It’s not simple to figure out how to explore the world, especially if you’re planning a family trip or attempting to do it on a tight budget.
When assessing your vacation, there are numerous things to consider, such as what to do beforehand and your budget. We’ve put together a guide on how to travel the world to help you get started. It covers everything from how to start planning your trip to how to save money while you’re overseas.
1. Prepare yourself
If you wish to travel the world, you should first make sure you have sturdy luggage, the necessary papers, such as a passport and potentially a visa, and calculate how much vacation time you’ll need.
Prepare your documents.
The Real-ID Act, which tightened security standards for state driver’s licences and ID cards, requires all U.S. citizens travelling domestically by October 1, 2020, to have identification that complies with its requirements.
Residents of 24 states, including Alaska, California, Idaho, Maine, Oregon, and Washington, must obtain a Real-ID compliant card by October 10, 2018, though states have the option to request exemptions until October 1, 2020, when the Real-ID Act’s final phase is put into effect. As a result, residents of those states should frequently check the status of their IDs before travelling.
At some land and sea crossings, passport cards or trusted traveller cards can be used as identification for travel outside of the United States. However, if there’s a chance you might travel by plane to leave or enter another country—where passport cards won’t be accepted—you’ll want to make sure you have a passport book.
Have a passport already? You should confirm that it is still valid for at least six months after the intended trip. That’s because certain nations, including Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Russia, require this to enter their borders. Passport renewal via mail requires at least six to eight weeks; however, for an extra $60 on top of the $110 charge, and in person at a passport centre, people with documentation of overseas travel (such as a flight schedule), may obtain an expedited passport renewal.
Depending on where you’re going and how long your vacation is, a visa can also be necessary for international travel. Some nations have arrangements in place that let visitors enter and exit without a visa. For instance, neither the United States nor Canada requires visas for travel (except under specific circumstances), and the 26 Schengen States of Europe have a system whereby a visa issued by one of the 26 states typically entitles the holder to travel within the other 26 for up to 90 days.
Check the website of the embassy or consulate of your destination to see if a visa is necessary for your travel. For a brief visit, you may be able to travel visa-free in some nations. Others, such as Lebanon, also permit visitors from countries like the United States to obtain a visa upon arrival.
Make a schedule for your vacation.
It can be challenging to work while you’re on the road, but there are a few things you can do that won’t require you to abandon your career to travel the world.
If you work for an organisation that compensates for these days, start by saving your vacation days. PTO Exchange, a company that enables businesses to buy back unwanted vacation days so that workers can convert these days into travel, health perks, or charity credits, is another option for people wishing to trade in vacation days.
Reduce waiting times for security
You can speed up airport entry and exit by enrolling in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
You can breeze through domestic airport security with TSA PreCheck, which costs $85 for a five-year membership, without taking off your shoes, belt, laptop, liquids, or light outerwear. 47 member airlines are currently offering the service in 200 airports throughout the United States.
In addition to providing you with the same accelerated airport security screening as TSAPreCheck, Global Entry, which costs $100 for a five-year subscription, also provides accelerated customs screenings at U.S. airports when travelling from abroad.
Look for work while travelling.
There are several ways you can make money while travelling the world, even if you quit your career to do so.
Because Upwork and similar businesses hire freelancers in a variety of industries, including video production, translation, programming, designing, writing, and mobile development, people may find employment practically anywhere, even while they’re on the go. The amount of money earned depends on the job and the number of hours done, but according to Upwork staff, freelancers frequently earn hourly rates of up to $200.
The Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WOOF), which offers housing at organic farms all over the world in exchange for volunteering on the farm doing everything from feeding livestock and watering gardens to harvesting fruit trees, is another option for finding a place to stay.
Choose the right credit card.
The best travel credit card can help you avoid foreign transaction fees as well as enjoy rewards and benefits while travelling.
Some credit cards have perks for travelling, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee), which provides $300 toward travel expenses, $100 toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, access to tens of thousands of airport lounges, no foreign transaction fees, and a 1:1 point transfer programme to the best hotel and airline loyalty programmes. You can quickly redeem your points for airline tickets, checked baggage, hotel stays, car rentals, and cruise packages with the Bank of America Travel Rewards no-fee card. A minimum of $1,000 in purchases must be made during the first three months of opening your account to qualify for the card’s 20,000 bonus points offer. The card offers unlimited points with up to 1.5 points for every $1 spent.
When it comes to hotel discounts, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card allows you to earn two points at eligible Marriott Rewards hotels and five points at one of the company’s hotels for every dollar you spend.
2. Make travel arrangements in advance
You’re now ready to start planning your trip around the world, which will probably involve purchasing a round-the-world airline ticket, taking a ship, or taking a mix of planes and ground transportation.
The operation of several forms of transportation is described below:
Take a look at a round-the-world ticket.
You can purchase a ticket and travel with several airlines affiliated with one alliance by using round-the-world tickets. However, there are a few rules to remember. Through the major alliances listed below, tickets are typically valid for up to a year, however, travellers are obliged to begin and complete their journeys in the same nation:
- With levels of passes you can pick from based on mile increments, Star Alliance (which includes Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, Austrian, United, and Lufthansa) bases its round-the-world tickets on the number of miles. You are permitted up to 15 stopovers, but you must continue travelling in the same general direction.
- OneWorld offers two alternative round-the-world ticket options, which include American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. While the One World Explorer ticket is based on the number of continents you visit and offers four different mile increments to choose from, the Global Explorer ticket is based on the number of miles you travel. You can take up to four segments (flights) to visit each of the six continents the alliance flies into.
