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7 steps to starting your travels

Starting a trip can be pretty daunting. Not sure where to start, where to look first, what to book.

I get tons of questions from first time travelers or even just people unsure on where to start when booking the next big trip.

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I am going to make it short, sweet and simple.

Here are my 7 steps to getting that trip sorted.

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My first week in Bangkok

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Research & decide.

Where is it you want to go? What do you really want to see and do? Looking to work or just explore?

There are so many fabulous destinations and I know the feeling of wanting to go to them all, nevertheless, find out the places that fit your personal criteria and make a decision on where you will be going.

Maybe it’s exploring the wildlife in Africa, Interrailing around Europe or backpacking India. Driving around Vietnam, Camping in Australia or even skiing in Canada, the decision is yours.

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Find out if you need to apply for a visa or need to apply/pay for any entry requirments. Depending on where you are from and how long you want to stay in a country, there may be various costs. Take into consideration the time of year and weather seasons and conditions and current affairs around the world.

Book a flight

The first big step you should take is getting that first flight booked. This will really trigger the excitment and reality of you pursuing the trip.

Flights can be pretty pricey but once this is out the way, just focus on living costs/ spending money for the trip. I normally only book a flight and leave the rest for once I arrive.

Get saving

This is where you need to be strict. Start cutting down on unnecessary spending, think about the amount of money you are going to need. I never sacrificed too much to travel, I still wanted to live my life and do certain things however I barely drink, don’t buy myself new clothes and shoes and despite a rich life in the places I go and the people I meet, my outgoings are minimal. It’s all priorities, you just need to decide on yours.

If you know you are leaving to travel, you don’t need to be buying new shoes and clothes. Cut down the booze and put the money towards your trip.

I normally try and set a goal each month of how much I try and put away depending on my income. Work hard, play harder type thing..

Groups. Blogs. Pages.

If you are wanting to find out more about the places you are going too, If you’re traveling solo and want to chat to a few people, even if you want to read other peoples journeys, join the facebook groups and pages, read peoples blogs, just like you’re doing now! They are here to help.

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Vaccinations/Injections

Depending on the countries you’ll be visiting, you may need vaccinations. It can get pricey but check what you can get any on your local healthcare. For Asia I needed a Hep A booster, Rabies jab, Enchafilatus and Malaria tablets (Which I never even took). This did unfortunatley take a chunk out my travel funds including basic first aid bits.

Detatch yourself

If you really want that sense of freedom, you really want to get lost in the that real travel vibe, detach yourself from a lot of things. Slower the better but get rid of that phone contract, don’t have constant outgoings with the bank. Don’t attatch yourself to un-needed contracts, or even relationships. Be prepared to not have too many contracts or unnecesary bits. Certain friendships will fade and certain feelings may fizzle out, this is totally normal.

I ended my phone contract as soon as I could and stopped any direct debits for whatever I had.

Final preparations

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This is it. We are getting close now. Checked your healthcare, got any prescriptions, any visas needed beforehand? Got any copies of passports, important information? Got your camera sorted, currency changed? Any perticular equiptment you may need?

Think about the last people you need to catch up with, the last places you want to eat out and don’t hesitate to do everything you know you will miss.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

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10 tricks & tips on moving to Melbourne

Thousands of us come to Australia.

Some to work, travel, find a new way of life or simply want to settle short term.

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Melbourne. Victoria.

Stylish, arty Melbourne is a city that’s both dynamic and cosmopolitan, and proud of its place as Australia’s cultural capital. Its stately Gold Rush–era architecture and a multicultural make-up reflect the city’s recent history, while edgy street art, top museums and sticky-carpeted band venues point to its present-day personality.

Melbourne is best experienced as a local would, with its character largely reliant upon its collection of inner-city neighbourhoods. Despite a long-standing north–south divide (flashy St Kilda versus hipster Fitzroy), there’s a coolness about its bars, cafes, restaurants, festivals and people that transcends the borders. The city centre has meanwhile reinvented itself with chic laneway eateries and rooftop bars opening in former industrial buildings.

