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An Epic Guide to RTW Travel

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

There has been a lot of fun stuff going on over at BootsnAll in the past few months, much of it revolving around RTW travel. The RTW Wednesday column that started back in April was the beginning, and since then we have been working hard to revamp, update, and add new content to the RTW section of our site. The result has been a top-notch resource that will guide all wanna-be RTW travelers through the entire process of planning a RTW trip.

If you’re in the dreaming stages, far from actually committing to a trip like this, we have plenty for you. If you’re in this stage, you are probably wondering if a trip like this is even possible for someone like you. You need motivation. You need to hear other’s stories. Luckily we have plenty of resources for you. You may want to start by dispelling the myths of RTW travel, or you can look at what type of people go on RTW trips.

If you’ve already made the decision to go, then planning is on the forefront of your mind. There is so much to think about when planning a trip like this that it makes it difficult to know where to even begin. Planning is what we do best, and we’ve thought about all the things first-time RTW travelers need to know when planning a trip of this magnitude. If short answers to your questions is what you like, then check out the Planning FAQ’s. If you have some time on your hands, then grab a beer, cup of coffee, or drink of your choice, sit down, relax, and go through our epic planning guide. From costs of RTW travel to accommodations to what type of clothes to pack, we have you covered.

We haven’t forgotten about those of you who are actually on the road right now. Unfortunately there are things you simply can’t plan for when getting ready for a trip like this. But we’re here to hook you up with all types of tips and guides to make your trip as great as it can be. Staying healthy while you’re on the road is important, so be sure to read the tips we have for remaining in tip top shape. Some RTW travelers need to work while on the road to supplement their income. If you are one of these people, then read our guide to working on your RTW trip.

We also know that the trip doesn’t end when you come home. If you just returned from a RTW trip, you’re probably suffering from a bit of reverse culture shock. Find out how to cope and how to deal with your wanderlust now that you’re home.

If you going on a RTW trip or planning one now, then I would love to talk to you and get your opinion on the RTW planning process and our RTW Travel Guide. If that describes you, contact the RTW Wednesday column writer, Adam Seper, at adam@bootsnall.com.

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The Myths of Career Breaks

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The idea of a career break is completely foreign to many working citizens of the United States. It’s a concept that has many people saying, “That would be great, but I couldn’t possibly do that.” Too many people have a grave misconception about what a career break actually is and who takes them. Most don’t realize that they, too, can take one if they make it a priority.

Detractors of career breaks define these people as running away from real life, when in fact many will come back with a great number of skills gained. There are all types of career skills that travel can improve, from time management to social skills to learning new languages to dealing with stress. Travel puts people in difficult and uncommon situations and forces them to figure things out.

Still others think that the only people who take career breaks hate their jobs and are in desperate need to find something else. It is true that there are plenty of people who dislike the careers they chose back when they were young and in college, and many career breakers are looking to be inspired and hopefully find a new calling in life. But there are just as many who just want a break from the chaos of everyday life to re-assess their lives, re-focus on their careers, and have an experience that will help their career going forward. Who knows, a career break may be the best career move you’ll ever make.

If the thought of taking a career break, sabbatical, or time off work to travel the world has crossed your mind, it’s time to realize that you’re not alone. There are plenty of others around the world who have done it, are planning to do it, and dream of doing it, and those who have done it are eager to offer tips to help prospective career breakers out. If you don’t already know about Meet, Plan, Go!, then be sure to check out their site and see all they have to offer. They will be hosting an event in 17 cities across the United States and Canada on October 18, with panelists of travelers who have taken the plunge themselves. The audience will be filled with people yearning to take that next step, and the panels will assist and inspire those audience members to get motivated and do it. So if you are anywhere near any of these 17 cities, be sure to check out this one-of-a-kind event.

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“Slow Travel” is Not Limited to “RTW Travel”

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Some RTW travelers may be the checklist type, packing as many destinations/sights/experiences into their RTW trips as they possibly can before they return to “real life,” but most of the people we know who are drawn to long-term travel are far more interested in moving through the world at a slower pace. The point of a RTW trip, for them, is to get away from the hectic pace of life and the feeling that we’re obligated to cram all our travel into bite-sized pieces. There’s no need to sell these folks on the benefits of slow travel.

