Hit the globe running and prepare for your world trip

By Kimberley Bailey
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Let’s handle the basics… Where do I want to go? How long for? And lastly… What’s my budget?

As we all know the thought of something is often worse than the reality like job interviews, exams, and Tinder dates and that apprehension can certainly stretch to the practical planning of your trip around the world. Every country offers a different challenge, you don't fully know what you can expect, and just, argh, where do you even start planning something this big?

Once you've got these things down it'll make the rest of planning feel more manageable and, although I totally back the approach of being fluid while travelling, it’s best not to go full-Pocahontas just following your heart or taking advice from a tree, I recommend you get the basics sorted.

What am I budgeting for?

It's not the most adventurous word but once you've decided on where you want to go and how long for it’ll become apparent how much cash you have to play with and what kind of trip realistically you'll be able to afford.

The main things that will use up your funds will be transport, accommodation, and excursions & activities.

Transport

Personally, I’ve found that travelling overland to be a lot of an appealing (albeit challenging) way to connect the dots and if you want to fly from place to place this can take a big chunk out of your finances. But if that’s your jam then check out sites that do round the world (RTW) tickets and see if it’d work better for you to build your trip that way however these do come with certain route and stop-off restrictions.

Local modes of transport are far cheaper but generally speaking longer too. Depending on your timescale be realistic about striking a balance.

 

Accommodation

Which suits you and your budget better; Hotels? Hostels? Coachsurfing? I don't recommend booking all of your accommodation beforehand because things can - and do - change but get some idea of where your money will stretch and where it won’t. The prices for a dorm bed in Western Europe cost a lot more than they do in South East Asia. Sites like hostelworld, booking.com and hostelbookers are the easiest and best ways to not only book your accommodation but just to scour to get an idea of what’s available and which prices.

 

Excursions & activities

The term ‘bucket list’ is bandied around so much that it has become synonymous with annoyingly enthusiastic tour leaders, but everyone has one and if on that list are things like snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge or stay at an Elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka then absolutely factor that into your budget. While travelling across much of the developing world you’ll witness, and partake in, the convivial art of haggling but this technique doesn't apply to the big ventures - do shop around but prices won’t vary very much.

What else do I need to consider before I leave?

Pack well

Invest in a good backpack because this will be your most trusted companion while you’re away; not only will it have everything you need in it but you’re going to be the one carrying it around everywhere you go so it has to be comfortable and come well equipped (think waterproof cover, separate compartments and sturdy straps).

Now what to put in it… don't go all Bear Grylls because you’re (probably not) going to need to survive on your own in the Wild Jungles of Papua New Guinea. Research what weather and terrain you’re likely to be faced during your voyage and pack accordingly… this goes for anything from footwear to insect repellant. Then there are the must-takes:

- Passport and am extra ID

- Cash and credit/debit cards

- Health insurance documents

- Travel insurance info

- Any documents of reservations and itineraries (you should also be able to access these online while you're out there)

- Sun cream

- A mini first aid kits (or at least a few fundamentals)

- Multi-function adapter and a portable charger (they are god-sends).

...Factor all of this lot into your budget too!

Visas

Most visas won’t break the bank but do consider which ones you’re going to need, how to get hold of them and how long they’re valid for. Some you can buy on land border crossings (like from Cambodia to Vietnam) but some will need to be applied for in advance and paid for ahead of time too.

Choosing the right card

There are gazillions (approximately) of comparative websites to help you decide which kind of card it’d be good to have while abroad; some offer air miles, some have super low foreign transaction fees, and some have a 0% withdrawal fee (very important considering you’re going to be drawing out a lot of cash in an array of different currencies). Thrifty Nomads has a great and up to date roundup!

Top Takeaway

1. When you're out and about if you can try and keep your bank card, cash and mobile phone separate that's ideal… because if they're all in one swipeable bag and get nicked then you know what creek you’ll be up.

2. Utilise the people on reception at hostels and hotels. It’s cliche as hell but they really are there to help (usually) so when in doubt about how to get from A to B, how to book tours and stuff, or where the local amenities are then just ask!

3. At overland border crossings be aware that it’s likely you’ll need to have kept back a bit of extra cash (in the appropriate currency) to pay them a little seed money for sorting out your visa or taking you across the border. Don’t worry, you won’t by default be getting yourself embroiled in the funding of some awful underworld… it’s just one of those things.

4. Budget a little bit for some kind of medication and keep your cool. Unless your immune system has the defence skills of Liam Neeson in Taken then you will get sick at least once during your travels. Yes you should know the symptoms of Dengue Fever and of Malaria but don’t panic yourself. Be sensible and stay out of the sun for a bit, drink a ton of water and go to a pharmacy (they’re on every corner).

 

Author bio: Kimberley is a freelance journalist investigating the world of personal finance for giffgaff Money, while exploring and trekking through Asia. She adores Prince, Louis Theroux and Persian rugs.

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