Dear Girls on Travel,
The chance is if you love going on trips, you also love planning. Making Excel sheets, budgeting, checking hotels, ratings, reading blogs, setting an itinerary has something reassuring. It is quite logical, isn’t it? Better planning leads to better holidays, right? How could it not if every single day is carefully planned?
Wrong! And this is based on my experience of super planner (and travel agent). The first time I left solo for 4 months to Central and South America I planned everything carefully. My flights were booked, the places I was going to volunteer were selected, the dates were fixed, I had it all figured out. What I did not consider however is how much I would love certain places more than others and that I would meet great groups of people I really did not want to leave.
I started with Costa Rica, which was supposed to be the highlight, full of adventures and great beaches. And Costa Rica was great, I volunteered in an eco-camp which was really interesting, nature was incredible and people really nice, but it was just too touristy for me. Which I only realised when I reached Guatemala. This was the actual highlight of my 4-month trip. Amazing villages, friendly locals, unseen places, almost no tourists and the few ones I met were so great I thought I’d just cancel all future plans. But again, my flights were booked and it would have been an expensive impulsive decision to cancel everything. But trust me, there were tears when I had to leave!
This was really the moment when I realised that over planning was apparently not the best decision I had made. I listened to people though, “plan carefully, do that, check that, you don’t want to be missing on this…”, so my list was so big that I had to carefully plan everything to make sure it would all fit in. So I basically came back with my checklist checked, but also that strange feeling that I missed on true and authentic experiences and people.
Therefore, if I can give you some advice, planning is good, definitely for the first days, but give some room and flexibility for the rest of your trip. Book your accommodation for the first nights so you come with a peace of mind (and definitely if you are a solo woman traveller), plan what you really don’t want to miss in the country, but for the rest give yourself some freedom to explore suggestions locals might give you that you hadn’t even heard about or follow new friends in unique adventures you might have never done otherwise. After all, that’s the beauty of travel, isn’t it? Discovering hidden places, sharing with locals and making new friends!
And for the ones who really don’t like planning, this is why we created Girls on Travel! With unique programmes and activities and fixed travel dates, whether you have no time to research or don’t like planning, we have it covered! Oh, and of course, based on experience, we also give you room for your own experiences ;-).
I hope this was useful! If you have any other tips you want to share, mention them below!