This is the second instalment of my ‘How to Plan an Around The World Trip’ posts, and boy is it a big one. If you haven’t checked out part 1 of How To Plan An Around The World Trip, please do check it out as I cover finances, how to decide on your itinerary, and how to find the best travel insurance. In part 2 I’m going to cover the finer details in planning an around the world trip.
So you’ve made the big decisions; you’re well on your way to reaching your savings goal, you’ve booked your flights and plotted your itinerary. Now it’s time to get listicle! On the spreadsheet you have for your itinerary (see part 1 for my advice on this), start a new tab and do a ‘Master To Do’ list. In here you can get down all the little things you need to arrange and organise before you go, from having your travel vaccinations, to buying a plug adapter. I advise having a column for the status of each ‘to do’, and if you have a travel buddy who can share the load, a column for who is responsible. Now you can start to work through the list and keep a record of progress. It’s so satisfying seeing the status column fill up with ‘Complete’, and you can keep adding to the list as things pop into your head.
I recommend starting this process 2-3 months before you set off, once you’ve booked your flights and decided on your itinerary. Mainly because it can take a long time to get an appointment at your doctors, but also because it’s one important thing you can tick off your list once it’s sorted. You’ll need to know the countries you’re visiting, as well as the type of area, whether rural or cities, and roughly how long you’ll be in each place. Check out the Fit For Travel website for information on which jabs you’ll need.
Depending on where you are going, you may need to pre-arrange a visa in advance. Australia requires you to do this, as does the USA. In a lot of countries in Asia, you’ll be granted a 90 day visa upon entry, but use the Gov.UK Foreign Travel Advice to research, and do this at least a month before you set off. Again this is one important thing that can be ticked off your list well in advance.
Unfortunately there are no shortcuts to finding and arranging accommodation for an extended trip. It requires a lot of research and time, but some tips I have for you are:
- The Lonely Planet website is a boundless resource for questions like ‘where to stay in Buenos Aires’ for example. Use it to find the right neighbourhood area for you.
- Hotels.com do a really great reward scheme where you get your 10th night free.
- Booking.com is great for reserving hotel rooms without having to pay a deposit, that can be cancelled close to the time. It’s always good to have a backup plan!
- I love Airbnb and when I’m on a budget, I seek out Airbnb Private Rooms that are somehow separate to the main house. I use the filters to find private rooms that have a private bathroom, a fridge, and a private entrance because I generally don’t want to do small talk with the host (unsociable, right?). This has worked out really well in the past, so I recommend taking the time to seek out these gems that will save you a lot of money. You need to read the reviews carefully though!
- Hostels may sound a bit of a risk, but do your research and you might just luck out. I had a bad hostel experience a few years ago, and so have been put off in the past. So on a recent trip, I was very surprised to find that a private double room with an ensuite can feel just like a decent hotel. Really read the reviews on Hostelworld.com, to get a sense of the atmosphere and whether it will be a good fit for you. You can save a packet using hostels, and if you’re open to it, you can meet loads of people.
Backpack or Suitcase?
Don’t spend too long debating this, but really it comes down to your personal preference and what is going to be most comfortable for you. As long as you’re not planning on doing lots of treks and activities where you’ll really need to have your bag off the ground, a suitcase isn’t likely to be a problem.
I’ve gone for a 94 litre, lightweight 4 wheeled suitcase from Revelation by Antler on Very.co.uk. It glides really easily and is slick and compact, so I’m quite confident it’s a good choice. Time will tell! As well as this suitcase, I’ve got a 20 litre Patagonia backpack where I will keep my laptop, cameras, and other bits and pieces.
On contrast, Marc my travel companion, has gone for The North Face large duffle bag, which can be carried on his back. He’s also got a 20 litre Patagonia backpack which he’ll wear on his front.
Planning What To Pack
I’m going to do a video to show you everything I’m packing, but obviously it’s going to depend on the type of trip you’re doing, what the weather will be like and how long you’re going for. My advice is to plan your packing a couple of months before you go. Start by pulling out everything in your wardrobe that you think you’ll want take, and then make a list of everything you need to buy, and start making those purchases well in advance (so you can take advantage of sales!). Invest in good cases for your tech, such as laptop cases, a really robust phone case, choose waterproof bags, and consider using packing cubes (I like these) to keep all of your stuff organised and separated (in case of any shampoo leakage).
We’re following the sun, so I’m taking lots of swimwear, shorts, tee shirts, dresses, sandals, trainers, and then for hiking in New Zealand, a couple of pairs of leggings, a very practical fleece, trail shoes, a waterproof jacket, and a couple of warm hoodies.
Caxton Pre-Paid Currency Card
Now I’m quite excited to share this tip as a lot of my friends and family had never heard of a Caxton Pre-paid Currency Card before I mentioned them. What if I told you, you needn’t bother carrying a wad of cash on holiday with you ever again? That you can use one card to pay for everything, without ever getting charged for non-sterling transactions?
So here’s how it works; you register for your card, download the app and load it up with your holiday spending money, selecting the currency you need. Whilst you’re there, you use this card to pay for everything (you can use it everywhere that accepts Mastercard), safe in the knowledge that your transactions are free (no non-sterling fees). You can withdraw up to £300 per day of cash (in the local currency) at ATM’s wherever you are in the world, with no fees and no fuss. It means that you don’t need to carry lots of cash, and you don’t need to worry about being charged for spending on your card abroad.
If like me, you are travelling to lots of countries, the great thing about the Caxton Pre-paid Currency Card, is that you can use the app to select the currency you need, whilst on the road. The app also shows you all of your transactions in realtime so you can keep a close eye on your budget. Perfect for anyone travelling on a budget!
I’m very happy to say Caxton are offering my readers a £20 cashback offer when you sign up for a Caxton Card and upload £10 (you need to upload £10 to open the card anyway). This is for a limited time only, so to take advantage and get some extra spending money for your trip, go to this link here to register for your card.
Tie up all loose ends
Make sure your life admin is up-to-date in the last few months before you go. Have you been putting off that visit to the dentist? Got a tax return to do? Get everything boxed off before you go. The last thing you want is life admin cluttering up your mind whilst you’re trying to have the trip of a lifetime.
Saying your goodbyes
If like us, you have friends all over the place, start early and book in when you’re going to see them in the last 6 weeks before you go. I’ve decided to have a family get-together a couple of days before we set off, so I can get all the boo-hoo’s out in one go. Got littles in your life that would love to receive post from you as a way of keeping in touch? A friend recommended a lovely idea of giving them a scrap book before you go, and sending them all sorts of bits like ticket stubs, leaflets, trinkets and little handwritten notes for them to stick into the scrapbook. I think it’s a lovely way of keeping in touch and hopefully inspiring a little wanderlust in them too.
A big thank you to Caxton for sponsoring this post and working with me whilst I’m on my travels.
Thank you for supporting the carefully selected brand collaborations I do on Gabriella Manchester. It’s a dream scenario when a product or service you already love wants to work with you too!