So last year I travelled a LOT. Maybe not a lot compared to some, and definitely nowhere as much as those who seem to have limitless bank accounts, but it was a lot for me.
I was never at home for more than two months at a time, and even when I was technically “home”, I spent my days off running between Cairns, Babinda and the Tablelands. There was this running joke at work where everyone would ask me “when’s you’re next holiday, Viv?”, not expecting to get a solid answer, but every time, without a doubt I would have something lined up or in the works. And that was still whilst studying!
This year, things have slowed down briefly – and by that I mean I’m currently on a two month break of no holidays or gigs or festivals (R.I.P. Splendour this year), with my next adventure being in August to see The Amity Affliction in Brisbane (so much excitement for that one!).
After my little Brissie stint, I have a killer holiday lined up for September which includes a music festival and a gig, as well as travelling to the Sunny Coast, Melbourne, Byron, Brisbane, and finishing off all the craziness at the family beach house back in Cairns. All over a quaint 10 days! Yes, I’m going to be absolutely exhausted and will need to perfect my plane skincare routine before then, but I wanted to see all of those places this year so I figured, why not wrap it up all in one go? Whether it’s actually genius or pure mental, I’m thrilled either way. It will be a primarily solo expedition, with a couple of days here and there staying with friends or family, but Melbs and I will have an entire 3 days all to ourselves!
Anyway, the point of this post wasn’t to gloat or give you guys an in-depth update of what I am getting up to over the next few months, but rather to inspire more of you to do the same! A lot of people are initially intimidated by the thought of solo travel (especially some of us ladies), or are unsure of how to organise a trip without your parents dealing with everything and sending you the itinerary in a treasured email (that you are somehow sure to lose).
So here are some realistic tips for how average Everyday Gals (and Guys) can inject more adventure into their lives and do so in an affordable way that doesn’t take YEARS to save for 🙂
Tip #1: Start Small
This may seem kinda obvious, but if you’ve grown up without the travel bug rattling around in your system then the idea of travelling can seem kinda daunting and HUGE. Before you go booking any flights to Paris, do some research on what cool things are around your local area. Whether you have to catch a bus, or train, or rely on Google Maps to drive there, it will be a great experience to get you out of your comfort zone and go somewhere new. If you’ve got some time on your hands, bring a book or a film camera and enjoy just wandering around the town/suburb/rainforest (wherever you may end up) to take in all of the foreign elements of the place. Who knows, it soon might become your safe haven!
Tip #2: Go for a Reason
Sometimes it’s hard to see the point of going to a place you’re not familiar with, just for the sake of going. It could be the most magical oasis in the world, but our mean girl (aka that nagging, negative little voice in your head) will come up with an abundance of reasons why it’s simply not worth bothering with. That’s why it’s brilliant when there’s an event being held there. Truthfully, I’ve never flown to Brisbane just for the sake of a holiday. There’s always a concert or festival on that I’ve booked tickets for. But that’s okay, because I then will make sure I stick around for a couple of extra days post-gig to relax and explore and soak up the city. Because there’s ALWAYS new stuff to discover, trust me.
Most capital cities are thriving with events and music gigs, so a lot of the time you won’t even have to fly out of the state to have a rad time. Keep an eye out on your city’s gig guide and even the city council social media pages, as they will often advertise for major events or activities happening in the area.
Tip #3: Plan in Advance
Yes, it completely takes out the “spontaneity” of the whole thing, but if you’re like me and can be quite the obsessive planner/overthinker at times, then having things organised with weeks to spare will help ease your mind a lot! Of course, if you feel like a spur of the moment trip to Sydney for the weekend (and have the funds to make that happen), then go for gold! But when it comes to booking flights I like to have as much notice as I can, mostly because I’m a cheapskate but also because you have more options with times and airlines. The “spontaneous” part of my trips usually comes when the initial idea sparks in my head. Usually, I will hear that one of my favourite bands are coming to Brisbane, I immediately decide “Yes, I’m bloody well going” or think about it for a few days until the tickets are released. In most cases, it will be the first one, and in a matter of minutes you go from having a casual Wednesday morning off to feverishly browsing on ticket and airline sites.
