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Planning for an Extended, Around-The-World Trip

What an adventure it would be to travel around the world, but also what a headache in preparing for it. Many of us might be extreme and print off every piece of information that we can from the internet and end up with a 400 page book. Others of us might buy every book that pertains to world traveling, and after all of this we may still not feel fully prepared. Although being prepared for this journey is essential, is is not something to run a marathon for. It is a great idea to make a rough itinerary which includes countries you want to visit and worthwhile things you would like to see and do along the way. Although it is essential to have the right paperwork with you and to have it organized, try not to overplan. Chances are, those plans will just go right out the window the moment you visit your first destination. Some of the best information that you can obtain will come directly from other travelers or locals, your lodging, and from tourist bureaus.

Part of the thrill of this kind of traveling is the unknown. Who knows, if you had stuck with your original plan you may not have had the chance to discover a little town with rich history, stay at a sheep farm in New Zealand, or spend time with native tribes in the Malaysian jungle.

Once you have taken the time to take care of all the little details and mapped out a semi-loose travel plan, simply let the road unwind before you. These tips will greatly help you prepare for this great experience to travel overseas.

Organize

Often, when traveling overseas, especially an around-the-world trip, you will be gone for quite some time. It is a good idea to find someone to watch over your residence, or even house-sit for you. You also might want to rent the place out until you return. If this is the case,you may want to store some of your things outside of the home. It is best to find a secure, indoor facility that is temperature controlled, so that nothing gets moldy or damaged.

Money

The amount of money that you will need available depends on what type of  traveler you are. Ask yourself these questions; Do you plan on staying in a budget or 5-star accomodation? Are you going to eat at restaurants, roadside vendors, or stock up at the grocery store? What are the activities you are planning? Are you going to take scuba trips, soak in a Swedish spa, or discover the city for yourself? Whatever you plan on doing, you will need money to do it. Make sure that your bank is aware of the trip so that they do not put a freeze on your account when they see abnormal spending.

It is a good idea to bring many different forms of money with you. You could take an ATM card, credit card, or cash to cover your bases. Many credit cards have extended their plans to work worldwide, it is best to sign up for one of these cards.

Traveler’s checks are a safe way to go when traveling. American Express, Visa, and Thomas Cook traveler’s checks are the most widely accepted. Also, carry some cash in different dominations, more one’s and five’s. and a few 20’s, but don’t carry bills higher than this.

Passports

It is absolutely essential when visiting various countries that you check out the passport and visa requirements. Well in advance of your departure, prepare to obtain your passport. You can get a passport application at various passport agencies in major US cities, at post offices, and online at travel.state.gov. Beware, applications usually take about 6 weeks to process, so this is something you need to plan in advance for. Passports cannot be obtained at the last minute. The cost varies depending where you get it, but it is usually between $85 and $150. If you already have a passport, check the expiration date, because many countries require it to be active for 6 months after your visit. You can renew your passport at the above mentioned website address for about $40.

Vaccinations

Visiting a foreign country usually presents the issue of possible sickness. For one, it is a new environment that your body isn’t used to, and you will most likely be around people and things that could spread disease. To fully enjoy your trip, not worrying about catching a disease, make sure your vaccinations are up to date. Many vaccinations require several injections over the course of weeks or months, so visit your doctor early enough to take care of these critical vaccinations.

Most countries require you to present an International Certificate of Vaccination, which gives a record of all the shots you’ve been given and proves to border officials that you are clear to enter their country. The certificate must be valid and signed by your doctor.

It is exciting to travel abroad, especially to less developed countries to truly discover the adventure that awaits. However, if this is the travel course you are taking, make sure to ask your doctor if there are any other vaccinations that you should receive. You also might want to carry syringes with your own needles in case of an emergency.

Be Culturally Sensitive

A great way to respect and honor the culture that you are visiting is to research it a little beforehand. You possibly may want to learn the language a little, become familiar with their customs and traditions, and use the correct manners. For example; Is it expected to take off your shoes when entering a house? Do men take off their shirts in public? Many lesser-developed countries have scant resources, like food and water, so be courteous when taking a shower and eating. The 20 minute shower that you may take at home, may be a whole weeks worth of water for a family.

Staying Healthy

There is an old saying that may prove to be a big help to you, “boil it, peel it, or forget it.” It is best to avoid circumstances that may bring on sickness when you can. Foods that are best to stay away from in foreign countries are salads, raw veggies, fruits cultivated in the ground or fruits that can’t be peeled, and tropical reef fish that may be found in tropical areas of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Also be sure to only eat fresh meat and seafood that has been prepared right in front of you, or by someone that you trust.

Only drink water that’s been purified and filtered. There are different devices that you can obtain that filter out and kill practically all harmful bacteria and parasites.

Some of the “do’s” on the list include; eat plenty of yogurt that contains the live bacteria acidophilus, protect yourself from mosquitos which may cause dengue fever by day and malaria by night, and make sure lakes, streams, ponds, or rivers that you may be swimming in don’t contain harmful parasites.

Wherever you go, always have a mini first aid kit with you that contains the essentials, plus oral rehydration salts and anti-diarrheaal tablets. Another great item to take along is Stephen Bezruchka’s book, “The Pocket Doctor: Your Ticket to Good Health While Traveling”.

This trip is going to be a great experience, but only if you are prepared and don’t find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere. By following these guidelines, you will be sure to have the right stuff with you and enjoy your extended trip. Although it is good to plan, try not to over-plan. Doing this will just cause a headache and waste precious time that you could be traveling the world. Most likely any specific plans you made beforehand will just go right out the window when you begin your trip.