Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Guide for Traveling Around the World

Wazzup Pilipinas!

In this chapter of My World Travel Guides, we look at planning a trip around the world. The world is a big place, and there is more than one way to go around it. Going around the world is a dream for many, but it is often put aside as too lofty to be materialized.

In fact, it is within reach, particular of most people in the developed world, as well as a growing number in the developing world. On this page, we examine practical aspects such as at how much time you would need, how much you have to spend, what places to go, and so on. We look into the planning expected before and after the trip, as well as your expectation during the trip itself.
How much time do you need?

The world is 40,000 kilometers in circumference. If your idea of going around the world is simply to hop from one major airport to another, without ever stepping out into the city, you can go around the world and back in just three days flat. On the other hand, if you intend to explore every country, every city, every town, every village and every sight, one life time might not be enough to see everything. So when we speak of "going around the world," we are referring to something in between those above two.

Where should you go?

This is one of the many-ways-to-skin-a-cat questions. It's entirely up to you how to create your itinerary. You can go to exotic places, where people don't speak English, or to entirely familiar places, such as the biggest cities of the world; you can visit world-famous tourist attractions, including the World Heritage Sites or world greatest sites that are regarded as the Wonders of the World, or you can simply visit all your penpals and people you got to know in Facebook.

When should you go?

If you are planning to get away for a full year, then you are likely to be somewhere away from home across all four seasons. You should plan to be in each of your destinations when it looks best. This means, you should check when it rains, when the temperature is searing hot, and avoid these times for more pleasant weather. On this website, as far as possible, I try to provide you information on when to expect the maximum and minimum temperature, as well as the wettest month.

How much should you spend?

A trip around the world on a shoestring budget will likely set you back US$10,000. On the other end of the scale, the sky's the limit. If you intend to cocoon yourself in luxury, have a personal guide to show you around, and dine in fine restaurants, the total price tag for a round-the-world trip can be US$100,000 and possibly more, depending on the number of destinations you visit.

What should you see/do?

This depends on your interest. Some people prioritize on historical sights, so they visit all the ancient monuments and pay special interest to cover the World Heritage Sites. Some people love culture. They want to see how the people of far, far away live their lives, the clothes or costumes worn over there, the food even, and so on. Some people want their holidays to be eventful; they want to go where specific festivals are being staged. Then there are people who don't care much for foreign culture or heritage, they go for their recreation, to simply laze on a serene beach, with the foot caressed by the gentle waves, and a bright blue cloudless sky hanging over them. And then there are those who want their journey to be full of activities; they want to go rock climbing, whitewater rafting, hang gliding, skiing and all other things ending with -ing.

How should you travel

To go from one continent to the other, you should either take a flight or a cruise. A flight will get you where you want much faster while a cruise is usually packaged as a vacation in itself. If you take a cruise, your experience of each destination will more likely be limited to sights in the proximity of all the ports that your cruise liner visits. If you want to go deeper than that, you should fly in and arrange transportation from there.

Your transportation within each country includes domestic flights, trains, buses, rental vehicles and hitchhiking. Flights help you cover great distances speedily. Trains and buses provide a good way to see a country and experience vistas at ground level and allow you to interact with the locals as well as fellow travelers. Rental vehicles have the advantage of transporting you right to each destination. Depending on your budget (and amount of luggage), you may opt to rent a car or a motorcycle.

Hitchhiking has gone out of style in many countries, and nowadays most motorists in developing countries are reluctant to stop for strangers. As the hitchhiker, you also expose yourself to safety issues that may be beyond your control.

Where to find information on the world

A good place to get information is to go online. Websites such as Wikitravel is an excellent source of recommendation on where to stay, where to do, etc. My World Travel Guides (this website) provides information on all the cities of the world, with emphasis on finding and comparing hotel room rates.

There are plenty of guidebooks available on the market today. My favorite is the DK Eyewitness Travel (maybe I am biased, as I happen to be one of the contributors) because it is the most richly illustrated.

That, however, makes it the most pricey. There are also guidebooks with fewer pictures, among them Lonely Place, Frommers, Rough Guides, Insight Guides and so on.

How to research your trip

In addition to the sources above, you should check the news to find out about political stability in your destination, see if it appears in the papers for all the wrong reasons. On the other hand, if the destination is going to stage a major event, such as the Olympics or a World Expo, you can expect hotel rooms are hard to get and will be at elevated levels.

If you are traveling to a destination where few of the locals speak English (or your native language), you will do well to get a phrasebook to pick up some useful native words that will be useful in your daily communication with them.

How to create your itinerary
You can technically travel without an itinerary, but I bet you would get more from your trip if you create one before you begin your journey.

How to book

The two major items in the book are your flight and your accommodation. For a trip around the world, I would recommend that you seek the help of a reputable travel agent when booking your flight. There may be cost-savings involved if you fly by airlines that form alliances with their partners. Major airline groupings include Star Alliance, Oneworld, and Skyteam. They offer special interline tickets that benefit you substantially as a traveler.

Getting a round-the-world ticket

If you are certain of your destination, you should ask for a round-the-world ticket. These are provided by airline alliance and form a series of consolidated flights with its route eventually circumnavigating the globe. There are specific conditions attached, such as the ticket is valid for one year, you must travel in the same direction either east to west or west to east, you have to determine your start and end date, and so on.

Should you use a low-cost carrier? Another recent development in the airline industry is the low-cost carriers, also called the no-frills, budget or discount airlines. These airlines offer extremely low fares, compensating for this by charging for extras such as on-board meals, seat allocation, baggage, and so on. Most of these airlines require you to book online. You can substantially cut down on your travel budget if you use low-cost carriers.

The disadvantage about low-cost carriers is that they don't operate from major airports, meaning the cost of travel to the city center of your destination has not been included. Moreover, most low-cost carriers observe a point-to-point policy, meaning if you are connecting to another flight (of a different airline), the low-cost carrier may not compensate if its flight is delayed or canceled, resulting in your missing your connection. It will compensate if your fly-through flight is the same carrier, but check their terms and conditions before booking.

Why you should book your hotel room online

Booking hotels can now be done online, and in fact, you stand to save a lot by using this option, bypassing the use of a travel agent. However, there are now many online booking sites, and they offer the same room, in the same hotel, on the date, at a different rate. No booking site offers the lowest rate each time. To determine the site that offers the best rate for your travel, you should use a room search engine. It lists out all the accommodation providers for your destination, based on your travel date, and shows the lowest price for each. Making your choice, you are then redirected to the online booking site.

About the Author: Carol James is an EssayLab writer and senior editor. She has MA degree in social sciences and is an excellent specialist in this field. Moreover, Carol writes articles, reviews on the different subjects interesting to her readers. So, if you have any questions, suggestions on the writing, feel free to ask her!

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