Hello LCC! Devon here, and it’s so good to be back (and with two more states added to my resume, mind you). So, two weeks ago I told you all about me and where I’ve been, and where I’d like to go. This week I want to tell you about why I go and what it takes to get there. As a note, I lied about this post being shorter. But as a guide, if you want actual tips on planning a trip, scroll to the bottom—if you want anti-philosophical inspiration, stay put.
One of my big goals as a travel contributor on this blog is to not sound like one of those ever-popular posts that’s all like, “21 reasons to drop all of your work and all of your relationships this very second and buy a backpack and go live like a gypsy, jumping off cliffs into the sunset with lots of bracelets on your arms and a sweet ombré hair style and a perfectly sculpted body.” It’s not that I have anything against bracelets, ombré hair, or hot bods but rather, I don’t think you need 21 reasons to validate going anywhere.
You can honestly probably scratch like 20 of those and boil it down to this: having fun. In my opinion, unless you are traveling on someone else’s dollar e.g., your company sends you somewhere for a work thing, the primary and perhaps even sole purpose of your trip should be to have fun. That’s all you need (I mean, you should probably try to enjoy yourself regardless of whose dollar is paying for said trip because I hear positivity is healthy and whatever, but that’s too philosophical for this post).
With regard to traveling, having fun means different things for different people. Some people think new places are fun, some people think familiar places are fun, some people think far places are fun, some people think the place around the corner is fun, some people think it’s all fun. I happen to have fun eating weird bugs in China, and trying out incredibly sketchy transportation in Vietnam, and sleeping on the cement floor of a bothy in Scotland (look it up), and hiking a mile high incline in the snow without being acclimated to the altitude in Colorado. My mom on the other hand thinks sitting in a hammock on the beach with a book for hours on end is just the best. It’s different strokes for different folks. The point is, don’t go because you think traveling will make you an exceptionally well-rounded human and you’ll somehow obtain some moral compass that is far superior to your peers, don’t go because you want to “find yourself” or get a new perspective all Eat Pray Love style, don’t go for the story. I mean, you can do all of that if you want, but I promise that all that stuff comes later anyhow so please don’t use any of that to talk yourself into a trip or validate one to someone else. Go because you want to have fun. That should be enough (at least, it has been in my experience).
That being said, fun is best when you can afford it, so you honestly probably shouldn’t drop everything and just go for it unless you have enough saved up to do so. In which case, you probably aren’t dropping anything and instead slowly letting go after careful budgeting and consideration. I mean, maybe you have more money than you know what to do with and can just walk out and go, but I’m guessing the average 16-24 year old cannot. I, for one, am average and also terrible at budgeting, so I do not do this. Instead, I travel when I can and within my means. 3 day weekend here, spring break there, can I end my internship 2 weeks early and go to Scotland for vacation? Can I end my internship 1 month early and study abroad in Asia? (The answer is probably yes—turns out bosses love travelers..) Can I use the time in between completion of my undergraduate degree and professional school to drive across the country for a month? Cool. Squeeze it all in. You don’t need to “drop everything” to do it though.
I truly wish I had some fancy super secret travel websites to show you that will give you flights for a dollar, but I don’t. For flights, I like to use Kayak, Skyscanner and Momondo. As of recently, I’ve been looking at gas prices and also side-stops along the route to my final destination to decide if flying or driving is better. For reviews and general pricing considerations, I want to say I will read the heck out of Yelp and TripAdvisor, but they generally bore me pretty quickly unless I’m looking for something specific, but I have friends who love these two a lot. And for weird things to do on the cheap, Groupon and Living Social are great.
Just—think things through. If you’ve made it this far in the post, you obviously can read, so read up! Do your research! Where will you have the most fun? What are you doing still reading this? Figure out what it’s going to take to get there, and get the heck out of here!! I am! Stay tuned to read all of my packing do’s and don’ts next week!
Until next time, Devon
Written and Curated for the LCC by Devon Harman