STOP DREAMING – LIVE YOUR DREAM
15 Tips to start your trip around the world
I have to warn you, Travelling is like a drug. You get addicted to it.
I am wondering what you are thinking right now. Why do you read this post? Do you have the same dream BoB, Liane and I have? Traveling the world and see as many continents and countries as possible? Let me say right from the start that EVERYBODY can travel the world but you need to be sure that you really want it, right? So, if you are happy with your life and you don’t miss anything, you shouldn’t give up everything you have just to travel. A lot of people tell you traveling makes you awesome. What bullshit! It needs definitely more to be awesome and you shouldn’t listen to it. If you love your job, your home, your country, friends and family, stay there and enjoy life. There is nothing wrong about it!
But if you have this feeling inside you, this feeling you can’t describe.
If you have these moments where you want to go out on the street and shout ‘Here I am world!’. When you dream of faraway places you would love to see… then… yes then you should think about a change.
Before you read my 15 tips I have to warn you. Traveling is like a drug. You get addicted to it. When you start once you can’t stop! We have been traveling now for 1 year and should be home by now but… obviously we are not and I’m not sure if we will ever fit back into our old lifes again. So many things changed, so many things happened. It will be interesting to see how we behave when we really have to go back to Germany. But right now I sit here in the sun, listen to the waves and enjoy my time in Peru. What a life… if you are ready, let me help you to start your trip around the world.
Believe me, you will ALWAYS find excuses not to travel
I think I know your answer.
Always remember that only YOU can change something if you really want it. Don’t listen to other people or to the media. Listen to your heart! Be yourself, do what you want to do and enjoy everything the world has to offer!
Okay, there is nothing worse than calling your boss right now, to quit the job, to sell your apartment, to drive to the airport tomorrow and to take the next flight to Timbuktu. If you are seriously interested in a round the world trip, you need a plan. A good plan.
I recommend giving yourself at least half a year or longer for organizing and planning your trip. Maybe it’s because I’m German and we are so well organized (which we really are :P) but making a good plan will save you a lot of money and it’s less stressful for you and the people around you! If you have some knowledge with computers make an excel cheet and write down everything that comes into your mind. There are sooooo many things to do when you leave your country for a certain amount of time. Ask others who have done a trip already, join forums and visit other blogs.
Be a nerd and make your computer your best friend for the next months.
Collect ideas and WRITE THEM DOWN. 1 hour a day for informing and planning is not much and worth the time.
Buy guidebooks (there are also good eBooks) and make sure you have at least some kind of a route in your mind before traveling to a country. Once you arrive you will figure out quite fast that sometimes the best tips are not in guidebooks but they will give you a feeling for the country. Especially for the start of your trip they are brilliant helpers.
Once you have a rough plan of what you will do and what you want to see you should ask yourself when to start. Keep in mind that you are planning a RTW so it really doesn’t matter if you start one week sooner or later. Make sure you don’t choose the high season for starting your trip. Wait until the high season is over and enjoy the last nice weeks in your country before saying good bye and leaving everything behind.
Also make sure your country of choice has the season you want. Does the time really fit best for your activities? Do I want snow or sun? Is there a rainy season? Might it be better to travel in the rainy season as there are not so many tourists and I want a more authentic start? A lot of questions… you are the only one who can answer them.
Let’s face it. Do you really love your job? Is it the best job in the world for you? (If so, please send me an email, I might need one in the future 🙂 No seriously, what I want to say is that almost everybody has a job which is more or less okay. Of course the money could better but, hey, it least you have a job, right? I think that is the hardest decision for many people before they go on a RTW, if they didn’t just finished school. We have always worries about the future.
What if I come back and I don’t find a job? What if I don’t have money to survive?
I know these feelings and thoughts and believe me, I had them too. I can tell you one thing. Everything comes for a reason.
If you quit your job you will probably come back a year later and find another job which is even better. Don’t believe me? Look around in the internet, you will find hundreds of examples. And why is it like this? Because after a year of traveling you will change and you probably can’t imagine working in your old job again. When you quit your job make sure you look at deadlines and don’t wait too long to tell your boss. Once you said you quit, there is no turning back! It is a great feeling though, you should try it out :P.
