So you are all ready for your first trip around the world, or perhaps you are still in the process of thinking it over. Well speaking from personal experience I would say just do it! Because you will have the trip of a lifetime.
Now there are some problems that people seem to have when it comes to planning a round the world trip. Firstly the cost involved, after all if you are not planning on working then doing all that travelling is going to hit the bank balance. Second on the list is finding someone to go with, be it a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend. Then the last main issue seems to be the enormity of the task at hand, I mean navigating through all those places and staying in hostels, isn’t that dangerous and daunting? I will answer all these questions in turn.
Ok so money is always going to be an issue, as it is with anything that you would like to do in life. But I think you would be surprised at the cost of a round the world trip, it may not be as expensive as you think.
You can get round the world ticket for around £1200 and that has 6 stops included. Then for accommodation if you stay in hostels you are looking at around £10 per night. As for meals, most hostels have self catering kitchens so if you cook your own meals you could eat for as little as £5 a night (or less).
I budgeted around £50 per day for food and attractions (or bars) and it was pretty much spot on. Some places you need more (USA) and some place you need less (Thailand) but it averages out. You may also want to look into getting 3 day attractions passes for major cities. Things like the New York pass can get you into all the attractions for 3 days for a single fee (that saves you around 30% overall).
Basically for a 2 month trip to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America it cost me £4,400 for everything. That even included some internal flights and extra expenses such as the harbour bridge climb in Sydney (a must do if you go there). So it is a lot of money but since it’s a once in a lifetime thing, well worth it. A great tip is to remember to look up relatives or friends of friends that live abroad because the best kind of accommodation is free accommodation.
Now the next issue is finding a travelling companion, well this can be a tough one for some people as not everyone they know has a passion for travel. So many of my friends simply said they would like to travel “some day”, I still have no idea when that is! I ended up going on my own, as do many backpackers both male and female.
This can seem very daunting but really after a couple of cities you get used to it and it becomes no problem. It also encourages you to meet new people, after all you don’t want to be alone for the whole trip. What you find is that at hostels there are so many like minded people there who are very easy to get along with. Don’t think that because you leave by yourself that the entire trip is going to be a solo experience, it will most definitely not be.
Finally the issue of staying in hostels and navigating around foreign cities can be daunting and perhaps a little scary. First of if you have never stayed in a hostel before don’t worry most of them are clean and rather fun places. The best way to describe backpacking in hostels is that it’s like your first day of university, repeated every day for a few months!
By that I mean you tend to meet friendly people who are of a similar age and in a similar situation to yourself. Everyone is just mostly looking to meet new people and share their experiences of their journey so far. This can also be an excellent resource for finding good places off the beaten track to visit. Never mind the guide books, just keep your ears open around the hostel and you will get all the tips and information you need.
As for navigating around foreign cities, for the most part its not that difficult. All you need is a city map (which most hostels provide free) and then to feel your way around. Just take a walk around the local area and move on from there, keep the address of you hostel at hand so if you get lost you can always get a taxi back!
Once you have mastered a couple of city’s you can pretty much do them all by using the same principles. The only exception is when you visit Africa or South America which tend to have a more alien feel. But even with those places the same principals applies, after your first couple of places you kind of adapt to your new surrounding and it becomes easier as time passes it just may take a bit longer than in westernised environments.
I hope all this information has been helpful and that you go on that once in a lifetime trip round the world. I met many fantastic people on my travels and got to do some great things such as drink some tequila in Tijuana and go shark diving in Hawaii! You are sure to come back with great stories just keep an open mind and if things go wrong don’t worry, that’s just a good story to tell later!