Round the world travel is something that tons of people add to their ‘things to do before I’m 30′ list, and it’s certainly not a wasted trip. There’s a lot to be learnt from extended overseas travel, and not only in terms of experiencing what other countries and cultures are like. Round the world travel takes months, a certain degree of physical fitness and a great deal of mental strength. Depending on the destinations you set for yourself, it can become more than a long holiday and more of a challenge.
Everyone’s first thought is ‘what should I pack?’ and while this is one of the last stages of preparation, it’s still an important one. We recommend you make use of lists, checklists and more lists so that you don’t forget anything. With that said, travel light. Consider that necessities like socks can be purchased almost anywhere in the world, so rather than take your entire sock drawer, take your three favourite pairs and wear them until they break, then buy more. Research materials and invest in practical clothing (for instance, natural materials are less likely to cause sweating and therefore need washing less often).
However, you can make all the checklists in the world and none will prepare you mentally. How you prepare should depend on your individual situation, your ability to adapt to new settings and the amount that you’ve traveled in the past. Have you come across any problems in the past when you’ve traveled? Lots of people find themselves getting grumpy when they’re tired, or homesick after one week. Think over if there are any ways to overcome those emotions, or avoid the events that provoke them entirely. For instance, if you’re an anxious person then traveling around the world is a big undertaking. In this case you should have something you can always fall back on for guaranteed comfort. That might be a meditation, a day off sightseeing to spend alone or a long phone call to a family member. Whatever it is, just making sure it’s available while you travel might make the difference between an anxious trip and a pleasant one. You might find you never use your comfort backup, but just knowing it’s there if you need it will help.
Regardless of the kind of trip you’re planning, physical preparation should be at the top of your list. You’ll know what kind of things you want to do on your trip and hopefully that means getting the most out of it. To get the most out of it you need to be active for long periods, so working out for a month or two in advance of your leaving date will put you in good stead to enjoy your journey. Even if you’re not planning hikes or dives, just being able to get from airport to airport without feeling exhausted or pulling a muscles dragging suitcases around will be an advantage.
Defining a physical, mental and practical schedule two or three months before you leave for round the world travel is a great idea. Obviously you’ll need to tweak it to suit the kind of travel you’re undertaking (i.e. more than three months of physical preparation if you’re going on a hiking expedition), but this kind of time frame should be enough to ensure you’re prepared, but not losing your excitement or motivation. Try not to ignore your own instincts about what you need for the journey; nobody but yourself can tell how you will react to such an experience.