Sport is also crucial to the fabric of the town, taking on something of a religious nature here. Melburnians are passionate about AFL football (‘footy’), cricket and horse racing, and also love their grand-slam tennis and Formula One car racing.

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I recently moved here after 6 months backpacking Asia. It’s cold, civilised and pretty cool. Chilled vibes, quirky cafes, endless entertainment, sport central and just an awesome place to be.

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Known for being the best city to live in; I came to give it a go.

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I wanted to share with you some of my tips & tricks for moving to Melbourne.

1. Use Public transport.

 

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Melbourne has a decent public transport system. Despite everyone obsessed with Uber, and espresso martinis, the tram system is pretty efficient.

As confusing as it can be at first, pretty off putting coming from Asia, it’s the leading transportation around the city. Almost a 24 hour system, reliable, it’s something to get used too and get to know.

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2. Get Gumtree.

Don’t have it? Get it? Don’t know what it is? Search it.
Or just click here.. Gumtree au
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Many jobs are posted daily with job vacancies, business’ hiring and lots of work advertised.
You can post your own ad if looking for work People will be able to contact you through Gumtree if interested.
Not only that but it’s a great place to look for accomadation or to buy something. Everyone seems to be using it so don’t miss out!

3.  Use social media & it’s benefits.

Almost everyone has social media, I have even seen random little Cambodian villages on facebook. Social media has many negatives however there is one massive benifit when it comes to traveling.

Get on those social media pages. Join the groups, read the blogs, search Instagram. There are some great Facebook groups here to help with lots of information on backpacking Australia, living in Australia and more. These pages are designed to help find information and help you engage with other people also moving and living in Melbourne.

Search #hashtagged places in the city and see what is going on. I always find lovely little coffee houses by having a ponder on Instagram. Click here to follow @_littletravelbird on Instagram and see what new places I have been finding.

Mid week brunch

4. Saving?

Melbourne has something constantly going on. I am sure it is possible to save, I have too, however there is a lot going on. Melbourne is revolved around eating out, hidden hippy bars, vintage shops, the best places for coffee and so much more. Constant entertainment and great sport activities, theatres and shopping, arenas and stadiums, Melbourne is a very active city, make use of it!

 

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If you are coming to seriously save some dollar, maybe think of somewhere else to settle. With an income and some budgeting, anyone can save with the right priorities, however Melbourne is such a vibrant city with so much to do, enjoy it!

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Pizza night in the city

 

5. Find a house share

Everyone all over Melbourne is in a house share, whether you are a backpacker, student, professional or just a travel bum, a house share is normally pretty affordable, a great place to meet people and an easy way of living. Find the area you want to live in, with ads for accommodation constantly on Gumtree or on Facebook pages, you will have no problem finding a room!
I have a good friend living in St. Kilda, where I was crashing when I arrived. I now have an affordable cute little flat in St. Kilda with 5 others. It is easy, convenient and affordable. If you don’t have anyone to stay with, hostels are a good place to head to first to meet people and get to know the area once you’re here.

6. Do your RSA/Permit/Visa research

Most places have restrictions on who can work where and for how long. For us British, it is ridiculosuly easy to come over to live & work down under. For other countries, the rules and regulations can be different so check the conditions of where you are from.
To work and live over here in Melbourne, you will need a working holiday visa. These are easy to get hold of and can use them up to 12 months from applying. It will cost around £230/ $500 AU. This gives you a year in the country which you can extend to two years if you do 88 days of agrictulture work.
You can’t bartend without an RSA. Hospitality is a big deal in Australia, especially in Melbourne. Bartenders need to attend a short RSA course. For those wanting hospitaity work, look at getting it booked and out the way. It’s easy and means you can get work straight away. Employees wont ask for it until you have been working with them for 3 weeks but it’s a good idea to get it done. Each state in Australia will require a different RSA.

7. Get an income.

It is easy to be busy enough with exploring the city. I could spend endless days down by the beach, wondering the streets of Fitzroy, drinking out on Chapel street or finding the best resturants in the CBD but Melbourne focuses on great entertainment, food and drink, live music and sport.
There is a lot going on and things to do and see. If you are looking on moving to Melbourne, get your self a job and have some sort of income!