But of course I understand your concerns about the money issue and it is very easy for me as a spoiled German to write that everything will be okay. I would always recommend having some backup money for your return. DON’T leave it on a bank account where you have access to. Trust me, that won’t work :). Give it to someone you trust – parents, best friend, who ever and tell them they should not give it to you until you are back!
Ahhh yes, now it’s going to be interesting. The right country. Well, to be honest, of course I can’t tell you which is the right country for you. I don’t know what kind of person you are but I’m sure you want to see as much as possible and it should be cheap, right? If it is the first time you are traveling it should also be quite safe, good food would be a plus and it shouldn’t be a culture shock. Sounds like a dream country :). If you find that place, please send me a message.
Anyway, I would always recommend starting in a cheap country. At the beginning you might not have a feeling for your budget. Forget about all the “travel the world for 5 dollars a day” bullshit. A limit? Yes, but you should always do what you want to do and if it is more than you can afford, enjoy your time and maybe you have to return one week earlier. Who cares?! But back to the topic.
I recommend starting in Central America or South America like Guatemala, Ecuador or Bolivia. Or you start in Asia like Thailand, the Philippines or Vietnam. What you should not do is to start in Australia or in the US. This will probably shrink your budget too quickly. Also make sure you speak at least a little bit the language of the country. This will help you a lot to save money and makes traveling much easier! You don’t need to be an expert and if you didn’t have the time to learn the language in your home country, visit a language school for one or two weeks in your dream destination!
That sounds so crazy but it’s so true. If you are abroad what do you need a car for? Why do you still need an apartment? I know it sounds so hard but selling everything has two BIG advantages instead of keeping it. First of all, you make money and you need money for your trip. So, go to eBay and try to sell everything you have. If you can sell a TV for example for 300 dollars I am sure you will also find one on eBay when you are back for 300 dollars?! Sure, maybe you don’t have a TV for a couple of weeks but I’m sure you don’t care if you saw the Taj Mahal instead :).
The second reason is also a good one. It will make you free from your old life and when you are back you can start a new one. When you come back you will be a different person. There is nothing you can do about it ;).
To sell everything you have is just one way to make money. Another one and probably more important is to cut your expenses. It will help you again in two ways. First of all – you safe money. Second – you get prepared for your travel. Let me explain what I mean.
I said you should start planning your trip at least half a year before takeoff. In this time you should start to save money. Don’t go out every weekend and spend 50 dollars in a club. Don’t buy the latest mega cool flat TV and maybe you can just cook instead of eating outside. I’m sure you find at least 20 things where you could save money. BoB, Liane and I did the same and what helped us a lot was remembering how much longer we could travel if we don’t go to the cinema and if we skip partying that night.
We always calculated 25 dollars is one more day traveling. Try it and you will see you will save a lot!
It makes it much easier to say “no” to a lot of unnecessary things. If you don’t do everything you want to do, it will also help to lower your expectations for traveling. The living standard in most countries we have visited so far (except the US, Australia and Europe) is much lower. If you sell your bed and you have to sleep on a mattress for a few weeks that’s a good training for your travel and you will accept it with a smile when you will have to sleep in a hammock for example.
This is so obvious but still some people don’t do it 🙂. The first rule of finding a cheap flight is to be flexible. As I said before, it doesn’t really matter if you leave a week sooner or later. Start looking for flights as soon as you decide to travel around the world. Register for newsletters on flight pages and check the latest offers every day.
Go to skyscanner and compare, compare, compare. Don’t forget to check out the homepages of the airlines as well. Very often they have special offers and the cheapest flights. As soon as you see a very good offer – take it! Don’t wait too long. The earlier you start with your research, the higher the chance that you will find a good deal.
Okay I’m not a doctor but I know one thing for sure. You can’t leave your home country and travel around the globe without having vaccinations. Well you could… but you shouldn’t! I’m not an expert regarding this topic so I will just give you a helpful webpage where you can see what kind of vaccination you need. But it is always the best to talk to your doctor at home and tell him where you want to travel.
Don’t start too late with vaccinations. Some need a few weeks before they protect you and also a few need more than just one injection. Here is a link to Netdoctor.
And check with your health insurance at home if it’s possible to get some money back for the vaccinations. Sometimes it’s possible.
