When researching International travel destinations, I typically ask myself the following questions:
- How much does it cost to get there?
- What language(s) do the native people speak?
- Are there dedicated bicycle routes to travel on? If so, do I want to take them? Or do I want to take a different route?
- What are the road conditions like?
- What kind of bicycle will I need?
- Will I need special paperwork/permits in order to get into the country?
- Will I be able to eat the food? (I’m a vegetarian, so my diet is fairly limited.)
- Will I have access to the medications I need? (I don’t take any medications, but I know some people do!)
- Will I be able to log onto the Internet on a regular basis? If so, how?
- Will my cell phone work? If so, how much will it cost to make a phone call or text?
- Will I feel safe traveling alone? Or should I go on a guided group tour with other individuals?
- Will I be able to find adequate places to stay each night?
- Is stealth camping allowed?
- What is the weather going to be like?
- How will I get there and return home at the end of my trip?
This part of the planning process may take an hour or two… or it could take a couple days. But after a while I get a pretty good image of the location(s) I plan to visit… and this helps me to build a to-do list for the days, weeks and months leading up to my adventure.
For example, I might use the information I’ve garnished after answering the questions above to decide that before leaving on my trip I need to:
- Book a flight into a specific city.
- Purchase a new bicycle that is capable of handling the specific road conditions I am sure to encounter.
- Learn a new language, so I can converse with the locals.
- Buy bicycle and/or road maps for the locations I plan to visit.
- Input important coordinates into my GPS device.
- Purchase an International phone/Internet plan
- Buy warmer clothes to handle cooler weather conditions
- Contact International friends and family to see if they would be willing to put me up for a night or two.
Using the list above, I then create a “to-do” list and arrange the tasks on that list in chronological order – with tasks that need to be done right away at the top of the list and other tasks, which can be put off until later, near the end.
Then, all that’s left to do is start marking those tasks of the list… one by one.
What about you? What questions do you ask yourself when planning an overseas travel adventure? What part of the planning process do you find important enough to research in advance?