Author: Sean Keener

RTW Basics

Long Term RTW Trips
“RTW trips (in my humble opinion) should last 3-12 months (or more). It takes that long for a person to really relax, change his or her viewpoint on the travel experience, and to remove himself from the trials of everyday life for a long and significant period of time. This is the greatest benefit (and in many ways, largest concern) of an RTW trip.” – Richard Stump
Difference Between RTW and a Vacation
“The difference is: a regular vacation is simply a short break from your everyday life, with all of its ups and downs. A long-term RTW trip, after the first few weeks, becomes your life, and all the stuff that stays in the back of your mind throughout your one- or two-week vacation, stops mattering. There is a freedom in that state of being that is not possible back in the “real” world.” – Tal Gutstadt
Get Your Shots
“Get your first Hepatitis A/B-shot six months before departure!” – Timo Luge
Do What You Want to Do
“Make sure you do everything you want to do, and don’t change your plans for anyone, not even a close friend who you may be going with, you can always go your separate ways and meet up again later, it may be scary but you will love the experience!” – Anne Marie Welden
Cars Are Smaller than in North America
Cars in Europe and other parts of the world are considerably smaller than the ones you will find on North America or Australia’s back roads. Keep this in mind when planning to squeeze 5 people and luggage into a car for a 2-month tour of Europe.
Get a Physical Before Leaving
Get a physical before you hit the road. Many health insurance policies will cover ‘preventative care’ in order to fend off bigger expenses down the road. It’ll give you peace of mind as well.
Set up Pins
Before you go, call your credit card companies and setup PIN codes. These codes will allow you take out cash advances from your cards in case of an emergency. Be forwarded, however: it will cost you.
Look Like a RTW’er
There are a few key items that many people pick up on their RTW adventures that identify them as seasoned travelers: Thai fisherman pants, Vietnamese bamboo hats, Vang Vieng “In the Tubing” tank tops, English “Mind the Gap” t-shirts, African wood carvings, Moroccan drums and Turkish hookas.
Island Hopping Dreams
Although island hopping around the Caribbean or the Pacific Islands sounds like a lot of fun, it’s very expensive. Planning extensive travel in these parts of the world require a lot of dough – or a very good friend with a private yacht.
Declaration Line
The “Declaration Line” at customs isn’t always the nightmare people make it out to be – only if you’re trying to bring in something you shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s actually shorter than the “Nothing to Declare” backup!
Best Language to Know
The best language to know when you’re traveling around the world is English. With the exception of Mandarin, it’s spoken by more people than any other language. When English won’t do, a gesture, smile and the phrasebook at the back of your guide will.

Flight and Jet Lag Tips

Jet Lag Symptoms
Jet lag symptoms are varied – and none of them are fun. Irrationality, disorientation, tiredness, dehydration, sore legs and feet and poor sleep are all nasty side-affects to long flights.
Exercise Helps with Jet Lag
Exercise, as long as it is more than 2 hours before you go to bed, can help with time adjustments and jet lag.
Staying Hydrated
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after a long flight. Yes, you may be going to the bathroom every hour, but flushing out your system and keeping it hydrated is a good thing, we promise. It helps tremendously with jet lag and staying healthy in those germ-infested planes.
Get Some Sunshine
If you cross several time zones and arrive during the day, make sure to head out and get some sunshine. Your internal body clock will adjust easier.
Schedule Flights to Combat Jet Lag When Possible
Make jet lag less of an issue and try to schedule flights that arrive after 8 p.m. local time. People are usually exhausted when they get off a plane and you’ll be more likely to sleep.
Adjust Sleep Schedule Prior to as Long Flight
Be pro-active and combat jet lag before it begins by adjusting your schedule 1 hour a day for a few days before you leave. It will make the time-transition less harsh. On a long flight, if you’re due to arrive in the evening, avoid sleep. Watch movies, listen to music, talk to your neighbors, write in your journal, etc. If you arrive in the afternoon and your body thinks it’s late at night, do whatever you can to stay awake and sleep at normal times. On the same note, if you are due to arrive early in the morning, make sure you do everything possible to sleep on your flight so you arrive rested.
Avoid Sleeping Pills on Flights
When flying, avoid taking sleeping pills whenever possible. These cause little movement (due to your deep sleep) and increase dehydration, two contributing factors to jet lag.
Set your Watch to Arrival Time
When taking a long flight, set your watch to the arrival time zone before you board the plane. It helps your body better prepare for the adjustment.
Consult a Doctor Before a Long Flight
If you have poor circulation or are in ill health, consult with a doctor before embarking on any long flight. Long flights and changes in time zones are very stressful on the body.
Move Around During Flights
When on long flights, walk around often to reduce cramping and swelling of the limbs.
Know the Value of Money
Know the value of the money you are dealing with. Don’t get confused by the conversion rate – you are more likely to get ripped off.
Dress Appropriately at Religious Sites
Dress appropriately when visiting religious sites. This means no shorts or sleeveless tops, in addition to the obvious Xs on midriff-bearing and other scanty items. Not only is it more respectful, in some places you need to be in correct dress to enter.
Know Appropriate Clothing
Research appropriate clothing for the sites and countries that you will be visiting. Determine if you would feel more comfortable in traditional dress, such as a hajib when traveling in the middle east, or a skirt for females when visiting more conservative areas.
Avoid Wearing Military Gear
Avoid wearing military gear – it can get you into trouble with locals, especially if you are wearing offensive clothing or insignias.
Stop Your Mail
Make sure to stop your mail or have it forwarded to the address of a person who cares enough about you to take care of it (and let you know when important pieces arrive).
Seperate Wet Clothes
If you have any wet clothes, separate them into a plastic bag but take them out to dry as soon as possible. Not only is the damp bad for some materials, the mildew smell will take forever to get out of your rucksack.
Jet Lag Adjustment
Your body generally adjusts 1-2 hours of time change per day. So, if you’re traveling to a country 10 hours ahead of your current time zone, expect 5-10 days of recovery.
Ask About Insurance Coverage
Many insurance polices will not cover you for accidents or injuries that occur outside of your home country. Inquire before you go.
International Driver’s License
Some countries will not allow you to drive without a valid international driver’s license – this is a separate license from that which you use in your home country and can usually be picked up for around $30 USD.
Avoid Alcohol on Flights
Avoid alcohol on long international flights – although your wallet won’t suffer if you do indulge, your body will. Dehydration and hangovers are two things your jet-lagged body doesn’t need.
Fly West to East
A majority of RTWers fly West to East, in order to help with jet lag, however, you can fly in either direction.
Country Regulations
Paperwork means more than just visas, insurance and plane tickets. It also includes regulations that you must face once you enter a country. For example, you must register your place of residence in Russia. Failure to do so will result in a fine – one that grows increasingly larger depending on the amount of trouble the police make you think you’ll be in.
Know if the country you are traveling to offers a VOA. VOA stands for Visa On Arrival. Citizens of certain countries are eligible for on-the-spot visas in countries such as Indonesia and Australia, providing that everything is in order (no deportations, criminal record, proof of onward ticket or some baksheesh to bribe the agent, etc.).
Bringing Food into Other Countries
Plants, food and other perishable products must be declared when entering another country: this includes the airplane bagel you stashed in your bag for breakfast. If you do not do so and are caught (which, given the incredible ability of sniffing dogs, is highly likely) a large fine may result.
Know the Fines
If you are going to chance not buying a bus or train ticket, know that fines (and punishment) vary drastically from city-to-city and country-to-country. In some places, you may only be forced to buy a ticket whereas in other places, you must leave the train/bus and pay an exorbitant fine, especially if the ticketing officer holds power (as in, he can arrest you) and is corrupt.
Reset Visas?
Some visas ‘reset’ if you leave the country and come back. For example, a standard tourist visa in Australia is valid for one year. However, you can only stay for up to three months at one time. By leaving the country and going to, say, New Zealand, for a week, your three months ‘reset’ and you have another 90 days in the country before you need to jaunt off again.
Knowing Visa Rules
Although you may not need a visa, there are limits on how long travelers can spend in a country without an extra piece of paper. If going around the world and taking your time with it, make sure you aren’t overstaying your welcome, or deportation can result.
RTW Checklist
Ready to go and unsure if you have everything? Look at our handy checklist for a outline of the most important things to do before you hit the road.
Do Your Health Research
Do your health research before you visit the doctor. He or she may not know what shots you need for your trip into the Brazilian rainforest or what malaria medicine works best in Southeast Asia, so make sure you do.
Visa Restrictions
Even if you think you know your itinerary, look into visa restrictions of the countries neighboring where you will be traveling. There’s a good chance you’ll meet someone at the hostel heading that direction and it’s nice to know if you’ll have the option of joining in the fun, or will be stopped at the border.
Visas are an important thing to consider before you hit the road. Make sure all your paperwork is in order to avoid disappointment or extra costs.
ATW and RTW are abbreviations for the same thing: Around the World versus Round the World. Travelers use the terms interchangeably. BootsnAll uses RTW ’cause we think it makes us sound cooler. Naa-naa!
Length of RTW Trips
Most RTW trips last six months to a year, but the length of your adventure is up to you (and your budget). Some people do fly RTW in a week for novelty’s sake, or to get premier status on airlines, or to pad their frequent flier miles. Others work their way around the globe and have been going for five plus years!