According to the dictionary, travel means “a journey, typically some length or abroad.” To me, travel means the journey of one's own self-exploration and evolution taking place in destinations other than one’s home. As a photographer, there are so many avenues I can use in order to create art, but the one that gives me my greatest joy is travel.
The number one question people ask me is “how can you afford it?” Within a year I have visited 3 countries: Japan, Cuba, and Thailand. I want to share with you the ways in which I am able to travel the way that I do and why traveling is so important for my personal and professional development. Some of the steps I use to travel include asking questions regarding financial commitment and responsibility, what am I willing to endure, will I be going there alone, what does this country require of me, and am I planning this properly? This article will help get you comfortable with asking yourself those questions necessary to book that trip.
Where do you want to go is the first question. If you just want to travel and are not fixated on specific destinations, I suggest you begin by googling places based on price. Most places have what is called a high or low season. High season means there is a lot of tourist activity and low season means the opposite. Is this destination cheap? If yes, book the flight now along with your first few days of accommodation. If no, how much will you need to save and how much can you put down? I have never put any money down for a trip. This is only accepted if you are using a travel agency and those of the like, which I do not. Personally, I book my flight first and wait awhile until I book my first accommodation. Airbnb has made this process so much easier and less stressful. However, everyone’s travel comfortability is different. Make sure you eventually find out what yours is.
There are many other things to take into consideration when traveling like vaccines, customs, and visas. This is a very important factor because in some places they are requirements. There’s nothing more horrible than booking a flight somewhere to then realize afterward that you’ll need to spend hundreds of dollars on visas and vaccines. I hate vaccines. I’ve never had any (I guess I did as a kid) until my trip to Thailand. I had to get typhoid, hep a/b, and malaria. Costs for vaccines vary depending on where you live.
Find out if you need vaccines at all.
Check with your primary doctor if they distribute the vaccine (some don’t.)
What are the risks and side effects?
There are lots of people who travel and never get vaccinated.
Good thing my insurance covered these. I did, however, pay $35 for a travel consultation which consisted of the pharmacist giving me vaccines based on where and when I was traveling, info on the different diseases I could contract in these places and the best way to protect myself. I highly recommend paying the $35 for a consultation, especially if your insurance covers the cost of the vaccines. I went to Elements Pharmacy in Studio City in Los Angeles and I highly recommend them. If you don’t live in LA, find one closest to you. Just google “travel pharmacy” for your area.
Travel Pharmacy Clinics
1. Elements Pharmacy: Studio City (Los Angeles), CA
2. Passport Health USA: Philadelphia and other cities (found through research)
Next are customs of the land and every country has their own laws that of course you have to abide by. For example, Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist society so something like indecent exposure can land you with a hefty fine or even jail time (Don’t believe me? Check out this article). Dubai, for example, is an almost entirely Muslim society so women are expected to behave and dress modestly. It is a part of the religious culture. I will say that I have not yet been to a country where strict customs were enforced on foreigners, but I have also not been to many places. I recommend doing research first and paying attention to the laws and customs of the land because what we deem as normal could be breaking the law somewhere else.
Follow these very important steps when booking a trip somewhere. Of course things change and everyone is different, but these are the things that have helped me and will continue to help me. The first step in getting out there is taking the initiative and being dedicated to making it happen. To refresh your memory:
Find a destination that is in its low season, but before you book it:
Check if there are any other requirements like visas and vaccines.
If all seems well in that realm, use Kayak or one of the other listed sources to find the cheapest flight. Don’t forget those green dots.
You don’t need to book all of your accommodations just yet. The first few days/week will suffice. Almost anywhere you go there will be places for you to book while on the ground and at a better rate than online.
I don’t do this, but for you, it may be best to create a budget and start researching the activities you want to partake in.
As a visual media creative, my purpose for travel may be much different from yours, but the country and how to get there is the same. Traveling, for me, ignites a deep passion that involves learning, self-exploration, professional development and spiritual development. Your reason for traveling could be much different, however, I encourage everyone to use travel as a means of deep learning on all levels. Remember to just go for it and don't worry too much about the planning, as plans will always change. I am a solo traveler and spend a lot of time going with the flow. If this sounds like you, you’ll have a much easier time traveling. I hope this article has helped you in some way and if you have any particular questions please feel free to contact me.