Travel Suggestions – Looking for Experiences

Cosa-Nostra's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 314

TL;DR: If you had 6 months to travel and had never been outside the US, where would you go and what would you do to have/create unique experiences?

Hi guys - current college senior in my last semester (graduate December). I worked in IB at a BB this summer and am returning full-time in June. I realize this might be the longest period of time I will ever have without any responsibilities while I am young and want to create some life-long memories. I have never been outside of the US before, so all suggestions are welcome.

I enjoy partying in the city as well as doing things outdoors. What would you do if you were in my shoes and wanted to have some cool stories you could reflect on for when you hit the desk full-time (something other than go to a beach resort)? I have a few ideas, but want to hear from you all. Thanks everyone.

Comments (143)

Sep 16, 2018

Bump

Sep 16, 2018

Solo bike across the US

"one for the money two for the better green 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine" - M.F. Doom

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Sep 16, 2018

Have you done that before? How long did it take you? And did you rent a bike or did you already have one?

Sep 17, 2018

A friend of mine did-hadn't ridden more than 300 miles prior to doing it. You should buy a decent steel frame bike (on craigslist will run ~250 in a high COL area), renting can make things more expensive if something breaks.

In terms of time, if your quick its 30-35 days if you take a more leisurely route 50-55.

"one for the money two for the better green 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine" - M.F. Doom

Sep 17, 2018

I didn't go across the US but I went down the West Coast (Vancouver to San Diego). I trained quite a bit for it and to be fair had pretty high mileage each day (average 80 miles per day). Get a road or touring bike, a tent, sleeping bag, and panniers, and just cruise. I will say being away from friends and family (or really anyone) for that long is tough.

Array
Sep 17, 2018

I liked Japan and China a lot because they are so different. Europe is pretty boring IMO and too similar to be worth spending more than 4 weeks seeing. Maybe do 3 weeks in Europe, and the rest in Asia.

Sep 17, 2018

I was thinking of doing something like this actually (Japan in the winter and Europe in the summer). What do you recommend in Japan? I was thinking about snowboarding in Japan and checking out the city.

Sep 23, 2018

Might not be as exotic from an American perspective, but definitely not boring.
Now biking coast to coast... that's fucking boring.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

Sep 17, 2018

Check out Italy, but don't do it how most tourists do. Go visit the countryside or Sicily. Meet locals and converse with as many people as you can - odds are one will invite you into their home and blow your mind with some wild home cooked food (I learned about peaches in red wine this way). I am biased since I am Italian American and pretty dug into the respective culture here in the States, but I would still recommend it to anyone.
I hear Asia is great for "experiences" as well.

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Sep 17, 2018
Nightman Cometh:

Check out Italy, but don't do it how most tourists do. Go visit the countryside or Sicily. Meet locals and converse with as many people as you can - odds are one will invite you into their home and blow your mind with some wild home cooked food (I learned about peaches in red wine this way). I am biased since I am Italian American and pretty dug into the respective culture here in the States, but I would still recommend it to anyone. Maybe you'll even meet some real Cosa Nostra (just like your WSO handle).

I hear Asia is great for "experiences" as well.

Low quality post. As an italian, don't go to Italy. It's a waste of time and everyone does it. Yeah the food is good and Rome is old, but aside from that it's a waste of fucking time. Go somewhere cool that you can actually talk about like backpacking through South America or Asia.

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Sep 17, 2018

I'm not Italian, I'm Italian American. I really enjoyed seeing the homeland and the places my family was originally from. I just completely disagree with you. You can do a trip there the same way everyone else does it, or you can actually make an effort to immerse yourself and meet people there, like my family and I did. That is clearly something I said above. Learn to fuckin read.

PS like 50 people I know from my class went backpacking in Asia. Doesn't seem any more "unique" or superficially life changing than you make it out to be. Experiences are what you make of them.

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Sep 17, 2018

Three options:
1. you're not italian.
2. you're one of those italians that has always hated the country on some level and now has left and loves shitting on it
3. you haven't seen shit in italy.

You're for sure of those 3

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Sep 17, 2018

Italy sounds awesome. I really want to check out Sardinia and sail the Amalfi coast. I've heard the people are really open and friendly in the South.

Sep 17, 2018

Italy is a good option but don't do it alone for that long. Combine it with Greece, Cyprus, Croatia Spain or Portugal. InterRailing around Europe is awesome as shit so I highly suggest that. Another cool (long) road trip is starting in Colombia and working your way up central American via Panama. So many places to see both nature and local cultures. I can't say much about Asia because I recently went there for the very first time but Singapore is a good base from which you can see a lot of cool neighbouring countries.

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Sep 17, 2018

InterRailing in Europe seems awesome - thanks for the suggestion. Did you plan out all of your destinations and hotels/Airbnbs before going? Or did you get to your first country in Europe and figure it out from there?

Sep 18, 2018

You can honestly do both. I would wing it because it some places you might take detours and end up spending more time there than originally planned.

Sep 17, 2018

Iceland was amazing, went in the winter but it turns into a Game of Thrones / Lord of The Rings type of landscape in the summer, would love to go there again.

