When I went on a round the world trip a few years ago, people were always asking me how I did it. For me, a round the world trip went from a crazy idea in my head to something that became reality with just a little bit of planning and a whole lot of optimism. Here are some tips I want to give to anyone thinking of taking a round the world trip:
Plan, plan, plan!
Decide which countries and cities you’d like to visit. Think about when you want to go. What will the weather be like then? Will it be low season or high season? Take a look at a world map and plan your route to ensure you’ll be travelling continuously in one direction. Make a rough plan of how long you want to spend in each place and a list of the things you want to do whilst there. This will allow you to better prepare your budget.
Don’t have anyone to go with? Stay in hostels and go it alone! Solo travel is the best therapy in the world. Read how it helped me here.
Your biggest expense is going to be transport. You can either book a series of one way flights as you go, using a website like Skyscanner, or you can book a round the world ticket. I booked my RTW ticket through STA Travel. They knew the best route for me to take to keep costs down and were able to give good tips and advice about each place I was visiting. STA Travel also have some pre-set round the world routes which makes it easier for those who are indecisive.
The only thing about RTW flights is the lack of flexibility. Everything is booked in advance and if you want to stay in one place longer or leave sooner then you’ll incur additional costs.
Whilst your trip will likely include a lot of flights, it’s usually cheaper to travel overland rather than fly to multiple cities in one country. For example if you were going to Thailand, you could fly into Bangkok then travel by boat, train or bus to a few of the islands and fly out of Phuket. Stick with major airports to keep costs down. Inland transport is easier and cheaper to book once you’re actually in the country.
In addition to transport you’ll need to budget for accommodation. Hostels are a common choice but if you plan to stay in hotels or an Air BnB, you’ll need to budget extra. If you’re only planning to stay in a place one or two nights you could try Couchsurfing. This is a great option because staying with a local allows you to truly get to know the place.
Wherever you’re going I’d recommend having at least your first night booked before you arrive-especially if it’s high season or if you will be arriving late at night. The last thing you want is to be stranded in an unfamiliar place.
You’ll also need to budget for any visas you may need, vaccinations and insurance. Then of course you’ll need additional spending money for food, excursions and any other activities such as nights out or shopping.
Remember this will vary from place to place. In Asia you can get by with around £600/$750 a month whereas that may only last a week or two in Australia or the USA. Any excursions are best booked once you reach your destination which will help to save money.
I also found it useful to have a little of each currency for arrival. This meant I was able to quickly jump into a taxi or bus as soon as I arrived somewhere new, without having to worry about money. This was especially handy when my flights landed at night.
Now that you’ve got a plan and a rough idea of how much money you’ll need, all that’s left to do is start saving and looking forward to your trip!