So me and my best friend decided we're going to take a RTW trip when he gets out of the service. But we don't even know where to begin!!!!!
I was just curious to see how everyone went about their trips and if they had any advice. (thing's you would have done differently, what we should research before we go, best ways to travel, etc.)
We have a lot of points we want to hit from Kata Tjuta in australia to Christ the Redeemer in brazil - Bagan in mayanmar - Banteay Srei cambodia, the Leshan Giant Buddha, the Tombs of the Kings in cyprus through to the pyramids and karnak and a number of things in egypt, guatamala, greece, india, jordan, lebenon. All the way down to smaller things like the green canyon in indonesiea.
So far the best we could come up with (planning wise) is make a giant list of the things we want to see, organize them by distance, and we were thinking about back packing it really and just flying when we need to. (cant back pack across the Mediterranean sea ) But like i said i was just looking for some insight on how everyone else did it. Did you map out which busses and trains to take ahead of time or did you just kind of wing it?
Thanks you guys!
My advice would be don't fall into the trap of fanatically following a Bucket List of every major tourist attraction in every country. If you're simply ticking off conquests then you're missing out on the most important/interesting/fulfilling aspects of travel... and when you're all done in hindsight your trip will have been very, very boring.
You know, we thought about that. The monotony of just mindlessly going from place to place on a big check off list. But we figured the journey to actually get to the places would be the best part. Just being involved in all the different cultures that we'd witness i think would be the best part!!
Its good to start off with a list of places and things you want to see. You'll probably find as you look into different transport options and routes that you discover other things you can go and see and then, once you are actually on the road, you will probably meet other travellers who point out things you'd never heard of. Thats pretty much the best bit of back packing - the freedom to change your plans as you go!
I think you've started out with a good base plan - get down all the places you like the sound of or really always wanted to see, look into your transport options between places (trains in Europe could be useful, internal flights or hire cars in big expansive countries like America, buses for cheapness) and create a bit of a frame work.
Look into refundable tickets for various forms of transport just to know where you can totally overhaul your plan and where you may have to make a few financial sacrifices.
Its well worth thumbing through a few rough guides or lonely planets in book shops just to get a feel for places you aren't too familiar with.
I'm not a big fan of winging it having fallen on the rough side a few too many times. Knowing that you have at least the first nights accomm sorted in a destination area usually takes the pressure off when you first wind up in a new place. However it does mean you have to go through a few hoops if you do change your plans so I'd suggest, to keep things fluid, that you perhaps look into accomm for each destination just before you leave the one before (assuming you aren't going to blitz through places but take a couple of days or more in most) so you can change your plans but still have things sorted for your arrival in each new place.
For safety update the folks back home regularly on your plans, look into best and safest ways to carry currency (ie don't wander about places with masses of dosh visible in your wallet or it wont be there for long) and read up on any warnings your home office has issued about any of your destinations. The rough guides and lonely planets also give warnings for destinations which are worth looking into - they usually team the warning up with a way to avoid the danger.
Hope that helps and you have a lot of fun!
My advice would be to take as may boat/ship/ferries as you can. You tend to meet the most interesting people when you travel on the waterways. This mode of transportation is very relaxing when compared to cars, trains or airplanes.
My ATW was on a very small ship that took eleven months to circle the planet. It was the very best experience of my life.
Thanks you guys, these are some really good points!! Cara, i like the plan of just being fluid and booking accommodations to one place before you leave the last. You think it would be best to look up the travel routes to the next destination while we're on the road too rather than fumbling through pages and pages of possibilities before we leave?
Also, whats the "lonely planet" and "Rough Guide"'s you were talking about? Books specifically scoped towards travel i presume?
In one sense Lonely Planet basically invested backpacking. Their guide books are regarded as bibles by many backpackers, especially ones who are just starting to develop their travel experience.
Rough Guide is another company that publishes generally excellent guide books for many countries around the world.
invested = invented, haha...
I think everyone who does the RTW trips have their own way of planning but this was what I did.
First of all you need to know your budget and how you will get the money together.
Things to consider which need to be included are the costs for
Transport, round the world tickets plus add ons if needed or buy as you go.
Will you be doing major train journey, fro example in Japan you should by the tickets in your own country as this works out cheaper.
If you intend travelling by coach just check out the coach companies in the countries you intend visiting.
If you intend camping, you could rent a camper van, we did for Australia.
Cost in for Malaria tablets, these are very expensive and any inoculations or injections you need, always speak to a healthcare professional with regard to this.
If you are on medication talk to your GP about your trip.
Passport make sure you have at least 6 months on it and enough pages, pages can be added, ask the passport office.
Visas another big expense and you need to check out the countries requirements, some you will be able to buy in advance some will start from date of issue, some you will need to buy while you are travelling. Check out which countries you need to purchase on route and list the cities where you can buy them and what their requirements are. Take a number of passport photographs with you for the Visas.
I would always recommend taking more than one debit and credit card. Cards stop working for no apparent reason. Check out the banks that will give you the best deal. Never keep all your cards in the same place, BIG MISTAKE. Purchase a money belt. Have all your contact details available if you loose anything.
If you use Internet banking DON'T use Internet cafes, the security may not be reliable. Use 5* hotel business offices, it may cost you but the line will be safe. Drip feed money into your accounts by using the standing order system, don't put all the money you have in.
You need to make a list of all the countries you would like to visit including the cities trying to estimate the number of days/weeks/months you wish to stay there.
I set up a spreadsheet of all our days 12 months in all and allocated days for each place, this gives a rough guide as to the amount of time you have and if it's possible to fit in all the countries.
Some countries/cities you will enjoy visiting more than others so you might add on days some you'll not want to stay as long, you need to be flexible and not have things written in stone after all this is a once in a lifetime trip and you want to take back great memories of your time not go back home thinking I wish more time in where ever.
You'll need to do masses of research to arrive at the countries/cities list but this is all part of the fun and should be enjoyable.
Ask questions on all the travellers websites you'll get loads of information from experienced travellers another website is
www.hospitalityclub is a good site for meeting local people, check it out. We met and stayed with many locals on our trip and I can recommend it but do have an e-mail relationship with the people you might be meeting up with if this appeals.
Oh and don't forget be careful out there not everyone has your best interests at heart.
Best of Luck