My thirst for travelling started when I visited Northern Norway for the first time in my life. At that moment, although I had been travelling a bit in Europe in the past, Norway seemed so extraordinarily beautiful and astonishing! I remember how we drove around (I couldn’t take my eyes off the fjords, mountains and cool Norwegian bridges) and how we went hiking. I always feel so grateful when I think about this trip!
These good memories inspired me to dream and remember over and over again how good I felt in the mountains (Estonia, my homeland, is a flat country). And because thoughts have such a big power (especially when you visualize and focus on the good feelings), what happened was that after two months of being a fresh student in a business college in Finland, I had the opportunity to live and study as an exchange student in Munich, Germany for two months with the Erasmus program. It gave me the best opportunities to discover and travel around Germany and its neighbour countries. And the coolest thing was that the Alps were just a stone’s throw away!
This brings me to my first tip:
1. If you are still studying at school, use Erasmus or similar programs to discover the world with almost all travel expenses covered! You will make new friends and gain so many awesome experiences and knowledge. Be brave and apply! I couldn’t believe when I heard that only me and one other girl were applying for this German program out of the whole college! I promise you don’t have to fear anything and it will be the best decision in your life. Use all the opportunities that the European Union and various schools may offer you while studying.
In this two month period, all of my free time I devoted for travelling. Every weekend I went somewhere in any direction possible. Half of the time I travelled all by myself!
I remember one morning when I went to the train station to catch an unknown train to an unknown direction to go hiking in the Alps, and since I didn’t speak German, I asked help from an older man, to tell which train I should take to get to the Alps. He couldn’t believe that I decided to go hiking by myself to a place that I don’t even know. Fortunately, we went in the same direction and on the way to the mountains, he told me exactly where I could go and which hiking trail would be easy for me to hike alone since the mountains were still covered with thick snow. He helped me to buy a hiking map and showed me what direction to go. I thanked him and he continued his trip. And wow, that day full of hiking…alone..in the Alps.. was just so wonderful!
Half a year later I decided to take a break from studying to fly to Australia for a year! Once again, this was one of the most awesome adventures in my life, and I warmly suggest to experience Australia.
Hence my second tip:
2. If you have the opportunity, I highly suggest using Working Holiday visa for young people up to 31 years of age, which allows you to travel and work in Australia for a year or two! I haven’t been to Canada, but there is a similar visa option available and I’ve heard only good about Canada as well. If you can visit both of them, that would be even greater!
The only major expense is getting the visa and buying the flight ticket to Australia and to have some savings to live at least the first few weeks without worrying. I took a small student loan for the visa and ticket. Fortunately, my friends were already in Australia and I didn’t have to worry about the accommodation. I had only 500 euros in my pocket and I found a job already in the first week! And the salaries are good in Australia. Such good memories from this trip and I’m definitely going to visit Australia many more times in the future!
Five last months in Australia we worked in a hospitality industry in the middle of nowhere with my boyfriend Keit, where we were able to save a pretty good amount of dollars, and with this money, we decided to travel around Asia before we headed back home. Our first idea of a three-week trip turned into a full over-two-month-long “backpacking trip”. We stayed in Singapore for a couple of days, in Central and Northern Thailand for about 3 weeks, in Vietnam for 3 weeks and in the Philippines for 4 weeks.
In this two months, I gained so many awesome memories. I have something to remember for the rest of my life! And that’s so rewarding. Of course, with such a long trip (especially in Asia) also involves a lot of organizing and stress, but it was all worth it. It was so cool!
In addition, I have done a lot of short trips in Europe. I have never bought any kind of travel packages and can’t take a word about this topic. I have organized all of my trips by myself. And, as a result, my third recommendation is:
3. Buy your flight tickets before everything else as early as possible, and the rest is coming naturally. When you know you have a vacation coming, you will most likely save more money for your trip. In addition, you have more time to organize and pay for accommodation and you don’t have to stress how you are going to pay for everything at once.
And my last tip for travelling:
4. Get the most out of layovers! If people usually avoid all kind of layovers, then if you think about it, they are actually “cheap” opportunities to see even more! For example, I’ve spent the entire or half a day in Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Frankfurt (there are such good train connections between airports and city centres). In addition, I have organized a longer stopover in Qatar and Singapore (when I travelled to and from Asia and Australia). If I HAVE TO make a stopover in these places anyway to get to my final destination, why not to stay a day or two longer.
Finally..go and discover the world and you feel much richer, and when you are old, you will have something to remember! I do believe that money is not the issue when wanting to travel, but it’s more about one’s willpower and thinking. Everything is possible!