We have too short time on this planet to settle for nothing. So like Bukowski's autobiographical anti-hero, Henry Chinaski, I’m not much of a petty thief. I want the whole world. But to be precise, to get to know it, to travel it and to create memories that are far more valuable than possessions.
If you want the whole world too, here are some tips on how to plan for seeing it. You don't need to quit your job to do it, you just need to be smart how to. If you work full time and have no chance to take a few months off, accrue your holidays, include public holidays to overlap in the time frame of your trip, or even add some unpaid leave. If you have a luxury of taking sabbatical or not working, you can take as long as your tolerance threshold for being away from home, but know that maximum length of RTW (round-the-world) ticket is one year.
Where do I start? Well, BUDGET of course. Can I have the whole world, or just the part of it? Before you plan anything, it’s good to know or have a rough idea on your budget. Around the world trip can cost you anything from as little as $5,000 to $40,000 and beyond, depending on many factors, such as the cost of your tickets, number of countries visited, cost of living, length of stay in a specific country to the level of luxury you wish to have during your adventure.
Once you know your budget, the second aspect to think about your trip is TIME. How much time do you have will affect how intense or relaxed your trip will be. Maybe you can decide to stay longer in countries you will fall in love with, maybe you can make more stopovers, or visit more places. It's possible to do round the world trip in a month time frame. You might have less countries on your list, shorter time to spend in each of them, but with a good route planning, a bit of research, being clever about taking your holidays, it's still feasible. It won't be the same life changing experience as dedicating months of your life to travel, but it won't be less exciting. Of course more time you have at your disposal, allows for more flexibility and spontaneity in your round the world adventure.
Where to? ROUTE PLANNING will hugely depend on the two above factors. Your budget and the time for your trip. Of course, you have an idea and preferences which parts of the world you would love to see. Knowing the two other important aspects will help you to factor more detailed planning and adjust expectations to your reality. That will also be important in deciding whether to buy a round-the-world TICKET or go for a multi-city ticket option. It’s worth to mention that round-the-world flights usually operate in West to East or East to West, so you can think of visiting countries in a specific geographical order. A lot of RTW tickets include standard routes, so if you want to go slightly ‘off the beaten path’ compare multi-city ticket. Skyscanner will let you plan your route with up to six stopovers. It’s also worth checking budget airlines in a specific world region.
When planning your route, don’t forget to consider countries on top of your bucket list and check when is the best time to go to those. WEATHER is not going to be the same everywhere you go, so it’s worth checking when is the best time to go there. It can also be a factor around the ACTIVITIES you would like to do during your round the world adventure.
Assuming you already have a passport, don’t forget to check VISA requirements for each of the country you are planning to visit. And not just that, read about specific rules on accessing the country. There could be restrictions allowing you to enter specific country by plane only.
TRAVEL INSURANCE is an absolute must in any type of trip, but even more important in this type of adventure. In the UK, TravelSupermarket is a good website to compare different insurance options. To avoid ruining your trip, and even worse, risking your health, don’t forget to check VACCINATIONS requirements on your route. Depending where you live, some vaccinations will be free and provided within your social security, or national insurance scope, but not all. You may need to pay for some, so it’s worth checking that too. Don’t leave vaccinations to the end. There are certain injections you should start taking a month before your trip or earlier. Some will require coming for a booster before taking off. Some of them don’t work immediately, sometimes it can take several days for the vaccine to take effect, so do your research or speak with a pharmacist, a doctor or a nurse in a travel clinic. Don’t forget to buy some travel related MEDICATION; you never know when you may need it and it may not always be possible to buy it at the hour of need.
WHAT TO PACK? Firstly, not too much! There are possibilities to do laundry and you don’t want to the burden of carrying the clothes you won’t wear. How many times did you over pack, only to wear the same comfortable clothes during your trips? The same principle applies here. Of course, consider the activities you plan to do during your trip, or may want to try and include this option in your planning. 65L backpack is large enough to include all the necessities of your trip. You are going to collect memories, not things after all.
Do you need to change MONEY? It’s always good to have local currency for the first few days, as it’s better not to change it at inflated airport rates. Most countries will have money changers, where you can exchange dollars, euros or pounds for a local currency. And there is always an ATM.
Don’t forget to be prepared for all scenarios and remember to take CHARGER, BACKUP your computer files if you are taking laptop, as well as your phone contacts, and don’t forget about emergency CONTACTS.
There is a lot of research that usually goes into any trip planning, but even more so, for round the world trip, which for many is once in lifetime adventure. My list here is not inclusive of everything, but it’s a good starting point. To complete your research, you can use social media, groups, forums, travel guides and of course directly speaking with those who have done it. There are countless groups on Facebook related to travel, backpacking or solo travel, all you need is to join them. Sometimes you don’t even need to ask a question, it’s likely the topic has already been covered in previous posts, so you can use search bar to check.
Travelling the world solo can be overwhelming and lonely at times. But you can always download Tribd on iOS and connect with other solo travellers with similar travel plans.
Follow @tribdapp on social media for travel stories and travel inspiration and join our group of solo travellers on Facebook!