Episode 1: How I’m travelling 52 international locations in 52 weeks

52 weeks and 52 international locations, travelling world wide at random on the most affordable ticket each Tuesday? Some name it loopy. We name it ex-STA workers member and all-around solo backpacker extraordinaire Discovering Alexx.

Ever hear of these loopy adventures that you just’d LOVE to do however do not know how? That is a kind of adventures, and I’m going to indicate you all of the ins and outs of how I’m making it occur. 

I’m Alexx. A Kiwi, long-time STA Traveller, and now a full-time journey blogger at Discovering Alexx, and I’m exploring the world solo for a complete 365 days! I’m visiting a new nation each week for a complete yr, and my route is predicated solely on the most affordable flight out there every Tuesday. Sure, I’m loopy. Right here’s all it’s essential find out about my 52 in 52 journey, and how one can comply with the journey. 

How’d you give you the thought?

I’ve simply been residing in London for 2 years on a working vacation visa, working at STA Journey’s head workplace within the international advertising and marketing staff, however sadly my visa expired mid-June (sob!). Not fairly able to make the 18,000km transfer again to my little nook of the world in New Zealand, I knew that I needed to journey long-term, however had no concept the place to go! I endure from main evaluation paralysis (it’s a factor, okay…) so having to resolve the place to spend my restricted funds to go to was tremendous robust – it simply compelled me into an limitless downward spiral of Google analysis, going round and round in circles journey prices, flight logistics, occasions that I needed to see and making an attempt to prioritise my wanderlist (Which is not possible, by the way in which!) 

Then I believed, why not simply e book the route based mostly on the most affordable flight out there every week? Which means I prevented decision-making nervousness, saved prices down, AND added in some locations I wouldn’t have gone to in any other case. Win, win, win! 

Received’t you simply be going spherical in circles?

My route is to a brand new nation every week, so as soon as I’ve been to Paris for instance I can’t fly into some other French airports. If France is the most affordable possibility from a future vacation spot, I simply skip previous that and select the following nation that I haven’t been to on the journey. 

Why are you doing it?

Other than the truth that I believe it’s a brilliant cool method to discover some new locations, I’m doing it to indicate how flexibility can massively maintain prices down! If I had selected a route that I wanted to stay to with particular dates then meaning I’ve no room for motion once I’m flight prices, however by simply testing all of the choices and never having a set concept of the place to do, I’m capable of stick with a brilliant tight flight funds.

I’m additionally obsessive about constructing out final itineraries once I journey, like the very best issues to see, do, eat and expertise in every vacation spot, and I really like the problem of discovering the issues which might be completely price spending your cash on in 52 random locations. Typically that is likely to be an expertise to splurge on, like a sizzling air balloon trip in Cappadocia, however typically it may very well be only a particular meal at a cool cafe, just like the breakfast sharing plates at Holybelly in Paris. Divine! Nobody likes losing cash on their journey so I’m right here to share some tips about what I reckon was well worth the cash (and what wasn’t!). 

So, are you travelling on a funds?

Ab. So. Lutely. I do have some financial savings (round £12okay complete after accounting for all my flights) however you’ll be able to run by way of that extremely rapidly whereas abroad. I’ll be doing a bit of little bit of distant freelance work on the highway which will help with free stays and day excursions, however in every cease I’ll be sussing out one of the best methods to save cash too. 

How a lot will it price in complete?

It’s not possible to know, as a result of I don’t even know the complete itinerary but! From some check itineraries it seems just like the flights for the entire yr will price between £four,000-£four,500, however that features a check-in bag (and can be about £1,500 cheaper with cabin baggage solely, for those who’re a packing wizard). Lodging will vary drastically relying on the location, however dorm rooms in all probability gained’t be any dearer than Paris, which was £35 an evening. Some locations, like Cambodia and Vietnam, might be extra like £5 an evening!

To maintain prices down I’ll be cooking my very own meals as a lot as doable, taking public transport or strolling as a substitute of personal transfers and taxis, and continuously trying to find one of the best offers on actions and experiences. 

How do you put together for a visit like this?

To be completely trustworthy, I’m in all probability not ready sufficient! I prefer to say that I’m winging it with confidence. I’ve travelled an honest quantity, have moved overseas solo and I actually thrive in fast-paced and barely hectic conditions which is often a curse, however on this case, it’s been actually useful. I’ve my inter-country transport booked up till January however solely have a small quantity of lodging booked up to now, that is one thing I’m engaged on in the meanwhile. I’m a mega-nerd for organisation so that is one in all my favorite elements! 

By way of preparation instruments, I can positively share some secrets and techniques. I’ve received a Google MyMap for each single advice that individuals have given me for every completely different vacation spot, color coordinated into consuming locations, picture spots, actions and lodging. Airtable can also be a lifesaver, it’s a spreadsheet/database hybrid with some wonderful capabilities that are perfect for itinerary planning. Then I take advantage of Google Calendar to plan out my days and ensure I’m benefiting from my time in every place, in addition to setting apart some down time for recharging. 

Are you travelling solo?

I certain am! I do have some family and friends popping out to see me at varied elements of the journey, however for nearly all of the time I might be actually flying solo. At all times eager to have journey buddies although so if anybody is crossing over with my itinerary please let me know!

Any solo feminine journey ideas?

Ask me in a yr and I’ll in all probability be capable to provide you with LOADS extra, however I’ve beforehand written a weblog with a few of my solo feminine journey ideas proper right here.

