"So what is your plan?"
To be honest, I don't really have one (aside from my plan to not have a plan). I have no set schedule, dates, or destinations. A wish-list of places in Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China exists, but whether I get to all those countries or is TBD.
That may sound a bit unorthodox, but there is a distinction between not having a plan and being unprepared.
The flexibility to stay longer in places I fall in love with or hop on the first train (or bus, boat, tuktuk etc.) out of the places I don't enjoy, is why I didn't want any dates.
So instead of sharing a non-existent plan, I'll tell you about my preparations.
I follow travel bloggers and love researching different countries that pique my interest. I use guidebooks as a starting point before going turning to the internet; travel bloggers, online forums (Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree) and travel review sites (Trip Advisor) are all great resources. Foreign Affairs Canada also has useful information and advice.
Basic facts everyone should look into are the VISA requirements, suggested vaccinations, locations of things you want to see, and transportation to get to where you want to go etc.
Other than the basics, 3 additional topics I always read up a little on are :
- The culture and customs. I want to respect each culture's customs. This is why I've worn jeans in 40°C+ (104°F) weather to go visit temples in Thailand. If you need help, directions, or just want to talk to a local; they will be much more open if you aren't inadvertently offending them.
- The food. You can't separate food from a region's culture. It is one of the main reasons I love travel! I want to know what the specialties are and try as many as I can.
- The currency and what things cost. I look into where I can exchange money (important if you are trekking through jungles, as those tend to not have atms) as well as average costs of transportation and entrance fees. Knowing approximate prices helps you budget and prevents being scammed or overcharged.
Also as a part of preparing for the trip, earlier this week I purchased a Samsung Chromebook. It has an 11.6" HD screen and weighs less than 2.5 pounds! This little guy is going to facilitate on-the-go planning, blogging, and staying in touch while I'm away. It has a 4-star rating on Amazon and occupies minimal space in my "luggage"; the 30 litre MEC backpack you see in the photos. (Post on packing light coming soon!)
So that's my long-winded way of saying, I am just going with the flow as soon as I get on the plane. Only thing that is certain that that copious amounts of food and photos will be consumed and taken.
The prep has been done, so the adventure can just take me where it wants!
How do you get ready for travel?