Trip Planning Starts Now

June 13, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

Trip Planning Starts Now

It costs a lot of money to make a round the world (RTW) trip happen. I’ve been doing research by reading other travel bloggers who openly posted their expenses and budgets. While there is no magic number for how much a one year trip around the world actually costs, it varies due to a number of factors depending on your travel style, comfort level, and time of year you visit a destination.

Here are a few of the many questions to think about when planning a vacation or long-term travel:

  • How long do you plan to be on the road for?
  • Is a visa required to enter the countries you’re traveling to? If so, how much? How long is the process to get one?
  • What vaccinations do you need for the regions your visiting? How far in advance do you need to get vaccinated before you depart on your journey?
  • Will you travel during peak season or off season?
  • Will you be going to events and festivals such as Carnival, Oktoberfest, or a Full Moon Party?
  • What tourist attractions, museums, or places of interest will you see?
  • Will you be staying at 5 star hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast inns, renting an apartment, camping, Couch Surfing, house sitting, or staying with friends and family?
  • Do you plan on dining out all the time or cook in?
  • Will you travel overland to save money or take a flight instead?
  • Will you take taxis everywhere, use public transportation, hitch hike, bike, or walk?
  • Would you be doing adventurous activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, or scuba diving?
  • Will you be doing any excursions in the jungle or a safari?
  • What kind of medical or travel insurance do you need?
  • What equipment, gear, and clothing will you bring?
  • Will you wash clothes by hand or bring them to the laundry mat?
  • Will you mail packages such as souvenirs or stuff you don’t need back home?
  • Would you volunteer on an organic farm woofing in exchange for food and accommodations?
  • If you do a volunteer vacation, what fees would you have to pay the organization?
  • Will you be taking a career sabbatical, working remotely on the internet, teaching English abroad, or working odd jobs illegally under the table?
  • What are the top 3 experiences do you want guaranteed from your trip?

Answering these questions will give you an idea of how much to budget for your awesome adventure. The actual costs I’ve seen for a RTW trip taken between the years 2004 to 2011 range from $12,000 USD to $35,000 USD per person. The average is about $20,000 USD to $25,000 USD.

While it would be nice to have money saved up front, it’s possible to start a journey with less money and work your way around the world as you go. Uncertainty of not knowing when your next paycheck will arrive can be scary, but job security in this economy right now isn’t looking too promising either. There are many digital nomads who have been working virtually as long as there is an internet connection. This trend has been going on for the past decade and we’ll see an increase in the years to come. Creative jobs such as writers, journalists, photographers, graphic artists, web developers, or even virtual assistants can make money online. Many travelers also teach English. So, if money is an issue, how can you get creative to find work when traveling? Figuring out the money situation all depends on the lifestyle you want to live.

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth nor do I have an above average paying job (I do appreciate what I earn), so I need to save in order to make this RTW dream come true. There are five things that I’m doing now:

  1. Creating this blog
  2. Research and planning for the trip
  3. Research health care options
  4. Figuring out how to make money online
  5. Building up a network on Couch Surfing by hosting as many travelers that visit my city

Creating this blog to document my experience and help others is the main purpose. Once this blog gets more traffic, I hope to monetize it with affiliate links to recommend products I use and believe in. I’d be transparent to inform all of you loyal readers if and when a link or ad is clicked, I’d receive a commission for referring a sale at no additional cost to you. This blog isn’t quite there yet. Maybe one day, commissions earned would help finance this trip. The content here would not be influenced to promote something I don’t believe in. I would be honest about my experience with a product or service. I do hope you find this blog useful.

Researching for the trip is probably the easiest thing to do on my list. A few google searches here and there…plus reading a few books too… I’m looking for places to visit that are inspiring, searching for economical ways to travel, and find organizations I’d like to volunteer for.

Since I’ll plan on being outside of the United States most of the time, I’ll have to figure out how to get health care for doctor visits and prescriptions if needed. I’ve read other travel bloggers that had to get prescriptions overseas said that it was easier to get medicine abroad. Also, if I decided to go to the dentist I’d like to find out where the most affordable countries to do this in. There has been an increase in medical tourism in the past few years since it’s more affordable to get procedures done outside the United States. There are risks involved with medical tourism, but I’d have to weigh the options if I ever need to have anything done. The administration fees in the U.S. healthcare system are ridiculously increasing and you can find the same quality of medical care elsewhere. If you don’t believe me, check out this article in the New Yorker and on CNN. Deciding which insurance plan to purchase for this trip will require some research to find out what’s best for my needs.

Money is holding me back from jumping right now. I’m thinking of a few online businesses to start that requires little to no cost. This blog is going to be one of a few microbusinesses that will help generate income while abroad to make this trip sustainable.

The last item on my list of trip planning is building up a network of travelers on CouchSurfing. I host travelers from all over the world for free in my home (or I meet up with them for coffee or a meal) on this hospitality exchange site to share my culture as well learn from them. Over the years of being an active member on the site, I’ve actually became online friends and pen pals with a handful of Couchsurfers I hosted and visited them in their home countries. It’s a great way to build a network of friends around the world before you take off.

Trip planning in advance will help keep my costs low and give me ideas of possibilities. While I won’t have everything figured out 100% before departure, I’d like to have a general idea and see where the wind blows. I might be inspired to stay at a place longer than expected or leave quickly if needed. I might meet cool people on the road that I’d like to travel with. I’m going to keep my itinerary as open as possible. As long as I’m enjoying the moment, that’s all that matters. Not everyday is going to be blue skies, but I’ll roll with the punches for the adventure ahead.

I thought saving money was the first thing I should do, but its planning. Wait a minute… the first step is actually dreaming about where you want to go!

If you’re planning a RTW trip or have done it already, what we’re some of the initial things you did to plan?


Category: Planning

Comments (2)

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  1. amy says:

    My bf and I started planning our RTW trip over three years ago. Since then we’ve been saving as much money as we can and working hard to cut our outgoings. Booking our one-way flights to New Zealand was the defining moment for us; it made the trip real and gave us a deadline for planning; everything else has flowed from there. Good luck with your travel planning!
    amy recently posted…A Guide to Vaccinations for TravelMy Profile

    • Thank you! I wish you the best in your journey. Someone else also told me to just buy my plane ticket in advance of when I want to depart, then work around that departure date. I will have to follow your advice too!

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