8. Be prepared with the weather

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Melbourne is known for the random weather. Wake up to the sun beaming and clear blue skies and by the evening it can get pretty rainy and miserable.

The photo above was taken on a ridiculously wet and dull saturday day in the middle of winter, while I went to get the tram to work, this was my view of the sunset.

The weather is constantly changing so come prepared. I flew in from Asia on the 1st June where winter was starting. Despite being used to 45 degree heat, it can get very cold.

I am currently living in my hat and scarf, needing to keep the heating on. Depending on what time of year you come to Melbourne, always be prepared. Melbourne is south of Australia and can get some of the coldest weather!

Despite being in the middle of winter at the moment, it is still an improvement on English weather!

Morning beach run

Morning beach run

9. City life

Melbourne is a major city.

You won’t be in the country side, or close to the desert. Instead, are loads of suburbs filled with awesome streets filled with independant buisness and local cafes. Despite the CBD being a great place to explore, make sure to spend lots of time exploring the suburbs.

 

 

Places like hippy Fitzroy, flashy St. Kilda, Prahan, Brighton, South Melbourne and more are my favourite places to hang out.

 

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10. Make use of the coffee culture

Melbourne is known for the epic coffee scene. With some of the best coffee, baristas and places to drink them, embrace it all. Give the coffee shops a good chance and explore what Melbourne hospitality has to offer!

There you go. There are so many interesting and funky places in Melbourne. Despite suffering from one big culture shock coming from Asia, Melbourne has not let me down! These are just my opinions & tips, any feedback would be appreciated.

Happy traveling.

-Little travel bird

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Dear British backpackers

I’ve heard a lot of British backpackers complaining about their country.

‘I never want to go back’

‘I’m staying away for as long as possible’

‘The UK is shit’

England definitely doesn’t have the places I’ve come to fall in love with all over the world.


England may not have the adventures Australia can offer, the streets of Paris or the laws (or lack) of Amsterdam, nor does it have crazy safari life in Africa or the beautiful ski towns over in Canada and it may not offer experiences us travellers crave but home will always be home.

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There’s a reason I’ve hardly been in England since I was 18.

I have a constant urge to explore, a passion to travel, a heart full of wunderlust and I know this is what I have to do.

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Despite a lot of cold, miserable weather and a genuinely pretty dull vibe, I’m extremely lucky to come from such an established, clean, rich and supportive country.

indexEngland is filled with beautiful places, stunning countryside, a magnificent busy capital city and a large variety of things to do and places to go.

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Working at Leeds Beer Festival

Ok ok, I understand – not everyone is as fortunate as I to have such support or a family waiting for them. People may not even have anything or anyone to go home to. However I can only go off my own experiances.

England is bloody brilliant.

We are lucky. I couldn’t travel as easy as I am if I wasn’t from such a developed country. I’m entitled to visas, the British embassy and great healthcare if needed. We have a stable security and political system. Men and women both have equal rights, we are able to freely travel and we are largely able to choose our own futures.

Language

Worldwide, the majority of information is in English compared to other languages. For many people around the globe, English is learnt as a second language and it takes constant effort and learning to speak it on a daily basis. However it is something I picked up as a child nactually living in England.

In rural parts of the world like Cambodia, Loas and Puerto Rico, there is limited acess to education and learning English. Given that most well paying jobs are centered around tourism (work which inherintely involves a sound understanding of the English language),  not having acess to this type of education can limit many locals to poorly paid and physically taxing labour work.

 

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The reality of long term travel. Dear home, I miss you.

There are countless reasons to travel. There’s no right or wrong way but if you’re like me, you’re in for the long hall.

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No shortcuts, no hidden help or quick flights back home.c9e2a84ae0026bf72a3940f2256a43f3

In an ideal world, I could travel indefinitely. If only I could visit home whenever I wanted. Long plane journeys don’t bother me and my friends & family will always be more important than any destination.

What about when you’ve been gone for a while. Don’t know when you’ll be home? What if you’re desperate to get away but not sure when you’ll be back or even have a fear of going home?il_340x270.634250082_8szm

I want to chat a little more about the reality of long term travel.

I miss home.

