The phrase ‘trip of a lifetime’ gets thrown around a little too liberally these days. A month in Manhattan? One in a million. A fortnight in Florence? Unrivalled. A wet weekend in Wales? Unequaled. A quick stroll to Tesco’s for some tins? A one time only thing. Let’s leave the hyperbole to the marketing department shall we?
We’re here to talk about a true one-off, travelling extravaganza; a journey to truly rank in your life’s record books as the journey which topped all others. Without actually managing to make it into space, we’re of course talking about an adventure which takes in as much of the planet as is possible. Such a jaunt requires some serious foresight however. We’re here to help, with these; our 4 IDEAL tips for planning your round-the-world trip of a lifetime.
DON’T TICK BOXES
‘Go anywhere, not everywhere’ is a great mantra to keep to your heart when planning. While the temptation in the age of the broadcastable bucket list is to tick off as many countries as you can, this really isn’t conducive to a horizon broadening, soul nourishing experience. Instead, aim to do less and gain more from it. Narrow down the must sees on your itinerary, and where possible let the trip unfold organically. Which brings us neatly to…
RTW OR DIY
Unfortunately, the spontaneous and the spendthrift don’t go hand in hand when plotting a trip of such magnitude. Once you’ve got some idea of the budget you’re going to have access to, it’s time to make the biggest decision of them all; whether to by a round-the-world ticket (RTW) or arrange all of the flights yourself.
RTW tickets operate within the jurisdiction of a single airline alliance, for instance Star Alliance, Oneworld Alliance and most recently, budget airline group Value alliance. These groupings share upwards of 30 airlines and an RTW ticket allows you to see the world with any of their companies. Certain restrictions need be factored in; you can only travel in one direction (east to west and no going back on yourself) and you have to book all flights in advance. Generally speaking, affordable RTWs only cover major cities and airports, too, and put a limit on your stopovers. Wiggle room, then, is at a minimum.
The benefit, of course, is that it will usually work out cheaper (relatively speaking) than if you’d arranged your trip on your own terms. Doing things your way grants more opportunity to change your mind, take your time in a place if it charms you, and generally be free, which is what this is all about right? Arranging it all yourself can be stressful and costly, however. That’s the rub.
One of the most important things to keep in mind before your trip is that you may need to get vaccinated, and this usually happens four to six weeks prior to travelling.
Each country and climate has different diseases which you might want to protect yourself against, so it’s a good idea to visit your G.P a couple of months before your adventure with your itinerary in hand so they can advise you about how to proceed. Alternatively, online advice can be found on the NHS website or from the experts at Click Pharmacy where you can get anti malarials for your trip after a consultation.
Vaccinations for diphtheria, polio, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera are available for free on the NHS, while you’ll have to pay for others. It’s also important to be aware that some countries may ask for proof of vaccination before letting you into the country, so this isn’t a step which should be ignored.
Sadly, the arbitrary and imaginary lines which separate countries mean there is no such thing as a spontaneous, freewheelin’ round-the-world adventure. And nope, your RTW ticket won’t grant you any extra privileges in terms of visa waivers or visas added to your package. This is something you’re going to have to take care of yourself.
There is no one size fits all advice for this, as visa requirements differ from passport to passport, entry point to entry point, country to country and more. Some places require a visa in advance, some you can get on arrival and some allow you a couple of weeks travel visa free. Once you know where you’re going to be heading, check out exactly what you need.