Spain was a great experience. Puerto Banus was sick... old rich drug money, bunch of exotic cars / bikes / hot women / etc walking around.

Turkey is pretty awesome, went for a few days, didn't see much, only Istanbul, coffee is #1.

You can never go wrong with Japan / China.

Costa Rica was a great place for both R&R as well as adventure (zip-lining, scuba diving, etc)

I was pretty young when we went to Africa but the safari there was pretty awesome based on the pictures my parents have of my brother and myself.

I would not recommend places like Mexico / Dubai / etc. They're just places to sit around at a resort... maybe that's your thing but you can get plenty of Relaxation elsewhere. I would prioritize places with cool adventurous things you can do... anyone can lounge around at the hotel pool at almost any hotel.

Obviously a lot of this will come down to how much you're willing to spend. Also if you are dating / will be going with people it will come down to their own budget as well. For as well traveled as I am I definitely haven't seen as much of America as I would like and I feel like people underappreciate it. Go hiking / on a road trip / see the national parks / etc. A solid 2 months in the States and another 2-3 abroad with 1 month for being at home / travel time / etc would be an amazing way to spend your time off.

Good luck planning things out, have fun, and keep us updated!

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Sep 17, 2018

Thanks for the comment. I definitely am aiming for more adventures than relaxation. I'm thinking about doing a big Europe trip, so I'll definitely make a point to go to Spain. I've seen incredible pictures of friends in Iceland. Are there tours there or do you rent a car and have destinations planned out in advance? Do you do a lot of hiking there?

What did you do in Japan? I'm thinking about heli skiing there, but its expensive. And good point on the national parks...I've never been to one in my life and people fly from all over the world to visit them. That should probably be my first trip.

Sep 18, 2018

Did not do much in Japan. Mostly went around city to city, ate a bunch of food, drank, etc. Was with family so more lowkey.

It depends with Iceland. You can definitely rent a car and go places yourself in the summer because you'll have like 18 hours of sunlight. We went in the winter and had 4-6 hours of sunlight so most things were hosted by companies. We would have them drive us to a destination at like 4am so that when the sun was up we would be there suited up and ready to hike / snowmobile / etc. Lots of hiking / helicopter tours / (again, I was with family so more lowkey but according to locals they party hard af there as well).

Sep 18, 2018

I'm a US expat in London, doing a good amount of EU travelling. I would just split your time - do 3 months in SE Asia first (avoiding monsoon season), and then 3 months in the EU (avoiding the depths of winter).
Eastern europe is underrated, Paris is overrated.

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Sep 20, 2018

What are two must-do things in Eastern Europe? I wasn't planning on going to Paris as many people have told me the same thing.

Oct 11, 2018

Budapest- this is central europe but I doubt Americans know the difference, and I haven't been but Croatia is the new Spain
Edit to say: imo Budapest is a good replacement for Paris, it has great dining, beautiful river and buildings, etc

Sep 18, 2018

I could swear you asked this before but since you did again I will post this again:

Choose 1 of these options, 1 is mostly Domestic (if in United States) but still don't forget your passport, 2 is International.

1: Start in Chicago or New York, make your way by car up the Northeast through the Adirondacks to Burlington VT, circle around going through Maine, down to New York and Washington area and then drive through the South whilst hitting up any states you've never been to.

From there, you can go West to Texas and through the Rockies over to Las Vegas and then Los Angeles. Go North up the coast and see San Francisco & then go up to Seattle and then to Vancouver.

From Vancouver, you can either come back through the United States and see states such as Montana, or go through Canada to Calgary or Edmonton. Then you can come back around to either the Midwest to Chicago, or visit Chicago and keep driving to New York etc.

This is very nondescript and obviously you can change it up however you want and you can visit national parks or other notable cities along the way. It should take anywhere from a week at the extreme least to a month.

Option 2: International

Start at major United States airport such as JFK or Chicago O'Hare, fly out to London and from there visit any European countries you've always wanted to go to. From there fly to South America and check out Rio de Janeiro and explore the beaches and mountains. You can then fly over to Africa, preferably Johannesberg, and go on a Safari and whatnot.

From Africa you can fly up to Dubai and get a taste for one of the most advanced cities in the world, while checking the Middle East off your list. From there proceed to Asia such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

Then, you can fly down to Australia. (I prefer Perth as it is interesting in it is considered one of, if not the most, isolated cities in the world. Any major city is around a day car ride away at the least and you pass mostly through desert, the main way to get anywhere is the airport. It is like living in Los Angeles and the nearest city without anything in between is Chicago.)

From there fly back to the United States.

This trip is obviously very expensive and for someone who wants to go out of the way.

Have fun

Sep 20, 2018

Haven't posted this before - but thanks for the info. Is Rio your favorite city in South America? Did you party there? I haven't thought about doing a Safari in Africa, but that sounds awesome. What other things do you recommend in Johannesberg? This is great info - thanks man.

Sep 20, 2018

No problem! By the way sorry because it was probably someone else who posted something similar, just thought it was you.

Actually I've been to a few of them and have heard amazing things about them. It would actually be the ideal trip that someone would take if they want to actually see the whole world. I can tell you Rio is probably the most "prominent" city in South America and it's way better then some town in the middle of the Amazon or even major cities in South America.