The truth is, however, that not everyone is interested in taking a RTW trip. The costs of long term travel – both financial and otherwise – may put some people off, even though long term travel in some parts of the world often costs less than living at home, and other people may just not want to put their lives on hold in order to travel for long periods. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – anyone who travels is welcome to do it however they like – and there are still some things that people who don’t go on RTW trips can learn from people who travel slowly.

Even during a one-week break from work or school, it’s possible to embrace some of the elements of slow travel. Instead of booking a whirlwind trip through Italy’s highlights for that week, why not rent an apartment in one city and see what life is like there in the space of seven days? Instead of following the well-worn tourist path of pub crawls and hostel toga parties, why not explore some of the alternative backpacking experiences that lead to connections with real people when you travel? Instead of arriving at your vacation destination with a checklist of “must-see” or “must-do” items to accomplish (like you’ve made your vacation your job), why not arrive with an idea of some of the options available and just wait to see what happens?

Of course the longer you can stay, the better your relaxing experience will be – but slow travel is by no means exclusive to long-term travel.

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Pack Light (and Smart) for Your RTW

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

All travelers have heard it before: packing light saves you time, it saves you money, and it saves you stress. You can get to the airport later, you don’t have to wait forever for your checked bag (if it even shows up), and you won’t have to pay extra to check a bag if you can travel with just a carry-on.

But packing light also requires you to pack smart. No matter how well you think you have packed or how little your bag weighs, you may often find that there are still plenty of useless things that get packed, while other more important items are left behind.  You don’t need to pack for every contingency,  but you should take into consideration what you might need while in a particular place, and how hard it would be to get it. Some countries may not offer all the conveniences of home so if you forget a vital tool or toiletry, it may be difficult or expensive to replace. This is where a little research can help you pack better.

It’s also wise to pack items that do double duty or can serve multiple functions in a pinch. Some people always travel with duct tape, which takes up barely any room and can act as anything from tent repair to bandage when needed. Apply the same rules for clothing, and never bring anything that can’t be mixed and matched with the majority of your other clothes (i.e., no brightly patterned skirt than only goes with one shirt). Of course the packing list for the female traveler will differ a bit for the male; again this is where a little research into which resources will be available at your destination can help you avoid packing what you can find there, and being caught without vital supplies.

While the importance of packing light can’t be disputed, it’s perhaps even more important to pack smart, particularly when embarking on a round the world trip.

Photo by: brunomiranda

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Solo RTW Travel

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

There are a lot of RTW travel myths and misconceptions floating around the world these days. Of course, most of them originate from people who have never taken an extended trip before. They think you have to be rich to do it, and that taking off from your job to travel the world is folly and will mess up your career path for the rest of your life. They say you can’t do it with children or that it’s impossible if you own your home.

But they are all wrong. The real travel truths are that you can do it, in almost any situation or stage of life. It just might not be as easy for some as for others, particularly for solo travelers.

So what if you are by yourself? What if you don’t have a friend or spouse who wants to accompany you on your big trip? Some people say you should just stay home. It’s too dangerous to travel alone (particularly if you are a woman). You’ll get lonely on the road. With no one there to share the adventure, it just won’t be as fun as you think. Again these solo female travel myths are most often
perpetuated by people who haven’t done what they’re warning you against. And those these people often mean the best and think they’re just looking out for you, they are completely misguided and their assumptions are false.

While traveling alone, particularly as a woman in some countries, does put you are slightly more risk, if you use common sense you can reduce your chances of being a target. Knowing the local cultures and customs and taking a few precautions can help. And while traveling alone may seems lonely at first, you’ll quickly discover how eager people are to make friends. If you stay in a hostel, take a class or join a group tour, it’s easy to meet up with like-minded people and travel together for a while. You may make life-long friends on your trip, and you’ll be anything but lonely.

Don’t let the naysayers talk you out of taking your round the world trip, even if you find yourself setting out alone. Traveling solo can be just as rewarding as going with a companion, and once you’re out exploring the world you may find your best travel partner is yourself.

