Young people especially are encouraged to travel, to explore the world we live in. Travel is often fun, educational, and a good way to meet people. Also, it helps you to understand other people's points of view and perspectives. Plus, it helps you understand the world, and recognise that portrayals in the media often reflect the bias and prejudices of their owners and editors (rather than necessarily an accurate reporting of the facts). And sometimes, it even helps you found out about yourself.
Sadly, you're not going to stay young and healthy forever, and fate can have cruel twists in store. Also, careers and families can limit your wanderlust in later life. As can a shortage of cash – Western countries often have substantial discounts, and even offer limited period work visas, to young teens and adults.
So get out and explore if you can – you may never get the same opportunities again.
Just because you can book a last-minute ticket and jump on a plane to some exotic place doesn't mean you should.
Travel, like any activity, has its risks.
As a general rule of thumb, the more stranger or distant a location you plan to travel to the more homework you should do first.
There's little point in travelling half way across the planet only to find the key attraction is closed for renovations or the golden beaches are not only empty but covered in flotsam and jetsam because that often happens during the monsoon period (and you couldn't believe how cheap the prices were – there's usually a reason why).
So before you jump on your bike, coach, train, ferry or plane here's some things it may pay to remember.
Here are some things to consider before you leave. Basically advice on preplanning your holiday.
Things to consider and look out for while you're setting out for, or in transit to and from, your holiday destination (or destinations).
Things to consider and lookout for over there while you're away from home. Quite possibly, a long, long way away.
Please remember: the basics of holiday planning apply to a weekend in Britain or an around-the-world gap-year break. The uncertainty of life means that it could be the last holiday you ever make (even if it's your first), but the memories should last you the rest of your life – which is all the more reason to make sure they're good ones.
Tip: while there are cheap last-minute options, your holiday planning shouldn't be. Malaria-risk areas (most parts of the tropics) require you to start taking preventative medication several weeks ahead of your trip for it to be effective. Fail to take it, and it could invalidate your travel insurance.