In terms of Johannesburg, my college goes there for trips because there is such a huge business and general culture there, plus its safer than other parts of Africa.

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Oct 12, 2018

Where is your starting point?

Oct 12, 2018

Probably Boston but it doesn't really matter since I'm looking to go international.

Oct 12, 2018

Soapy massage in Thailand

Oct 12, 2018

Well it depends on your travel agenda. I would recommend Japan.

"It is our fate to be tormented with large and small dilemmas as we daily wind our way through the risky, fractious world that gave us birth" Edward O. Wilson.

Oct 12, 2018

NIPPON BANZAIII KAWASAKIIIIII

Japan is awesome and now exchange rate pretty good so u can go !

Make sure u visit pokemon museums/place of origin, not a complete trip unless you do ;)

"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid
"I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad

Oct 12, 2018

It depends on what you want to get out of it, really. The major metropolitan areas in Japan/Europe/Korea are fun but if you want to get some more unique experiences/stories out of it, I would suggest you look at slightly more under travelled areas. A few more unique but still very safe areas that come to mind are Taiwan/SE Asia, Croatia, Morocco, Tunisia and Bolivia.

I know you said money wasn't an issue but there's still something about going somewhere where $600 gets you one of the best hotel suites in the city and you can drop cash like it is nothing.

Oct 12, 2018
mehtal:

It depends on what you want to get out of it, really. The major metropolitan areas in Japan/Europe/Korea are fun but if you want to get some more unique experiences/stories out of it, I would suggest you look at slightly more under travelled areas. A few more unique but still very safe areas that come to mind are Taiwan/SE Asia, Croatia, Morocco, Tunisia and Bolivia.

I know you said money wasn't an issue but there's still something about going somewhere where $600 gets you one of the best hotel suites in the city and you can drop cash like it is nothing.

Second for Croatia

Oct 12, 2018

Go somewhere that interests you. Are there any places that stick out from a movie or book? If so, it'll be easier to give you an idea of what you might like.

Standard recommendations:

Italy (Venice and Rome are musts)
France (Paris, never been but would kill to go)
Spain (anywhere, to party... and theres cultural shit too)
Greece (beaches, cheap)
Germany (beer, mountains)
Switzerland (chocolate, mountains)
Kenya (safari)
Thailand (little bit o' everything)
Australia (outdoors stuff, will likely feel like an off-version of the US the first time)
Russia (I dunno, always sounded cool to me)
England (similar to Australia for feels, lots of cool history/sites)
Holland (dat ass)
eastern Europe (money goes far, history)
Turkey (current must-visit place for me, Istanbul)

That's all I want to write for now. Dubai isn't worth it. If you havent traveled much (and it seems that way), that should be way down your list of places to visit

Oct 12, 2018

Any particular reasons to go to developed countries?

"It is our fate to be tormented with large and small dilemmas as we daily wind our way through the risky, fractious world that gave us birth" Edward O. Wilson.

Oct 12, 2018
Nomadchimp:

Any particular reasons to go to developed countries?

It's just a matter of safety since I'm alone. I'm not saying that all emerging countries are worrisome, but I certainly wouldn't want to tour Mexico alone. I would definitely consider Thailand also.

Oct 12, 2018

I sees, I sees.

"It is our fate to be tormented with large and small dilemmas as we daily wind our way through the risky, fractious world that gave us birth" Edward O. Wilson.

Oct 12, 2018

You don't have to "tour Mexico alone." The best beaches are in the Caribbean and you could just chill in a resort and get the chance to meet other tourists.

And if safety is a concern, it shouldn't be because those resorts are gated and have a huge amount of security on duty to make sure that nothing happens.

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Oct 12, 2018

South Africa.

Oct 12, 2018

I second South Africa - Cape Town and the winelands/Stellenbosch are awesome, especially if you're into wine. Can't say Cape Town is the safest of places to travel alone though.

Oct 12, 2018

In nomparticular order:
Aruba
Netherlands
Serengeti
Thailand
Morocco

You might as well consider north korea for extreme fun and free appearance on national tv.

Oct 12, 2018
Oct 12, 2018
above_and_beyond:

Get something like this:

Have you bought one of these before? If so, how much do they usually cost?

Oct 12, 2018

The price will vary for everyone based on:

1) Starting point
2) Number of regions you enter/exit (ie- could be North America, South America, Asia, etc)
3) Number of countries you hit in the region

I haven't seen any for less than $3,000.

EDIT: additional value comes in the form or miles gained from the flights. If you set it up properly, you can save a shitload of money. That means hitting the right countries/regions at the right time in your trip.

Oct 12, 2018

I will like to second Croatia.

Sep 18, 2018

Europe has a lot to offer.

You have awesome nature and scenery in Wales, Scotland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden (and if you go, check out Copenhagen too).

There are great spots in South Europe - France, Spain, Italy, the Greek islands (cool to see Athens too, but don't stay too long) and Montenegro. Did a cruise recently in that area, which was awesome. Lots of stuff to see and the weather is great during the summer.