Photo by wanderinghome

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Working Your Way Around the World

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

At first glance, the travel world seems to be firmly divided into two camps: those who have a steady job and income and so only take two to three weeks to travel per year and those who “broke free’” from their job to take an around the world trip, live as a vagabond, or take a long-term career break. But what about the middle ground? What about people who like settling down into a “home,” who love their job or who simply need a steady paycheck and the perks that come with it? Are those people forever limited to short trips a few times a year?

The answer is a resounding no. It is possible to explore more of the world and not sacrifice your career to do so. In addition to shorter-term solutions like taking a career break or a sabbatical, it’s possible to make travel and work a lifelong partnership. The first step is to decide if long-term travel is right for you. Are you comfortable not having a permanent home or with spending long periods away from friends and family? Do you have specific obligations that keep you tied to one place? If the job is the only thing holding you back, you just need to figure out how you can go about getting paid to travel, or more realistically, how to find a job that allows – or even requires – you to travel.

Travel nurses, tour guides, international school teachers, and cruise ship workers all get to see the world as part of their job. However the difference among them (other than the skills required) is that some involved making one place you home for a few months at time while others involve constant movement. Other jobs that allow you to move to a new place or keep traveling are: scuba dive instructor, circus employee, flight attendant, consultant (or freelancer) and many more. If you currently have a job that you can do from home, consider asking to make it a full-time remote working situation. It’s not much of a stretch to go from working from your home in Chicago to working from your home in Paris! So long as you have an internet connection and can be available when the job needs you, many jobs can be done from any corner of the world.

If you think of RTW trips as something that only young people with no responsibilities and no careers can manage, remember that your round the world trip doesn’t have to look exactly the same. If you’re committed to both your career and travel, you can have both by working your way around the world.

Photo by Jeff Henshaw

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Traveling Responsibly on Your RTW

Monday, June 6th, 2011

When planning your round the world trip, the biggest issues on your mind will most likely be: where should I go, how long should I travel for, what should I do, and how much money do I need for my trip? But an equally important though often overlooked consideration is how you can make sure that your presence doesn’t negatively impact an area, eco-system, or culture.

RTW travelers often stretch their travel dollars by spending more time in cheap countries to visit, but few give much thought to how their dollars are being spent and if they are actually helping or hurting the destinations they are visiting. Though these developing countries are inexpensive to visit, many also suffer for social and environmental problems that can be exacerbated by well-meaning but clueless tourists. That why, when it comes to how to travel guilt-free in developing nations, the best thing you can do is to get educated.  Find out what issues the local people and environment of a place are facing and how tourism is affecting it. Choose tour companies, businesses and services that put money back into the community rather than use the money to line the pockets of a multi-national corporation. Make sure local guides are paid an honest wage, and choose volunteering opportunities that contribute to a long-term solution rather than a quick fix to the area’s problems.

Another way to make sure you’re doing more good than harm on your travels is to avoid giving money to people on the street. You may think you are helping, but by giving to beggars you are actually encouraging that behavior. Instead, donate to organized charities that can put the money to better use helping more people.

No matter where you go on your travels, your presence has an impact on the people and place you are visiting. Make sure than impact is a good one by traveling responsible and protecting the world you are exploring on your trip.

Photo by vinylmeister

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To Blog or Not to Blog on Your Trip?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

A quick Google search for “travel blogs” will reveal just how many people out their are documenting their travels. From those who write about a few vacation per year to bloggers who are traveling full time with no home base, there are thousands of people blogging about travel, and new travel blogs are going live every day. Some bloggers just share their stories with friends and family; others are read by tens of thousands of people, often get free travel and other perks, and claim to fun their travels through their blog.

With such easy access to free blogging platforms, and availability of cheap internet connections all over the world, the question may seem like a no-brainer. Of course, you’d want to blog about your trip! You can easily share your travels with loved ones back home, you’ll have a wonderful record of your trip to look back on, and if you can make a little money from the blog, why not?

