How to plan a trip around the world? - The Complete guide
Do you dream to travel, but it worries you? Don’t let the travel fear prevent you from living your dream. What you should do is to learn to understand where this fear comes from, act to limit its effects, and even overcome it.
Mark twain once said:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbour, Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
How to overcome the fear of travelling?
Acknowledge this emotion, and don’t try to escape from it. People feel a bit of anxiety when they need to get out of their comfort zone. We believe that we have control of our life when we are on a daily routine within a familiar environment, but the more we think about it, the more we realise that we never have a full control of our life.
When you travel, you realise that no country’s perfect, and no environment either. Learn to let go and this will help you a lot in the future.
A good starting point would be maybe joining couchsurfing events or meetups, and meet travellers visiting your current city for a coffee or to do some activities together.
This will allow you to meet strangers in a familiar environment, who will give you travel tips, destination inspiration, and reassuring testimonies. Try, on baby steps, to get out of your comfort zone, and move from curiosity to discovery.
Start by organising a week-end away in your country, travelling by train. First you could book an all-inclusive package. Then a second step would be to join a tour.
If you have a bit of adventure in you, the more you travel, the more you will travel, until the day where you will only book flights, the first few hotel nights, and leave the rest for discovery.
Save up some money
It is time to have a look at your finances, and be realistic. If you are struggling to make ends meet, take time to analyse your expenses, and make a list of the essential expenses and the non-essential ones.
The key here is tenacity in achieving your goal, by reducing the non-essential expenses like restaurant meals, expensive clothing, nights out and drinks, you will be able to save enough to afford travelling for a long period of time.
Having a lot of money is not essential to travel nowadays, as there are plenty of tips and ways to travel for less.
Have a look online and read about experienced travellers, what is their daily budget in a specific country, to help you find out how much money would be enough to start planning.
Make it look good on your resume
It depends on the kind of trip, and its duration, the most important here is to be able to explain the reason behind going for a trip: The desire to learn a new language, personal development, fulfilment, getting more mature…etc.
An experience on a CV justifies why you are relevant to the job you are applying for. It is not a bad thing to have a gap on your CV. All you need to do is to find the right arguments about your travels to mention on a cover letter.
Employers see people who travel as people who are not afraid of getting out of their comfort zone.
How to travel for free (or on low budget)?
You must have heard about the proverb (Nothing is free in this world). You certainly cannot travel free of charge (unless you are a paid traveller blogger), but you most definitely can travel on a low budget.
The advantage of saving on accommodation, and flight tickets gives you the opportunity to treat yourself with nice meals, and activities.
Here are some tips to help you travel on Budget:
The Couchsurfing community includes millions of travellers around the world. It is an online platform, that allow hosts (in any country) and travellers (Couch surfers) to interact.
Hosts offer free accommodation to travellers. Couchsurfing is based on a desire to meet, discuss and experience the daily life of one or more people while staying for one night or more.
The exchange of hospitality is key in couchsurfing. It used to be a quick and easy way to find accommodation on the go. The rise of Airbnb and the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has made things a bit more difficult.
House sitting consists of keeping a house during the absence of its owners. What are the tasks to be fulfilled as a house sitter you might ask? The house sitter is required to supervise the accommodation when the owners are absent, during holidays in general.
One of its main tasks is to ensure that the house is inhabited in order to keep burglars away. For this, the sitter performs various tasks: watering plants, opening and closing of doors and windows, mail collection, pet sitting, housework, pool maintenance, home maintenance…etc.
In order to volunteer for a house-sitting opportunity, a background check is done on applicants, and some house owners require a previous experience.
Have you ever wanted to travel, to live with locals, but worried about accommodation cost? You feel that you can help your hosts with house chores? – Workaway is the solution for you.
The principle of workaway is to be able to give back in a way other than financially. It is also (in terms of human relations) the opportunity to live an experience more authentic than a tourist service and richer than a solo adventure.
In short, for me, Workaway is a way of traveling in a different way, emphasizing human relationships and above all: making yourself useful.
I love that feeling of having lived somewhere with locals: this is what Workaway makes possible to a certain extent, allowing you to integrate with the local population in a win-win relationship.
To start volunteering, you need to create a profile, pay a membership fee, and start contacting hosts from around the world.
Buy a plane ticket
Is it cheaper to buy a round-the-world ticket or buy your plane tickets as you go? There is no easy answer to this question. Round the world tickets have advantages and disadvantages. They are therefore suitable for some travellers and less for others.
Advantages of buying a round the world ticket:
- Less stressful
- Amendable flight dates·
- Easier to budget
- Avoids high season rates
Disadvantages of buying a round the world ticket:
- Less flexible
- Risk of missing flights
- Rules imposed
- Limited destinations
- Limited to one year
If you want to buy a round the world ticket
Before you leave, you basically need to be sure what itinerary will be (at least the arrival and departure cities in each continent).
Also, you don’t want to spend hours on flight comparators during your trip.
Finally, you want the dates of your tickets to be flexible, to have a fixed return date and you are planning to be abroad for a duration up to one year.
Buy your flight tickets as you go if:
You don’t plan your route in advance, are prepared to spend a fair amount of time on the internet during your trip to search for airline tickets.
Also, if you want to minimize your carbon footprint and travel as much as possible by land. Finally, if you’re going away for more than a year or don’t have a scheduled return date.
One recommendation: When I bought a round the world ticket, I booked it with STA Travels UK. The ticket had a one-year duration, and offered multiple stops, and up to three changes free of charge. I bought it for £1300.
Healthcare and immunisation
When you get closer to your departure date, the issue of vaccines and health insurance needs to be addressed. Regarding immunisation, the first thing to do is to look at your vaccination record, and make sure they are up to date.
