I Want to Travel Around the World: Getting Started
You have a travel bucket list. You made the decision to finally go and dive in.
Well done, that’s one of the hardest parts: taking the leap and getting started. But hold on!
To make sure you won’t end up halfway through your trip before calling your parents for an emergency ticket back home, it’s very important to prepare your travels around the world smartly.
Jeff and I saved for months in order to prepare for our 6-month around the world trip, and while it is important to stay spontaneous and carefree to fully enjoy it, it is even more important to be ready for anything.
If you are starting with a list of countries or cities you’d like to visit and have no idea how to start budgeting for them, here’s how to get started if you’re thinking “I want to travel around the world.”
I Want to Travel Around the World: Budget
Step 1: Budget
Budgeting is sometimes a scary word, but all you need to do is list money in VS money out on an Excel sheet or Google Sheet. Jeff is terrible at budgeting so I handle it all, or we’d have been broke before we left DXB.
Assuming you will travel without earning money on the road, money in will be zero, which looks scary but ignore that for now, you’ve prepared for this!
If you are planning to earn money, take in to account the time you will need to get paid - i.e. work for October might get paid mid-November so that money will only be available then. ALWAYS have a comfortable cushion!
Money out will be determined by breaking down the countries and cities you would like to visit with an estimation of how much it will cost for:
Food and Drinks (remember, booze is the number one easiest way to waste money while traveling)
Visas (check wikipedia for visa rules per country, they make it super clear and easy to understand)
Transport (taxis, motorcycle rental, car rental, fuel, parking)
Entertainment (tours, activities)
Based on the above, and adding whatever you think is necessary, you will reach an approximate budget needed for your travel around the world. Make sure to research thoroughly online with people’s past experiences, and don’t be afraid to round up these numbers as you will usually end up spending a little more than planned. Some even suggest making sure to leave with 30% more than you’ve budgeted.
I Want to Travel Around the World: Saving Money
Step 2: Save
Now that you’ve got your ideal budget for your travels around the world, it’s time to come up with the money! This will mean saving over a certain period of time, sometimes months or years.
See what you can save monthly at home, and extrapolate that number until you reach your goal budget. Voila, you have a date of escape! Now start the countdown!
It’s now time to cut out those daily Starbucks coffee runs and other little luxuries that add up over the months. For Jeff, it was protein bars at the office mini mart, and for me it was office lunches. They add up fast! You can do it :)
During the time it takes you to save, you can research a lot on your upcoming travels to make it easier. A few things we like to research are short travel guides, tipping policies and a few words in the language.
I Want to Travel Around the World: Booking those Flights!
Step 3: Book
Depending on how complicated your itinerary is, you will want to either go through a travel agent, or book things yourself.
For our simpler bookings, we always go through Skyscanner to get the best prices on plane tickets, and try to book with a credit card for insurance purposes.
For this trip, we used a travel agent (I know, they still exist in 2018?) who helped us SO much with complicated routes, odd layovers which saved us tons and generally gave us ideas for added or alternative routes to save money and time. If you’re flexible, this is a great option. If you want our guys info, just shoot us an email!
When it comes to accommodation, we usually go to Airbnb first, for 3 reasons:
It’s (in general) cheaper than most hotels
Having a kitchen means cooking in and less going out for food, which saved us a TON of money
You usually get to meet the local landlord, and get a lot of recommendations, which is always nice!
Tip: Sign up on Airbnb using this link to save $25 on your first trip!
If Airbnb isn’t the best option, we will always search budget hotels on Booking.com to compare hotels and B&Bs in a particular city.
Once you have flights and accommodations sorted (at least the first few), you’re good to go! Make sure to double check visa and vaccination requirements in advance too.
I Want to Travel Around the World: Downsizing
Step 4: Downsize
Downsizing is only valid if you are traveling for months at a time, and are not keeping your current accommodation for example, but regardless it is a great exercise, I can’t believe all the crap we got rid of that had no value to us! If you are keeping your place, you can still take this time to get rid of the things you don’t need or donate them. A lovely Sri Lankan family now has our entire set of bedroom furniture :)
Jeff and I left Dubai after 4 and 6 years living there respectively, so needless to say we accumulated a lot of things and clothes we didn’t really need.
After having had a close look at our belongings, and the size of our (carry on!) travel bags, we decided to just get rid of things and start fresh wherever we end up next.
The weather in the countries you will visit is a decisive factor of course, but if like us you will encounter different weathers and seasons, layering is key! Also consider buying clothes on site - for example we will buy hiking shoes and trekking gear directly in Nepal, saving us a lot of space in our bags.
Donate the clothes you don’t wear anymore, sell your furniture, send the valuables back home or to a storage unit, and feel the freedom that comes with only owning very little!
I Want to Travel Around the World: Packing
Step 5: What to Pack
The budget is set and saved, your belongings fit in a suitcase or bag - next is what the hell to pack! This can be a pretty daunting task, but take what you’ve worn every day for the last week and you’ll realize you most likely only wear a tiny portion of what you own as it is, so just pick your favorites, think layers, and you’re good to go. Forget that flower dress for Instagram or those heels you may wear once, you won’t, and they’ll just take valuable space.
We travel with our Eastpak gear and only need a bag, backpack and a bum bag - remember, less is more!
A few tips to pack for a trip around the world:
Carry-on if you can! This will save you so much time at the airport, worry, and money if you are traveling low cost.
Roll your clothes! Try it, you will see, rolling your clothes will help you save so much space.
Don’t forget about laundry! No need to pack for a month worth of clothes. There are laundries in a lot of Airbnb, and we haven't had a problem finding a laundry anywhere we went, from Bolivia to Bali! Make sure to bring a laundry bag.
Adopt soap and shampoo bars! Shampoo bars take way less space, are very ecological AND can be used for up to 80 shampoos - win! Steal them from every hotel you go to :)
I Want to Travel Around the World: You’re Done!
Step 6: Go! Be Free!
You did it!
You’re all packed and ready to take on your travel around the world - not many can say that.
Enjoy every minute and document it if you like, but remember to take in the moment and not live through a lens!
Any questions, just shout below! Good luck.