The first post on this blog was “The Panning Process” dated April 15 2007. While I was traveling I learned a lot about the planning process. Individuals or couples that were setting out for a year holiday mostly planned their entire trip with flight tickets and the countries they intended to visit. Many Individual travelers and couples would avoid planning but have a tentative route.
There were many travelers that would book hotels and bus tickets before hand and then were obligated. Also, the traveler that had no tentative plans, but then could not decide where or when to go, and they felt very overwhelmed and could not problem solve properly, I completely avoided this style of travel. There are also some individuals, but more couples and families, that preferred to purchase a prearranged tour.
Several people that I met at tourists sites, especially in Egypt regretted being on a tour. Some people dislike tours but cannot overcome their fear of the unknown and learn to navigate properly. I remember observing over 200 elderly people crossing a bridge in Salzburg Austria, and most looked miserable.
I completely avoided tours except for a few safaris in the desert just because it was mandatory.
I waited 7 years to travel from the time a house-mate shared about his short term travels. I was determined to travel long term. Patience proved to be a huge Virtue. There is no other style for myself except to Traveling Independently. During 2004 I found myself setup within a very good economic situation. In the spring of 2006 I slowly start to sell everything and and by November 2007 I only owned my backpack and was on a flight to Egypt.
During the planning process from the spring of 2006 to Autumn of 2007 I found that is was crucial to remain in the moment and not fantasize far ahead, except plan for my arrival city and a tentative route for traveling Egypt for up to 6 months. I wanted flexibility and did not want to be tied down to a ridged schedule obligating myself at certain locations. I only booked a hotel in Cairo for my arrival. The next hotel I booked was not until I few to Israel for my arrival in Tel Aviv in November of 2009.
The most important aspect to planning should be the type of backpack you choose. This is the most vital piece of gear you will be using. And, how you pack your backpack is also very important, I found that packing cubes were very helpful. I never changed my system of packing, nor did I ever change how I carried my daypack. I always carried my daypack with me if it was not secure. I never left my daypack unattended.
I never had anything stolen during my 4 years of travel. The daypack zipped and clipped onto the main pack of the backpack I bought. The main pack could be converted into a carry-on luggage style bag. The main pack had full complete backpack straps, when I flew with my back I could hide the straps and disconnect the daypack. I never had to check anything in the few times I flew from point A to B. I prefer removable daypack that attaches to a Travel-Pack, compared to a top loading hiking backpack. My backpack was a total of 35 liters.
I never purchased health insurance. I took care of all health occurrences properly, which were few. Medication and doctors are inexpensive outside of the West.
The two most common guide books are The Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide, I use the Lonely Planet because I liked the maps and the hotel reviews. However, I mostly ignored the personal opinions of the writer. I observed that many travelers ended up with preconceived ideas from reading the guide books something I tried my best to avoid. I was not obsessed with preplanning, but did do enough research to comprehend the basics about traveling.
Planning can be simple if you make it simple. If you overly complicate the planning process there is a chance that your travels might be a complicated affair.
Everyone has a different style and preference of travel. It is for you to figure out your style if travel and stick to what works best based on your individuality.