Planning a three day, week long or even two week trip is one thing, but there’s nothing quite as exciting as planning a round-the-world trip. As you do you soon realise that the world really is your oyster. But there are different things you need to consider before booking anything, ten of which are listed below.
1. Am I going to work?
Do you have enough money saved so that your trip around the world is going to be be all rest and play? Or will you need to stop and actually work for a few months along the way to help support this journey. If you do, then you’ll need the appropriate visa, more times than not a ‘working holiday visa’. To get one the best thing to do is contact the embassy of the country you plan on working in, but in your own country. So, for instance, if you’re English and you want to work in Australia, contact the Australian Embassy in the UK.
2. Do I need to apply for a tourist visa for any countries prior to visiting?
While most countries can process tourist visas of up to anything between 30-90 days on arrival, there are some countries that require you to apply for a tourist visa a number of weeks in advance. For instance, if you’re Mexican and you plan on visiting South Africa, then you’ll need to apply for a visa. Take note that some nationalities actually have to pay for a visa. Using South Africa as an example again, if you’re Italian and you plan on dropping into Cape Town then you’ll have to buy your visa prior to your visit.
3. Are vaccinations necessary?
While most of your days travelling around the globe on a RTW trip might be spent in major cities, there are times when you will veer off the beaten track and go somewhere more remote. An example would be a visit to the jungle in Northern Thailand – here you need to be taking malaria tablets and have shots for yellow fever and more. To find out what shots you need for where, first of all you need to know if you’ll be visiting any high-risk areas, then you’ll need to find a tropical medical bureau or similar where you live. Your local doctor will be able to point you in the right direction.
4. Will I need to pay to get out of a country?
Yes, we’re afraid you have read right. While a lot of the time it’s included in the price of of your flight, in some cases you will need to pay a departure tax at the airport before setting off for your next destination. This may be something minimal such as a couple of euro/pounds/dollars. “Give me an example” I hear you say. Well, in Peru for example, before embarking on a domestic flight you need to pay approximately US$5, while with international flights the fee is a hefty US$31.
5. What route do I want to take and what countries do I want to see?
No matter where you are in the world, once you start doing your research you’ll discover there are lots of different routes you can take. Price plays a big part of this trip also. If you’re leaving from London and you want to see both coasts of the US, New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and another part of Asia too, you’re flight could be quite expensive. Take New Zealand out of the equation though (not that you’d want to…it’s amazing!) and the flight will be cheaper. Make sure to look into all the different options.
6. Which way are you going to go – east or west?
The main factor that will determine this choice is the time of year you plan on departing and climate. What’s the weather going to be like in the States if that’s your first stop from Europe or Australia/New Zealand? Look at all stops along the route to help make this decision. Something else that can influence this are festivals. Do you want to be in Bangkok for Songkran in April? Or in Munich for Oktoberfest in September/October? Also do your homework on the main festivals before booking.
7. How much time do I have and when will I go?
While you might be planning a RTW trip, you may only have two to three months to travel. Or you may have twelve, even twenty four months ahead of you. Obviously the longer you have the more flexible your itinerary will be. But if you’ve three months and you’d like to ring in the New Year somewhere far from wherever you call home, your start and end day will need to be a month prior and a month after December 31st.
8. Should I book accommodation in advance or wait until I get to the destination?
Being in a country where the climate, landscape and culture is a bit alien to you can be very daunting. Due to this, the last thing you want to be doing in a strange place after arrving is looking for somewhere to stay. To avoid any extra hassle or stress after arriving in a strange place, always book your accommodation before you arrive anywhere.
9. What will I pack?
In March 2007 I left Dublin on a RTW trip and the first stop was New York where the temperature was 0C. Four days later I boarded a flight for San Francisco where the temperature was a toasty 21C. From this day on my cosy, padded jacket was redundant for the rest of the trip. My point is folks that on one day you will be freezing, but then all of a sudden you’ll find you’re basking in the heat. Again, look at your itinerary carefully and pack accordingly.
10. How much money do I have?
This is unquestionably the least fun part of the trip, but it’s something that needs to be done so you know how long you can last without working or having to come home. Many people give themselves a budget of around US$50 per day. In some European cities this may not get you very far, while in Asia you’ll see that lasting two to three days.