How to travel the world

By Adam Smith
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Our comprehensive guide on travelling the world covers all the essentials, including costs, key decisions and planning.

When it comes to figuring out how to travel the world, there’s a lot to think about. How long do you have to play with, and how much money? Where must you absolutely visit, and where would you be happy to skip??

This guide will help set you on the right path, from planning to packing.

How much will it cost?

There is no one single answer to the question how much does it cost to travel the world? That’s because there are just so many variables, including:

 

- How long you decide to stay in each place?

A day, a week or a month?

- What kind of accommodation do you want?

A string of 5* hotels or back-to-back hostels?

- Who will you travel with?

Organise the trip yourself or use a travel agency?

 

Many travel agencies offer a number of round the world fares and packages to areas such as Hong Kong, Melbourne, LA and Buenos Aires. However, the number of flights included will vary depending on the type of package you choose.

To help cut costs, shopping around could prove to be really useful. Easy ways to save money on the trip include flying at unappealing times like 5am and turning down direct flights in favour of multi-stop alternatives.

Finding the funds for your trip

You’ll likely need to save for your trip, so using a dedicated account is a better bet than using a general savings account. This way, you won’t be tempted to dip in to it for other non-travel related items.

When you are trying to find the funds for your trip, you can look at giving up your current accommodation while you are away. After all, there is no point wasting money on renting a flat if you’re not going to be there.

Be sure to factor in money you will save by being away. Giving up accommodation and your home bills, plus your car tax, insurance and petrol, for example, will add up to quite a bit over the months! You’ll likely be talking thousands of pounds, and those thousands go a lot further in travel destinations like Colombia and Vietnam than in the UK.

You need to figure out how much you have to spend- and how much you want to spend- on all the different elements before you start your plan.

How to plan your trip

Once you know how much time and money you have to play with, you can make the more fun decisions!

- Destinations: which ones?

A real round the world trip should probably incorporate all seven continents:

- Africa

- Antarctica

- Asia

- Australia/Oceania

- Europe

- South American

- North America

However, if you skip two or three, you will definitely still see a lot of what the world has to offer. Here are some things you should consider when planning your trip:

- Time: how long in each?

If you’ve already spent a lot of time in South America, for example, you might want to just dedicate a couple of weeks there. This frees up time and funds to spend longer in new places. Be careful when planning how much time you’ll spend in each. You don’t want to get bored, nor do you want to have to leave before you’re ready. This is where flexible flight and train tickets come in really handy!

- Accommodation: what type?

You might be lucky and have family and friends to stay with wherever you go, in which case you’ll save lots of money aside from some for a few thank you bottles of wine! Otherwise you will need accommodation. Luckily, there is a broad spectrum available these days, from super-cheap to hotels for thousands of pounds a night! It could be wise to plan on using hostels, and then stay in a hotel every few weeks as a treat.

- Packing: big case or small backpack?

Think carefully on this one. If you’ve not got plans to return home or have things posted out to you along the way, you’ll need enough stuff to last quite a while. But don’t forget you can buy items on the road! Equally, don’t take too much. Dragging a 22kg suitcase across the Sahara is no fun.

How long will it take?

If you visit all seven continents, and stay in each for seven weeks, you can see the world in under 12 months! Don’t forget to factor in travel time! ?

What else do I need to do?

Vaccinations

What vaccinations are essential and which are optional but advisable? Do your research and book in for the various injections in plenty of time.

Visas

You need to figure out well in advance which visa you need. Waiting times can be long, so make sure you factor in ample time. Also, is your passport well in date? If not, it could be worth getting it renewed before you leave.

Safety

Put things in place to improve your safety. Get a location tracker app on your phone and buy a personal alarm, for example. Also be sure to always keep spare cash and a photocopy of your passport on you, ideally in a money belt kept under your clothes.

Storage

If you’ll be giving up your home and furniture while you travel, be sure you shop around for storage options. Some will offer reductions the longer you keep your items in storage for.

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