It’s just a few days until I begin my round the world adventure and fly to India! I’ve been researching and planning for over a year, so I thought I’d pass what I’ve done on (you don’t need a year to plan though don’t worry!)
- The world is your oyster! Where have you always wanted to go? Get a world map out and spend a night identifying everywhere you might possibly want to go to! No limits at this point!
- Think about your motivations for why you want to travel? Do you want to volunteer? Do extreme sports? see amazing architecture? see beautiful nature or beaches? Experience very different cultures to yours? Meet new people? Trek? Sail? Whatever of these things you want to do, this will greatly determine what kind of places you’re likely to go to!
- Then look at some travel brochures, books, images etc and get some more inspiration (I looked through Lonely Planet’s ‘Ultimate Travelist 500 best places to visit’ and ‘The World’ books because they’re very visual but also have some key info.
- Identify your countries! I’d recommend a definite list and a maybe list
- Research what the average daily budgets in each country are (dependant on your style of travelling – hostel backpacker or staying in luxury hotels?). It’s better to expect to need a bit more than end of having less (Westernised countries are considerably more expensive than the developing countries!)
- Think about when you would want to travel, and how much you could save between now and then.
- How long could you feasibly stay in each country? Also think about whether you would work to earn money along the way, or do a help exchange, couchsurf, homestay etc which will keep the costs down! This should help you to create a rough timeline
Some people like to totally wing out and see what they want to do when they get there and some like to plan every last detail. The latter used to be me, but this is quite hard for long-term travelling so i found a balance as I like to have an idea of what there is to do when I’m there but also have the flexibility to do whatever and book things when i arrive and decided to do the below:
- Research specific places within each country that are of interest to me: i used top sights on google, tripadvisor, the books i mentioned above. And i only noted those that i was definitely or possibly interested in, I don’t care if it’s the top #1 sight on TripAdvisor, it’s whether i would find it genuinely interesting (I’ve often enjoyed sights totally off the radar than the #1 sight anyway). This doesn’t mean you wouldn’t find more things when you get there, you definitely will, but this is a good starting point!
- Talk to a travel agents (recommend STA Travel!) about your itinerary for what makes sense for flight routes, prices, and other transport options – this will give you a better idea for your budget and route. Also decide if you will do the one way flight ticket method or buy round the world flights. See my post here for more info
- Research tours, trips, volunteering, work, home stays/help exchanges that you might be interested in. It doesn’t mean you have to book!
Hopefully by the end of this, you will have a clearer idea of your places, activities, budget and time!
Now that you’ve identified the below (even if loosely) you can get into the nitty gritty:
- Book anything you need to from your research – flight, insurance, hostel/hotel (at least for the first night!)
- Get your vaccinations! Some are needed months in advance! And some countries won’t allow you into the country unless you have proof you’ve had it (i.e Yellow Fever vaccination). Check fit for travel
- I created a spreadsheet with all the countries and a list of the information i needed:
- visas – requirements, length of time, costs, advance application
- currency – currency used, the conversion, whether it’s open or closed, whether US dollars are widely accepted, if ATMs are widely available
- Gov.uk website notices – check the gov website for any country issues, cities to avoid, key things to be watchful of
- Weather – check which times of the year are advised to avoid (you don’t want to be in Australia when it’s too out to even go out in, or in India in monsoon season!). You could also look up the tourist low/high seasons
- Embassy – where the embassies are located and the numbers for if you need anything
- Research your money method: debit cards, credit cards, cash cards, cash… I researched a lot and decided the best way for me and the countries I’m visiting would be: WeSwap, Monzo, Revolut – these are all cash cards that need to be pre-loaded, but have near-perfect rates so i get the most for my money. Then the rest on Halifax Clarity Card where the first 3 don’t accept the currency or i have reached my limit – this is a credit card but with very good rates
- Create your own packing list – i used this one but also what i know i need and use. I’d definitely recommend getting a pacsafe (a safe that’s a bag!) and Osprey Farpoint 40L backpack, it’s basically like perfectly carry on sized suitcase but is a comfortable durable backpack!
- Create a document with all the information you’ll need when you’re out there – everything you’ve booked, the address/contact details you need, locations, itinerary (detailed, rough idea – whatever your style!)
- Also then make sure this is in multiple places – i’ve printed it,
- Make sure you have back up plans in place for if stuff goes wrong, and go through this with your emergency contact(s) – so that if you lose your money/passport, go to hospital etc then you know exactly what to do, where to go and who to call
Hope this helps and you have an amazing time wherever you go! 🙂