As some of you will know, I have been toying with the idea of travel blogging while I’m away on my trip this May. By this point, I know for sure that I will be writing a series of posts, although I am still figuring out how they will be set up and such. Some time last night, while mulling this all over, I realized that some of you might not be interested only in the trip itself, but also the days leading up to it. I know that before I started traveling (especially traveling on my own), that I did a lot of research regarding packing, and other such preparations. Now, I want to hopefully be “that person” who wrote “that article” which helped someone prepare for and plan out their trip! I have planned out a series of these posts, the first of which is, of course, “Part 1.” So, if this sounds like something for you, please read on!
– Picking a Destination –
If you don’t already have a particular spot on the map in mind, and just know that you are “going to travel,” you obviously have to sit down and either spin a globe and point, or discuss with your travel partner, or sit in front of a computer and just pick a place. There might be multiple options available to you, even if you try to narrow it down based on preference, and if that happens to you, the only advice I have for you is: research like crazy!
Say, for example, that you are choosing between Brazil and South Africa. What I would recommend is starting off with some official information on both countries, before moving on to personal reviews (a.k.a. actual people’s experiences in those countries). What is the relationship between the country you are traveling from and the country you are traveling to? If you were a U.S. citizen wanting to travel to North Korea, for example, that would be a big no no. As an American citizen, you wouldn’t even legally be allowed into North Korea (as far as I know). If you’re a woman traveling alone, also be sure to check how safe the country or region you are traveling to is for women who are on their own. I am not trying to scare any of you off from traveling, traveling is great! What I am trying to get at is that you should make yourself aware of a few major things before you step out into the world.
Since I had traveled to Japan before (in 2014 to be exact), and I knew that I wanted to go back or go insane, I already had my destination in mind, and therefore was able to skip over all of the research I mentioned above. There was never really anything for me to worry about prior to my first trip to Japan, because I knew through research I had done on my own (sometimes I look things up just because I’m curious), as well as research I’d done for school, that Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. I was also visiting friends and was almost never on my own, so I was good to go.
This time around, I would also be flying to South Korea with some friends for a week, but I knew that I wouldn’t be alone, and we wouldn’t be just women. Even so, South Korea is also fairly safe when compared to a number of places around the world. My family was, and still is, a little concerned due to the constant threat of war between North and South Korea, but I had numerous friends who had lived in Korea for years and years assure me that it would all be fine. Even so, for the sake of my family’s peace of mind, I will be checking where the Canadian embassy is, and how I can get there from numerous spots in Seoul.
– Accommodations –
On this trip to Japan, I was planning on visiting one of the same friends I stayed with three years ago, but had to make some adjustments when my parents told me that they would like to join me for 10 days. I had wanted them to see Japan too, especially since my dad has been passionate about the language and culture before I was even born, but there was definitely some extra planning which had to be done now that they are joining me. The first thing which needed addressing was accommodations. My friend and her husband’s apartment only had room for one more human, which would have been me, if I had been traveling alone as planned. But since we are now three, I took to Airbnb.
I know that there are some controversies regarding Airbnb, but ever since I discovered and started using it, I have not stayed in a hotel. As a tourist, trying to get the most out of a particular place which I am visiting, staying in the home of one of the locals is the best option for me. I feel more fully integrated into the place itself. I have stayed in Airbnb apartments and houses in Toronto, Fredrickton, and Quebec City and have never once regretted it. I also have friends from all over the world who swear by Airbnb, and only use this service and hostels when they are traveling.
The criteria I used for finding the perfect Airbnb for myself and my parents was location and price. I felt awful for promising my friend 20 days with me, and then only being able to spend 10 full days with her in stead. I also wanted to be close to where she lived so that we could see each other often, even while my parents are in Tokyo with me.
Thus, I searched for a suitable apartment in the part of the city she lives in, and hit a jackpot! Not only had I found us a roomy and affordable apartment, but it also has two bedrooms (my parents snore! haha), and most of the rooms have tatami! The house which my friend lived in in 2014 also had tatami in the room which I was using, and I really enjoyed and got used to sitting and sleeping on those mats. My parents had also wanted this experience for themselves, and this choice was, therefore, perfect for us. The place where we’ll be staying while in Kyoto will also have tatami! So we are very lucky.
My friends and I will also be using Airbnb while staying in Seoul, and booked a place months ago! The location and style of the place are perfect, and something we all wanted. We also somehow managed to get ourselves a place with a private rooftop terrace, which is amazing! You can all expect some great pictures from said terrace!
My How I Prepare for a Trip Abroad Series:
AND SO I’LL BE ENDING PART 1 OF MY TRAVEL PREP SERIES! I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE FOUND THIS HELPFUL, AND IF NOT, THAT YOU WILL LEAVE ME FEEDBACK ON HOW TO IMPROVE THESE POSTS! IF YOU ENJOYED READING THIS FIRST TRAVEL PREP POST, PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR PART 2! THIS POST WAS IN NO WAY SPONSORED, AND ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN. ALL IMAGES NOT TAKEN BY ME ARE BY PUSHEEN.COM, OR FOUND THROUGH GOOGLE.