Round the World Travel Questions – The Top 10 Questions Asked
Traveling round the world is an exciting and amazing thing to do, but it doesn’t come without its own set of problems, fears and complications. Below you will find a list of the most commonly asked round-the-world travel questions that I have received, ranging from the basics (‘What is Round-the-World Travel?’) to the essential (‘How will I pay my bills while I’m away?’).
Knowing the answer to each of the questions listed below should set you on the right path to enjoying a fantastic trip, and it should dispel any of the unnecessary fears or worries that you may have.
If you have any questions that you’d like to ask (whether they’re about round-the-world travel or any kind of travel), feel free to get in contact (via the ‘contact’ page) and I’ll answer them for you!
Round the World Travel Questions
Q. What is ‘Round-the-World Travel’?
A. ‘Round-the-World Travel’ is essentially what it says – traveling round the whole world. This doesn’t mean that you visit every single location in the world – rather that you start at a location, then fly East (or West), stopping off at other places along the way until you’ve flown all the way round the world and are back where you started.
Certain airlines offer special ‘round-the-world tickets’ that allow you to fly to multiple places. Often you just pay for one ticket, and that ticket will have an expiry date on it or will limit you to the amount of miles that you can fly. In addition to this, you don’t have to book all of your flights in advance. They’re usually okay with you booking them in just a short time in advance (as long as they’ve got space for you) and you can sometimes get away with just turning up at the airport and flying on the day (although this is not recommended).
Q. How long does the average round-the-world trip take?
A. A reasonable time would be 6-12 months. Obviously you can do it quicker than this if you want, but the sheer act of going round the entire world takes a lot of time (especially as you will want to take in some of the sights along the way).
Something else to consider is that many of the ‘‘round the world tickets’ (i.e. plane tickets that let you fly all the way round the world, stopping wherever you want) have an expiry date on them (which is usually a year from the date of your first flight), so you need to make sure you’re home before time runs out.
Q. How much time should I spend in each city/region/continent?
A. This is totally down to you, although it should depend on the total length of your trip, the things you want to do while you’re there and the other places/things that you want to do on the rest of your trip. For example, if your trip is going to last for 9 months and you want to visit North America, Europe and South-East Asia in that time, it would be unwise to spend the first 8 months in North America, as it won’t leave you enough time to see the rest of the world.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to make a rough guide of where you want to go and how long you want to stay in each place. Obviously you can make changes as you go (that’s the beauty of long-term world travel), but having a rough guideline to follow should make sure that you don’t end up missing out on anything.
Q. Is it best to travel from East to West or from West to East?
A. There no ‘best’ way of doing things in this regard, as it depends mainly on the time of year you leave, where you’re leaving from and the things you want to see at the different times of year. For example, if you’re leaving from the United Kingdom in August and want to be in Germany for Oktoberfest than it would obviously be best to travel from West to East.
The main benefit of traveling from East to West is that you won’t be as jetlagged (in theory), as you’re essentially ‘gaining time’. For example, when traveling from England to New York you’re ‘going back in time’ 5 hours, whereas when you’re flying Eastward you’re ‘losing’ hours.
I have found traveling from West to East to be easier, adjusting to a more Western time zone simply requires you to get up later and go to bed later (which for me is a lot easier than getting up earlier and going to bed earlier). Perhaps this is because I’m more if a ‘night person’ – a ‘morning person’ might prefer getting up earlier, so for them traveling West to East would be better.
Something else to think about is that some countries are more expensive the visit than others. For example, you’ll spend a lot more per day in the United States than you would in Thailand (on average). Depending on how good you are with your money (and your spending habits), you might want to get the expensive countries ‘out of the way’ first, so that you’re not constantly worrying for the rest of your trip whether you’re going to be able to afford them.
Some travelers like to get the most expensive countries out of the way early to ‘take the pressure off’ (of having to save money for them), while others prefer to save them for last. If you overspend your money in one region, you might have to cut back in another region, meaning you might miss out on something you really wanted to do.
Also, if you plan to do a lot of shopping while on your trip, it’s best to do this right before you return home, so that you’re not carrying it round with you the whole way. Where you want to do this shopping (if indeed at all) should factor into your decision on which way to travel.
Q. How should I save money for my trip?
A. Saving up for a round-the-world trip is just like saving up for a new car or a house. It involves setting a goal of how much you need and putting money aside regularly until you reach that goal.
