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FAQ – Where Do I Begin Planning a RTW Trip?

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What’s The First Thing I Should Consider?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, but there are certainly items that take priority over others. Deciding on where to go and a budget seem to be the first things travelers think about when planning a RTW trip, and either are a good start.

Say I Start With Where To Go. What Next?

The best way to get started is get out a notebook or open a word doc and start making lists. Are there any countries/cities/sites you’ve always dreamed of visiting? Write them down. Go to your local library and check out guide books (they may be old, but that’s OK-we aren’t worried about costs yet, which is the main downfall of older guidebooks) or head to your favorite travel websites and start reading. Research areas of the world you want to visit, and write them down.

Since I Plan On Traveling For A Year, I Will Be Able To Go Everywhere. Why Do I Need To Prioritize?

Ahhh, the biggest misconception that first time RTW travelers make is that they will be able to go everywhere. Let’s keep it simple. You won’t. Period. A RTW trip is not a vacation. Long term travel gets exhausting after a while, and moving fast and trying to see everything will wear you out very quickly.

Do I Have To Make Firm Decisions Now?

Of course not. Your itinerary is most likely going to change dozens of times over the course of the planning process. The key in this stage of the game is to get a list of must-sees together.

How Many Must See’s Should I Have?

It’s all subjective, but be aware that the more you have, the harder it will be to design your itinerary and the more restrictions you will have. It’s probably wise to get a short list of must-sees together and have a secondary list of places you really want to see but won’t be heartbroken if you miss. The best mindset to have is that you will be able to see those places on a future trip.

I Don’t Think I’m Going To Have A Lot Of Money. Do I Need To Take That Into Account?

Yes, you do. Even though you probably don’t have a budget set yet (we’ll get to that soon), you do need to keep that in mind. If the majority of your must-sees are in expensive to travel in regions like Europe, North America, Australia, or New Zealand, it is going to be much more expensive.

I Won’t Have A Lot of Money, And Many Of My Must See’s Are In Expensive Places. What Should I Do?

Everyone has to make tough decisions when planning a RTW trip, because as you know, you can’t go everywhere. So you have to ask yourself, “Do I want to travel longer and sacrifice some of my must-sees, or make my trip shorter and experience all the places on my wish list?”

I’m More Concerned With My Budget. Can I Start There Instead?

Of course you can. The vast majority of us who take a RTW trip are pretty restricted with our budgets, so it makes sense to start there before choosing where to go.

Where Do I Even Begin With My Budget?

If you don’t already have a budget tracking your income and expenses, start now! Open up a spreadsheet and start tracking it that way, or start an account on a budgeting site like Mint (it’s free) that makes it super easy to track where all your money is going.

I’ve Never Really Done This Before. How Does It Work?

Basically you need to figure out how much you’re spending each month vs. how much you’re bringing in. If you’re already spending less than you bring in, congratulations, this process will be much easier. If not, then it’s time to really re-assess where you’re spending your money and figure out ways to cut back (or find ways to make more-preferably do both). Once you’re at the point where you are spending considerably less than you are bringing in, then you can really start planning. If you can save, let’s say, $1000/month, you will be able to save about $12,000 over the course of a year. That’s a great start.

Once I Figure Out How Much I Can Save Per Month, Then What?

There are still so many factors in play, but it’s all a matter of how soon you want to be on the road and how long you want your trip to be. Once you have a rough idea of how much you can save per month and when you want to depart, you can start thinking about destinations and prioritizing your must-sees.

Once you get the budget and your must-sees in place, it’s off to the next step of the planning process, Costs of RTW Travel

For more information about Where To Begin, including a checklist to keep you organized throughout the whole planning process, check out this article.

Next RTW FAQ-Costs of RTW Travel »

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