Destinations, Planning

One Month In

June 21, 2010

Writing in bad weather, Istanbul

The thirty-day mark of my RTW trip has come and gone, and looking back it feels on the one hand like very little time has passed since I left home, but the first few days on my trip that I spent jet-lagged in San Francisco seem like a lifetime ago.

I still feel like I’m finding my travel ‘groove’, but here are some of the things I’ve learned so far:

It’s okay (and easy!) to change your plans at the last minute

I’ve alluded to this before, but before we met up in Istanbul, my travelling partner Alicia had her passport stolen in Hungary. Since then, her trip has been one bureaucratic nightmare after another and it significantly changed our plans for June and July.

Rather than stress about rearranging our existing itinerary, we decided to take each day as it came, often not booking buses or accommodation until the day we decided we needed it. It’s surprisingly easy to do, and you know what? Everyone else is doing it too. Even if it does mean you take a few overnight buses from hell when all the good seats are sold out.

Slow travel is less stressful, and more cost effective

I’m beginning to discover that I prefer slow travel – several nights spent in the one destination, rather than enduring a major coach trip every second day. It’s not only less stressful and allows you to get a feel for a place, at your own pace, but it’s also much cheaper.

A typical travel workday in Ephesus, Turkey

Travel can be like a job

When I’m not out sightseeing from eight in the morning until eight at night, I feel horribly guilty and berate myself for wasting precious time. My RTW trip sometimes feels a lot more like a vocation than a vacation!

But lately I’ve been trying to look at the bigger picture. Travel is also about experiencing the vibe of a place and having a good time, whatever form that might take – it’s okay to take days off from playing tourist!

It’s important to eat properly

My plan had always been to scrimp on food and accommodation in order to spend more on sights. I’m slowly starting to realise that might not necessarily be the best solution for me.

I can put up with mediocre accommodation and skipping a few Roman ruins here and there, but I find it really difficult to cope with skipping meals, or substituting a decent lunch with a bag of Doritos. Hopefully this issue will iron itself out once I get to Asia, where you can eat three meals a day for practically nothing.

It’s good to mix things up a bit

I spent the first three weeks of my trip travelling solo but since Istanbul have been travelling with a friend from home and will continue to do so until the end of July. It’s nice to mix things up a bit, and great to have familiar company in unfamiliar places. But I’m also looking forward to being on my own again (but let it be said that in no way reflects on Alicia’s company!) in August.

Always carry toilet paper, or tissues

I already knew this one from previous travels, but it’s always good to reiterate it!

…And finally:

Don’t let your guesthouse wash your clothes on a warm water cycle.

Post inspired by a similar round-up at Travels of Adam

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1 Comment

  • Reply Adam May 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for the shout out. I think your thoughts on slow travel being less stressful and more cost effective is spot on!

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