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How to Plan a Backpacking Trip Around the World in 23 Steps

Since my travel plans are now all out in the open, I’ve had to actually start preparing for my Big Trip (that’s what I’m calling it…for now). How do you go about the process of leaving your job, your city, your apartment and then going somewhere in the world? I have no freaking idea!

Just kidding. I’ve got a little bit of an idea. Here’s what my process has been like up until today:

  1. Decide to take a RTW (round-the-world) trip.
  3. Make a plan and a budget.
  4. Start reading useful web sites. And blogs. Lots of blogs.
  5. Save money. Stop buying things you don’t need.
  6. Tell your parents.
  7. Revise your plan.
  8. Save MORE money.
  9. Tell your friends. But not all of them.
  10. Change your plan AGAIN.
  11. Go to a travel clinic. Get vaccinations before your health care disappears.
  12. Keep saving money.
  13. Start getting rid of your stuff.
  14. Quit your job.
  15. Okay, now you can tell more of your friends.
  16. Is all your stuff gone yet? Hardly. Time for Craigslist/Gumtree.
  17. Probably time to revisit your itinerary/plan…again!
  18. Buy things you’ll need. Like a backpack.
  19. Make plans to see people before you leave. This is the fun part.
  20. Start throwing things out. Recycle. Freecycle. Goodwill.
  21. Cancel/forward accounts, mail, etc.
  22. Make a MASSIVE to-do list of everything you forgot to do. There are more people to see, more things to buy, more things to sell, more things to store, more bookings to make, more bookings to cancel.
  23. Get on an airplane to somewhere.
  1. Adam says:

    I've known a few people who've done that and it's worked out well for them. I'm a little more skeptical of that process, but who knows what I'll be up for once I'm jobless and homeless in a few weeks!

  2. Dave Dean says:

    Hey Adam, nice list! Tho I think you forgot an important step somewhere between 14 and 23 … “wonder what the hell you're doing and why you're leaving your job, friends and family to travel round the world, have a minor breakdown about it, then pick yourself up and carry on regardless”. I know I did the first time I went travelling!

    Oh, and I wrote a post about step 18 recently, if it'll help! :)

    Good luck!

  3. You should add in there-take part in a clinical study-not much effort, but big bucks!

  4. Adam says:

    Haha… yeah, I suppose I've probably been freaking out continuously for the past few months, mixed with occasional moments of extreme happiness & optimism.

  5. Adam says:

    Thanks Dave!

    I only reached step 14 on Monday, so…. there's still plenty of time for more freak-outs.

  6. Earl says:

    You only freaked out once? Well, done! I think I freaked out after every step the first time around…

  7. Heather says:

    Ha — yeah, I think there might be a major freak out or two but then, at least for me, I've felt excited and terrified every day for the last 2 months.

  8. Stephanie says:

    exhausting. Sometimes I just want to be off already!

  9. Adam says:

    Excited and terrified pretty much sum up my life.

  10. Adam says:

    Only sometimes?!

  11. Adam says:

    Thanks Dina!

    Step 22 pretty much involves freaking out as well. So much to do in so little time!

  12. SHABL - Rob says:

    Hey, last time I didn't see thsi box, I must of been on Ludes.

    Here are the only steps you need:

    1) Decided to go
    2) Secure passive income
    3) Sell Everything you Own (Kept car coz I like having it in the summer)
    4) Quit your job
    5) Book a ticket anywhere
    6) buy a backpack the day before you leae
    7) Go for it and let the people you meet guide your future

    That said, cool post and good luck man!

  13. Adam says:

    Good idea Scott! It feels really good to be so far along–and almost on the road!

  14. Adam says:

    haha thanks Rob.

    Securing a passive income sounds pretty sweet to me. That's an ongoing project of mine until it becomes a reality!

  15. I love this list! I will send it to my friends that is thinking of backpacking, but still not out there yet!!

    It's great that you only list the freaking out once! My freaking out moment was not early on the list, but like a few days before actually closed and left our apartment: we didn't allocate enough time to close up the apartment, everything was so last minutes – we didn't sleep the last night before we left!

  16. Scott says:

    Great list. Put it up somewhere you notice and start crossing them off!

  17. Candice says:

    I think I'd have to do Step #8 repeatedly.

  18. Haha, fantastic list Adam. Number 2 is definitely a good one, but so are all the plan revisions.

  19. Adam says:

    True – but once you learn HOW to save money, it becomes a lifelong habit. Or so I hope!

  20. Adam says:

    I can't tell you how many times I've changed my plans! Too many, probably. And it's just going to change again when I'm out in the world, but you do seem to get used to it after a while.

  21. Adam says:

    If I've learned anything, it's that planning a RTW trip involves freaking out just about every step along the way!

  22. ottsworld says:

    What a great take on RTW travel! I think I need to insert #2 after #6 for my parents…

  23. Raam Dev says:

    Haha, awesome list. I can relate to so many of these! I went through the exact same things when I decided to become a nomad and start my journey in India.

    You missed two big parts though (at least they were big for me). The first part is passing in that resignation letter at work, further solidifying the reality of your future.

    The second part is about buying the plane ticket online and pressing that “Purchase” button. It was quite scary and thrilling at the same time. :)

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  25. Ayngelina says:

    Hmm I think there are definitely more freak out stages, like right after you buy your ticket you want to puke, as well as the night before you leave.

  26. Adam says:

    True that.

  27. i love travelling says:

    great article i love traveling other country thanks for sharing your thought . this is great help . Travel Tour Guide

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