A trip like this requires a lot of preparation and I want to show briefly how I organized for it. I spent hundreds of hours online, reading countless websites of people who did the same, did a lot of research about countries, vaccines and health, visas, what I needed to take... I divided the preparation in: decision, route, projects, health, visas, costs, money and what to take:
The first decision and the most important one is to decide to go! My advice is not to do a lot of pros and cons or you are going to enter a dead-end. If it really is important to you, make the decision, make the necessary arrangements in your life and go! All decisions have risks but in this case, it is better to carry a backpack on your shoulders through the whole trip than the weight on your conciseness that you didn’t do it. When I was researching on the internet I saw a lot of people regretting for not doing it but I didn’t find one the regretted taking the risk. It is not an easy decision but it is one you will be proud of for the rest of your life, even with all the risks involved. I read on a website: “It’s easy to fantasize or talk about traveling like this one day, when you have enough money, enough time or when the right time comes. These perfect conditions don’t exist and will only arrive when you decide NOW is the time.”
Second important decision is to decide to buy a “Round the World Ticket” (RWT) - about 15 flights at a reasonable price - or buy as you go. This really depends on your goal and how you want to travel: the RWT are good because they are cheap than buying the same number of tickets independently, but you need to book all your flights before you go and although you can change the dates of your flights while you´re traveling, this really reduces flexibility on the route you feel like taking. I decided to buy the tickets as I go and the only disadvantage is the price, since its 30% to 40% more expensive than the Round the World Tickets, but with the big advantage of having the freedom I wanted. I decided not to have a pre established route but I have a few places in the world that I really want to go and than I have some regions of the globe that I also want to visit. When I get there I will decide where to go. I want to let the people that I meet during the trip to be the ones recommending me places and to decide in the moment where I feel I should go. When I decided the sequence of the continents and regions to visit I studied the weather (specially extreme weather), when it would be the low and high season, it there were any special events happening or if there was any reason that would make me want to go to a specific country at a certain date.
3) Projects and personal Objectives
A journey like this it doesn’t just mean traveling and visiting places, it is interesting to have some projects and personal goals. In my case I have a few that I will write about on the website while I am doing them. Some examples are: volunteering, learning languages, working at certain places...
This is a very important item on the preparation list and basically resumes to having a complete check up before you go, vaccines and what medication to carry with you. The vaccines you must take depend on the countries you plan on visiting so remember to make a small list before visiting you doctor. An important decision you must make is about Malaria. Malaria is a typical disease of some undeveloped countries and it propagates itself through mosquitos. The decision is in regard to the fact that the there isn’t a vaccine to prevent Malaria and the pills aren’t good for your organism. If you spend a lot of time in countries with the risk of Malaria, your body will probably feel it. It really is a personal decision: some people decide not to take this pills, because they say it’s not going to prevent you from getting Malaria if you actually get bitten by a mosquito with it, which may be true. I am taking the pills because I will go to really endemic areas, so I have to take a pill once a week, taking the first pill one week before entering the region and continue taking them for 4 weeks after going out of the country. Some other pills you need to take every day, so check with your doctor. Maybe the most important aspect is to be extremely careful with the water you drink, uncooked food and mosquitos.
There are few countries where you need a visa to get into them if you are going to stay for a period of less than 3 months. In countries where you need visa, most can be obtained for a fee at the border or airport.
A lot of people think that a trip like this is very, very expensive, but it may be less than you think. The example I used when I was talking about the trip with my mother was that it costs about the same as a mid range car. So its the experience of a life time for the price of a car... How does that sound? From experiences I found online, the average cost is somewhere between 15.000 and 20.000 Euros, depending on where you go and what you plan on doing. On average you can spend 30 euros per day in regions like Africa and Asia and 50 euros in regions like Australia and New Zealand. The cost really depend on the number of countries you visit and if, of course, you do a lot of activities in them like diving, hiking, etc. This cost includes everything except the preparation and things like cameras, clothing, etc. Also, it is very important to plan and set aside an amount of money for when you come back!!
My sugestion is to invest in a good insurance. I chose the insurance by Nomads, which costed me 640 euros at the time and was valid for one year (www.worldnomads.com).
Fortunately, things today have evolved and you can use your credit card almost everywhere in the world. Mt suggestion to just take to cards, if possible one visa and other mastercard, and pray! I decided not to take traveler checks with me, just some dollars for an emergency...
9) What to carry
I love this part of the checlist! I love to imagine that everything I need for one year can fit in a backpack... eheheheh. This is what I get asked the most: so, what should I carry for such a long trip? There are important decisions to be made, that depend on choosing one of two opposing perspectives and all other decisions depend on which perspective you adopt: the more stuff you take the more comfort you get but the more you have to carry and the more valuable things you take (like laptops, cameras...) the more you need to worry about them. Actually, its simple!!! First, imagine what you would take for a trip like this, than reduce it to half of it and your done! Also, during the trip you will be buying things and so you will also be leaving things behind. I divided my checklist into four parts:
This is a very important decision and I can recomend Deuter.
They occupy mostly of the space so you need to carefully decide what to take. First, you must think what kind of weather will you be facing to decide what kind of clothes to take. In my case, I mainly have summer clothes, that I can wear about 9 days and then wash them.
You must remember that the more gadgets you have with you, the more worried about them you will get, but the more gadgets you take, the better you will take photos, occupy your time listening to music and even have a computer with you. I brought a lot of gadgets with me because its something that gives me a lot of pleasure but I’m not to worried about them. If they get lost or stolen, I am mentally prepared.
This item is for all the small accessories I carry with me, such as a medical kit, a necessaire, books and a flashlight.
An important advice is scan all your documents (passport, driving license) and put them on the internet (online storage or in a draft on your own webmail). If something happens during the trip, you can go to an internet café and print out the documents.