Thinking about traveling the world? From planning to preparation and destination research to general travel tips, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Our guide has you covered with all the basics.
But if you really want to get the most out of your globetrotting, connect with Fora to plan and book your trip. We can be as hands-on or hands-off with the travel planning as you prefer, all while unlocking VIP perks and more at hotels and other services around the world. It’s like having a friend on the inside, feeding you local- and expert-sourced intel on everything from hidden gems to must-see sights.
Want to get the lowdown on world travel, first? Read on.
First, what does it really mean to travel the world?
“Traveling the world” doesn’t have to mean visiting every single country in existence — although, that’s certainly a stellar goal.
For many travelers, it simply means embarking on a grand, multi-stop vacation where you’ll be able to immerse yourself in many cultures, try new experiences and sample global gastronomy over an extended period of time, perhaps weeks, months or even years.
You might start with the best places to visit in Arizona and end up somewhere among the best places to stay in Japan — or any number of destinations. It’s a deeply personal experience, and one that you get to dictate (but we can certainly help, of course).
Traveling the world: how do you start & FAQs
Before we get to our tips, let’s clear up some commonly asked questions about traveling the world.
Is it actually a good idea to travel the world? Or is it better to choose specific destinations? Are there places to avoid?
On the surface, traveling the world or sticking to specific destinations are perfectly fine options.
Want to live out your Spain bucket list, lounge at a stunning Bahamas resort, stay at a lavish hotel in Dubai and then check out the most fun places to go in Utah — all across the span of a few months? Awesome. Want to take a few years off while you quite literally put the meaning of “traveling the world” to the test? Even better.
However, there are certain places that should be avoided regardless of where you’re coming from. We won’t go into specifics, but this would include dangerous and so-called “dark tourism” destinations — that is, sites of recent natural disasters, war zones, nations with clear policies of xenophobia…you get the idea.
Of course, when we say “dangerous,” we’re not referring to adventure. If you want to zipline through tropical jungles, raft down rough rapids, climb extreme peaks, safari through African savannas (responsibly, of course) or do any other adrenaline-pumping activity? Amazing.
How much does it cost to travel the world?
There’s no one answer to this question, sadly. Still, it’s wise to be realistic. Traveling the world is an incredible endeavor that will likely require significant investments in time and capital.
While it’s difficult to put an exact price tag on a trip of this magnitude, it’s fair to expect the total cost to be measured in the tens of thousands of dollars — and considerably more for luxury travelers. As you can imagine, the number of destinations, type of accommodations you seek and duration of your trip are just a few of the most important factors (this is something a Fora Advisor can help you with).
Is there a “best age” to travel the world?
So long as you’re of sound mind and body, not at all. Traveling the world is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life, full stop. That’s true whether you’re 18 or 81 (and beyond). Similarly, accessible travel is increasingly prevalent worldwide. Travel is for everyone.
Where should you start your trip around the world?
That’s purely up to you, though it’s worth considering transportation options to and from your intended destinations. Some places, like Portugal, are notably easier to travel to from anywhere in the world than, say, Antarctica (consider the best places to visit in Portugal).
Moreover, traveling from transportation hub to transportation hub is much more cost effective than exploring rural regions one after the next. That doesn’t mean the latter isn’t doable — it totally is — but it does add to travel times, costs and so on.
Need help deciding where to start your around-the-world trip? Connect with Fora.
When’s the best time to start traveling the world?
On the one hand, warmer seasons are typically more travel-friendly — unless you’re in a destination that’s prone to adverse weather.
For example, traveling to the American Gulf Coast in July or August, the height of hurricane season, probably isn’t wise. Nor is traveling to Phoenix, AZ or Marrakech, Morocco during the same period, because of the extreme heat.
On the other hand, you also don’t want to be stuck in snow-prone destinations in winter, when flights are regularly canceled or delayed (see the best places to visit in December).
Ultimately, there isn’t a good or bad time to start traveling the world. Instead, you have to consider when it’s the best time to visit specific places.
(If you are interested in visiting the American Gulf, check out our guide to the best time to go to New Orleans.)
How long do you need for a 'round-the-world trip?
This is your trip; you get to decide how long you need — or at least, you have to consider how long you can fund your trip.
That said, it is wise to consider how much time you should spend in each place. Doing a little bit — okay, a lot — of research beforehand will help you avoid extended tours of places you’re less interested in while budgeting more time for places in which you are.
