Many people have questions, worries, and concerns that they frequently e-mail us. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the trip planning process or the actual trip that might not be covered in one of our travel articles. They cover a wide range of topics. If you still need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll answer anything. We’re here to help.
|Hostels- Looking for some answers to calm you nerves? Look no further!
Packing/Stuff- Still need more info on what to back and bring?
Photos- Have concerns about all those photos you are going to take? You’re not alone.
Mail- Here’s how to handle all your mail.
Staying in Touch- Still concerned about staying in touch? Here’s some added tips.
|Visas- What about all those visas you will need? Don’t worry- it is not that complicated!
Meeting Travelers- Will you meet people or are you doomed to be alone?
Working-What if I want to work?
Safety/Health-Here’s how not to die from some weird tropical disease!
Emotions- I’m nervous. I’m scared. Help!
Q: Are hostels safe?
A: Yes! Hostels are very safe as long as you use common sense. Keep your valuables in the lockers provided or locked up, do not leave money around. Everyone is worried about their stuff so everyone has everything locked up. As long as you lock your stuff up, everything will be fine.
Q: What size backpack should I get?
A: Your backpack should be proportional to you. Read more about how to choose the right backpack.
Q: What should I do with all the possessions that I have?
A: Prior to leaving, you should either put it in storage or sell it. We recommend getting rid of as much stuff as possible. Not only does this put more money in your pocket but it also means there are less things to worry about. You don’t want to be on a beach in Fiji thinking “is my T.V. safe?” Websites like Craigslist and Gumtree are good places to sell your stuff.
Q: How do I protect my stuff while traveling?
A: Locks and goods like Pacsafe can help protect your stuff from being stolen.
Q: What do I do with my pictures?
A: There are a lot of internet cafes that will burn CDs for your when your camera fills up. If you don’t want to carry around CDs, you can always buy a USB stick or hard drive and have the photos put on that.
Q: Where do I send my mail?
A: You can have your mail sent to your parent’s or a friend’s home. However, the better option is to have all your bills automated so you can pay them online thereby eliminating any mail.
Q: On your list of essentials you mention bringing a global cell phone. Could you offer any additional information on that subject? Do you happen to know if you can purchase a global cell phone that uses a calling card (thus, to avoid ridiculously expensive calling plans)?
A: Global cell phones are very cheap. The key is to not buy one in the United States. Get an unlocked phone- you can probably buy one in the states but it will be expensive. In many countries, you can just go to a local phone shop and buy a SIM card (the card that makes phones work). Most of the world runs on the same network making it easier to call places.
Q: Where can I find visa information?
A: Visa information is available at each country’s webpage. A simple google search or look in a guidebook will help you.
Q: What is the Schengen Treaty?
A: The Schengen treaty is a European treaty that limits people within the zone to 90 days. The countries involved in the treaty are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal. Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
Q: I’m a single traveler. I’m worried I won’t really meet anyone.
A: You’ll meet more people than you know what to do with. We have gone solo and found that sometimes we want to be alone as there are just so many people! The first few days are tough as you adjust to your new life and get the courage to talk to people but you’ll find that necessity gives you that courage.
Q: Are there any groups out there that facilitate the meeting of other independent travelers?
A: If you are a single traveler and really want to meet people and don’t think you can do it on your own, the best way to do it is with a tour group. There are many great companies out there and they will all help you make new friends.
Q: Where are good places to meet travelers?
A: Anywhere! Trains, planes, automobiles, hostels, dorms. Travelers are always looking to meet people. Just go up and say hello!
Q: Are overnight trains worth the time?
A: Overnight trains can help you save money on accommodation. However, the proliferation of cheap flights has made flying just as cheap as the trains.
Q: Can I work overseas?
A: Yes, many countries have visa agreements with each other. You can teach English anywhere in the world, though demand is highest in Asia. Australia and New Zealand have very famous and popular work holiday schemes that attract backpackers looking to make a quick buck. In general, the best short term jobs are service industry jobs, temp work, seasonal work, or working at a hostel.
Q: How can I stay healthy on the road?
A: Eat healthy, don’t drink a lot, get plenty of sleep, make sure your food is thoroughly cooked, and wash your hands frequently. Germs are everywhere! Moreover, if you are so inclined, a light morning workout of sit ups, push ups, and jumping jacks can help keep your body in shape. Like your mom told you, make sure you eat your fruits and vegetables.
Q: What happens if I get sick? Are hospitals overseas safe?
A: It’s important to have travel insurance in case something bad happens. If you do get sick, most hospitals around the world are equipped to handle any problem you have. Typical traveler illnesses are easily handled. For severe issues, you’ll most likely need to go to the capital city (in developing countries) or have to go home.
Q: Is it safe to travel with kids?
A: It’s extremely safe as long as you keep your wits about you. There are many many families around the world who travel with kids through all different parts. You can get some advice from these places: Travel Savvy Mom, Deliciousbaby, and The Wide Wide World. All are families or parents who travel extensively with their children.
Q: I’m really nervous. What can I do to not be so nervous?
A: Relax. Thousands of people everyday set off on their trip and return just fine. There is nothing to be worried or nervous about. Think of all the great memories and things that you are about to experience.
Q: I don’t speak any other languages! How will I speak to other people?
A: A lot of people are worried about this but you don’t need to be. English is the language of travel and most travelers speak English and many locals, especially those on the travel trail, speak some English. If you find yourself off the beaten path and no one speaks English, hands signs, pointing, and smile go a long way.
Q: Will people hate me because I’m American?
A: They never hated Americans- just George Bush. Now the world loves Obama and will probably be excited you are an American so they can talk to you about him.
Q: Do I have the skills to travel?
A: Most people worry about this but there isn’t much to worry about. All you really need is the willingness to change and adapt. Because on the road, nothing goes like you planned and without the willingness to accept it, you will get very frustrated.
Q: Are tour groups a good option?
A: They can be. Depends on your travel style. If you are nervous about a first time trip, taking an organized tour might be a good way to ease into travel. We like GAP Adventures as they provide good organized tours but don’t shuttle you around like cattle and give you some independence to do what you want.
Q: How do I travel to dangerous places?
A: This travel site has good advice on how to travel to dangerous places.
Q: I’m worried that I won’t find a job when I get home.
A: So? You could get fired if you stay at home too! Travel is increasingly seen as a positive thing and resume booster as employers look for people who understand other cultures and the globalized economy. This how you can make travel look good on your resume.