Getting Started: Deciding Where to Go

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? If you’ve never traveled abroad before, especially to Europe, you probably have that top 5 list. Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Berlin, Venice. Or something like that. And if you already have a list, then you don’t need this section as much. (But you still might want to read it.)

When we travel anywhere, it’s usually decided for us based on a number of factors.

First: Cost of Travel. How much does it take to get there? Is it a plane ride away? Or does it require a bus, ferry, or train, as well? Do we need to catch an early morning flight, and need to spend a night in a hotel room? How easy is it to get to the airport? Is there public transportation, or do we need to get an Uber or cab?

Second: Cost of Living. This one is more about how much we will need to pay for food. Groceries. Toiletries like Q-Tips, and toothpaste. Also beer and wine. Is it 1€ or more per beer? 2€ or more per bottle of wine? How much does a coffee cost at a café? What about dinner out? Are there some things that are cheap and basic like bread? Does that country have ‘staples’ that everyone can afford?

Third: Lodging. Is it free? Can we find a housesit there? What about a cheap monthly rental? Are we stuck using hotels? Is there any chance for a Workaway or WWOOF?

It’s a fairly easy way to parse down a long list into something more manageable. Still, even with a short list, it takes us days to find the next place to go. My advice for you is: figure out where you’re going to go next as soon as you arrive somewhere. Because we only plan a few months at a time, we never know where we’re going in 6, or even 3, months. This means, when we get to our next place, we spend the first week figuring out where we’re going afterwards. That way, once we have it figured out, we can spend the rest of our time enjoying our trip, not worrying about where we’re going next.

There are places that we won’t go, or haven’t been to and won’t go until something drastic changes. Of course, some are against our will, like Cuba. Most of them are our own rulings. We try not to go anywhere where we strongly disagree with either the current administration, or the population’s general view on something. It’s not because we’re elitist Westerners who think the world should operate according to our standards, and only go where we think are the ‘best’ places. (We’ve definitely been places where we disagree with their actions.) But every dollar spent in a country, and every photo taken, only serves to advertise for them. Of course, whoever reads this might have their own views of countries they don’t agree with, America being chief among them. So I won’t list the countries we don’t travel to. Instead, I’ll just say, research the country you are traveling to, and weigh it against your personal morals. 

[IMPORTANT: I will talk about this more when I published the Safety section, but if you are LGBTQIA+ this is especially important. Even in countries where it’s legal, the population might disagree with it. In my experience, countries that are heavily anti-LGBTQIA+ only have a small part of the population that are outwardly so. Try to do a little research and stay safe!]

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