Eastern Europe with Prague, Budapest etc. is special too. And cheap!

The good thing about Europe is that you don't have to spend a lot of time to explore multiple destinations/cities. Interrail is a good option but flights are fairly cheap too.

Oct 12, 2018

Turkey / Greece ?

Croatia / Hungary? or Hungary / Prague?

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Oct 12, 2018

Hong Kong/Korea/Japan, went there over winter break, solid choice and would probably go again sometime this year.

You can pick up some real nice tailored suits in Hong Kong while you're there.

Oct 12, 2018

SE asia super hot/muggy that time of year, i'd stick with europe or more north east asia

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Oct 12, 2018

Malta, maybe?

Oct 12, 2018

If you like to walk = Barcelona

Oct 12, 2018

It would be good to know where you've already been/if you have any places you'd like to go.

That said, I've done a lot of travelling in Europe and Asia and I can't think of a better place than Italy for a few weeks to cover everything you'd like to do. Inexpensive, easy to get around, great food, good weather...

Oct 12, 2018

How safe is Italy? Will I get harassed by pick pockets?

Also, what region of Italy would you recommend for someone who likes to walk a lot?

Oct 12, 2018

Places I've visited: India, Peru, Mexico, Singapore, Spain (wouldn't mind going again, since I've never seen Sevilla, Valencia, etc), Israel, UK, France, most of the Caribbean.

NE Asia would be convenient since I'm most likely adding India to the itinerary to visit family. I've never been to China, Japan or Korea other than quick layovers.

Croatia/Hungary could be good, too - I've seen some photos of the glittering Adriatic Sea and it's a huge draw.

Italy would be amazing - especially if the dollar-euro exchange rate continues to work in our favor. Is it doable in 2-3 weeks? Ideally I'd like to do some independent traveling, with a combo of guided tours and independent touring.

Oct 12, 2018
lemony:

Places I've visited: India, Peru, Mexico, Singapore, Spain (wouldn't mind going again, since I've never seen Sevilla, Valencia, etc), Israel, UK, France, most of the Caribbean.

NE Asia would be convenient since I'm most likely adding India to the itinerary to visit family. I've never been to China, Japan or Korea other than quick layovers.

Croatia/Hungary could be good, too - I've seen some photos of the glittering Adriatic Sea and it's a huge draw.

Italy would be amazing - especially if the dollar-euro exchange rate continues to work in our favor. Is it doable in 2-3 weeks? Ideally I'd like to do some independent traveling, with a combo of guided tours and independent touring.

In 2 weeks you can tackle about half the country. Rome is a must-do, and is a solid 4-5 full days if you've never been. (Including a day trip to Pompeii and Naples.) Florence has all the great Baroque/Renaissance art and is another 3-4 days, especially since it's centrally located for day trips to Siena, Pisa, Lucca, etc...Then you have to go to Venice. Not much to do there but it's absolutely spectacular and unique and shouldn't be missed. Probably only need 2 days there.

That gives you 1 to 2 more weeks where you can go to another big city with some notable culture (Milan), go hiking in Cinque Terre, relax on the Adriatic in Southern Italy, cruise down the Amalfi Coast, visit villages and vineyards in Piedmont or Tuscany...you get the idea. Whatever you want to do, you can.

Oct 12, 2018

If you have never been to America I highly recommend it. The country is steeped with rich history, plenty of museums to boot. Climate wise you can find virtually any type at any point in time depending on which parts you travel to. Plenty of Infinity pools just as long as you stay at the W or something like that.

Oct 12, 2018

Austria - specifically Vienna and Innsbruck

Oct 12, 2018

costa rica for beaches + hiking, they're within walking distance of one another, and it's super cheap. not much historic but it's beautiful there

Oct 12, 2018

If you consider yourself an advanced traveler, I'd recommend Zanzibar, Tanzania. Just google image search "Zanzibar" and you'll see why.

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

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Oct 12, 2018
mikesswimn:

If you consider yourself an advanced traveler, I'd recommend Zanzibar, Tanzania. Just google image search "Zanzibar" and you'll see why.

Just be careful to stay away from the Zanzibarbarians. They're ruthless.

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Oct 12, 2018

Spain is my suggestion, fell in love with the country when I lived in Madrid. It has everything you would be looking for: beaches, outdoors, sights. its also very easy to get around via train...Hit Barcelona, San Sebastian, Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, Granada.. if you want a few really nice beach days hit up Mallorca or Ibiza if you want to party it up for a weekend.

With only 2-3 weeks, i'd definitely say Europe is the best choice to get a good travel mix (sights, beaches, etc) whether its Italy, Spain, Croatia, Greece, wherever

Oct 12, 2018

I would avoid Italty in the summer due to the humidity.

Oct 12, 2018

Good point, I ignored the timing. Sevilla will be ridiculously hot at that time and Madrid won't be ideal either... I guess it depends on whether you can handle the heat, as a lot of the hotspots in Europe are best to travel in May/June/September...

