Here is a section to help you choose your travel destinations, get a rough idea of the different continents/countries you want to travel to.
What’s on this page?
Travel Destinations page content:
- Choosing Budget Destinations
- Choosing Less Travelled Countries
- Choosing by Weather, Follow the Seasons
- Choosing Countries You Share The Language With
- All About Balance
- Cities Vs Countryside
- ATW Travel Itinerary
Then, like I mention in the ATW Budget section, this is about choices but also money. If I were you, I wouldn’t reduce the time of your trip because of money issue, I would just pick cheaper countries. You could always go again travelling to the other ones when you have a higher budget.
I travelled slow but I still did many countries and that included quite a few not so cheap destinations (Caribbean, South Korea, Japan, Australia). I kept a reasonable budget but it could have been way way cheaper if I had stuck to the cheaper countries.
Here is a rough basic list of some cheaper countries per continent:
- Europe: Eastern Europe is typically cheap for Europe (Ukraine, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey) as is some southern places (Greece, Spain and Portugal)
- South America: Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina (in the North only and depending on current market rate), Colombia (if you go local), Venezuela (due to the exchange situation too)
- Central America: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico (in some parts)
- Asia: everything Except Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates. Cheapest would be maybe South East Asia (Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam/Thailand), India and Nepal.
- Africa (doesn’t include safaris ;): South Africa, Namibia and Botswana (because of the SA Rand exchange rate situation), Malawi, Egypt, Morocco, Gambia, Uganda, Nigeria, Chad, Rwanda, Togo (not exhaustive list, still hard to know in Africa, things varies quite a lot)
- Caribbean: Cuba (special mention to this quickly changing country that remained the cheapest country I have been the whole trip, that was in 2014)
Here are some tools you can have a look at, even if Cost of Living and Consumer Price Index doesn’t mean the standard of prices for tourists. But if you go local, out of the tourism system in place, it still does mean a bit :
Choose countries that receive less tourists have many advantages:
- more authentic feeling as the locals you will meet are less used to receive tourists
- off beaten track, feeling like you are the first going to some places
- cheaper in a way because tourists mean special tourist prices
- less chances to make touristy mistakes because you might have to travel the local way anyway
Here are some tools and reports to find out about that:
– UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2016 Edition (PDF) (more up to date)
On a long trip you will have to visit places off season (or you will fly a lot but we said we won’t do that ;), it is all fine, just pick a place where the rainy season doesn’t mean flooding and raining crazy all day long.
Here are some websites to help you understand a bit more how seasons and climate work around the world. They are not perfect nor the most modern looking things but it is as good as it gets so far (that I’m aware of).
Choose a location and learn about the best time to visit it or pick a month and discover what’s the best at this time of the year.
A bit the same concept, slightly older looking but quite complete information.
A very precise website giving lots of information about (temperature, precipitation, cloud coverage, etc.)
A colourful crazy looking map giving you many details on many places, from the basic ones to more specific ones for the main spots (average sunlight per hour, sea temp, relative humidity %, etc.).
Set your daily min / max temperature and the average daily rainfall you want and the map shows you where it is too hot, too cold and too wet according to you criteria.
There are many ways to communicate with people and you will be fine all around the world but yes it will make a difference. Sharing things with locals is the way to go when travelling. Getting information (Read Travel Information Like A Local), sharing stories, joking, understanding their cultural differences, asking questions and them understanding it, etc.
I spent a lot of time in Asia, loved it and I won’t be the one telling you not to go but I have to admit that my trip in South/Central America brought me way deeper into the locals world thanks to sharing the Spanish language.
This obviously apply even more if you are a solo traveller.
Travelling long term needs you to balance everything if you want to last long happy. All right, if you feel like coming back home then do it, there is no point staying for the sake of carrying on but there are few keys (at least for me) that help you feeling as good as the start until the end. This is not about tricking yourself in order to carry on doing something you wouldn’t have done otherwise. Balancing things in life is natural, everyone needs it and does it naturally in their “normal” daily life so you should do it too while travelling.
- Balancing beach/cities/countryside/mountains, etc;
- Balancing active sporty times with relaxing ones
- Balancing party times with more quiet days
- Balancing very social times with some time for yourself, on your own
- Balancing comfort with no comfort
- Balancing good weather with a good dose of shitty weather
This is all about taste (and balance again) of course. Some cities are really worth a visit in some parts of the world but you need to understand that you will often spend more money there.
- Accommodation is often more expensive
- There are more temptations and occasions to spend money
- More places you have to pay to visit
- More transports to take
I did enjoy many cities with some real culture heritage in South/Central America but a bit less in Asia and Africa to be honest. The main reason I visit cities is to get a shoot of busy local atmosphere and do some people watching (admitting you are in the right local part of the city, not in the touristy area): local markets, parks, business districts, etc. Apart from that, what else?
- Is there a real attraction of the town? Architectural heritage?
- Is it mainly for eating out and partying?
Just saying it because I have seen many tourists (travellers?) getting stuck in some cities and I sometimes had a hard time to understand why. Especially harder to understand when coming from Europeans, where many cities have something special about history / architecture / culture, etc.
To me, cities are good and required hubs to pass by to get another feeling of the local life and then get out to the next wilder nature spot.
There are plenty of good ATW itineraries so I won’t give you a list of countries to follow month by month, etc.
My main advice here would be to check the different weather seasons!
This is one of the only criteria I based my overall plan for my trip. It is important to know where it is ok to be off season (weather-wise) and where it is not. Sometimes it is a good thing to be off season as you get less tourists and the landscape is usually greener. Rainy season doesn’t mean that it rains all day long, it often means heavy downfall at some point of the day and then stop. Well, not everywhere though, I wouldn’t try to be in some place in India for the monsoon (too hot, too polluted, electricity breakdown, raining crazy for days).
I personally like and try to be just behind the rainy season, everything is greener, it is not too hot yet but it doesn’t rain anymore!