Years ago, I went to Australia At the time, the internet was just being born. If I wanted to get information about a city, I had to solely rely on my Lonely Planet guidebook. Booking a flight HAD to be done through a travel agent. While there, if I wanted to contact a company or hostel I had to walk down the street to the payphone and give them a call.
I couldn’t imagine doing that for this trip.
The internet is your savior when it comes to trip planning.
Want to find a place to stay?
Check out any number of hostel booking companies – I used Hostel World. Each one has listings for each city and each listing is rated based on a number of factors (location, atmosphere, cleanliness, security, staff). You can also read guest reviews and find availability, information and pricing. Once you’ve found where you want to stay, you can book it through the site for a small deposit and then pay the remaining balance when you get there.
How about traveling from point A to point B?
There is a wealth of information out there from people who have done it before. Typical Google searches for me would be: Brasov to Varna rail or How much is the ferry from Scotland to Ireland.
Each search would lead to forum entries from people who had asked (and had been answered) that exact question before. Some of the more obscure routes (like Brasov to Varna) took a little while to find the answer to but I was always able to get one.
Booking your travel can all be done online too. Granted, finding the official website for buses in the Czech Republic might take a little sleuth work but, eventually, you find it. Oh, and thank God for Google Translate!
What should I buy and where should I get it? For me, a simple Google search of europe 6 months packing did the trick. For the most part, peoples’ packing lists were very similar (this is mine).
So, once I wrote a list of what I needed, I headed out to shop. In Vancouver I got pretty much everything from two locations: Mountain Equipment Co-op (130 West Broadway, Vancouver) and Wanderlust (1929 West 4th, Vancouver). Some other stuff (like shoes and electronics) I ordered online instead which was a great adventure in its’ own right.
And most importantly…
Learn from those that have done it before!
This statement holds true in all life but, boy, it sure is gold when it comes to travelling. Not only will it save you time and money but, more importantly, it will save you frustration. When person after person says “pack light” you should probably take their advice. When they say don’t try to go through Moldova (apparently, it’s a nightmare) if you’re trying to get to the Ukraine from Romania, you probably should figure out a different way to get there.