Will you be staying within the metropolis that you just fly into?

Not essentially! In some locations I might be staying put and exploring my arrival metropolis in depth, however in some locations I’m actually eager to discover additional afield.

The place is it taking you?

I’ve booked the primary 26 weeks up to now, so I do know the place I’m going to be till January 2020! Flight tickets are usually solely launched 11 months prematurely so I can’t e book all the way in which up til the tip (July 2020) simply but, however might be doing that within the subsequent few months. I’m presently scripting this from my hostel in Zaragoza on the second week of the journey! 

To this point, the itinerary is as follows:

Week 1: Paris, France 

Week 2: Zaragoza/San Sebastian/Bilbao, Spain 

Week three: Brussels/Bruges/Ghent, Belgium 

Week four: Warsaw, Poland 

Week 5: Vienna, Austria 

Week 6: Milan/the Dolomites, Italy 

Week 7: Budapest, Hungary 

Week eight: Jordan (exploring the entire nation on a tour) 

Week 9: Cyprus (the entire island)

Week 10: Crete, Greece 

Week 11: Sofia, Bulgaria 

Week 12: Hamburg/Munich, Germany 

Week 13: Porto, Portugal 

Week 14: Zurich/Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Week 15: Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Week 16: Dublin, Eire 

Week 17: Bucharest, Romania 

Week 18: Israel (varied stops) 

Week 19: Turkey (varied stops) 

Week 20: Baku, Azerbaijan 

Week 21: Dubai, UAE 

Week 22: Delhi & the Golden Triangle, India 

Week 23: Bangkok to southern Thailand 

Week 24: Malaysia 

Week 25: Singapore 

Week 26: Bali, Indonesia 

Week 27: Every week off for a household wedding ceremony again residence in NZ 

Week 28-52: No concept simply but! 

And the place will the second half of the journey go? 

It’ll undergo Australia and the Pacific Islands, extra of Asia, North and Central America, and again over to Europe. Sadly, flights to Africa and South America are by no means actually the most affordable possibility so it in all probability gained’t take me there. Oh effectively, they are often for one more journey! 

What are you most excited for?

It’s not possible to decide on one however I do have a pair! Extremely excited for Jordan and Israel as a result of these are two locations that I by no means dreamt I might go to, tremendous eager to lastly get to Budapest and Cyprus, and I LOVE Indonesia so I used to be stoked when that got here up for my New Yr’s Ever cease! 

Anyplace you’re not trying ahead to?

In no way, I’m a agency believer that each one international locations have one thing wonderful so that you can uncover it doesn’t matter what you’re into. I’m additionally not visiting wherever with a severe security warning due to insurance coverage and in addition my mother and father’ psychological well-being, ha. You’re welcome, Mum! 

The place are you going to remain?

I’ll keep in a mixture of hostels, lodges and guesthouses, relying on the vacation spot and residing prices. In Europe it’ll principally be hostel dorms to maintain prices down, perhaps a non-public room if I want a little bit of a well being kick and quiet time, however in Asia the guesthouses are tremendous low-cost and ultra-authentic which I really like.  

What about your environmental impression?

That is a very necessary subject for travellers proper now, and one thing I’m positively retaining in thoughts. To start with, I’m not really flying each single week! I constructed the route off the most affordable vacation spot to fly to however then checked every week’s journey on trains and buses too, and booked them in the event that they labored out logistically. Within the first six months I’ve received three trains and two buses in there.

Secondly, whereas a flight each week does have an effect, it’s necessary for me to share that these flights are short-haul, totally on low price carriers who’ve newer fleets with extra environmentally-friendly engines, and that I’m offsetting each single flight all year long. I take advantage of myclimate.org to test my carbon footprint and the primary 21 flights even have a 25% smaller footprint than a single return flight from London to New Zealand!  

All of us must be very conscious of our impression on the planet when travelling, however I additionally assume it’s about minimising your destructive impression (offsetting carbon credit, watching plastic use and so forth) in addition to maximising your constructive impression (purchasing native, opening your thoughts to new experiences and methods of life, and doing good wherever you journey). Whereas carbon output is a crucial evil, I reckon we should always all be utilizing journey as a drive for good. 

Another methods I’m making an attempt to be extra sustainable are: 

Utilizing eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner, physique wash and laundry bars as a substitute of travelling with these little plastic bottles. I take advantage of those from Ethique right here. 
I journey with Huel powder which is a nutritionally full meal, you simply add water and also you’ve received a shake with all of the nutritional vitamins and minerals you want! I’ve this for breakfast every day simply to make sure my digestive system has some consistency whereas I’m travelling to locations with completely completely different cuisines every week. Huel is vegan and sustainably-produced, it avoids meals wastage (perfect for hostels!) and it’s tremendous simple to take with you for an journey day, which means there’s no want to purchase plastic-wrapped snacks. 
Taking my Bobble filtered water bottle in all places I am going and by no means shopping for a plastic water bottle 
Travelling with tour firms with sturdy sustainability insurance policies, like G Adventures and Contiki

I’d like to know your tips about sustainable journey as effectively, inform me within the feedback beneath!

How can we comply with alongside?

I’ll be writing some STA Journey vacation spot guides for quite a lot of cities and international locations all through the journey, which we might be linking to only beneath! In case you’d like to take a look at all my journey pictures yow will discover me on Instagram @findingalexx, or learn extra about my adventures at www.findingalexx.com