Oct 12, 2018

Have you considered picking up a fun outdoor hobby over the summer? If so, where will work be for you? (IE do not want to get you into scuba diving if you are going to Albuquerque, NM)

Oct 12, 2018

Just went snowboarding in Whistler for the first time this past weekend. Will be going back this Summer for Crankworx to do some downhill biking. The people were friendly, good looking, and I partied my ass off. Weather can be hit or miss - might rain on you.

Array

Oct 12, 2018

If you have more than 2 or 3 weeks, there's an Eco resort company on St. John in the US Virgin Islands that I would recommend. They will let you live free and eat free for a month if you will agree to work 40 hrs/week on the resort. You basically just live in an eco shelter on the side of a mountain with a short 1/4 mile walk down the hill to a private beach. My buddy worked down there for three years and would work his hours early in the week and spend the latter half drinking cheap, hanging out with other like minded early 20's kids, and island hopping in the British and US Virgin Islands. Not a bad gig. I was there visiting for three days and could probably spend hours telling you the cool shit I got to do and see.

Oct 12, 2018

No way! I was on the brink of doing that last summer, I was exchanging emails with one of the people responsible for it for a couple weeks. Might have to do it this summer if I have some extra money and nothing lined up for FT.

Oct 12, 2018

I would recommend Mykonos Island by Greece or the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I went to the Amalfi coast and it was simply the most incredibly relaxing and beautiful views and great beaches that I have seen.
My friend went to Mykonos and came back totally changed and recharged. It is an underrated chill and party island within the Med since Ibiza gets all of the glory. Additionally if the current EUR/USD exchange rate stays the same it will be a cheaper trip to either location. As for your historical requirement both locations have both between Greek and Roman sites.
There is a lot to do outdoors at both locations as well.

If none of these sound good to you then I would go to Phuket, Thailand. It is cheap, lots of sites and great scuba diving. Just don't get caught up with "Claude" the scuba diver instructor so go with a local or an American dive shop.

Good luck and enjoy the break before the real work starts.

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum

Oct 12, 2018

Go to Italy in the summer and all you'll see if silly Americans and goofy Chinese people.

Oct 12, 2018

+1. Italy is best in May-June or September. July-August it is too hot to do anything but spend time on the beach (best beaches IMO are on the Cinque Terre). I love Italy, but be aware that Rome when it is 100 degrees and humid is not nearly as exciting as it could be in better weather.

Oct 12, 2018

Are you going alone or with friends?

Next stop: Flavortown!

Oct 12, 2018

Thanks everyone for the responses - please feel free to keep them coming! FYI, I am on the East Coast (will also be working here when I start work in the fall).

The heat is definitely a concern for European destinations (as well as summer ticket prices). Really loving the ideas of Japan, Tanzania and Costa Rica - Japan especially, since my significant other will likely be joining me and he's been dying to visit Japan.

Oct 12, 2018

I was listening to Anthony Bourdain on a podcast and the host asked him where he should travel to and Anthony instantly replied Tokyo. That's enough for me.

Sep 20, 2018

Did you book your flights before you made your way out to Europe, or did you buy flights once you were out there and decided to go somewhere else? I feel like Interrail would give me more flexibility once I'm out there, unless you can get cheap flights not far in advance. Scandinavia (other than Iceland) isn't something that I considered, but I just checked it out on google and it seems like something worth checking out if I'm already going to be in Europe.

Sep 20, 2018

Depends on your appetite and recovery. You're young, so I must ask.

1) how long can you party hard?
2) food likes
3) food dislikes
4) hobbies you like(hiking, fishing, water activities)
5) beach...yay or nay
6) sight seeing...yay or nay.
7) what months you traveling? Probably already answered this but being lazy.
8) where are you located now?

Sep 20, 2018

1) In any given week, I can party hard three days out of the week. Any more than that and I just start spending too much time recovering and feel like I'm wasting my time.
2) Most everything
3) Anything too out of the ordinary such as intestines, eye balls, etc.
4) Boxing, white water rafting, snowboarding, wakeboarding
5) yay
6) yay - but prefer it not being overly touristy, such as the Eiffel Tower
7) I have freedom to travel between January-June. Was thinking of doing a winter trip and a summer trip, a month each.
8) Located in the midwest but will be starting in TMT banking in San Francisco and anticipate staying on the west coast for a significant portion of my career

Sep 20, 2018
Cosa-Nostra:

1) In any given week, I can party hard three days out of the week. Any more than that and I just start spending too much time recovering and feel like I'm wasting my time.
2) Most everything
3) Anything too out of the ordinary such as intestines, eye balls, etc.
4) Boxing, white water rafting, snowboarding, wakeboarding
5) yay
6) yay - but prefer it not being overly touristy, such as the Eiffel Tower
7) I have freedom to travel between January-June. Was thinking of doing a winter trip and a summer trip, a month each.
8) Located in the midwest but will be starting in TMT banking in San Francisco and anticipate staying on the west coast for a significant portion of my career

Funny.

I did a 6 weeker from LA to Europe and Central America & South America. I'll post exactly what I did when I'm at my PC.