I recommend you take care of the vaccines well in advance so that you do not find yourself having to do them urgently a few weeks before departure.
Indeed, for some vaccines, you will need to make several boosters to complete the vaccination plan (Rabies for example that has 3 boosters within a month), which can take time.
It also helps to space the payments, because the cost of all these vaccines is high. Also, some vaccines, such as the yellow fever vaccine, can tire you out or cause a mild fever, and it would be a shame to find yourself bedridden shortly before departure date.
The choice of the vaccine is a personal choice. I recommend to use the world health organisation website, and have a look at what vaccines are recommended for every country you plan to visit.
Also, some vaccines are recommended more for rural areas like rabies. So, if you intend to travel to big cities only, it might not be recommended.
Additionally, due to the current global pandemic, A covid 19 vaccine passport is highly recommended if you want to travel with minimum restrictions.
Malaria is an infectious parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes very present on the African continent and a little less in Asia, South / Central America and the Middle East.
Unfortunately there is no malaria vaccine. What is recommended is to take malaria tablets before your arrival date to an infected area.
Usually, doctors recommend taking malaria tablets 2 days before arrival, until 1 week after you left the infected area. (Please ask your doctor before you intend to start taking the pills).
Questions to ask yourself before choosing travel insurance Everyone has a different situation and a different travel plan; it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the purpose of your trip? – Are you going for leisure, studies, business …).
- How long are you going for?
- What countries are you going to visit?
- Are you travelling solo? – How many people must be insured?
- What is your budget
- What activities are planning to do? (Sport, sightseeing…).
- Do you have a pre-existing condition?
- What degree of protection do you need? – Minimal, maximal…
By asking yourself these few questions, you can already begin to assess your needs. For example, visiting Vietnam or Iceland will not present the same risk of falling ill.
If you plan to practise extreme activities (Bungee Jump, Sky dive…etc) , you increase the risk of accidents and some insurance policies do not cover certain activities.
Finding Work on the road
A good way to travel and work on the road is to apply for a working holiday visa. It is a resident permit allowing the traveller to undertake employment in the country issuing the visa to supplement their travel funds.
It enables holders to experience living in a foreign country without going through the job search expenses and sponsorship. I have used a working holiday visa for my Australia trip.
Countries participating to the WHV scheme are the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, some middle east countries, some South east Asia countries, and some countries in Central and south America.
Another way is to teach your native language (I was teaching French in Australia) or English if you are native speaker. Some countries like China, or Peru allow travellers to apply for long term visas to teach English.
Staying safe and Enjoying it
No matter where you decide to travel, safety should always be your number one priority. It’s sad, but there are safety risks in all countries and accidents can happen to anyone.
Whether you plan to travel alone, with your family or friends, it is important to take precautions to minimize the risk of potentially dangerous situations.
By implementing simple protective measures and using common sense, you can ensure that you and your loved ones are not victims of various accidents.
Here are some of the best ways to stay safe on your next trip:
The choice of Destination
Before you buy your flight ticket to a certain country, you can check your government travel advice website. These offer the latest information on crime, natural disasters, terrorism and health issues for the destination you are considering.
Take into consideration the countries that your government forbids you from entering. Traveling to such destinations will not only put you in a potentially risky situation, but could also disrupt your travel plans and affect your travel insurance coverage.
The choice of Accomodation
It is important to choose a hotel or other accommodation located in a safe area of the city you are visiting. Going for big brand hotels is usually a good option to start with.
Also, you can easily check out reviews from almost any hotel you want. It is important to choose a hotel or accommodation that offers sufficient security for your room and your parking lot. While cheaper accommodation options, such as low-end hostels may be tempting, they may not be worth the potential dangers.
As I mentioned above, it is essential that you receive all the vaccines required for the destination you are travelling to. Mosquito-borne illnesses such as yellow fever or Zika virus can be quite serious, so it is advisable to wear suitable insect repellents.
The flu usually strikes during the winter months, so extra care should be taken during this time. Avoid close and confined contact with large numbers of people and limit contact with public surfaces. Remember to wear hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently.·
It is important to check the safety level of the venues you plan to visit and the activities you plan to do. Well-known tourist venues are generally considered the safest bet. Avoid putting yourself in danger by going to dangerous neighbourhoods where crime is perhaps more prevalent.
You should also avoid engaging in high risk activities or extreme sports that could cause injury and may not be covered by your travel insurance policy.
Medical expenses abroad that are not covered due to reckless behaviour or activities that are not covered can be very expensive.
Getting the most of it
To help everyone get the most out of their vacation, here are some of my suggestions that you can apply to make the most of your stays, whether you are a solo traveller, or if you travel with family or your partner:
- Plan ahead: Planning in advance is an important part of human happiness. When you think about the pleasure you are going to have, you feel much the same joy as the experience itself. So, choose your travel dates well in advance and think about what you’re going to do.
- Do new things: To experience new pleasures when you travel, consider doing new things. Holidays are a great opportunity to consciously plan new experiences, whether it’s kayaking, learning to make cheese, or more. It doesn’t matter what activity you want to try, as long as it’s different from what you did in the past.
- Organize your days with pleasant activities: The nice thing about vacations is that they allow you to relax, socialize, exercise, do spiritual activities, and eat. So, on your adventures, take the time to enjoy good meals, read books, enjoy a few hours of lazing around and connect with the people you travel with, or you met while travelling.
- Forget your daily life: It can be going to the beach for few hours to lie down and listening to music, or going on a tour for a few days. What’s important here is to enjoy your time (switch off your phone or put it on flight mode – No social media or notification allowed!)
Are you in the process of travelling, or have been on an adventure recently, and would like to share your experience? – please leave a comment below!