You are probably laughing now but you can’t imagine how often we heard of people who lost their passport or they don’t know where it is. Make sure your passport expiring date is AFTER your RTW. And most countries you are only allowed to enter if your passport is valid at least 6 more months. What about a visa? Does your trip include countries where you need one? You can check it here and if you are unsure go to the federal foreign office.
I wish I would have thought about this before we started our trip. We have lost so much money already by taking the wrong credit card with us. This topic deserves an extra post and I will write it in the near future. For now I can just give you the following advice: Check in the internet which credit card is the best for your travel. Here are some links I found in the internet:
– The simple dollar
– Nomadic Matt
In the beginning it might be more expensive because the card itself costs money or whatever. But it makes a HUGE difference if you have to pay 2% or 7% fee every time you need cash from the ATM. Some banks don’t even charge any fees when you use the ATMs of their partners. Don’t forget to have a second option in case your credit card doesn’t work. Travelers checks (depending on the country) or money transfer (for example with Western Union) are good back up options.
Seriously, don’t buy the cheapest equipment for your RTW. It will not pay off! Of course you don’t need the best and most expensive stuff but you should make sure that you have good quality. You can have a look into our backpacks here. Ask me, if you have any specific questions of what to buy.
At least for the first 3 days. Imagine you just landed in your dream country. The sun is shining, the very friendly taxi driver helps you with your luggage and asks you “Which hotel? You don’t have one, okay I show you”. He will drive you around and show you the most expensive places as he gets the best commission. You say you need something cheaper and the next hotel is somewhere in the middle of nowhere. You get stressed, the not so friendly anymore taxi driver is stressed and your first day in paradise becomes a nightmare.
Don’t let it come so far. Go to booking.com or to hostelworld and reserve a nice room for the first nights. Especially after a long flight you also might be happy to have a private room instead of a 12 bed dorm. You just started your dream, so don’t stress yourself! You will have plenty of opportunities to sleep in dorms during your travel.
Yes you are right. I’m glad you already thought about this topic. A travel insurance is probably the most important thing you have to organize before you start traveling. It really doesn’t matter if you travel for a month, a year … a decade :). Without a travel insurance you should never leave your country. If you don’t have money for the insurance, I would never recommend you to start traveling.
During our one year of travelling we heard so many stories where people needed it. Imagine you have teeth problems and need to go to the dentist or you have been bitten by a dog or broke an arm or… I really hope nothing bad will ever happen to you during your travel but you never know and it is always good to be on the safe side! I will write a post about travel insurance in the future as this is really important. For the moment I would recommend to check out these websits:
– STA Travel
This tip is for everyone who will travel on a budget like us. Working or volunteering abroad is not just a good way to save money during traveling. It is much more than that. You will get to know the locals and learn a lot of new things when you are open minded. We met the nicest people with so many interesting stories. We don’t just volunteer in so many places because we need to save money.
No, for us volunteering makes traveling much more interesting. When you plan your trip you should check out workaway or helpx if there is a job near to your first stop. You don’t need to work there forever, just a few weeks. It will give you a great start for your travel around the world and I’m sure you will always get great insider tips.
Okay, this is it. My 15 tips to start YOUR round the world trip. I’m sure I forgot at least 15 more :). I will keep you updated with more tips in the future and I hope I could help you at least a little bit with your travel planning. If you don’t want to miss any post, you are very welcome to sign up for our newsletter on the right. Now it is up to you. Are you ready for your lifetime experience?
Oh yes, I almost forgot. Many people asked me how much money you need for traveling. Of course it always depends on your expectations. I’m not a big fan of people who just travel but can’t afford to visit the highlights of a country or they have to loan money from other travelers to buy cigarettes. However, if you can sleep in hostels, don’t need a first class dinner every night and are willing to travel many hours in buses, I would say 10.000 dollars for one person for a year is enough.
Again, I know that a lot of people in our unfair world will never have that amount of money and it seems impossible to travel. For all of you out there I just have one more tip. Don’t give up YOUR dream! Start little and I’m sure your dream will come true one day!
And for the spoiled Europeans and Americans etc. If you think about it for a second, I mean 10k is a lot of money, no doubt, but I’m so glad we did this journey and until now it was worth every cent!
If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment or contact me. I would be very happy to hear from you! And please feel free to stalk us on facebook, twitter or google+.
Thanks for reading!