How to take a Round the World Trip: 10 Travel Tips

by Lexa Pennington / Apr 09, 2012 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

A round the world (RTW) trip seems like something other people do, right? But almost anyone can do it - you just need careful planning, and some flexibility along the way. Why go? To expand your worldview, change your life, see the world, experience new foods, make new friends, learn about different cultures and places, and also to appreciate home. Here are some tips on how to take a round the world trip:

 

1. Plan!
Start researching early. Where do you want to start? What countries do you want to see? What activities do you want to do? If scuba diving is important to you, you might want to take a RTW trip that hits the best scuba places on the planet. Same with golf, volunteering with animals, or food - whatever your passion is, explore it! You can never do enough research at this stage of the game.

 

2. Figure out how to tell your job
You probably want to come back home to a job - work it with your employer so that you can take this sabbatical year. Give enough notice so that they aren't surprised. And emphasize the benefits of a well-traveled employee - you'll bring so much more to the table next year!

 

3. Save Money
You've got to fund this RTW trip somehow. Bring lunches instead of eating out. Watch free movies from the library instead of in the movie theater, or with netflix. Walk or bike instead of driving. Stop shopping all the time for new clothes and other items - you don't really need them, not with this big trip on the horizon. Make your own coffee instead of heading to the coffeeshop. Read library books instead of buying them. There are a plethora of ways to economize in your life - you'll soon wonder why you didn't do this earlier.

 

4. Create a budget
Figure out how much you can spend each day, week, month. Allot extra money for emergencies. And don't try to do it on the cheap all the time - it gets exhausting! Work in splurge days, splurge hotels, and allow for things you may not know about now (like those awesome salsa lessons in Bogota).

 

5. Get your paperwork in order
Yes, this is critical! You might need a visa for each of the countries you're headed to, or you might be scooting by in most places under the tourist guidelines. Do your research (this is a pre-trip mantra!) and make sure you've got all your bases covered. As well, make sure your passport does not expire when you're traveling.

 

6. Book your flights
There are options for round the world flights, or if you aren't sure of how long you might be at each place, you might head somewhere and then go from there. There's something to be said for a fixed itinerary - you won't get derailed from your plans to head around the world. There's also something to be said for taking it at your own pace - you might find that a rtw trip isn't in your plans, once you land in a spot and want to explore it in more detail.

 

7. Book your accommodations
There's nothing worse than getting somewhere and not having a place to stay. Do your research and stick to your budget. When you're on the ground, you might find a better place to stay. But for the first few nights in any place, have a plan and stick to it.

 

8. Get some travel insurance
You never know what will happen. Be sure you're covered.

 

9. Get your money sorted
Get the local currency for wherever you're going first. Talk with your bank about using your ATM card overseas, and what happens if it gets lost or stolen. Have someone at home hold some money for you, in case you need them to Western Union it to you.

 

10. Prepare to leave!
This means renting out your house, or putting all of your belongings in storage. It means figuring out a way to pay whatever bills you still have, online. Return all the library books, do something with your car, make sure you have all the necessary shots for rtw travel. And then pack! Pack lightly, and remember that you will be SO sick of these clothes by the time you get home, you'll just want to throw them out. This is exhilarating - and a big step! That drive to the airport will never seem so short and long at the same time. YOU have just changed your life.