Home may not have the tropical climate of Asia, it may not have perfect white sandy beaches and I may not be able to eat the delicious local foods I’ve found all over Asia. England definitely doesn’t have the places I’ve come to fall in love with all over the world.

Ko Tai. 13/01/16England may not have the adventures that Australia can offer, the streets of Paris or the laws (or lack of) of Amsterdam, nor does it have the traditions, cultures and experiances travellers crave all around the world but home will always be home.

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There’s a reason I’ve hardly been in England since I was 18.

I have a constant urge to explore, a passion to travel, a heart full of wunderlust and I know this is what I have to do.

Comfort. I miss you.IMG_8125Despite how priveliged I am in being abe to travel, I do miss my creature comforts. I miss my overly large and cosy bed, my wardrobe full of clothes and dressing table with my perfume and luxury make up. I miss clean running water and instant hot showers, having mobile data and signal everywhere to message my friends. I even miss going into Sainsburys knowing that everything is clean, fresh and hygeinic.

IMG_1420Days just laying infront of the TV with my favourite little doggy.

Life lessons
After six months in South East Asia, I’ve finally truly realised the importance of experiences and relationships rather then belongings and possessions. That unforgettable memories are priceless compared with unnecessary shit we feel we have to buy. Even though I often miss what is familiar, easy and comfortable, I do not need my material possessions from back home.

Thinking of all my beautiful friends and loving family. I may be the other side of the world but you're in my heart. Merry Christmas to friends, other backpackers, my perfect family and everyone wherever you are in the world. #christmas #thailand

No Christmas presents under my tree. No christmas dinner served and living in a basic jungle hut but i’m happy as I can be.

I miss my family. My lifelong best friend. My gorgeous Cockapoo doggy Darcy. All my bartending friends, my dancer friends. Childhood mates and all people I’ve known to love and care about.

Their birthdays, engagement parties and leaving do’s. When they need someone to cry too or have boy trouble and need advice, I’m not an easy phone call away. It is these relationships that I need and could not live without.IMG_0206

I’m here online, I have facebook, Skype, FaceTime etc. I’ve told everyone numerous times that I’m still here and contactable if they need me. But I’m not quite there.
Plus the time difference is a bitch sometimes!13231067_10153466435312751_932283755_n

I speak to my Dad almost everyday but we are no longer doing things together. We aren’t out walking the dog or going to a random movie splashing out on sweets & popcorn. Im not celebrating with friends on special occasions or popping round to visit my grandparents. I’m not going for wine and pizza with my mum (well I was in Vietnam as the fabulous Mrs Cole came to visit). But you get the jist..IMG_2298

My gorgeous younger cousins are growing up fast and my fantastic grandparents are luckily both alive, but when will I see them next? In another 6 months I’ll be gone a year, and who knows what’ll happen.

I’m thankful everyday for the wonderful friends and family I have and all the support I get from everyone but I can’t help but think..

Am I selfish? Am I ignorant? Jetting off all on my own, leaving everyone behind to have this fantastic life filled with adventures spending endless days doing whatever I want in beautiful destinations.

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No. I’m living my life but it sure does come with some reality checks.

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My friends and family may see the photos and hear my stories however they’re not there at the countless experiences I’ve craved them to be at. My friend Aiden would love the Reggae bars, my friend Lana would love all the beautiful resorts and pools. My beautiful city Ruby would love all the sunsets and tropical jungles and I my friend Alice would love to explore the gorgeous hidden cafes, the individual coffee shops and cute cocktail bars not to mention Saskia and our shared love for animals, finding new places and raving at festivals.11902454_10152986649632751_102517351787863013_n

I’m learning and growing everyday and I hope my nearest and dearest can see this.

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I’m not rushing to move back. I have an endless list of countries, cities, towns, villages, islands and places to visit.
I won’t put a price on coming home, even for 48 hours. I’ve told my family that.

For now, this is my life. I am doing more in 6 months than people do in their lives. I’m free, alive and learning everyday.

Traveling has its ups and downs and in the end, makes us a better person but we always need to remember that we are exactly that – people. Human beings. Missing home reminds us of that and makes the time we have away even more special in the long run.

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