I chose this tour because I have known lots of people to backpack in Thailand, but as a solo traveller, I wanted a rough itinerary, have support throughout and hopefully make friends. All three of these things happened. I chose this specific package because it had a bit of culture and sightseeing, but also a bit of partying and madness.
Beckie is a 21 year old currently in between jobs who has always wanted to see the world...and now was her time to kick this off.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I booked through STA travel back home in England; they were very helpful. I told them where I wanted to go, what sort of things I wanted to do and when I could go. Within a few weeks, we had everything finalized: three tours, all my flights and all my additional accommodation. The only thing I had to organise myself was a travel cash card and an international driving license, but this was no problem.
Any queries I had, STA would respond back very quickly with a helpful response.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I would highly recommend all aspects of my adventure, from booking with STA to being on a TruTravels tour to picking Thailand as a destination. I think one thing I would’ve liked to have known is that not every part of Thailand is cheap when you are here.
I started in Chiang Mai, which was very cheap to eat and get about, and then you compare it to the cities and some of the more secluded islands where the prices were actually sometimes more than back home in England! I came with a thought that it was cheap everywhere; if I had known, I could’ve budgeted more.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
There was no ‘average’ day on this tour: every day was very different. One day could be having a lie in, relaxing round the pool and having a family dinner and drinks in the evening. Another day could be full of activities: quad biking, snorkeling, massages etc., or you could have a travelling day with a 9am checkout, a 2 hour ferry, a 2 hour taxi and a 10 minute boat. Every day differs hugely. No matter what the day consisted of, it was still a lot of fun and had new adventures.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was travelling alone to an unknown country, not knowing a single person. TruTravels were really good and set up a Facebook group a month before our tour started, so we could chat and get to know each other a little bit before we actually met.
Delaney then set up a group chat a couple of days before the tour started so we could start organizing a few things to do on the first few days. This was nice for me as I was a solo traveller, so it was a lovely way for me to meet new people. When I arrived at the hotel, I had already spoken over Facebook with most people, so it wasn’t awkward at all.
What are your packing essentials?
I always overpack when I travel abroad. This time I regret it because I am living out of a big backpack with too much stuff and not enough space to buy gifts.
I recommend taking one set of swimming stuff, a couple of pairs of shorts, a couple of tops, flip flops, trainers, one pair of long ‘elephant’ trousers, a portable phone power bank and the common sense things you would need when travelling everywhere.