- A year is required for the minimal number of stops on Skyteam’s (Delta, Air France, Korean Air, AeroMexico) round-the-world flights, which also offer theme-based itineraries like beach or history to make ticket booking a little simpler.
Round-the-world tickets can cost as much as $2,000, and Dave Grossman, author of MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points, advises determining whether it is more cost-effective to book individual legs of a round-the-world trip rather than the entire trip by entering the itinerary into Google Flights and comparing the overall price to that offered when building an itinerary out on the alliance websites.
Additionally, you can purchase round-the-world tickets from third-party websites like AirTreks or Flight Centre or through a travel agent. Because they frequently combine individual airline tickets based on the lowest prices to build a round-the-world itinerary, these websites can be less expensive.
Travelers with round-the-world tickets should be aware that missing one leg of their ticket could cause the rest of their journey to be cancelled, therefore it is ideal for those who feel confident planning out a protracted trip well in advance.
Take a world cruise
A world cruise can provide you with the freedom to choose whether you want to focus on one continent or see several, such as going from the United States to Europe. Every cruise has a different itinerary, but world cruises are wonderful for families, retirees, or anyone who doesn’t mind spending three months at sea.
It is occasionally possible to reserve just a portion of a globe cruise, which can last anywhere from two weeks to a month. Prospective passengers must also add a one-way ticket to or from the beginning or finish of their journey to book a segment.
According to Cruise Critic, the price of a world cruise can range from $13,000 to as much as $40,000 per person.
Take a cruise for repositioning.
Consider a repositioning cruise if you want to see the world on a budget. These cruises take place when ships need to move from one area to another. The cruises often take place during transitional seasons like the fall and spring and can cost up to $50 less per day than traditional cruises. Repositioning tickets are frequently offered by cruise lines as one-way routes.
Train travel is an option.
There are a few possibilities if you intend to traverse the world by train. For instance, a few businesses, like Great Rail Journeys, now provide a range of rail passes in addition to round-the-world rail trips.
Amtrak sells U.S. rail passes with 15-day, 30-day, and 45-day pass options that allow travel over eight segments (stops), twelve segments (stops), and eighteen segments for $459 for adults, $689 for adults, and $899 for adults, respectively (stops).
A common way to travel cheaply across continents like Europe is via rail passes. The only train pass that offers unrestricted travel in 28 countries and allows foreigners to tour all of Europe is the Eurail Global Pass. Starting at $600 per person for six days of travel within a month, Eurail offers a choice of rates and time options for its global passes on its official website.
Rome2Rio, which allows you to see all the transportation you may take between two sites and which route will be the cheapest, is a good option for those looking for the least expensive modes of transit, which can include buses or boats. There are also less expensive options, including the Student Agency Bus and Berlinbus, which provide reduced rates on coach lines throughout Europe. You can avoid paying for an overnight hotel by taking one of the many overnight train alternatives offered by Swiss Federal Railways, generally known as SBB.
Know when to make reservations
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number of days before your trip that will guarantee you the lowest airfare. On social media, though, where airlines frequently offer flash specials, travellers can keep a lookout for regular flight discounts. Additionally, some travel applications will notify you when the cost of flights you’re interested in has decreased.
3. Stay away from shady communication and travel costs
Once your journey has begun, there are money-saving ideas and tactics to help you visit every country on the planet. Here are some strategies for saving money while travelling the globe:
Get a city pass.
City-pass choices vary by area, but many of them offer fast-track options to skip lines in addition to free or reduced admission to a city’s key attractions. Some passes, like the Paris Pass, allow access to attractions as well as free transportation within the city. If you’re visiting the United States, you should look at the CityPASS network, which offers discounts on attractions in 12 cities around North America.
Eliminate hidden hotel fees
Ask the hotel if they can waive additional fees for services you don’t use, such as the gym or the in-room safe, to lower hidden hotel expenses (after confirming what hidden fees the hotel charges before you book). Before you arrive, the hotel might be able to take these fees off your tab.
If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, you should read the “terms and conditions” of your reservation and the fine print. This is because some accommodations will charge more for extras like champagne, fine liquor, or particular activities. Keep an eye out for asterisks in promotions and commercials to find these the quickest.
Communicate without charge
When staying in touch with loved ones while away from home is crucial, roaming fees and international calling costs can quickly mount.
Use an Android phone with apps like WhatsApp, Viber, or Skype to make free Wi-Fi calls and text messages. You can also pick up a local SIM card, which is available at vending machines and convenience stores in airports. To obtain your SIM card, use the Local SIM app to find the most advantageous local cellular provider.
Selecting restaurants wisely
Even though sampling cuisine from different cultures is frequently one of the highlights of travel, eating out every meal can get pricey. Avoid eating at eateries close to tourist sites to save some money because they typically have higher costs and lower quality. According to CheapOAir, several travel experts advise making lunch your largest meal because the cost can be half that of dinner.
Check out the freebies offered by hotels and airplanes.
For customers who know to ask, certain airlines and lodging establishments offer complimentary extras. On some Hawaiian Airlines flights, for instance, passengers can ask for ukuleles, while on Southwest Airlines, they can ask for hot chocolate. Additionally, some hotels provide free extras like curling irons, night lights, and chargers at Kimpton Hotels as well as free yoga classes at some Hyatt properties.