Hey there. So, the lease on my apartment expires in November of 2016, and after it ends I want to go see the world. I want to experience different cultures, see things I don't even know exist yet, talk with people who think about things I'd never conceive of in a million years, just... Experience all the world has to offer Thing is, I'm not even sure what I should be shooting for, much less how I should go about planning it. Like, I'd like to go to other countries, moving from place to place with no permanent address (currently landlocked in USA), but I'm not sure if I need to build experience first, or if ten months is enough time to get all the stuff I'd need to get together, or even if the idea is at all feasible and I need to have a real 'adult' life set up first. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.
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The money you have at the beginning of trip is probably what you must live on the entire time. Some countries will not let you work to augment your income without a work permit. Flying into some countries on a one-way ticket could have problems too. (Some countries require "Proof of Onward Travel" even just to leave the airport you fly from.) You just can't show up in a foreign country and stay as long as you want. Some jobs you MIGHT be able to get overseas working for foreign owned companies might not pay as much as working at a McDonalds or KFC in the US.
Each country you want to visit has their own particular Visa Requirements. You need to do some research before buying flights. Some countries may be in high season for cost of hotels and availability. Some countries may be affected by weather.
You need to work up a budget and see how much you have for spending money each day AFTER buying your plane tickets. From the US you could fly round trip to Europe. Use rail service and budget airlines to visit a few countries. Make it back to the first country for the flight home. Always do the math! Round trip from the US is often cheaper than buying two one way flights. Some one way flights cost almost as much as round trip.
Not all countries are the same for cost of living. Some countries are expensive for hotels and other things like eating and transportation. Some countries are cheaper. For instance, if you fly to Bangkok you could visit nearby countries and return to Bangkok for flight home. Singapore, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan are more expensive than Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.
You have to know how to handle your money. My opinion, you just can't leave home with tens of thousands of dollars in cash to live on. Likewise you can't depend on a single debit card for spending money. (That card could be lost or stolen and you are broke!) A credit card or two can come in handy for emergencies that come up. Look the wrong way crossing a street and whammo you are in a hospital! Eat some bad food and you might be in a hospital too. Get rolled by a thief you might need medical attention. (Travel insurance might be helpful. Also for some countries you might be wise to get some shots.)
My opinion, best method for being overseas is working for a US company with US wages. They help you with work visas and pay you a good wage! Choose a country that is cheap to live in you make out. On weekends or vacation breaks you visit nearby countries. You get this type of job ahead of time when still in the US.
In the US visit a library and check out some travel guides. Lonely Planet, Moon Books, etc. Look them over. My advice is to travel in chunks - Asian countries then return home. European countries then return home.
You have some time to work things out. Get a passport if you don't already have one. (I have more than one debit card account in credit unions.) I can pay long term bills with Bill Pay. Each account has debit cards that allow me to make ATM withdrawals overseas. I can transfer money from banks to these CU accounts using my computer even overseas.
[ Edit: Edited on 07-Jan-2016, at 05:56 by karazyal ]
Forum search and Google searches will give you information for "Round the world travel" or similar phrases.
Ten months should be enough time to plan, as long as you get down to it. You don't say much about what you are hoping to do (how long, destinations, style of travel, pace of travel, what experiences you want etc), or how much money you have set aside for it, which makes it harder to comment helpfully.
The suggestion above about getting jobs in other countries is sensible if you are happy staying put for a long time, but many people that do this just end up living their normal life elsewhere, only hanging out with other expats, and not really experiencing a different country or culture.
You could do volunteer work overseas, which can get you right into the community, and genuinely seeing a very different way of life. VSO is a key organisation.
For general travel, assuming you need to earn as you go, depending on your age, visa eligibility and country visiting, other options for more casual working, aside from bar work etc, can be woofing (working on organic farms), which actually covers more than just farms and helping in hostels. They don't usually give much, (or in hostels, any) actual pay, but give you accommodation. Couchsurfing is also a good option for short stays, and Airbnb can get you staying with locals, or at least local expats.
You should definitely have travel insurance to cover medical at least - getting ill abroad can be expensive. Make sure you know what visas you need. Also, get sorted with bank cards that have good terms for getting cash out abroad - we have a card that has no overseas transaction costs (they do add up) and good exchange rates. Take a couple, so if you lose one, or get one stolen, you have a back up. Keep the back up in a separate place. We mostly just get money from cashpoints when we are in a country, rather than taking currency, but we do also carry some US dollars, as they can be exchanged most places. But the dollars must be perfect; lots of countries won't take dollars with any rips, tears, marks, or even just very old and crumpled. There are also some serial numbers that won't be taken, especially for $50s.
