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How to Plan a RTW Backpacking Trip

Taking off with boots and a backpack is a time honored way to explore the world, inside and out, get to know other places, cultures and  people, as well as finding your place in the world. It’s one way to become a citizen of the world. When you think of backpacking, what comes to mind?

It seems that the only requirement for fitting the definition of a backpacker is the ownership of a particular piece of luggage.

  • “Backpacking around Europe.”
  • “Backpacker strip.”
  • “Backpacker hostel.”
  • “Backpacker style travel.”
  • “Living out of my backpack.”

These phrases are well known in RTW circles, and they conjure the image of a particular type of traveler and a particular culture. Khao San Road, in Bangkok. The warren of hostels along the waterfront in San Pedro, Guatemala. The bustle of jumping off points for classic “backpacker” journeys at Cusco, Peru; Kathmandu, Nepal; or Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Young people struggling on and off of buses and trains with huge packs bulging, sometimes with a second pack strapped to their fronts. Smiling faces in coffee shops, bags propped next to tables, guidebooks open, comparing notes.

It’s not about the bag so much as it’s about the community, in the end.

What’s RTW?

You may never have heard or read the letters R-T-W before. If you don’t know their meaning, that’s all right. If you do know their meaning and have contemplated taking one, then you have come to the right place.

If you are a travel lover, an adventurer, or are questioning what it is you really want out of life, then maybe it’s time you find out what those three little letters mean, and why it is that you should consider taking a Round The World trip of your own.

Some think it’s crazy, some think it’s impossible, some think, “There’s no way I could do it.”  I’m here to let you in a little secret.  It’s certainly not crazy.  It’s most definitely possible.  And yes, there is a way you could do it.  So get rid of those excuses and get ready to hit the road for a life-changing adventure.

Why go?

There are as many reasons to backpack around the world as there are people doing it. Your reasons will be unique. For me, it’s the unknown that sings to my soul, the adventure of being in an entirely new place with my senses alive and new discoveries around every corner. Maybe you want to go just to experience something other than your status quo. Perhaps you want to learn a language in an immersive way.

Some people travel to expand their skill set and build career paths. Others travel to serve and give back. Some take off in search of who they really are what they are truly called to do in this world. Perhaps you’ll travel to explore ideas you haven’t considered yet, or in search of creative new solutions to existing problems. Or maybe, it’s simpler than that, and you just want to take a walk in the world. There’s no wrong answer.

Fighting Fears

It’s natural when considering taking a big leap into the unknown, like taking off backpacking around the world, to have some fears and concerns. If all you’ve been exposed of the rest of the world has come through the media then it’s likely you’ve been fed some anxiety. Remember that news channels get paid to report the bad stuff, and the mountains of good stuff rarely gets mentioned.

It’s important to remember that there are antidotes to fear, and the primary two are education and experience. Begin by educating yourself on the realities of RTW travel, read blogs, talk to actual travelers and start taking some small test trips yourself. Commit yourself to making data driven decisions instead of emotionally driven ones and all of a sudden, the world feels like a much safer space (the statistics are on your side!).

As your experience builds you will find that your confidence soars as well. Plan to start your trip in places you are more comfortable with and then branch out slowly from there. Save the truly unknown for a point in your journey where you feel capable and excited about challenging your abilities as a traveler.

Don’t let fear hold you back from living the life you dream of and having the adventures of your lifetime.

Where do I start?

Just the initial list of considerations can feel overwhelming. And yet, you know in your soul that you have to go. The world is calling and your heart has answered. The romantic simplicity of boots and a backpack is begging to be explored but the logistics are looming.

Take a deep breath and plan your attack. We’ve created an ebook to step you through the planning process, from choosing destinations to deciding whether or not you’ll go solo at some point. Learn from experienced travelers how to stay safe on the road, figure out visas and airfare, and stretch your budget to make your epic RTW journey last as long as possible.

The best part: It’s free.

Have you taken a backpacking trip? What are your best tips and pieces of advice for those in the planning stage?

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