Planning an around the world trip can be daunting for even the most traveled among us. From knowing what to pack to deciding on which plane tickets to buy, there’s a never-ending list of travel-related questions. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m pretty organised, I’m a list maker, a thorough planner…but even I made silly mistakes on my first around the world trip; from packing FAR too much to being tied down by pre-booked accommodation. To help you avoid these pitfalls and travel prepared, I’ve pulled together this quick checklist of 7 essentials for planning your around the world trip.
Ensure your passport is valid
First step with any trip is to ensure your passport has at least six months left from the expiry date. This MUST be calculated from the end date of your trip (i.e. when you plan to return) and NOT from when you are purchasing your initial flights or accommodation. Many countries require you to have at least six months left on your passport in order to pass through border control, secure visas and even book plane tickets. Remember that the exact requirements will vary by country, so consult your local government guidelines. You don’t want to be stuck half way around the world with an expired passport.
Map out your route
This is the fun part. Find a big world map and mark everywhere you have ever wanted to visit. Start BIG – pin countries first. You can reduce these later once you’ve planned your route.
Next step is to research how easy it would be to travel between each country; what’s the climate at the time of year you’re hoping to go? Are there any festivals or celebrations you may like to attend?
Consider your budget and what is feasible. If you’re short on money then look into volunteer programs or working in hostels as they often provide free board and food in exchange for your help.
Consider travelling off-season and avoid major public holidays, like Christmas, when prices rise.
Another idea would be to limit the amount of countries you visit, instead explore one or two countries really well. This will save on plane fare, which will be your biggest upfront expense.
Next consider your airfare; would it be best to buy a series of individual tickets or an around the world ticket? You don’t have to purchase all your flights in one go, as you may want to keep your plans open. Saying that, if you’re on the road for a few months you may benefit from booking the major long haul flights in advance, as prices will increase nearer the date. For some countries you may also need to prove you have purchased your outward bound flight in order to enter the country itself, this is so border control have some reassurance that you will be leaving.
Once you’ve mapped out your route, start to research each country individually and figure out how long you want to spend in each country. I like to use Google Maps at this point, and create a GIANT virtual pin board which you can easily access when you’re abroad.
Purchase your all important travel insurance
As soon as you have booked your flights, you want to secure your travel insurance. Many people make the mistake of leaving this until the last minute, but what if something happens in the run up to your trip?
My preferred travel insurance provider is World Nomads. I spent weeks comparing various travel insurance options and World Nomads came up top. They offer competitively priced insurance that covers you for most backpacker activities, even with their most basic activity pack. In my experience they have excellent customer service and everything is done online, which makes it easier when you’re half way across the world. Click here to find out more.
Money, moolar, dough…
The best piece of travel advice I can give you is ‘take less clothes and take more money’.
When we set off on our big adventure a few years ago, I soon realised that this was absolutely true. We’d run out of money just a week after leaving the UK and I ended up throwing half my gear away as my bag was far too heavy.
Now obviously you don’t want to be carrying heaps of cash, but ensure you take more than you think. Spread your money around your belongings so if you do mislay some, then you won’t have lost everything.
Whenever I travel I always carry US Dollars with me; around $200 per person. US Dollars are a universal currency and if you ever lose your bank card or find yourself in a tricky situation, this acts as your security money. Don’t be tempted to spend it!
Perfect your packing list
There are 1000’s of travel packing lists out there (one day I’ll get around to sharing my own!) Do your research into the most appropriate packing list for your destination. Remember the most important rule is – do not over pack.
Secure your visas
Now that you have your route, you can start to think about visa requirements. If travelling from the UK, I’d recommend looking at the Gov.uk Foreign Travel Advice website as a trusted resource.
Be aware of bogus visa sites. When searching in Google, NEVER click on the sponsored ads at the top of the search page as more often than not these are bogus sites selling fake visas.
Always go through the country’s official immigration page and never pay a third party for a visa.
Book your accommodation
Now comes the fun part! Your adventure is getting close and you need to start thinking about accommodation. I would recommend booking your initial accommodation at the very least. I like to leave the rest of the trip open as who knows, you may be tempted to change your plans last minute.
When it comes to booking accommodation, my general rule is that if you’re in a developed country then Airbnb is the best bet, for less developed countries then Agoda and Booking.com. are my go-to partners.
You’ve reached this far, then you must be looking for more travel advice! I suggest you read my first ever blog post – Realisations of a 30-something travelling through Asia. It contains heaps of tips and tricks for travel, great for first timers and pro travelers alike.
And check out this post from an awesome blog called Pinkcaddytravelogue.com on Why you Should Stop Making Bucket Lists.
P.s. If you’ve found this article helpful, then please consider booking via the links on this page as it will help to fund the future of TravelInteresting.com. All of the companies I’ve suggested are the ones I use and rate. If you have any questions, email me!