Tip #4: Don’t be Afraid to be Alone
It doesn’t matter how flipping fantastic the trip is going to be, the reality is that sometimes your friends aren’t going to be able to go with you. That’s something you need to make peace with early on, because everyone has different shit going on in their lives and simply may not be able to take the time off/afford it/already have plans, etc. etc. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your mates entirely. Recently, I’ve started buying two tickets for all of the gigs and concerts that I’m going to, so that if one of my friends does decide that they want to come (or are simply unorganised as hell), they can just buy the ticket off me and we are all good to go! And if at the end of it you still end up going solo, then head to the event page on Facebook and sell your spare.
Anyway, doing things alone is liberating as fuck. Sure, it may seem scary at first and you will be paranoid that everyone is staring and laughing at you for not having any friends, but once you get over that initial fear and just don’t give a shit you will have the BEST time. And dude, no one is laughing at you! If anything they are admiring you or thinking how much of a freaking badass you are for not needing a human life vest to do the things you love.
Tip #5: Take Advantage of Travel Agents
If you’re booking a pretty straight forward trip or going by car, then there’s no real need for this step, but if you’re ready to jump into the unknown and possibly broaden your horizon overseas, then finding a rad travel agent will be your saving grace. I had the loveliest TA from Student Flights, Erika, who was a total gift from the universe when it came to organising my Bali trip. I went into the store for a solid session with her, where we researched and organised all of my accomodation, private vehicle transfers and activities months in advance. And the best thing is that I was able to pay it all off over 6 or so months! Which, if you’re like me and are absolutely crap at saving in bulk, is the most glorious thing EVER. Erika was super attentive, and went above and beyond what I expected a TA to do, and even gave me some extra goodies that Flight Centre should’ve provided when I booked my flights but didn’t. So if you’re a student or under 26, I would 100% recommend seeing a Student Flights TA to organise any of your big adventures. *Not sponsored, just fricking grateful.*
Tip #6: Forget What the Adults Told You
Let’s be real guys, the adults in our lives grew up in a different world. Yes, they live in ours now, but they haven’t grown up with the exposure to technology and access to information about other countries that we have. We are not only extremely lucky, but are such an open-minded generation who is not afraid to challenge the social norms and go after what we love.
When I was told everyone I was going to Bali solo, the initial reaction was shock or a not-so-hilarious comment about locking my suitcase so I didn’t get framed for drug smuggling. I laughed it off at first, but by the time I was ready to go, I couldn’t help but shut those ignorant comments down and tell them about what Bali was really going to be like. I had done my research. I had done plenty of solo interstate trips before. I was almost 21. I wasn’t an idiot. But suddenly all of these people who had never even BEEN to this country were experts on it and what I should and shouldn’t do. Sure, travel advice can be brilliant and an absolute lifesaver if you’re getting it from SOMEONE WHO HAS ACTUALLY BEEN THERE. Or has read up indepthly on other peoples’ firsthand experiences.
I’m sure they all meant well and good, but usually when you tell someone about an exciting adventure you’re about to embark on, you don’t want to hear how shit this is or how scary it was there 10 years ago. So MY advice? Read articles by people who have actually visited the place. Scroll through the hashtags on instagram. Talk to your travel agent (because they’ve probably been there at one point or another). Ignore the negative noise and look after yourself, because you’re going to have an absolutely rad time and no one back home will be able to stop you!
I could probably go on. And on. And on. But this post is already giant enough, and I think you get the gist of where I was going. Being spontaneous and adventurous doesn’t mean dropping your shit and ditching your job at the drop of a hat. It means following your passions and going to those ‘dream destinations’. Sure, you might not get to New York by next Tuesday, but the fact that you’re committed to going and are researching and booking stuff is the first step! And it’s a helluva lot more than most people will do. So don’t be scared and don’t worry about saving for that house just yet. You’re young and you have the world at your fingertips, so live now and deal with all of those pesky HECS fees later.
Till next time,