I appreciate all of the love I’ve received thus far on this blog :)! You guys are the bestest!
As promised, if you ask I shall answer. In case travel is “Greek to you” I’ll be doing posts that address some of the most common travel questions I receive (and yes I really took that picture of the caryatids in Athens, Greece). This post addresses a few things that were asked:
-How do you decide where to go?
-How do friends in differing financial and family obligation situations all finance it to go together?
-How do you decide what to do when you get there?
-If you’ve ever traveled alone, any pointers or tips on safety?
How do you decide where to go?
This is really decided 3 ways for me:
- Is it some place I (or someone in my travel crew) always wanted to see?
This is actually how me and my girls ended up partying it up in Rio de Janeiro for Carnival. I’ve always wanted to see “Big Jesus” aka Christ the Redeemer statue, and they wanted to see Carnival so it all worked out (everyone who knows me will read this and say “O so you weren’t interested in the Carnival partying?!?” *side eye* lol).
- DID YOU SEE THAT FLIGHT DEAL?!?
Yup, sometimes a deal is just too good to not take that flight. My flight to Abu Dhabi was ridiculously cheap! I mean people were catching $186 RT flights on Emirates Airlines O_o! I follow The Secret Flying, The Flight Deal, and All The Flight Deals so rarely do I miss seeing a good deal in time. This is when it pays to already have a set travel crew so you can quickly jump on the deal before it’s gone.
- What experience am I (or someone in my travel crew) looking for?
Do you want to lounge on the beach? Do you want to be able party all day and night? Do you want to hike mountains? Do you want to explore a rainforest? All of these are questions that can help you decide where you want to spend your time. If you know you want to visit a rainforest then google the top cities for getting out into the rainforest then start planning your adventure!
How do friends in differing financial and family obligation situations all finance it to go together?
The financials are just a matter of budgeting. As I said in a previous post, I have a travel savings account. I directly pull money from every paycheck to go straight into that account.
Also, you need to have a real sense of everyone’s financial picture. I know everyone can’t afford to stay at a 5 star, 5 diamond resort (not sure I can afford to stay at a place like that LOL!). Once you have a place decided on, use Google flights, Hopper, or Kayak to get an idea of what flights generally cost to that destination. Now you have a base amount to budget for flight. For hotels, the organizer for the trip should pull options that are within a reasonable budget for your group taking into account the cost of the flight. I HAVE LIVED THE HOSTEL LIFE! I’ve actually stayed in some really nice hostels so don’t let that scare you if that makes it easier for your group to afford the trip.
How do you decide what to do when you get there?
Activities! This is what great vacations are made of…and food…and gorgeous men (j/k in case my boyfriend reads this lol). But seriously having a plan on what you will do ahead of time is very important to some people and for others they like to play it by ear. I like to have a plan so I usually start by googling what people typically do in that destination as well as review the tours available on Viator. I think Viator costs too much so I usually search for lower cost alternatives, but they do have a full list of every imaginable tour for most cities. Groupon, Livingsocial, and local deal sites like Yallabanana in Dubai are great places to see what activities are available at a discount.
If you’ve ever traveled alone, any pointers or tips on safety
I actually don’t believe in going to foreign countries by myself so I can’t advise on safety from that perspective, but even with a group I’ve learned that God clearly protects babies and fools because we have DEFINITELY done some foolish things in foreign countries. Here are some highlights of things you shouldn’t do…and we don’t need to talk about how many of these I’ve done 0_o.
- Don’t tell strangers what hotel you are staying in or give them your room number
- Don’t go home or get in the car with strangers (I always learn the phrase “they said no” in whatever the primary language is of the country I’m visiting so I can blame my friends for why there’s no way on earth I’m coming home with you lol).
- Wear crossbody purses with the zippers turned in toward you, a fanny pack under your clothes, or a neck passport holder/wallet (harder to be a victim of pick-pocketing…although the only person I know personally that has been pick-pocketed was in New Orleans when it happened *shrug*)
- Stay in well lit areas with larger crowds at night…I’ve got a TERRIBLE story about a very random night in Rome, Italy where none of this happened but I was a baby and a fool so I got double protection HA!
- Be aware of your surroundings. I never think I’m in any more or less danger than I am on a typical day/night in Atlanta. That being said just be as smart as you would be at home.
Hope that helped folks!
Love and Passport Stamps!