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What’s Influencing my Backpacking Trip?

Mid 2012 is the preliminary date for my and Kez’s next round the world trip – we’ve already got a couple of plans in the pipeline which we’d love your input on – but how exactly are we planning this?

Having already done a gap year in Australia on a WHV I’ve already been through the planning stages before – yet this time is being approached differently, with a bit more experience and ultimately a bit more consideration.

Everyone plans their trips with different approaches – so these are the main things I’ve been taking into consideration for my next trip;

Budget

Budget is the massive elephant in the room! One way or another it has a knock on effect on ever other aspect of my planning and Kez is a massive worrier when it comes to finance. In Oz I got down to my last $800 at one point – Kez was tearing her hair out but I just bumbled along surfing and ignoring the problem. This time to avoid the stress we’re both paying alot more attention to our finances – to do this we’re doing alot of research into living cost and putting aside as much dollar as we can save.

Time Frame

Closely tied with finance is our time frame. Having spent a year in a single country we want to explore alot me places this time round. But we also don’t want to fall in the trap that many of my fellow travellers ended up doing – over staying in one place.

Ultimately we have no idea how much we’ll like any of the countries on our bucketlist. Yet on the flip side we don’t want to rush out of a place that we discover we love living in.

With that in mind we’re putting together a rough guide for time frames and places – but leaving enough flexibility and finance to change our plans if we need to. The multi flex pass from STA Travel is allowing our flight plans to reflect this.

The bottom line is that by putting in rough time frames and working out a rough budget we instantly know where we stand if anything changes, which is never a bad place to be!

Variety

We both really want to experience a heap of cultures and ways of life on this trip – so we’re making sure that there’s a good variety within our trip. At the moment everything from the glitzy glamour of New York through to the Inca ruins of Peru. This way we’re not simply stuck in the same routine and the whole trip will hopefully contain different paces and experiences – which means more fun for us and better reading for you!

The Girl!

Instead of traveling solo this time there’s a whole other person to consider – and that means compromise!

Luckily she’s not overly needy or dragging around half of the Boots make up counter so it’s pretty easy going. Even still there’s been some trade offs. For instance I have no really desire to hit New York, but she does…in return for adding to our itinerary I can get away with adding more surf stops! It’s pretty good though because as a traveling surfer I tend to stick to the coast and neglect alot of the inland stuff – having her with me forces me to experience things outside of the sea.

The Surf

Even so the surf is still my number one priority! To be honest if alot of the places we are planning to visit didn’t have surf I’d have no interest in going or they wouldn’t have even popped up on our radar! Places like Tahiti are uber expensive – but the fact it is home to world class surf means I have a massive desire to explore it, if only for a short period. Kez loves the beaches though and most of the places tend to be riddled with all sorts of culture to inspire her art, which keeps her happy whilst I’m in the water.

New Zealand

The whole of our trip is based around an extended stopover in NZ – or more to the point a working holiday visa where we can travel and top up our funds. The aim of the game is to land with a good cash cushion behind us, find work and live off our NZ wages. This will in turn mean that we can travel home on the money we had saved from the UK, and maybe even have that topped up by some work from NZ – basically the 2nd half of our journey will last as long as our funds do!

2 Parts

As previously mentioned we’re approaching this RTW trip as 2 separate adventures – pre and post NZ. I found in Oz that you picked up lots of great ideas and inspiration from fellow travellers – only planning half of our trip gives us the flexibility to incorporate as much as we can on our return journey. My theory on the matter is that internal flights and travel around Asia is alot cheaper and easier than via the US and South America. Getting the more expensive of the flights done on the first leg means we don’t have to worry so much about time and money – and thus get to cram in all the amazing places we get told about along the way!

The Bottom Line

My experience from OZ have taught me to make an onward plan so I don’t find myself back in the UK as quickly again – yet the same experience has taught me to be as fluid as possible. Two very conflicting ideas but a compromise between both mean my next RTW trip will hopefully be even more epic!

If your planning your own gap year or round the world trip you need to decide what is driving your travel and what is important to you personally – ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you want to go about it and you’ll soon find a few key points which crop up. And you can always consult our handy Gap Year Planner for heaps of advice and inspiration!

At the end of the day though it’s YOUR experience – make sure you do what you want in the way you feel most comfortable – it’s different for everyone. Just make sure you have a good time and come back with heaps of stories to tell!

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