Before going on a great trip at comparatively low costs you need to figure out and organize a couple of things in advance. Of course I [Lena] could write a book about it but on this website I will try to get the basic stuff straight to the point.
1. Pick your destination and length of stay: For advice on this check out our category "where and when to go".
2. Create an overview of your available budget: In our category "how to save money" we will provide lots of tips to keep your costs as low as possible. Nevertheless you need to figure out how much money you are able/willing to spend in total. If the sum of your expected fixed costs that result from flights, transportation, accomodation, food etc. approach your cost limit you need to reconsider your plans.
3. Book your flights: For detailed information check out the category "how to save money".
4. Think about what to do and what to make plans for: During your research on your next travel destination you should only put those things on your to-do list that you really want to see or do (sometimes even with a fixed date if there are limited capacities). To avoid stress and retain flexibility it is important to leave yourself enough time to change/adapt your plans locally. Meaning, whenever people you meet on your trips give you insider information, you will be able to include new ideas and won't get in trouble having too less time. Therefore, planning too much is not always the best thing! Anyways, remember to focus on what kind of trip you are looking for.
5. Think about how to get around: Depending on the things you want to see or do and the length of your trip, a route will automatically be developed. But how to connect these spots with each other? Please note that there are many travel destinations where you do not need to book any transportation in advance as long as you have enough time and you are not traveling on a main tourist path (like the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes in Peru)! Once you are at your destination usually the staff of your accomodation or a tour desk, locals, other travelers or a travel guide will usually tell you the best ways how to move on. For more information about cheap transportation check out our category "how to save money".
6. Choose your type of accommodation: The following questions show where you should spend your nights. How much money do you want to spend? Do you wanna be surrounded by other travellers or locals? Do you want a private or shared sleeping spot? What kind of comfort is required concerning beds or sanitary facilities? Depending on these questions, you can choose between hostels, hotels, apartments (Airbnb, B&B, couch surfing) and campgrounds. Travelling on low budget logically means sleeping in cheap spots. For lots of tips on that check out our category "how to save money".
7. Check out the requirements for entering your destination country: Do you need a visa or special vaccinations? Do you have a valid passport until your return? These things might all take a while and can prevent people from entering another country. For more information check out the website of your country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs which can be found here.
8. How to be able to pay: The easiest way is to have a credit card with you. Make sure to tell your card companies you're travelling, so they won't block your bank account for any transactions. Once you arrived at the airport of your travel destination find an ATM (cash machine) there and get some local currency bills out if it.
9. Don't forget your travel insurances: If something unexpected happens and you have to see the doctor, get a surgery or even need to be evacuated out of a dangerous situation it can get very expensive for you because your health insurance back home might not cover costs arising from treatments in foreign countries! My travel insurance is only € 8,- a year! It might be advisable to check if there is a medical repatriation included in your health insurance. This might save you a lot of money, let me tell you!
10. Don't forget your vaccinations: Depending on your destination, you need to check which kind of vaccinations you already got, which ones need to be refreshed – check your immunization card – and which ones you need in addition. You should never underestimate the risk of diseases and possible infections, especially in tropical countries. Depending on your destination, important vaccinations are for example Hepatitis, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid Fever, Rabies, Cholera, Polio, Yellow Fever or Malaria – for the later there is no vaccine, but prophylaxis pills. To get an overview there are some useful websites such as the German “Centrum für Reisemedizin” but we highly recommend visiting a doctor before starting your trip!
11. Pack your backpack: The last important point is about how and what to pack. Due to the fact that this totally deserves more space, there is an extra category on this - "how to pack".
Well then, enjoy your trip!
If you have questions, please feel free to ask.