5 Tips For Planning Without Compromising Your RTW Freedom

Posted: December 30, 2013 in Round The World, Travel, Travel Tips
Tags: , , , ,

It all sounds amazing right? Load the gear, book a flight then show up in some exotic locale with nothing booked or planned. You know what doesn’t sound amazing? Landing in Bangkok at 1215am without having a place to sleep set up. It sounds pretty awful actually, alone in a massive city in the middle of the night with nowhere to go other than bumming around the airport until daylight. Don’t get me wrong, freedom and spontaneity will be central to my RTW trip but I’m not convinced otherwise that  there aren’t certain things that should be in place before you head off. Too many people take that romantic approach they read about in books and embark without really thinking. Tell us how that goes when you’re at the Vietnamese border without the visa you needed in advance.

Here are my 5 tips to planning ahead and still being able to remain free and unconstrained:

1. Visit A Travel Clinic: See a medical professional that is also well traveled. Find out what vaccines/medications you need or may want to consider. Don’t let a trip be ruined by illness. Colds, nausea and travelers diarrhea can happen to anyone at anytime but Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis etc. are all preventable.

2. Know Your Visas: You may not know every country you will be visiting but at least research the ones you are sure of. Your home country’s Foreign Affairs (or equivalent) website should have info on entry/visa requirements for each nation. In my case I’ve learned that Thailand, Cambodia and Laos will issue me a visa on arrival but I will need one for Vietnam in advance. Next, find out how you can get your visas in advance. Most people will use embassies in other capitals and some can get it done advance at home.

3. Have Your Backup Plans: Have your home life in order. Where is mail going? How are you getting home on short notice in case of an emergency? Who is taking care of finances, bills etc. for you? The answer to these, have a trusted person to take of things for you, though most everything can be managed from your phone or computer nowadays. Have insurance in case of illness or a sudden change plans due to something back home. And the biggest backup plan? Have an emergency credit card or bank account just in case. If you don’t end up needing then those funds can go towards your next travel adventure.

4. Have Accommodations Booked For Your First Few Days:  I have booked my first four nights in Bangkok, after that it is all up in the air. I really don’t want to be scrambling for a place to lay my head when I arrive. Especially after a 28 hour journey. I just want to get to my new temporary home as quickly as possible and begin my travels. I think giving yourself a place to start the journey is helpful, it lets you get settled and have a place not only to stay but a place to plan the next legs of your trip. Choose your initial home away from home wisely, make sure it suits your needs.

5. Read, Read, Read!!!: There is never an excuse for ignorance. There is an infinite amount of information out there on every subject and question you could possible have. Use the books, blogs, guidebooks and websites to your advantage. If you do your research then working your way through the first 4 tips will be a breeze.

There you go, do some planning and research so you can maintain your freedom while traveling. You will not be compromising your dream of a nomadic/vagabond/glorified hobo lifestyle just because you have some ducks in a row.


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