But while it’s easy to start a travel blog, it’s not as easy to start a successful one. What you may not be prepared for is the amount of work it takes to blog from the road. Internet connections aren’t always available and in some places, it will cost a good chunk of change to upload your text and photos. Do you really want to spend your time in front of a computer screen instead of seeing the world? If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to create a blog on your trip, there’s still no guarantee of success. The best RTW blogs are well-written, engaging, and beautifully designed. If you don’t have the technological skills and the writing prowess to hook your audience, you’ll have a hard time growing your site. And even if you do have an awesome site, you need to spend time promoting it, spreading the world on social media, building your audience, and connecting with advertisers. If you want your blog to be a business, you have to treat it like one, and while some travelers are happy to invest the time, others would rather concentrate on what they set out to do in the first place – travel and experience new things.

If you are serious about starting a blog before your trip and want to make it more than a personal journal to share with loved ones, consider attending a travel bloggers conference or joining some groups to meet fellow bloggers and learn from them.  The good news is that, as with travelers, travel bloggers tend to be a social bunch, more than willing to trade tips and tricks with like-minded people.

A travel blog is a great way to record your experiences and share your adventures with the world, just know that if you’re hoping to fund your travels through blogging, you’ll need to be ready to put in the time and effort to make your site a success.

Photo by TBoard

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How Traveling Can Improve Life at Home

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

For many travelers, going on a trip means more than just going off to explore the world; some some it also represents escape – escape from the boredom of the everyday routine, freedom for an uninspiring job, and a break from the responsibilities of home. At some point, nearly every travel has to return to the reality of home, but that doesn’t have to mean going back to the same life you were so eager to leave in the first place.

Taking a career break or going on a round the world trip is, at its core, all about travel and experiencing the world.  But an extended trip can also have a very big impact on life at home as well. In fact, there are many things to rediscover about home while traveling – even if home is the last thing on your mind while you are gone.  For example, traveling lightly may be a badge of honor on the road, but it can also help you appreciate the “stuff” that comforts you at home. After months of wearing the same two pairs of shoes, you may find yourself thrilled to at the choices in your closet. And after making due with a single warped pan in the hostel kitchen you might ending weeping for joy the next time you cook a meal in your fully-stocked kitchen at home.

A career break can be beneficial in even more ways. Taking the time off to travel can allow you to figure our what exactly you want out of life, focusing your plan instead of wasting away in a job you don’t enjoy. Plus the experiences gained on the road can help prepare you to face challenges in your career and personal life. More and more employers are recognizing the value of travel and how real-life experiences can help employees.

So if you’re considering a long term trip but worried that it could negatively affect your career once you return, fear not. A RTW trip will not only be the experience of a lifetime, but when the trip ends, you’ll find the things you’ve learned will help you on your next adventure at home.

Photo by dahon

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Stop Waiting For Someday and Start Planning Your RTW Today

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

It’s so easy to get caught up in the “somedays” of life. Someday I’ll have enough money. Someday I’ll start exercising. Someday I’ll travel around the world. But when you’re always hoping and waiting for someday to come, you stop living for today, and while it’s important to plan for and dream of the future, unless you start doing something about it now, that someday can easily turn into never.

If you’ve ever thought of planning a round the world trip but kept putting it off until for someday, it’s time to realize that there’s no better moment than now to start making your travel dreams come true. You’re just going to get older, more settled, with more stuff and more commitments that are harder to leave. A RTW trip isn’t going to just fall into your lap, you need to make it happen with small steps that help you reach your goal.

You may not be able to go off on your trip this year, or even next year. But setting a date and making plans to prepare is the only way to make it happen.  Start planning your round the world trip by coming up with a budget and figuring out how long it will take you to put aside the money. Come up with a plan to cut expenses and you can reduce the amount of time by a few weeks, months, or even years.

Check out our round the world travel guide to help get started with a budget, which can vary widely depending on where you go. Obviously travel in developing countries will be cheaper than travel in more Westernized areas like Europe and Australia.  If you plan wisely and pick inexpensive destinations, you may find that living on the road can be cheaper than living at home.

Time passes more quickly than we think, and it’s easy to put things off until someday because yesterday, and we realize we’ve missed our chance. The biggest reason many people site for taking a RTW trip is that they didn’t want to regret not going later.  So start planning today, so that your RTW trip of tomorrow will be here before you know it.

Photo by Metrix X

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