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Sep 20, 2018
Cosa-Nostra:

1) In any given week, I can party hard three days out of the week. Any more than that and I just start spending too much time recovering and feel like I'm wasting my time.
2) Most everything
3) Anything too out of the ordinary such as intestines, eye balls, etc.
4) Boxing, white water rafting, snowboarding, wakeboarding
5) yay
6) yay - but prefer it not being overly touristy, such as the Eiffel Tower
7) I have freedom to travel between January-June. Was thinking of doing a winter trip and a summer trip, a month each.
8) Located in the midwest but will be starting in TMT banking in San Francisco and anticipate staying on the west coast for a significant portion of my career

Here's my trip.

Roundtrip Logan to Reykjavik on WOW Airlines
Spent 1 night in Reykjavik
Next day, Reykjavik to Hvar
Sailed Croatia 4 nights, 5 days
Croatia to Spain
Barcelona 3 days
Madrid 1 day
Sevilla 1 day
Ibiza 2 days
Spain to Greece
Athens 1 day (waste)
Mykonos 3 days
Ios 1 day
Santorini 1 day
Greece to Amsterdam
3 days, 2 nights Amsterdam
Amsterdam to London
3 days 2 nights London
London to France
2 days Paris(waste)
France to Italy
Rome 3 days, 2 nights
Venice 1 day
Milan 1 day
Milan to Reykjavik
1 night Reykjavik
Reykjavik to Logan
Logan to Buenos Aires
2 days Buenos
Buenos to Montevideo
2 days Montevideo
2 days punta del Este
Uruguay to Brasil
4 days Rio
Brasil to Colombia
2 days Bogota
2 days Cartagena
Colombia to Costa Rica
3 days Manuel Antonio

Then Costa Rica back to West Coast.

I brought one large hiking like backpack, did this with my girlfriend and one other couple. Paid for RyanAir and Eurowings within Europe. Went biz to and from Europe and to and from S. America. Stayed in cool hostels and some cities the Ritz. Most fun time of my life.

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Most Helpful
Sep 20, 2018

I am partial as i am an american expat living in hong kong but i would spend the full 6 months in Asia.

Starting in Singapore/hong kong your options are super diverse and endless where you can backpack through vietnam, malaysia, indonesia, thailand, cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar, or Laos.

Once you' ve hit some or most (some or most will depend on how long you stay on each the south east asian countries) of those countries you can then decide to head north through Hong Kong and hit taiwan, china, Japan or mongolia (totally underrated country, trekking through the gobi desert with local mongols and setting up your yurtz is an incredible experience). Japan is also one of my favorite countries in world. Food will blow your fucking skull off and from cities to countryside, to the culture of the country i just love it.

Instead of going north you can head south from singapore or indonesia/bali and head to Australia starting in perth then head east to sydney and then to new zealand south island. The south island of NZ is just absolutely mind blowingly beautiful.

The north to china/japan or south to oz/NZ will be the pricey section of your trip. So if you are tight on cash, you can keep this a strictly SEA trip as all those countries are cheap as hell (except Singapore) and can be flown to on one way tickets for 100 USD. Hostels can be had for 10-15 a night and food and booze will be cheap as hell 10-25 bucks a day. On top of that, if you are traveling solo you will for sure meet a ton of travelers and if you have semi-pseudo social skills you will get more ass than a toilet seat.

I have spent the better part of the last 10 years of my life traveling through asia, europe, and S America and honestly, you cant go wrong no matter where you go if you have never left the states before. The only down side is that once you start traveling and experiencing new cultures, food, languages and people, your wanderlust will takeover and there is no turning back!

Enjoy it man, no matter what you do its going to be an experience of a life time.

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Sep 20, 2018

Thanks for all the info - a lot to take in here. I saved this post in a word doc for future reference. Trekking through the Gobi Desert seems awesome. Is this something that I could do between January-March? What time of the year do you recommend going to Japan? I wanted to do heli skiing there, but might scratch that as it's super expensive and would rather visit another country and extend my vacation an extra week than have a couple runs from a helicopter.

Based off what you wrote, I think I would rather stay in SEA. I have a decent amount of money saved up from the summer and have worked the past 5 semesters of college, but I don't have a ton of cash to blow haha. If you were in my shoes (never traveled outside the US and were thinking more SEA + Gobi Desert trek and possibly NZ), where else would you go if you only had 4 weeks total in Asia?

Thanks again man this is great.

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Sep 22, 2018
Cosa-Nostra:

Thanks for all the info - a lot to take in here. I saved this post in a word doc for future reference. Trekking through the Gobi Desert seems awesome. Is this something that I could do between January-March? What time of the year do you recommend going to Japan? I wanted to do heli skiing there, but might scratch that as it's super expensive and would rather visit another country and extend my vacation an extra week than have a couple runs from a helicopter.

Based off what you wrote, I think I would rather stay in SEA. I have a decent amount of money saved up from the summer and have worked the past 5 semesters of college, but I don't have a ton of cash to blow haha. If you were in my shoes (never traveled outside the US and were thinking more SEA + Gobi Desert trek and possibly NZ), where else would you go if you only had 4 weeks total in Asia?

Thanks again man this is great.

Gobi desert in jan would be fucking freezing. You are looking at -20 degrees temps so it would not be enjoyable in the least.

