What qualifies me to talk about Adventure Planning?
When I had a house, the first thing in the morning and last thing at night I saw was a massive map of the World, with a second one framed and propped up on the kitchen counter.I want to constantly remind myself what a vast place we live in and how much there still for me to explore. Adventure is in my blood.
What am I planning?
Currently I am researching my 2017 adventure – an overland trip which will take me from Copenhagen to Bhutan while filming the Documentary ‘Road to Happiness’ charting my experiences on how people find happiness throughout the world on the Journey. My plan to learn to drive in 2015 has been set back by my chronic back pain and savings have been poured into physiotherapy appointments, sick leave (the joy of the self employed) and various bills. It’s easy to get disheartened when you can’t see when or how your Adventure will take place or feel that something that once seemed a possibility becoming an old pipe dream.
I’ve outlined below my top five questions to ask yourself right now
1. What do you want to do?
This is not as easy as some people may think – but really ask yourself what you want to do. Look at a big old map of the World and have a look at all the places you want to visit. Where do you most want to go? This isn’t the time to think small so get a piece of paper and write down all your ideas. As a result the sky will be the limit.
Buy a notepad specifically for research and planning notes.
Now think some more.
If you have decided you want to go to Australia – what part do you want to go to, what areas do you want to visit, what sights do you want to see. Have you even thought about how you want to get there? Do you want to travel by plane, hitchhike, sail a boat? Be serious about what you want and imagine how you will do it.
This part of the process isn’t quick and can take months. Hang on in there. It’s likely that you know roughly what you want to do but this is the time to look at WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. Get it? Good.
Free things are your friend.
Check out Lonely Planet for information on the country (or countries!) that you want to visit, borrow travel guides and maps from your local library to read and research. Write everything down.
Give the trip a name. Whether thats ‘Dave’s Massive Adventure’ ‘Rachel sails the World’ or ‘Laura conquers Norway’ make your adventure feel real. Call it whatever feels good for you.
2. How long do you want to go for?
Look at how long you think and how long you want it to take? You are the decision maker here. If your current planning has giving you a trip that would take three months to complete decide whether that is possible. Would you be able to get the time off work and are you prepared to spend that much time away from home?
This is the point in which you truly think about what parts of your adventure you have researched are your non-negotiables. You may find you want to reduce the amount of time you spend on certain things, or cut them out all together.
Remember this is your adventure.
I went to Iceland last year for a week. Everyone told me to visit the Blue Lagoon,Everyone. I only had a week. I wanted to whale watch, go caving, ice climbing and see the Northern Lights. It didn’t fit with my schedule and I wasn’t that bothered about doing it. If I go back then maybe I will. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do things at your own pace when you go away.
Planning in advance is crucial to avoid being swept up in other peoples ideas and missing out on the things you really want to do.
3. How much is it going to cost you?
Lets look at costs. I always head into STA Travel to find out how much they can find any flights for and then compare this on sites like SkyScanner. If you need to hire a car or sail a boat start emailing and contacting suppliers to find out how much it will cost. Check out the Visa Machine to find out what visas you will require and how much they cost.
Have a look at accommodation. Sites like Trivago, Hostel World and Airbnb will help you work out rough costs for each part of your trip dependent on how you want to sleep. Don’t forget to budget for any pitch fees if you plan to camp or caravan.
You also need to think about a daily food and activity budget. Again, checking out sites like Lonely Planet will give you a good idea of how much money to put aside for this. Whats important to you and make sure you budget for that. I always make sure I have enough money to do what I want for that particular adventure. Sometimes I eat out at expensive restaurants, sometimes I eat pot noodles from service stations. I’ve slept on mattress on the floor with ten other people but also rented hotel suites on my own.
This is a point you can start to streamline even more what you are doing, changing plans and itineraries based on budgets and times. Your trip is starting to really look like a good plan isn’t it?
4. How can you start saving money now?
You have a rough idea how much this trip is going to cost so lets start finding some money to pay for it. Write down your monthly income and expenditure and look at ways to change this so you can save towards your adventure. This part of the process can take around a day. If you work in an office I suggest setting aside a Saturday for this because you can then start making phone calls to any suppliers or businesses you need to speak to as many customer service centres are closed on a Sunday.
How can you do this?
- Rent: Would moving somewhere cheaper be an option? Could you get a housemate for the spare room, or rent it out via airbnb?
- Bills: Look at comparison sites such as money supermarket and uswitch. See if you are getting the cheapest deal and try to change it. I reduced my broadband bill by 30% less this week with a phone call. It was a long, annoying process but it’s done and that moneys back in my pocket.
- Travel: Do you have a car, do you need it? Can you use it less… cycle to work, walk? If you buy your train ticket or bus ticket in advance can you get a discount?
- Food / Socialising: Create a weekly budget and food plan. Start taking packed lunches into work. Invest in a thermos to save yourself £3.00 a day on coffee. I’ve bought myself a £10 hot food flask to go alongside my existing Thermos. That initial outlay has saved me at least £50 when I’ve needed something warm to eat and drink throughout the day.
- Sell some stuff: Most of us have things around the house that we no longer use that can make us some money. Old electrical items, DVD’s, books, clothes can all be sold online on sites like ziffit, ebay and gumtree.
- Extra Work: Is it feasible for you to take on a part time job to help pay for the trip – in a pub or bar or dog walking for your neighbours? Last year I spent Christmas at home and earned a bit of extra cash feeding my neighbours cats while they went away for the Holidays.
Keep Track and be realistic:
If you want to budget £20 a week to go to the pub with your mates to keep you sane then do it! Also, remember – This is your life and your adventure. Create plan of attack that won’t make you miserable. Most of all, life should be about enjoying the everyday.
5. When can you leave?
You have a plan. Also you have a schedule. You know how you can save money. As much as possible, you ALMOST ON YOUR WAY. So lets have a look at when you can go. Work backwards to see how long will it take you to save – weeks or months? Maybe you are being too strict or not strict enough? When can you start booking things? Get some dates and milestones in your diary. Set your leaving date.
Finally, well done and get ready. Because you are well on your way to your next adventure.