Lonely Planet guides are generally pretty good, though not always up to date, so check places still exist before relying on them. Hostels in South America are generally good, but it can be easy just to fall into mixing with travellers.
If you are not comfortable travelling alone for the first time, you could join a group, such as Intrepid. They arrange travel and accommodation for you, but are more adventurous and keep you closer to the locals that a normal tour group would.
If you have a lot of money anything is possible!
Karazyal and Tabithag make some excellent suggestions.
I posted my thoughts on a similar topic recently: http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=107313
You aren't likely to encounter problems with the "onward transportation" requirement if you stay one or two steps ahead of your itinerary. I crisscross the globe each year, mostly buying one-way tickets. I've rarely had to show "onward transportation," but if I needed to, I'll show proof that I have tickets for near-term travel. That usually satisfies. For example, last year I flew into Yerevan, Armenia, from Moscow, went overland to Georgia (no problem, but if a question arose about onward travel, I could show I had a one-way ticket from Tbilisi to Istanbul; and a one-way ticket from Istanbul to Chisinau. Plus, I had a ticket home from Frankfurt).
Check my travel maps; and you'll see that if you stay one or two steps ahead, you'll be fine.
Since you're an American, you should explore getting a Visa debit card from Charles Schwab Bank. It absorbs ATM fees as well as the 1 percent Visa currency conversion fee, so you get full use of your money. There is no minimum deposit requirement. I carry two of the bank's debit cards; and have used them all over the world.
Also, there are many credit cards that don't charge any foreign transaction fees. Some even give cash rewards for using the card. If you already have a card, or need to apply for one, you'll need a permanent address. Perhaps your parents or others can help on that score. I quit my job when I was 25 to travel around the world for 18 months. Some advance preparation helped, like figuring out a way to access money while on the road. Decades ago, you could go to an American Express office anywhere to cash personal checks up to $500. Now, you simply use a debit card. I also carry some cash; crisp new bills. The amount depends on length of travel; and where I'll be.
Hello, first of all, let me congratulate you on your decision, I couldn't agree more with the fact that traveling is that one thing that lasts forever in your memory and builds you up as a human being.
Second of all, you should totally figure out a budget, so I advise you to start saving big, a trip like this will be costly since you are not experienced. You should also have an itinerary in mind, where you go from point A to point B, and if you want to travel around the world, better make it look like a loop on your map, to save money, miles, and time.
When it comes to luggage, don't worry about many things. You should travel light, packing only what's truly necessary; there are shops everywhere and you can always find a bargain on a shirt and a pair of pants - so DON'T pack many clothes. A camera is important, as I presume you'll want to capture all of the amazing moments of your trip. And if you are an avid souvenir buyer, I would consider sending packages home, so you won't get burdened with a ton of stuff while moving from place to place.
Wow, this is all great stuff! Like, I didn't even think about credit cards or stuff like that. I talked to a friend of mine who has done a lot of travelling, and he also suggested woofing. As far as the initial capital needed, he suggested somewhere between five and ten thousand dollars (I'm not sure I can save that much on the job I have right now, but that's a totally separate issue). Is that a reasonable amount?
The more money you have, the better. You didn't mention how long you planned to be away. If it's a year or more, then $5,000 is too little. Transportation to get you around the world would cost at least $2,500 or more. Your biggest expenses will be transportation and accommodations. Food is relatively minor. But there are other costs, such as visas, entrance fees, etc. My first trip around the world cost about $7,500, everything included. See my Travellerspoint map of that trip in 1973-'74. I don't think you could replicate that today for $7,500.
People are generous. You will be invited to homes. On that first trip, I stayed with families in Austria, Romania, Iran, etc.
Realistically, you won't earn much by working overseas, unless you have skills that are in great demand. So I wouldn't count on that to pay your expenses for onward travel. I suspect you'd be happy to just earn enough to meet living expenses in the places where you are lucky enough to find work.
I'm a firm believer in keeping a record of travel, including a diary of experiences; and a budget. For me, the latter is useful in planning future trips. You're smart in taking time to plan your trip. Wish I could provide more help, but I'm now on the road. Good luck!