Where and when
1. Where to go?
Finding the right travel destination is comparable to ordering food in a big, exotic restaurant. There is a wide range of dishes and everybody prefers a different one, simply due to different tastes. There are many dishes you may have never even heard of or thought about before but some of them could be your favorite ones in the future. Moreover not everybody is able to afford the most expensive dish (which does not necessarily need to be the best one, too). We are here to help you backpackers discover new, amazing and affordable dishes (= countries) from the huge menu (= the world) by telling you what to expect from all these types of food and what kind of dish might probably match your taste.
If you have absolutely no idea which destination might be the best for you, first of all you need to be clear on your personal expectations of a great travel. What have you always been dreaming about to experience? What comes straight to your mind when you think of a big travel? Is it mainly nature (e.g. rainforest, desert, mountains, coast, beaches, islands, volcanoes,…) or are you more interested in meeting people (e.g. locals, different cultures, other backpackers)? Maybe you are fascinated by cities (e.g. their history, architecture, sights, nightlife)? And what about adventurous activities like hiking, climbing, diving, surfing, rafting, mountain biking, kayaking, sailing,…? Once you have figured that out, the planning can get more detailed. In the category “countries” we provide general information on many countries we have been to, make recommendations on what to see and do as well as present photos and videos so you can get an impression of the respective country and whether or not it might fulfill your expectations. An important decision-making criterion, for example, might be the price level of the country, e.g. for several reasons it is much more expensive to see the most beautiful places in Canada or Greenland than travelling to some gorgeous places in South America or South Asia. Maybe you already know exactly which country you want to visit because of what you might have heard or seen so far. This, of course, facilitates the decision-making process. ;)
2. When to go?
Keep in mind that the northern hemisphere’s summer months are June, July and August while the warm summer on the southern hemisphere lasts from about November to February. Concerning temperatures it makes a huge difference whether you visit the Chilean Andes or the Rocky Mountains in July or January!
Another thing to keep in mind is that average day temperatures rise the closer you get to the equator and the variations in temperature between summer and winter decrease. There can also be huge differences concerning rainfall depending on your destination and the time of year. Many parts of the (sub-) tropics have typical dry and wet seasons (e.g. the monsoon in South Asia). Additionally there is often more rain along coastlines or in mountainous areas than in the continental inland. The simplest way to check the climate of your destination is by looking at climate diagrams that can easily be found on the internet. Climate also has a particular impact on how to pack your backpack! Events such as the Full Moon Party in Thailand’s Ko Phangan or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro might also influence the time of your travel. If you are interested in wildlife you probably want to take account of migration periods for example to spot whales or game in East African safari destinations. Besides all this another big deciding factor is the season you plan on visiting a popular tourist destination. Usually times when the climate is more enjoyable or when big international holidays take place (e.g. Christmas or New Year) are much more busy with other visitors (high season) which can be annoying and make accommodation, tours etc. much more expensive! From this point of view it might be smarter to pick shoulder or low seasons when the chances of "perfect" weather conditions might be a bit lower.
Another point of interest that should be considered is the length of your travel. Of course this also depends on your budget – have you heard about “work and travel” options? – and the time you have to be back home for work, study etc. Usually it can be said that the longer you stay at your destination the bigger the chances of getting away from the typical tourist trails since you get to know the area quite well and probably meet locals that introduce you to their ways of life. If you have enough time try to relax and see where you end up purely by chance. Many of the best travel stories result from that!
Where and when to go also depends for example on the political situation of the particular country, the safety situation and on the question if there are for example ongoing dangerous epidemics taking place at the time being. For more information check out the website of your country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs which can be found here.
Have fun and good luck choosing your next travel destination! :)
01.12.2016 - Chris