Plan your trip around the world in 30 days, 6 months, a year, without a return date ?
Planning a round the world can be a wonderful yet daunting experience, check out 6 tips to optimise your journey!
1. Plan your trip, yes. But don’t over do it.
Even if you’re leaving for 30 days, allow yourself some time off in one place. Somewhere nice and cheap (typically avoid big cities which will be pricier regardless of the country you’re in). It sounds like a true first world problem but actually at one point you’ll want to take time off from your journey (and finally let your laundry dry properly, trust me after wearing damp clothes for 2 weeks, you’ll be happy to have crisp clean underwear). If you’re travelling 6 months or more, let yourself wander and discover. Chances are you will find that perfect spot, where you’d never want to leave. Make sure your itinerary is flexible to allow you to stay in a place you fell in love with.
2. Consider volunteering or working.
There is nothing like becoming part of a community. For a day, for a week, for a month. When you’re travelling for a long period of time, there can be times where you feel the need for a place to call home. And the best way definitely is to get involved in the community. Teach English, how to use a computer, help build toilets for a school: anything goes and get involved! It is one of the most rewarding experience and you’ll be surprised how helping out when you’re travelling doesn’t feel like working back home. I got paid in mangoes, scooter rides and smiles. Best currency ever!
3. Don’t underestimate ground/sea travel.
If like me you’re used to a wonderful public transport system, get over it. The rest of the world struggles to get from one place to the other. If it looks like 60km on google map, chances are it will take you 3 hours to get there. Between the mad traffic, the monsoon which transforms roads into rivers, the unreliable bus and ferry schedules. Allow sufficient time for your ground travel and be ready to be flexible. (And smile. It helps)
- The ups and downs of air travel.
It is no surprise but planes get delayed and cancelled. While you surely don’t want to board an aircraft that shouldn’t be flying because of bad weather or a technical problem, it can surely mess up your plans if you have a connecting flight at your destination. Especially if you have to recheck your bags (if you’re connecting in the US or Canada, you will have to go through customs before boarding your next flight). Make sure your connecting time is sufficient. In larger airports, it is even more crucial as terminals are often miles apart. I always allow a minimum of 3 hours in airports I am not familiar with and the US and Canada. Plus if you’re a frequent flyer you can enjoy the lounge if everything went swiftly. And if you get stranded at the airport, check out this amazing site which gives tips on where to sleep in airports!
- Bags get lost and delayed.
It’s all common sense but to avoid being hugely disappointed (and butt-naked for a week), make sure you carry the essentials with you on board as well as all your precious items (camera, computer). One of the great thing is to have a credit card which covers your costs if your bags get delayed. I personally use miles and more credit cards which have a generous allowance. Make sure to check what your credit card covers before you leave. (And buy your ticket with this credit card otherwise it doesn’t work!). Most airlines will also provide an allowance if your bag get delayed or lost, make sure your fill in all the forms and insist on getting it before you leave the airport. From my experience, traditional travel insurance do not cover costs if your bag gets delayed.
- Airline alliances.
One of the perks of flying a lot is that you can earn miles and redeem them for free flights! While the 3 major alliances offer round the world tickets, it might not suit your itinerary. Yet, if you decide to book flights separately, keep in mind that the more you will travel with one alliance the more miles you can collect (and the easiest you’ll earn your free flights). Read more about how to reach Gold status on Star alliance here