Where in the world should I go?
This is the hardest question you are going to have to make and
is completely up to you. Since you do have the entire world to
choose from, where do you start?
Look for a general area of the world that you are interested in.
Check out a map and look for a logical path that will take you
to various countries. You are not limited to staying within the
borders of one country.
Anywhere in the world is a possibility. Some spots are more
popular than others and each place has something unique to
offer. You have the world to choose from.
If you are still having trouble deciding, here are some
questions that you may want to ask yourself:
My general rule is to stay away from warring or potentially
unstable countries. If you know that one country is planning
on attacking another country or there is a possible threat of
some sort of disturbance, I advise avoiding that country. I like
having the knowledge that I am entering a relatively stable
area and don’t have to be overly concerned about my personal
- Do I have a specific reason for going?
- Do I want to find the worlds best party spots?
- Am I interested art and history?
- Am I looking for the world’s cheapest shopping
- Do I want to volunteer my services? If so, how?
- How about learning a new language or skill?
- Do I want to visit as many countries as possible?
- Thinking about visiting distant family or relatives?
- Do I want to teach English as a second language?
- Do I want to be in a tourist or non-tourist area?
Picking the date when you enter into a specific country is also
important. Know what to expect if you enter into a country
during high or low season. Most of the countries in the world
have times when tourists tend to visit. This is high season.
Prepare for all the services, the best weather, and the higher
prices and more crowds during this time. The low season
doesn’t usually have the best weather and sometimes there are
fewer things to do but there are also fewer tourists and prices
are offered at a discount. On the extreme, for some countries
tourism completely shuts down during low season. A travel
agent or a guidebook would be useful to determine this.
Think about the amount of culture shock you want to
experience or think you would enjoy. Culture shock is
basically a reaction to a different environment than what you
are used to and how you adjust to that difference. Every area
of the world offers a different way of living that is unique and
different than what you are used to at home. The greater the
culture shock, the more chance of finding some amazing
adventures and some great stories to take home. If I am going
to leave my country, I don’t want to end up paying to go to
another country similar to my own where I know the food, the
culture, and the people. I enjoy countries with exotic
environments where I can immerse myself for a while. I would
rather go to some foreign hole-in-the-wall eatery than a
Western fast food chain.
Talk to other travellers and get their opinions. Some of the
best and most accurate information comes from other
travellers who have “been there and done that”. Walk down to
your city’s local hostel and meet some experienced
They are a wealth of knowledge. And, if you are
fortunate, you can make some friends and get some contacts in
Go to the library or your local book store and find some travel
books on the various countries. Take some time to read
through them to find out some specifics and points of interest.
A good place to start are books that other backpackers have
written regarding their travels.
Search the Internet for specific information. It is easy to get
bogged down with too much useless information that is mixed
in with the useful. If you have specific questions or need
certain information, the Internet is a great tool.
A travel agent is also a great source of information. Usually
their information is limited to what they can sell you and many
agents may not have personal knowledge of the countries.
Most of them have tended to stay only at the resorts and
travelled on the package deals. However, they are the source
to provide you with the costs of travelling to various countries
and other travelling options.
Remember that wherever you go, the place will have its good
points and bad points. While you are at home, you are working
with imperfect information. One of the great things about
backpacking is that you only need a bit of preparation ahead of
time before setting out. You can easily do the rest while you
are on the road.