For all the excitement of taking a round the world trip, there’s no denying that the planning stage can be a little tricky. By your trips very definition, you can go anywhere. And that leads to a hell of a lot of decisions having to be made.
There’s also the small matter of what to pack, who to bring and how to afford it all.
Here are ten simple tips from someone who has been there, done that and managed not to get (completely) lost in the process.
Obsess About Transport
The first step towards a successful RTW trip is to get your transport options right. There’s no shortage of ways to get from A to B and when B is on the other side of the world, a little bit of research can easily save you hundreds of dollars. Don’t automatically assume that RTW tickets offer better value. Look into budget airlines. And don’t underestimate the savings that can be made by tackling some of your journeys by land.
Choose Your Partner Wisely
Nothing can turn a great trip into a disaster quite like travelling with the wrong person. Think long and hard about who you want to travel with. And don’t mistake a good drinking buddy for a good travel buddy. Minor annoyances can become rage inducing after a few too many hours on a train. Don’t be afraid to travel solo either, it can be incredibly rewarding.
Don’t Try to See too Much
Just because it’s possible to visit a hundred different cities, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should try to. To really get a feel for a city, you need to be there at least five days. And do you really want to spend your entire trip running from one airport to another? What’s the point in travelling a tropical island if you can’t laze on the beach for a few days?
Don’t underestimate the importance of being flexible. If you find somewhere that you love, you’re going to want to spend more time there. It’s impossible to predict who you are going to meet or what you are going to find. Don’t allow yourself to become locked into concrete plans for the duration of your trip. Other than flights, try not to book anything that you can’t cancel.
Make Your Money go Further
In Thailand, you can live on ten dollars per day. In Japan, you’ll barely get a meal for that price. If you’ve got limited funds, keep expensive destinations to a minimum. One of the primary benefits of going on a RTW trip is that you are free to spend most of your time in the cheapest countries on earth. Use this fact to your advantage.
See What YOU Want to See
Some destinations are significantly more popular than others but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to like them. Don’t fall into the trap of going where other people tell you to go. Do you like museums or cheap beer, architecture or beaches? If you don’t know what you are going to do when you get somewhere, don’t go there.
Think long and hard about exactly what you do, and don’t, pack. A heavy backpack will not just make travelling uncomfortable, it will make transportation more expensive.
- Most items can be purchased abroad.
- Choose multipurpose clothing i.e. clothes you can wear by night and by day.
- Bring at least one pair of jeans.
- Don’t pack more than five pairs of anything.
- Unless you literally plan on climbing a mountain, you don’t need hiking boots.
Invest in a Smart Phone
If you don’t already own a smart phone, consider investing in one. You can connect to wi-fi for free, read guidebooks, take photos/video and even translate foreign phrases.
In other words, they simply make travelling easier. If you opt for the expensive variety, don’t forget to get it insured before you go.
Anticipate a Few Bad Days
If you’re going to spend a few months travelling around the world, you can’t expect perfection. There are going to be bad days. From homesickness to fourteen hour train rides, some days, you’re just going to wish that you were back at home. Accept that such days are a natural part of a long trip. Decide early on that you’re not going to let them get you down.
Make a Realistic Budget
Finally, there’s the small matter of your budget, it needs to be realistic. Do your research and determine exactly how much you’re going to need each day. Don’t underestimate how easy it is to run out of money while on the road. Make daily limits and stick to them religiously. Leave the most expensive destinations until last and never go partying with a full wallet.
Author Bio: Thomas Moody is an adventure photographer and is frequently on the move. When he is in Canada, he often visits B&B in Toronto to munch on their famous morning breakfast. As his work involves a lot of travelling, he is the perfect guy to give advice on RTW trip planning and frequently writes articles about travelling issues on his blog.