One idea is to put aside a certain percentage of your paycheck (say 5%) each month. I’d advise setting up a separate bank account/savings account specifically for your traveling money, so you know exactly how much you’ve got and you won’t be tempted to spend it.
Another idea is to work out exactly what you’re currently spending your money on and cut out the unnecessary expenditure. For example, you might spend $5 everyday on a lunch. Instead of this, why not take a ‘brown bag’ lunch to work to save money?
Other ways to save up include taking on more hours at work, getting a second job or taking out a loan (preferably from a family member as they won’t charge you interest like the banks will).
Q. How long will my airline ticket be valid for?
A. As mentioned above, most round-the-world tickets are valid for six to twelve months, although some do go on for as long as eighteen months (but obviously these cost more).
Q. What’s the best way to plan a Round-the-World trip?
A. A round-the-world trip is arguably the hardest of any kind of trip to plan for (in some respects). If you’re going away for 12 months, you’ll never be able to plan exactly what you’ll be doing on each and every day. This is okay, though, as traveling is all about spontaneity, exploration and having adventures.
So am I saying that you shouldn’t plan anything at all? No! When you’re first thinking about taking a trip around the world, make a list of everywhere you want to visit (organized by country and region). You should also have a list of places that you’d LIKE to visit, but that aren’t essential (i.e. you want to go there, but if you can’t or don’t have enough time than it’s no big deal).
Next you need to work out a budget. Be realistic about this, as there’s nothing worse than having to come home early because you ran out of money. Here’s a guide to budgeting for your trip.
Once you’ve got a budget and you know where you want to go, you can start working out a travel sequence, and you should be able to get a rough idea of how long you want to spend (and how long you can afford to spend) in each area.
Q. I own a house/flat/apartment. What should I do with it while I’m traveling round the world? I don’t want to leave it unattended!
A. If you’re going away for a large period of time (let’s say 12 months), it can be a good idea to rent out your home to someone else. This will provide you with nice bonus income each month, and it means there’ll be someone else looking after your home while you’re away.
If you’re going away for a shorter period of time (let’s say you’re going traveling for 2 months), you might just want to ask one of your (trusted) neighbors or family members to regularly visit your home to take care of things (you should offer them a fee to do this, even though most people will turn it down). You’ll want to get them to water the plants, feed your pets, collect (and safely store away) your mail and air out the rooms (by opening the windows). You might want them to open your mail for you, as bills still need paying, even when you’re away! The last thing you want is to come home and find out that your gas and electricity has been turned off.
Q. Where should I have my mail sent to?
A. In addition to having someone come round and collect your mail from your house, you could opt to have your mail sent to one of your family or friend’s houses instead. This can cause a lot of hassle, however, so is only worth doing if you’re going away for a long time.
Q. How will I pay my bills while I’m away?
A. By far the easiest way to pay your bills while you’re traveling is to set up a standing order (i.e. to automate them) so that they’re paid automatically. For all other payments you can use internet banking.
Another option is to give someone (that you trust) the power of attorney, meaning they can pay your bills for you. This should not be given lightly, though, and should be seen as a last resort.
Q. Who should I inform that I’m going traveling?
A. There is a large number of people that you should inform when going away on a long trip:
- The bank (so that they don’t cancel your credit/debit cards when you use them abroad.
- The milkman (if you have one) – cancel your milk and newspapers.
- Your close neighbours (so they don’t wonder why no-one is living in your house anymore).
Q. I’ve just got back from an amazing, life-changing round the world trip. Why do I suddenly feel fed up (and dare I say it depressed)?
A. These feelings are not uncommon, and they won’t last forever. Coming home can seem like an anti-climax. Going back to school/work is never as fun as traveling the world, so it’s easy to see why people feel down about coming home again. Your family and friends will no doubt be excited to see you again and to hear about your stories, but the chances are they won’t understand what you’re going through. A good way to deal with these feelings is to talk to people that have been traveling, as they’ll be able to empathize with you.
One of the most interesting things about traveling is that it changes you in ways you never thought it would. It matures you, makes you more independant, confident and adventurous. Upon returning home you may realise that although you’ve changed, everything (and everyone else) is exactly the same, and that you somehow don’t fit in like you used to. It is perfectly natural to feel like this. Give yourself time to readjust to ‘normal’ life and to get back into a routine.
If the ‘travel bug’ has hit you, why not start planning your next trip?
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