Also heading north to mongolia and then heading to NZ would be infeasible as that is a shit ton of traveling. NZ is far away from literally everything so best to choose either head north or south from SEA or do whole trip in SEA.

If i were you id do full 6 months on SEA, dont be guy that hits all thr spots for the sake of checking the box. Spend a few weeks/4-6 weeks in each country and really the lay of the land.

Vietnam you can into Hanoi and go head south and see rhe full country ending in phu quoc island.

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Sep 20, 2018

This might be a slightly strange opinion, but take a month to do an internship somewhere remote, in a field you've always been curious in. I know a guy who did venture capital in the Philippines, another who did Archaeology in Italy, English in Japan... the possibilities are endless. If you can, don't worry too much about pay, and instead find something you're truly passionate about.

While it's true you're going to spend the next few years of your life working hard; doing a relaxed internship is a great way to explore something you're truly passionate about, and really live like a local in wherever you choose. It's much different than taking the shinkansen in Japan and claiming you live how the locals do. If you go the IB --> PE/HF route, this may be the only time in a while you'll have to explore a different career path.

I left finance to work in a different field for a few months and it made me a much better professional when I returned. Surprisingly enough, the rest of the world gets by without 1AM emails saying "plz fix tks"

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Sep 20, 2018

Not sure why I never thought of this... it's a great idea. I am planning on the IB-->buyside route, so I will have to put some thought into what a possible field I would be interested in working in while abroad for a few months. Seems like this could also help me extend my vacation an extra month or so. I actually speak a second language, which should help people in that country to be more receptive to the idea.

Sep 20, 2018

If you like busty babes with nice round buts who know how to dance then head to LatAm for the curvy chicas of Colombia, Argentina and Brazil. If you prefer skinny blondes with ice cold personalities head to the CEE region and hit up Ukraine, Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe (could do Poland, Romania, Serbia, Czech and Slovakia as well). If you like stick skinny Asian girls with no boobs or bum head to SEA and enjoy the "white God" factor.

Sep 20, 2018

I definitely fall in the former category, so it sounds like this is another vote for Brazil haha. Maybe I'll head over during Carnival

Sep 20, 2018

@WanderingWanchai" I can't believe no one else has said this - I just came back from 2 months in SE Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia) and it is the perfect mixture of adventure, meeting people and getting out of your comfort zone. I did 7 hour treks across mountains, climbed 3 volcanoes, hiked for multiple sunrises, did canyoning, jumped off waterfalls, visited incredible temples, motorbiked mountain passes, snorkeled with sharks and manta rays and met amazing people, locals and tourists, everywhere I went. Also nights out were unbelievable, some of the best parties and booze cruises I have ever been on. Met people out there who planned on travelling for a month and had ended up there for almost a year. Don't do something that is more of the same eg US, Europe etc. SE Asia is very cheap for us and has some of the best food and people I've ever come across plus amazing variability (mountains, beaches, parties). Take my word; SE Asia is the place to go!

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Sep 20, 2018

I want to do that same trip. Did you do that on your own?

Sep 20, 2018

I travelled with a few friends but met plenty of people travelling by themselves. We ended up getting a few lone travellers coming along with us and I'd even say 30-50% of people I met were travelling alone. Best place in the world to do it, perfect backpacker ecosystem

Sep 20, 2018

Dude - you do all of this in 2 weeks? Are those the countries you recommend going to (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia)? How did you go about planning on what to do and through which company? Did you have friends out there? How do you recommend putting together a similar trip?

Sep 20, 2018

Apologies, I meant 2 months**

For a similar trip, if you are indeed planning on going out for the majority of your time (say January to May for example) then I would just pick your first country and go out. Planning things as you go along there, just 2 or 3 days before, actually yields a lot of success. Just find the cheapest flights to somewhere, book your first 2/3 nights accom and go from there.

In terms of countries (no order):
1. Vietnam - fantastic food, cheapest beer (found one for less than 10c on some streets), amazing backpacker scene and you can bike the entire country North to South (or vice-versa). Average hostel price/night ~ 8$. Would highly recommend doing the Castaways tour with Vietnam Backpackers Hostel. One of the best party tours in the world. The North is better than the South but lots of cool military history all over. Also Phong Nha is a must for the largest cave systems in the world and amazing scenery.

  1. Malaysia - didn't personally enjoy as much but there are some amazing places too. Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown have good party scenes (stay in the Easy Tiger in Georgetown) as do some of the islands such as the Perhentian and Langkawi. Very cheap apart from alcohol. The Perhentian islands are one of the cheapest and best places in the world for snorkelling and diving. Average hostel price ~ 7$
  2. Thailand - very touristy in the islands to the south. If you want to party, 100% hit up Ko Pha Ngan (full moon island) and Phi Phi, some of the most insane nights out ever. If you want a really memorable experience, hit up the North. Pai was one of my favorite places and Chiang Mai was also very nice. Have heard incredible things about Cheow Lan Lake. Stay away from Bangkok unless you're flying out of there. Thailand was probably the most expensive for activities and accommodation (~$10/night)
  3. Indonesia - here we did everything. Visited Borobudur, an ancient Buddhist temple, climbed two volcanoes (Mt Bromo > Mt Ijen, in terms of views and not being too crowded), and partied for a week in Bali. If you end up in Bali, (a) stay for a while in Canggu, particularly Lay Day Surf Hostel, best party hostel and overall hostel in Asia for me, and (b) try go to the Gili Islands. Also hit up Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Uluwatu for more scenery, surfing and chill vibes. Also expensive alcohol. Average accom ~ 8$ but cheap food (apart from Bali).

