Planning a RTW trip: Where to start

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And so it begins….

It finally happened! I finished University a couple of months ago and now the saving and planning for my RTW trip has begun. Now, I’m not going to lie, planning a RTW trip can be very overwhelming – especially when the person you’re going with lives 3 hours away! But here are a few pointers that I’ve managed conjure up as a good place to start.

Where you’re going to go

This is possibly the best part of the planning! When you’re as travel-obsessed as me then it can be extremely difficult to narrow your trip down to somewhere manageable, sensible and most importantly do-able.

I would love to go to South America, do a safari in South Africa and even visit the less-visited countries like Mongolia and Kazakhstan but when you’re choosing which countries to go it’s best to stick to one corner of the world.

My sister and I decided on South East Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia, as it is a well-travelled route and perfect for first time backpackers. Originally, if you’ve read my post on Where I’m going you will have noticed that we’ve reversed our route. The originally plan was to begin in Australia and work for a year – meaning we could leave earlier – and then go traveling. But, my sister is interested in working in Australia for two years so we’ve decided to put Oz last to allow more flexibility in to our schedule.

It’s also very tempting to add a bunch of countries/regions/cities to your RTW trip, but less is more when you go traveling. If you read a lot of travel blogs then you’ve probably heard this from everyone. Do fewer countries at a slower pace and experience more! For our SEA route we are expecting to spend about 3 or 4 weeks in each country, and visit Thailand twice – so that will be 8 weeks. Now it may seem crazy to spend around 5 months just in SEA but think how much of a quality experience you can get in 5 months rather than 5 weeks!

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Research, research, research

Oh research, you either love it or you hate it. Fortunately I love it! …To an extent…. Now, I have to admit. My recent research has been stinted by beginning to read the Game of Thrones novels – these books are taking over my life, people! But if and when you can, try and fit in some research. I have an hour and a half commute into work so I use my morning commute to read travel books, and the evening commute is when I’m allowed to read Game of Thrones….or though I have been cheating as I’m getting towards the end…exciting!

My favourite books are the one pictured above and they are super handy! I love the Rough Guides and the Big Trip one by lonely planet, as they have such useful information and ideas that I never would have thought of. I also have separate country books, like my Thailand and Australia one, and I also read a lot of travel magazines and online blogs.

I also just got this free (the magic word!) eBook called ‘Your Round the World Trip Planner’ by Macca Sherifi, and it’s got some great tips in it as well.

Budget

Ah the budget. I’ll be honest, this is something that I’m still getting to grips with. Oh if only, if only, if only there was an exact number, but sadly there is not.

I have budgeted £10,000 each for my sister and I. I am yet to decide whether that’s going to include pre-travel expenses such as vaccinations, flights and insurance, but as we’re both not bringing in much money at the moment (despite me working 6 days a week, thank you tax man!) £10,000 is the most feasible budget.

I have worked out a rough amount of how much everything is going to cost going by books and websites but unfortunately that came to about £15,000 and if I’m saving that much it’ll be forever until we go! We’ve already had to push back our leaving date from spring 2015 to about November 2015…. which sucked! But, if you’re going to do, you might as well do it right.

Planning what to take

Now, this may seem a bit premature as we’ve got over a year to until we leave, but this is a good thing to get a grasp with to stop you spending more than you need. Now here is the key, don’t be that person with all the gear and no idea. Microfibre towels, yes, a backpack, yes, a waterbottle, of course! But you don’t need those jungle trousers that zip at the knees, or the sleeping bag or £150 hiking boots. It’s a lot simpler than all that and try and take as much as you can that you already have.

I am so tempted to buy a whole load of tops, shorts and dresses and yes I have bought a few, but in SEA it is so much cheaper just to buy it all there! So restrain yourself people!

If you do feel like you need new clothes, or equipment for a quick trip then try and buy things that you will take travelling with you! For example, the other day I nearly spent £6 on a metal wall hanging because it had a quote about travel on it. Now, am I going to take that travelling? No! So if you don’t need it then leave it.

Staying motivated

This is probably the most difficult thing. The worse thing for me I’ve found is not being able to have a holiday. I mean I could, but that would mean digging in to my RTW savings, which ain’t good. The summer has hit and everyone and everybody seem to be going abroad! Only this morning at friend of mine uploaded a Facebook status saying that she was off to the Bahamas. The Bahamas?! Thanks to Social Media nothing is safe, especially holiday envy and I’ll be honest it’s bogging me down a bit… although I may be having a sneaky trip to Spain with some friends in September.

Other things that suck when you’re saving is not being able to go out all the time, not ordering what you necessarily want at a restaurant and basically feeling skint the entire month because all your pennies are in your savings. But just remember that the money will go to better use on your travels.

You’re also bound to get RTW impatience. You’ll just have days of hating saving, working out that it’s going to be quite a few months until you reach even half of your saving-goals and when you’re not getting paid as much as you want/need, it can really get you down. You’ll just think how much you wish you could just go now, or wonder why all these expenses or situations are pushing your goal date further away. But it’s so important to not let it get to you too much and keep things on track. You’ve just got to keep in mind the long-term goal! A year of being horrendously limited so you can have one of the most amazing years in your life is definitely worth it in my book. No pain, no gain, it’s as simple as that.

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