How to Plan a Round the World (RTW) Trip | Real Gap Experience Blog

How to Plan a Round the World (RTW) Trip

Fancy the idea of travelling the world, but not entirely sure where to start? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Thousands of travellers each year take the plunge and book a RTW trip – and most of them aren’t sure exactly what they’re doing, either. Take it from us though, that world travel is by far the most exciting thing you’ll ever do, and if you’ve got time on your side, why not make the most of it and tick three or four countries (or more) off your list? As most travellers only get to take a RTW trip once in their lives, we want to help you make the most of the experience, so here are a few pointers to get you started…

 

1. Budget

Your very first question when planning a round the world trip should be, ‘How much can I afford to spend?’. It’s a huge deciding factor in where you’ll go, how long for, and how much you can pack into the time you have. There are round the world trips to suit every budget, but be realistic – don’t pluck a figure out of the air without knowing how much money you can realistically save up before embarking on a travel adventure. Having a monthly goal to work towards is a good start, and it’s better to take a little longer to save than rely solely on credit that will leave you with a chunk of debt to pay off when you get back.

 

2. Time

Do you know how much time you have to play with? If you’re taking a gap year following education, do you want to travel for the entirety of your year off, or are you hoping to get in some work experience at home before taking the next step in your life? Some RTW trips include paid work abroad packages, so you could have the best of both worlds. Perhaps you’re taking a well-deserved break between jobs, or are able to take a sabbatical from your current job – flexibility in the dates you travel can help to save money, so do your research and talk to us before downing tools at work. If you can’t take a sabbatical and need to be able to work travel plans around your annual leave, don’t despair, some RTW trips only require a month or two to complete. Be smart about booking time off, incorporate as many weekends and bank holidays as you can into your travel time to save on the amount of time you take off work.

 

3. What type of travel?

What are you looking for in a round the world trip, or any type of travel for that matter? Is it adventure you’re after? A chance to trek the Himalayas, Great Wall of China, or the Inca Trail? Maybe you’re an adrenalin junkie and want the opportunity to skydive, parasail, rock climb, zip line, or bungee your way around the world? More of a sun worshipper, or sightseer? Looking for work or want to volunteer at a rewarding community project? That’s fine, there are plenty of trips that incorporate all of these things, but decide which are most important to you and pick your trip accordingly. We can advise you which countries are best-suited to your preferred activities if you haven’t decided where you’re going yet.  

 

4. Weather

Weather will be the most unpredictable factor during your travels, and as long as you don’t expect to have perfect weather for the entirety of your travels, you should be just fine. Pick a couple of key destinations that you consider to be the most important in your trip and do your research into the best time of year to visit. You might need to take monsoon or seasonal weather into account, depending on where you’re going, so make sure you know the best times of the year to go – it might be a bit disappointing if you can’t go on specific excursions or try out certain activities because they’re weather-dependent, so be aware of weather patterns before booking.

 

5. Flights

Once you’ve plotted out your perfect route, you’ll need to work out how you’ll get to each destination, and sorting out lots of different flights takes a lot of planning and effort. Your best bet is to get a specialist flights team to combine your flights into one simple package for you – they’ll find the best flight times and prices to make your travels as easy and hassle-free as possible. Our in-house flights team are experts at planning world travels, and can find you the best deals, which could end up saving you a lot of money that would be better spent during your travels. You can give them a call on 01892 277037 or ask for a quote.

 

6. Travelling solo, or with a pal?

Most world travellers, believe it or not, choose to travel alone, preferring not to have someone else’s interests and whims having an impact on what they want to see and do. They’re happy to make new friends on their travels instead. Group tours are fantastic for lone travellers, especially first-time world travellers, as it gives you the opportunity and freedom to discover new places for yourself, but with the added bonus of having a tour leader on hand to show you the best bits of the countries you visit, as well as a group of likeminded people to make friends with and spend time with as and when you like. Of course, this suits friends travelling together too – and means there’s likely to be fewer disagreements between you when there are others travelling in the same group!

 

7. Post-booking

So, you’ve finally decided where you’re going, how long you’re going for, when you’re going, and how much it’s going to cost – great! The first thing you need to do, once you’ve booked your trip, is secure your flights and sort out travel insurance – we can help you with both. Make sure you know what visas you’ll need, whether you require a work permit or DBS check, and apply for these in good time – again, we can help you apply for these. You’ll also need to visit your GP or travel clinic in case you need vaccinations or require prescription medication for your travels. Try and factor this in a couple of months before you’re due to fly out, to give your surgery time to assess what you’ll need and to book you in for an appointment – some vaccinations need to be administered a number of weeks beforehand to be completely effective, but check the details with a medical professional. Once you’ve got all that sorted, all you need to think about is what you’re going to pack. Top tip: pack light, you won’t need half the things you think you will, and what you don’t have on you, you’ll be able to buy anywhere in the world – towels, shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste are typical space-wasters that can be bought in any country, so leave them at home and keep some space for travel souvenirs instead. Once you've booked, check out our more detailed blog on what to do next here.

Most of all, enjoy planning your round the world travels – it’s part of the adventure! If you want some pointers or ideas on world travel, or to discuss a tailor-made trip, get in touch with us on 01892 277040, speak to us on chat, or email us at [email protected]. We also have plenty of RTW trip example itineraries here to give you a helping hand. 

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