By Tom Hall: Lonely Planet
Once that travel bug bites, everything gets very exciting very quickly. Before you know it you're on the net, on the phone, in a travel agency, in a gear shop. You're buying tickets, trying on trusty travelling shoes and purchasing plastic soap containers. Suddenly these mundane tasks become thrilling. Smile - you're travelling and the memories start here.
Where and when?
First and foremost, you need to decide where you want to go. Maybe you're already set on Italy or India and know when you're going and with whom. But if you're starting with a blank slate, weather and budget will be the things that shape your plans. Do your research - for example, when Europe is warmest, during July and August, it's also at its busiest and most expensive. Be mindful of school holidays wherever you are - these are peak times when families are hitting the road.
The Big Challenge: your budget.
Obviously the more money you take and the more wisely you spend that money, the better time you'll have. If you're travelling on a shoestring, you'll need to watch every penny. It pays to work a little longer and save a bit more before you go, as well as budgeting carefully wherever you're going. Oh and avoid casinos.
Book early to get the best deals. If there's one great myth about air tickets, it's that there are great, late deals available. The truth is, leave it to the last minute and you'll be paying more for all but a handful of undersold peak-season charter flights. Don't look to stand-by flights for bargains either: airlines are more likely to regard a late walk-up customer as a desperate punter who's willing to pay over the odds.
Once you've made those first few plans and you've got your ticket in that little plastic wallet, your trip will feel real, the departure date will speed towards you and before you know it that same luggage will be in the cargo hold of a sky-bound jumbo. Buckle up - you're travelling. And you're going to have the time of your life.
A blank slate - This means starting something new, with no previous knowledge or experience.
Martin just moved to a new town, and will start his new life with a blank slate. His old troubles won’t worry him.
I haven’t though about what I’m going to do for my project yet. I’m starting with a blank slate.
Hitting the road - This refers to leaving or departing, usually on a trip.
Hurry up! We’ve only got two hours to get to the airport. Let’s hit the road!
I’m so excited to hit the road. I’ve never been on a cross-country road trip before.
On a shoestring - This means having a tight (small) budget.
I would love to go to London with you Sally, but I can’t. It’s much too expensive, and I am on a shoestring budget.
We travelled around west Africa on a shoestring. $5 per night for a hotel - what a deal!
True or False: