The Prep!

London Travel Blog

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I've been asked ‘How do you plan for a year long trip around the world?’ a few times recently, so I thought I’d put together a quick post to try and answer!

The short answer would be ‘I don’t really know’, which isn’t particularly helpful, I know… A slightly better answer might go something like ‘try not to plan much at all and just go with the flow’, which is exactly what I’ve been doing. I don’t mean doing no planning at all, as that would be silly, but I don’t want to be tied down to a strict schedule, always feeling like I have to be at a certain place at a certain time. I want the freedom to stay longer in a place I really like or move on from a place I don’t like so much. Even though I haven’t done much planning, I have done a fair bit of research!

I’ve always liked the idea of doing an around the world trip, but never thought I’d actually go ahead and do it, but here I am, just a few days away from heading off in to the abyss!

I first thought about doing just the Trans-Siberian Express trip across Russia, but as I did more research into it, I kept adding things on to the start and end of it. My though process was something like ‘Oh, I could always see a bit more of Eastern Europe before heading for Moscow’ and ‘Beijing isn’t all that far from Japan, might as well pop over while I’m in the area’ and ‘Australia is just a hop away from SE Asia, so I might as well go and see my cousin…’ etc. etc etc.....!

I also found the great ‘Man in Seat 61’ website, which describes how you can travel almost all over the world by train and ferry. This was a great resource for sketching out my route and gave me the idea of trying to do most of it overland. As well as being a more eco-friendly way of doing it, I hope it’ll also give me a better chance of experiencing more of the cultures of the countries I’ll be traveling through.

After deciding on a rough route, I started looking at flights for the bits of the trip I couldn’t do by land or sea. I shopped around at a few travel agents, but most of them couldn’t book an around-the-world ticket which didn’t have a first leg leaving the UK or included a UK to Europe leg first. I also looked into booking separate tickets for each of the flights, but this actually worked out being quite expensive and didn’t offer any flexibility. I finally went to a local branch of The Flight Center, who were very helpful and found me a ticket allowing me to fly from London to somewhere in Europe first. Hurrah!

After booking my flights, the next thing on my list was to arrange the visas for some of the countries I’ll be visiting. I decided to just get the Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas before I left, then pick up the rest of them on my way. They were all relatively easy to get; filling in application forms on the embassies web-sites, printing them out and talking them (along with a wad of cash) to their application centers. The Russian visa was slightly trickier, as you need to get a special invite from an official travel agent or hotel in Russia. I didn’t want to book anything before I left, but I managed to find, who can arrange the invitation without you having to make a booking (for a fee, of course). It worked perfectly and I got my visa without any problems!

I’ve also been reading through guide books, websites and blogs (including this very site) to give me ideas about where to go, where to stay, what to do and what to eat. Apart from all of that, I haven’t made any other real plans or booked anything else; I’m just going to take it as it comes!
sarahsan says:
Congrats on todays feature!
Posted on: Jun 19, 2010
asturjimmy says:
have fun and enjoy the magic experience,i am back after 14 months of experiences,places and people
Posted on: Jun 19, 2010
kayguarnay says:
Steve, Looking forward to your updates on here when you get a chance!
Maybe if you are around Italy for a bit longer I could run into you? I'll be living in Palermo for the month of June.
Happy Travels!
Posted on: May 09, 2010
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