Traveling the world: how to prepare for your trip
Preparing to travel the world isn’t something most people can just wing. It can take weeks or months of preparation. Here are some factors to think about.
Establish your travel window
Even if you’re keeping your travel window open-ended, it will be helpful to plan ahead through the first few chapters of your trip (which could be days, weeks, months…). Sticking to a general game plan can help you budget your time and money and establish a rhythm for visiting additional places.
This game plan doesn’t have to be rigid, though. In fact, you may find yourself with regrets if you’re overly strict about keeping to it. Inevitably, some locations are going to resonate with you more than others, and you don’t want to waste time and money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Get your documents in order (passport, visas, IDs…)
Few things ruin a trip abroad more quickly than an expired passport. Long before you embark on your world travels, you need to make sure that your passport, visa applications and any other relevant documents are ready.
The exact nature of these documents is going to depend on where you’re going. Different countries have different entry and exit requirements. Learn the requirements of the destinations you’re interested in and take the appropriate steps well in advance. Otherwise, your trip may get unexpectedly shortened.
And you guessed it: this is also something a Fora Advisor can help you with.
Choose & plan travel to your destinations ahead of time
Again, this doesn’t have to be concrete — it’s possible to maintain spontaneity — but the more you plan in advance the more you’re likely to save on time and money. This doesn’t just apply to things like accommodations and vehicle rentals, but also clothing (a destination may be warmer or colder than you expect), food and entertainment.
For instance, visiting the best places in Spain for first timers is best done in the shoulder seasons (depending on what you want to do, of course). If you go when it’s warm, you may find that the crowds dampen your trip. Or if you go during the low season, you may miss out on cool events or other experiences.
Again, plan and book your trip with Fora and we’ll help you sort out all the details, no matter the destination.
Research the cultures of the destinations you’re planning to visit
Whether it’s your first time in Japan, Egypt or Norway, you'll benefit from prior cultural research. Learning the do’s and don'ts of a particular location can save you embarrassment — or worse. On the flip side, it will help you ingratiate yourself among locals, which can really open doors to special experiences.
Establish a budget
What kind of budget do you need for traveling the world? Answers to this question have so much nuance it’s almost impossible to answer sincerely without knowing where you want to go and for how long.
Regardless, this is another reason research is so important. Don’t forget: when you connect with Fora, we can help you budget, plan and book your trip.
Consider getting a remote job to fund your travels
On another note, you could always get a job you can do remotely while traveling.
Becoming a travel advisor and living as a digital nomad sort of fits this situation like a glove, doesn’t it? What better way to become a travel expert than to start traveling the world while helping others do the same?
Sign up to become a Fora Advisor and we’ll answer all your questions (or you can check out those respective guides first).
Methods for traveling the world
Chances are, you’re going to use multiple modes of transportation to travel the world. Below are a few examples beyond the commonsensical choices, along with pros and cons.
(We say “few” because your real options are almost endless — and as always, we can guide you to the best options.)
Book flights (& consider 'round-the-world tickets)
Airline travel is, obviously, not a secret. However, you may not have heard of 'round-the-world (or RTC) airline tickets. These are essentially a set of agreements between multiple airlines that allow travelers to embark on multiple international flights traversing incredible distances over a period of several days to several weeks.
The downside of RTC itineraries is that they are often static, so wherever you travel to is largely decided for you. On the other hand, RTC tickets tend to be reasonably priced for air travel.
Private flights are another option for discerning travelers. There aren’t as many options as commercial flights, but the trade-off is that you usually get a more exclusive experience.
Enjoy a world cruise (and / or repositioning cruises)
World cruises are indeed a thing. Moreover, they’re a great way to save an incredible amount of money compared to visiting countries à la carte. But only a handful of cruise lines actually offer them, and they’re not as regular as your typical four- and seven-day voyages.
Alternatively, repositioning cruises are an out-of-the-box way of traveling the world. These are one-way voyages for ships heading back to port for extended periods (think repairs, maintenance, supplies, etc.). Some cruise lines treat these like budget trips, where certain experiences and meal options are off the table. Additionally, travel times may be expedited and limited to ocean routes (i.e., the ship isn’t stopping at ports along the way).
Finally, there’s no reason you can’t add a “regular’ cruise itinerary to your world travels. In fact, it might be a great change of pace. Maybe you’re backpacking for a few weeks, then mixing things up with a leisurely seven days at sea.
