep a budget.
1) Accommodation (spending more money on it)
2) Food (Cooking classes, food tours)
3) Budget (spending more money on the above two)
4) Traveling Slow (picking fewer destinations within a country. This means fewer local culinary experiences BUT saving on travel fare)
There are many different variations but the most important thing is what is important to you!
Hope this guide helped you get to know your priorities, and the way you rank them and will help you have a perfect trip!
Let's get Traveling <3