Backpacking in September…

Deciding to go on an adventure is usually the easy part, the difficulty comes when trying to plan how and where to spend your time. Should you try as many destinations as possible or fully explore a couple? Should you plan the entire trip, or just that start and then see what happens? Should you indulge your travel passions or try to do something more selfless?

If you’re looking for a starting point for a longstay or backpacking trip, how about…

Whale-watching tours are offered throughout the world, but only on the Tongan island group of Vava‘u can you actually swim beside the whales, a controversial if exhilarating brush with nature. Humpback whales come to these waters between July and November, and visitors to the town of Neiafu can board boats, cruise up to the whales and snorkel around them. It’s a controversial practice – some say the regular presence of boats and humans in the water disturbs the mothers and calves just when they are most vulnerable, and may force them to abandon the area before they are ready. One tour operator in Neiafu refuses to allow swimming for this reason. But many people who have swum with whales say they experience a sense of mutual curiosity, rather than alarm or distress.

Attentively, if you’re looking for something a little more cultural rather than active, why not think about a European city tour. City tours are fantastic for people who want to see as much as possible in a relatively short space of time, and these tours will cover everything from history and architecture, to art and fashion.

If the purpose of your trip is to improve your CV and gain life experience, then think about enrolling in a volunteer programme or internship. Internships are perfect for testing a potential career path, whilst also gaining experience to add to your CV. Alternatively, volunteering also shows bravery, empathy and maturity, if you’re thinking about becoming a teacher try volunteering at an underprivileged school – there are programmes available all over the world so you can choose the best one for you.

Wherever your travels take you, don’t forget to buy travel insurance. Holidaysafe offers specialist backpacker’s travel insurance and gap year travel insurance from just 21pence a day. To get a quote or to buy travel insurance, please


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