"We travel, some of us forever,
To seek other states
Other lives, other souls"
- Anaïs Nin
It's a great life: circumnavigating the planet, stopping wherever you want and meeting new people. There's a traveller within all of us. Each one of us wants to break free and shout at the top of our voice, "I want to see the world." But once you have finally acquired leave from work and made a decision to travel long term, panic often sets in. This quick guide is aimed to address some of the most common questions and concerns.
1. Deciding where to go and when
What is the reason you want to take a world trip? Is it for spiritual enlightenment? To explore the great outdoors? Or to experience different cultures? or to explore the jungles or culture in the globe? For most travellers, the answer is "I want to see all the places I've dreamed about." Once you have finalised the list of places you want to visit, further planning will be little easier for you.
Wherever you go, check for the weather update, best time to visit and holiday calendar. If you are planning to trek in the Himalayas then avoid going to Nepal during the monsoon season. If you want to swim with whale sharks in Western Australia, be there April-July. You get the idea.
2. Budgeting your trip
A lot of money is required to explore a different country. Right from shopping to booking tickets to applying for visas to departure taxes, planning a world tour may cost you a bomb. Do careful research about the places you have finalised and estimate the total budget of your round trip. Finance can be 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. If budget is an issue then try to go for less expensive cities. Greece and Spain are cheaper than England and France in Europe, for example and Southeast Asia makes shoestring travel a breeze.
3. Planning an itinerary
Once you have an idea about the places where you want to go, it's time to put together a plan of action. For example: If you want to travel to Australia, which routes will you take -- via Thailand or a direct flight? Write down the places where you want to go and book hotels (and other reservations) in advance. Give a copy of your travel details to your family and relatives as it may be required in case of travel emergencies.
4. Deciding the duration of the trip
If you have fewer days to spare, cherry-pick the destinations that will stay with you forever. One thing's for sure, you can't do a world tour over a weekend. In my opinion, the minimum duration of the trip should be 10 days. Even better? Two months. Try to convince your boss to give you a sabbatical if you can.
5. Gear and packing
Pack your bag, zip it up, sit back and look smug, then open it back up and take half of it out again. Half of the things which people carry are actually not required. Besides, you'll need some space for souvenirs.
Since you are going on a very long trip, it's important to carry important things but choose wisely. Check about the weather conditions for next 15 days and then plan your clothes accordingly. Carry a light backpack, leave your rolling suitcases at home and don't over-pack. After all, the trip is about the experiences, not the stuff.
• Talk to an expert before travelling your trip. Show them your trip itinerary as they will be able to tell which route will work better and cost lest.
• Be flexible about your trip. If you get some discounts, some special days then grab it. Mid flights are generally cheaper.
• Wherever you go, read about its history and cultural mores.
• You can't afford to miss your single flight. Just don't mess with your travel bookings because if you don't board one of your booked flights (say, on a whim, you decide to travel overland from Nepal to India rather than fly) your airline is likely to cancel all subsequent flights.
• Carry extra cash with you especially in case of emergency.
• Get travel insurance in case of any medical emergency.
• Before you leave make sure that you are aware of the visa and entry requirements to all of the countries you will be visiting.
• Embrace and respect the culture of the country you are visiting.
Get set, go! It's a big world out there, go explore! But proper planning is essential if you're going to make the most of your precious time. There are multiple places to behold. It's a wild, wonderful world, follow your heart and let the adventure unfold!