Sidenote: Virgin Voyages is one of our favorite options. They offer a fresh, adults-only experience and exciting itineraries all over the world. (Our Virgin Voyages travel agent article has more intel if you’re curious.)
Unique overland options
Chances are, you’ll be doing at least a little bit of overland travel while exploring the world.
Road trips and old-fashioned backpacking are probably the first modes to come to mind. But you may also consider travel by train, like a cross-country trip in the United States or a multi-stop journey through Europe, and extended guided tours, where transportation is provided as a perk of the package.
Sparing no expense with luxury travel options
There’s a common perception that anyone traveling the world is trying to do so as affordably as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s also no reason you can’t travel the world like a VIP.
From private chauffeurs to elite rentals and private flights to chartered yachts, luxury travel options are as extensive as they are exclusive.
Curious about all your options? Connect with Fora.
A few tips for traveling the world
Read on for a few tips for traveling the world.
1. Make use of public transportation
Public transportation in some places is exceptional in terms of cost, service and efficiency.
Tokyo — and really all of Japan — is an excellent example (find out where to stay in Tokyo). For one, you’ll have a much easier time navigating the city. It also tends to be much more cost effective than renting a car. Many places in Europe and Asia even offer quality public transportation to neighboring cities and destinations.
2. Avoid unnecessary fees: communications & transportation
It’s so easy to fall into unnecessary fees when traveling the world. Cell carriers are a famous example, and you’ll want to be aware of your plan’s international terms prior to your trip. Some countries offer temporary SIM cards that are more cost effective, but limiting yourself to WiFi communications can make sense, too.
Cell carriers are only one example, though. Book and plan your trip with Fora and we can help you avoid trap expenses just about anywhere you want to go.
3. Communicate clearly & with kindness (learning a few words in foreign languages can help, too)
Friendliness goes a long way almost anywhere you visit. Demanding and rude travelers rarely get the experiences they hope for, especially when there’s a language barrier. This might sound like common sense, but among our contacts with jobs in the travel industry, it’s all too common to hear horror stories.
On another note, clear communication is critically important when you’re traveling the world. Taking photos of signs at or near your hotels, downloading a translator app and even trying to learn a few basic phrases (and common responses) can make a world of difference in your travels.
4. Find your comfort zone and step out of it
We’re not advocating for you to do anything dangerous. But you may find your trip that much more rewarding if you try as many new things as possible.
It would be a shame to travel the world, then years later think about all the things you missed out on during your travels. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll open doors to new places and experiences, enriching your travels.
5. Choose the authentic experience as much as you can
There’s a fun novelty to sampling the McDonald’s menu in every new country you visit. But oftentimes, the memories travelers reminisce most about are the unique experiences they got to enjoy while traveling the world.
You’ll find that every major destination in the world offers so-called “tourist traps.” There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these, but maybe not at the expense of sampling the local culture. Ultimately, though, this is a personal preference. You’re the one traveling the world — you get to choose your itinerary (and Fora can help you craft the perfect one).
Bonus: Consider traveling the world with the help of a Fora Advisor
Traveling the world is an exciting proposition that really benefits from having a friend on the inside. From finding better deals and value in hotels — especially compared to online travel agencies like Expedia — to securing transportation and beyond, we can elevate virtually every aspect of your trip.
We can also help you flesh out your travel plans — or even create them from scratch — so you know you’re getting an expert-vetted experience. And considering the monumental investment in time and money that traveling the world requires, it makes sense to get as much out of that investment as possible.
Plus, with partners all over the world, we can score you awesome hotel and travel perks almost anywhere you visit. This might include complimentary meals, upgraded rooms and property credits that can be put toward VIP experiences like spa treatments — much needed after a long flight — cocktails and more.
Ready to start traveling the world? Connect with Fora
Can’t wait to start traveling the world? Connect with Fora to book and plan your journey with expert suggestions and awesome travel perks.
P.S. Want a fun way to fund your travels? Become a Fora Advisor
Are you the type that loves to plan your own travels? Instead of booking your travels around the world with a Fora Advisor, maybe you should consider becoming one.
There are no education or experience requirements, and you can work from anywhere as much or as little as you prefer. You’ll get to share your passion with like-minded travelers, and earn great money while you’re at it.
Interested? Apply to become a Fora Advisor today.
Want to learn more, first? No problem. Check out these travel advisor resources, too: