- Travel and Places
How to Plan an Exciting Around the World Adventure of a Lifetime
How to Plan an Around the World Adventure of a Lifetime. What I Taught Family and Friends
Whether your adventure is for 6 weeks or six months or longer there are some essential things to think about before you go that is unless you are a free spirit who wonders where ever their heart desires - but then if that were the case you wouldn't be thinking about planning!
How to plan an around the world adventure helps you run through some of the things that you might need to know before you set foot on that plane. Simple things like flights and insurance or where to can seem straight forward at first glance but may not be.
I taught myself, my sisters and a friend how to plan an around the world adventure.
1. Where do You Want to Go?
Each of the items are interrelated so one may impact on the other. For instance the list I started with of countries I wanted to visit changed quite quickly when I came to book the actual flights. I had to go to Fiji and I had to go to the USA because I had events there but I also wanted to go to Japan and South America and I had a tight budget for travel.
I found that the way I was travelling did not allow for all of the countries the flight-plan simply did not allow for it. Also I wasn't allowed to travel from North America to South America and then back again. You may need to be flexible in your plans or find an alternative company or pay more for your travel.
You may already know the main countries you want to visit. A great way to travel is to get there and then be flexible about where you visit while there. Check how busy it will be in your country of choice when you plan to go or you could find yourself without anywhere to stay. Don't discount hostels if you are older as anyone can use them - just be careful not to choose one that is mostly teens unless you sleep like a log.
If budget is an issue go to the countries like Thailand where it is much cheaper to stay and to eat. Your money will go further though it can be a bit of a shock once back in the more expensive countries..
2. Budget & Finance
Where you can go and how long for will be determined by several factors. How you decide this will depend on not only your budget but also your age. If you are skimming 30 then for goodness sake go for it after that you lose most of your chance at earning. This affects your budget considerably as you cannot extend your stay or finance along the way.
If you are a teacher or have a degree you could learn TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) but these days it is not so easy to just get a job doing that and you often have to work for several months or a year in one place.
Thinking Outside the Box
You may be able to volunteer as this may reduce costs and prolong your stay. There are many websites that have positions. However often you have to pay. VSO place professionals who wish to volunteer abroad.
Working your passage on boat may also be an option.
Some people prefer overland adventures in groups with buses or Jeeps contact one of the magazines for people to share with.
3. How Will You Get There?
Although most people will fly there are other alternatives. You could do parts of the journey across land by bus or by train while in Europe. You could work your way around by boat or sailboat or hire a bus or even cycle!
How Long Is Your Adventure Poll
How long do you want to travel around the world for?
Now insurance may seem easy however I found getting it difficult. Even the adventure travel companies only seemed to do insurance for 3 months so if going for longer you may have to look around for something that suits your needs. Also if planning on doing anything sporting or dangerous like bungee jumping in New Zealand or Para-gliding or surfing you may need extra insurance.
5. Contacting Back Home
Remember to keep in touch at regular intervals. Have more than one method of contacting home just in case of loss of phone. Check before you go that you can use you phone abroad and also check who is paying for any calls you receive.
If you don't have a phone then you can use one of the many internet cafe's. Don't assume internet cafe's will be everywhere as it is surprising where you will find them or have difficulty. Thailand had lots of large internet cafe's while I had difficulty in some parts of the US finding any at all and when I did they were expensive.
I know this may seem obvious but check your timings when you call. I arrived in the US after crossing the date line and got myself confused and put time in the opposite direction than it should have been. I cheerily phoned at 10 pm after having waited most of the day to find I awoke my family at 3am! If in doubt text!
6. What to Take
Apart from the obvious of tickets, money and passports and any visas necessary you may also need work permits or driving licence depending on travel plans.
This is a very personal decision as it will be determined in part by your personality and how you intend to travel. If you are back packing then you have to cram everything into one large rucksack and lift it you may need to be very picky about what to take.
Take clothes that wear easily, can take a pounding and won't look horrible if washed together for a few months. Check your climates before you go and layer clothing if possible. Take footwear that will suit walking.
An alternative would be to do what my friend always does and that is to go with nothing and buy everything in a cheaper country!
If you are a woman think about our tendency to expand and maybe leave room in your rucksack. I went with one large rucksack and returned with two rucksacks and some bags! You have been warned!
Spare glasses are a must if you wear specs.
7. What to See When You Get There
One of the great things about independent travel is that it is flexible and you don't have to decide. One of the bad things about it is if you don't know anything about the country you are visiting you may miss out on some fantastic sites. Combine independent visits with tourist visits organised by locals as this will make it easier to see some of the sites that you may not find it easy to get to otherwise.
Remember if on a budget that using local transport can be cheaper than using tourist transport and it is definitely much more entertaining. The nearer you get to the people and the place itself the richer your experience. So no matter if travelling to tropical beach or remote wilderness get out and about, be prepared and interact with your environment.
Which Countries Interest You?
8. How Long to Travel For
Deciding on how long to travel for depends on many things like budget, age and ability to earn. Also how long you can be away from your responsibilities back home and how resilient you are. If you are going to many different places with many different cultures and climates you hae to be adaptable - not everyone is. For some it is liberating, for others tiring. Work with your personality but stretch yourself.
9. Safety First
You never know what situation you are going to find yourself in and it is not only women who can end up in hot water. I know of men who have had knives pulled on them. I was verbally abused while waiting for a bus by a nasty character. I found myself having to take a ride at night with a complete stranger - not to be advised. I did make sure as best I could that he was legit before going but you have to be careful where possible. One thing I relied on was a natural instinct for sensing people who were not to be trusted. It isn't always possible to determine every situation when travelling independently, but it pays to be alert to danger.
Some preparation can be to research your country of choice before you go. Books like the Lonely Planet are very useful. For instance they told me of the people who try to con you into going with them to see temples in Bangkok. If you didn't know that you might fall for it.
You don't want to strangle the freedom out of your journey but just be aware that you can end up arriving in countries at odd hours with no way to know where you are staying. If this concerns you plan accordingly so that you have transport or accommodation before you reach that country. You can do this before you leave your home country or in the country before the one you plan to visit by the internet.
Useful Travel Planning Links
- Last Minute
Last minute specialise in short notice travel.
Wonderlust is a magazine that gives useful information, guidance and know how to independent travellers.
TEFL.com help with learning to become a teacher abroad and placement all over the world.
- Rail Europe
Rail Europe help with travel planning and tickets for Europe travel.
- Hostelling International
- Transparent Language
Transparent Language is an on-line learning centre for most of the main language basics.
- Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet provide comprehensive guides to each country.
- Around the World Planner
An around the world planner by Gap Year. Note Gap Year also do Gaps Years for Grown-ups.
VSO if you want to volunteer abroad.
- Global Visas
For visa advice.
If you love to travel share your stories here, pop in to say hi or share any tips you may have. I look forward t sharing with you.