How to Prepare to Travel the World
Are you planning to put everything aside and travel the world? Do you want to meet new people, see new sights, taste a wide variety of foods from around the world and create unforgettable memories? This quick step by step guide is just for you. From planning and researching your trip to packing tips and finances, we have it all covered right here for you.
1) Research & Plan Your Trip
Many travelers have the perception that traveling the world requires an elaborate plan. On the contrary, we recommend travelers take an impromptu trip because some of the best moments in travel are those that are not planned. Without an extensive plan, the trip feels like a real adventure. It is a good idea to have a rough itinerary planned including a short list of must-sees for each place you plan to visit.
Lonely Planet and other travel guide sites can be a great starting point. But making friends everywhere you go always works for the best travel tips. And don’t pass on visiting the local tourist information office.
Wherever you visit, accept recommendations on the fly and just try and be wherever you are. Instead of seeking out all the landmarks to get photos, take some time to wander – there is so much to learn and discover about those places. Coming back with pictures and no experiences from those world-famous landmarks won’t satisfy you.
Most of your research time should be spent on visas. Many visas can be obtained when you set foot in the destination country while others require you to apply well beforehand. Check out the State Department’s website for country specific visa information.
2) See Your Doctor
Before you go, make sure you see your primary care physician and tell him you’re about to travel the world. Get an overall checkup and get your routine vaccines up to date. Vaccinations might sound painful, but there are places in the world that require you to have certain shots before you can enter the country. And if you are traveling to areas like South America or Africa, you’ll want to ask your doctor about a Malaria and Yellow Fever shot.
If you take prescription drugs, especially narcotics and psychotropics, you should do some research about the laws in the countries you plan to visit. Finding the regulations for each destination can be a daunting task, a good tip is to reach out to the embassies and consulates in those countries for advice.
3) Plan Your Finances
Travel medical insurance is a must-have. In the event of an unexpected injury or illness, you’ll be glad you have it. Depending on your age, you can get insurance for less than a dollar a day. Most international insurance carriers have a large network of providers which means you won’t have to pay out of pocket for treatment.
It can be dangerous to carry a lot of cash while traveling. But in many places, ATM’s can be unreliable and have too little cash is also a problem. It’s wise to have someone back home (like a parent) that can access your bank account and wire you money in an emergency. Carry both a MasterCard and a Visa card because, despite what the ads say, they’re not universally accepted.
4) What to Pack
We advise travelers to pack light and buy what you need as you go if your financial situation allows. Do take with you fast drying clothes that you can wash in the hotel sink and hang to dry by morning. Buy good socks and two pairs of high-quality walking shoes. The Savvy Backpacker has an excellent packing guide for both men and women travelers.
You should also have two copies of your passport and other important travel documents. Take one set with you and leave the other back home. Losing your passport overseas can cost you a lot of time and money in delays.
Among your everyday clothes, take one nice outfit for dressing up to attend the theater, concert, or a wedding (you’re going to make friends while you travel the world, right?).
Packing for different climates will just increase your load, and you’ll often wonder why you’re hauling all that extra stuff around. When leaving one climate for another for an extended period, consider making a gift of your things or ask friends to store them and ship them to you if and when you need them.
5) Keep a Journal (or a Blog, Instagram)
It’s a good idea to keep a journal or put your world travel experiences online via a blog or social media platform like Instagram. If you’re not the most tech-savvy person, don’t worry! Blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr are super simple to set up, and you can be making digital entries within minutes.
Whether you go old school or new school, a major roadblock for most is what to write. Don’t stress over it, whenever you have a great experience, make an entry. Start small and build from there, the more you write, the easier it’ll become. Eventually, you’ll find your voice, and you’ll look forward to your updates.
Other things to include in your journal or blog may include your itinerary, a plotted map of your travels and photographs. You can also add tickets, bottle labels, clippings from local papers, receipts, etc.
Ready, Set, Go!
When you set out to travel the world, do it with all your heart. Explore more of the world, the different cultures, languages, people. Whether you are traveling to Europe, South America, Australia, Asia or all of the above, make sure you have a great time and make some wonderful memories that you will cherish forever.