Can you travel?
Some time ago I got asked on twitter by SerenaNJ:
@tdobson That’s so cool! Are you ever in England? I wish I got to travel as much as you do!
I feel this is an interesting question that, at least, is worth addressing.
Part way through her degree, my older sister took a year out and spent 9 months on her own, travelling South East Asia, Australasia and North America. At the time I was quite young, and in fact, got my first email address so we could stay in touch with her.
As I am in full time work, I don’t have the same opportunity as her to spend months travelling, however, having a job, I have different opportunities. There aren’t specific reasons that I want to travel, but just to see places and things.
Students who want to travel are usually in the following situation:
- Pretty much no money
- Lots of free time (3 months summer holidays!)
Being in full time work, I have:
- Larger than a student’s budget
- Limited free time (holiday time is rationed!)
Anyway, so being aware of my limitations – I can travel, but I don’t really have that much free time with which to travel, I can make decisions about what works best for me.
For example, for me, a train to someplace can be better value than a coach, even if the coach ticket costs 10% of the train, because spending 2 days of my holiday time on a coach isn’t worth it. But if I had lots of time, but little money, I’d leap at the coach ticket. It’s simply about perspective.
So when I want to go somewhere, I take full advantage of everything I can:
- I can travel offpeak and offseason due to being able to choose my own holiday dates
- I can afford to spend more on travel, if it’s faster
The process usually works like this:
I’ll usually start be researching the destination, working out where I want to go, what I’d do, what there is to do, where I could stay. This is just about finding out what the place is like. I’ll use Google, I’ll use Google maps, I’ll use Wikivoyage, I’ll use Wikipedia.
I’ll research travel options – train/car/fly/etc. (Usually via the website of the operator, or by reading about other people’s experiences travelling from a to b)
I’ll choose some dates, and what the costs are. (For flights I’ll use Kayak.co.uk and Skyscanner.net but I’ll also check budget airlines – Wizz/Easyjet/Ryanair/etc) I’ll see whether moving the dates around can save money or work best for me. NB: Some airlines vary their prices by time of day – “people ordering at 3pm can pay more than people ordering at 3am”.
Finally, I’ll probably sleep on it, and think whether it’s a good use of time, money etc. Then I’ll book it, and do it.
This is pretty much how I arrange my trips over the last few years to:
- Isles of Scilly, Cornwall (Train + two ferries, camping
- Skye and Rasaay, Scotland (Trains + cycle touring, camping)
- Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Munich (flights, many trains, friends, family and hotels)
- Talinn, Estonia (flights, bike hire, hostels)
- Pristina and Brod, Kosovo (flights, buses, hostels)
- Various trips to the Lake District (train [occasionally with a bike], camping)
And for me, that’s all there is too it, with a bit of research, and by tailoring your travel to what is best for you, you may find it is easier than you think.
You may also enjoy this analysis on how one could get from Manchester to Glen Coe, Scotland.