Other people said Philippines has the best beaches in the world and I really want to visit Myanmar as it is still incredibly untouched. Also Laos has some cool white water rafting and other activities. Overall man, SE Asia has EVERYTHING you need while also being a new culture and being cheap for us. Get out there, plan as you go and have some of the best times of your life.

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Sep 20, 2018

If you backpack Europe just remember to start in the north and travel south. If money is on the tighter side, like previous responses have said, SE Asia is the place to go. Thailand's got it all

Cultivating mass and wealth since '95

Sep 23, 2018

I'll keep that in mind one I start putting plans in place!

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Sep 20, 2018

To add on to @MonkeySeeMonkeyDo23, Southeast Asia is indeed where it's at. Also, the fact I was born and raised in Malaysia. Thus, excuse my bias.

If you personally don't mind the humid weather, definitely check out Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. In Singapore & Malaysia, definitely do some research in what sort of foods you must eat during the duration of your stay (satay, roti canai, roti tissue, hainanese chicken w/ rice, rojak, asam laksa, etc).

As for Thailand, if you do stop by Bangkok, check out Chatuchak market. I believe it is open during the weekend. It has about 15k stalls and I can assure you that you won't be able to browse the whole market in a day. In addition to that, check out central world along with other popular spots. As a rule of thumb, take the skytrain (BTS) as it is a lot quicker and cheaper as opposed to taking a local taxi. Finally, if you do get a chance, go to Koh Samui. It's a beautiful island with amazing beaches and panty-dropping clubs (it's only panty-dropping if you're single). Be careful of ladyboys though, unless you're into that stuff :)

Sep 20, 2018

Great advice. Is it feasible to do all of this without knowing anybody in the area and not doing it with a tour group? I want to avoid doing any tour group type of activities if possible. Koh Samui sounds awesome.

Sep 22, 2018

Definitely feasible to do all of this. If you're in Malaysia, it's best to stick around the Kuala Lumpur area if you don't speak any Chinese at all. Restaurants and street vendors mostly understands English as they hosts foreigners on a daily basis. As for Singapore, most if not all speaks and understands English. Likewise with Bangkok and Koh Samui.

In terms of language barrier, you will be set if you followed those tips above. As for transportation, Grab Car is definitely the go to app to get around in Malaysia & Singapore (of course you can always opt for trains). As for Bangkok, just take the skytrain (BTS). The traffic is ridiculous during the morning all the way to the evening. The only time you should opt for a taxi is when your're wasted from the bar/club at like 1am.

Finally, you do not need to join a tourist group at all. I always disliked joining a group tour. Some reasons are the daily schedule is usually packed and thus you cannot enjoy a tourist location at your own leisure. In addition, I hate the feeling of being rushed when I'm on a vacation.

Sep 22, 2018

Awesome info. I'll definitely refer back to this once I start solidifying plans. Thanks killa.

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Sep 22, 2018

I was recently in Japan, Israel, and the Czech Republic, I'd highly recommend all three.

Next on my list are China (both Hong Kong and mainland) and Australia.

Sep 22, 2018

Israel is something I would love to do, but I think I'll save that for another trip. What were some highlights of Japan and the Czech Republic?

Sep 22, 2018

The Czech Republic is like going back in time and Japan is like going to an alternate reality where life developed differently.

Lots of pretty girls in Prague, and if you're looking to party and get laid it's very accommodating. Lots of good, inexpensive beer, although I didn't think the food was that great. I stayed in a fantastic penthouse in the city center which was, relative to the prices I paid in Tel Aviv and Tokyo, absurdly cheap.

I went to Japan during cherry blossom season so everything was pretty spectacular. I stayed in Kyoto and Tokyo... Kyoto was kind of a let down after staying in Tokyo... IMO, Kyoto is to Tokyo as New Jersey is to Manhattan.

Drinking with a bunch of Yakuza was pretty cool... I also dressed up as Wario and did Mario Kart on city streets, which was pretty ridiculous. I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental and had a Japanese girl feed me $1000 worth of Ruby Roman grapes like I was some Greek God, which was divine.

Israel was probably the most WOW, but only because of some chance encounters... I ran into Elon Musk in the desert of Masada (weirdest thing ever), I talked my way into meeting Netanyahu with a group of Harvard Kennedy School students, and I got a tour of a military installation at the border that my doctor setup last minute...

Sep 22, 2018

Figure out where your money will go the furthest and where the most women will want to bang you by virtue of you being a wealthy white American (I assume).

I suggest SE Asia or Eastern Europe and Russia but maybe there are better choices.

Sep 23, 2018

Haha SE Asia it is!

Sep 23, 2018
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Sep 23, 2018
Aug 8, 2019