I have a pretty flight-heavy itinerary for my RTW trip, but I will have big overland trips during each leg of my itinerary. When it comes to overland travel planning, I am completely enamored with Rome2Rio and its corresponding app FetchMyWay. These tools can compare thousands of overland travel options to any destination with both cost and time estimates.
I determined fairly early on that anything longer than 10-12 hours on a train or bus is too much for me, particularly in areas where travel conditions aren’t the best. I’ve traveled a lot over the past 10 years, but only in the United States and Europe, never the Third World.
A former coworker and good friend recently landed a stellar internship for this summer working with victims of human trafficking in Greece. It will be her second time out of the country, so I probably shouldn’t have been too surprised to get a flurry of Facebook messages from her over the holidays that ultimately boiled down to “When should I buy my plane ticket?”
I threw out a rough estimate of three months in advance, but I think my follow up to that question — detailing alternative flight search engines and which airlines have the lowest fares — was way more helpful and important. Plus, it got me thinking about how I’m going to book airfare on my RTW trip.
I’ve known for quite some time now that a RTW ticket, even a more flexible multi-stop ticket from Indie, is not for me. I am but one more tick mark in the column of DIY flyers who want the total freedom of booking one-way flights as needed.
Slow travel is one of the things I’m most looking forward to about my RTW trip. In fact, if you never slow down, I don’t think you’re really experiencing long-term travel. Moving at a slower pace is a major part of what distinguishes RTW trips from vacations.
When I was first dreaming of RTW travel, I imagined a two-year trip, where I would pick 12 artistic cities to settle down in every other month and use the interim time to travel from one stop to the next. Sooner or later, reality kicked in and I scaled my plan down to the more common year-long trip. I’d rather adapt my vision to my budget than wait for the “perfect” time to go. The “perfect” time doesn’t exist.
In reevaluating where I’ll go and when I can leave, I must also reevaluate when and where I’ll enjoy the benefits of slow travel.
I’m a strong advocate of telling friends and family sooner rather than later about long-term travel aspirations. It may seem a bit like “coming out.” But the more you talk about your plans, the more committed you’ll feel and the more likely they are to become a reality.
I’ve been very fortunate not to meet with any resistance in my personal life. Let’s chalk that up to one of the pros of introversion. Because I’m so cautious about developing close relationships, those close relationships are truly supportive and worthwhile. Quality over quantity.
Where I’ve encountered far more difficulty is in my professional life. I told my boss back in May during my annual review about my long-term plans. Lucky me, he joined the chorus of supportive voices. I work for a small company, and no one has entertained any fantasies of my staying in this entry level position forever. I’ve already stuck it out far longer than many of my predecessors.
When I started planning my RTW trip, I thought I’d need $20,000 for my travel budget – essentially a full year’s salary for me. Turns out that number is pretty accurate. But in the past week, I’ve learned a lot about where that $20,000 will come from.
There may be quite a few odds and ends missing from BootsnAll’s budget calculator. This actually turned out to be a useful tool for me in forcing me to reevaluate my travel budget.
Taking the time to cut my expenses beyond a few initial changes, and realizing how much I can earn by selling my stuff has made a big difference. I’ve also taken two extra steps that BootsnAll doesn’t ask for at this stage of its planning course. I estimated how much I’ll save on flights by using frequent flier miles. I also added how much income I plan to make by working on the road.
Travel is more affordable than you think. Many people assume that traveling is a luxury they can’t have, but if you’re a middle class American, that’s simply not true. Take a close look at your spending habits and see how much disposable income you really have. If you start saving that money instead, your dream trip is well within reach. A million travel bloggers have said it before, and I’m here to join the chorus. It’s all about your priorities.
That said, when you’re saving for a RTW trip on a twentysomething’s income, progress can seem unbearably slow. Sometimes, you need to give your savings a bigger boost to feel motivated. Here are a few ways I made bigger additions to my savings account for RTW travel.
When I decided to take a RTW trip, I made a lot of very common expense cuts to save for travel. I got rid of a couple budget black holes like my rapidly aging car and cable TV. I reduced unnecessary spending like going out for coffee or dinner on a frequent basis.
It still feels like I could be doing more, though. So my New Year’s Resolution for 2016 is to find more creative ways to boost my savings.
It’s very easy for people who don’t travel regularly to assume that the cost of traveling for a year is 52 times the cost of their average week’s vacation. Fortunately long-term travel isn’t nearly that expensive. Unfortunately, there’s also no magic number.
There are a ton of tools I’ve used over the past year or so in figuring out how much money I’ll need for my RTW trip. As a self-proclaimed organization nut, I personally love the DIY method. Nothing makes me happier than researching travel, comparing flight costs across various aggregators or testing out different combinations of cities to see which is cheapest. It is my absolute favorite dorky pastime.
But there are also a lot of budget calculators that claim to do that legwork for you. How do they stack up?
When I was first thinking about long-term travel, my perfect RTW route hit every continent and focused on hubs of arts and culture. I’d spend a full month in one city, spend the next month making my way to the next stop, later, rinse, and repeat.
Somewhere along the past year, though, I determined that I’d rather leave sooner and do less. Instead of visiting every continent, I’d focus on just three with four months in each. But for quite some time, I’ve been stalled by my own indecisiveness.
Do I trace Africa from Cairo to Cape Town – something I would likely only be able to do during a long-term trip? Or do I take it easier on myself and visit the few European spots that have yet to be ticked off my bucket list?
It’s time to break the rut.
I thrive in a world of possibility.
I often joke that I’m allergic to making the same recipe twice. When I cook or bake, I’m often trying something new and it’s only my absolute favorite dishes that get a reprise.
When I was still in the dating world, I looked less for a long-term partner and more for a string of interesting conversations.
I typically find myself in jobs where I juggle a wide range of responsibilities. Stressful as it is, I would probably get bored with a position where I didn’t have a variety of tasks I could complete. A little bookkeeping here, a few minutes of digital marketing there, an event to plan once in a while.
But even with that widely varied job description, is walking into the same building at the same time and answering the same questions every day actually a world of possibility?
Do people maintain the status quo because it’s really a better lifestyle, or is it just an easier choice to make?