What do you need to travel round the world without a plan
The preparation for this trip took up a lot of time and consideration. I not only needed suitable equipment, but injections, visas, travel insurance and up to date documents (bank cards, driving licence etc.). I also needed a lot of courage and I will write an article about where I got that from later…
I bought a 65 litre backpack for this trip. I know that I could have gone bigger, but I didn’t want to carry more than 17kgs. This meant that I had to pack smart as I also need to add 2 litres of water and food supplies, which will easily be another 2.5kgs.
The idea to travel round the world was born 1.5 years ago and have been collecting money for my trip since. An article is coming soon how I saved up.
I read lots of other backpackers blogs and some say that you can travel with almost no money, especially if you are very flexible in how you travel and where you sleep. This is also the reason why I don’t have plans set in stone, as I don’t not much money either. Will have to see how far I can go with those little savings. I already have the ticket to Nepal so I will definitely make it there at least!
I had to be very particular when I was choosing my equipment. I would like to go to some remote areas of countries which means there will not be any shops nearby. I would also like to spend some of my time in the mountains so every single item I carry must be practical and extra light.
It took me a year to research, to make a list and buy everything. Except for a few small items which I will buy in Nepal.
A few things that I bought did not seem that important later on, like my gore-tex trainers because my boots are also gore-tex, so those trainers staying at home to save weight.
The way I started the list is I had to find out what I needed. Then I had to find the best quality and the the lightest version of it. Then I had to search the internet to find out where it is the cheapest! If all this does not sound enough, I then had to test all the items thoroughly and send them back if they are faulty, or buy a different one if I was unable to return it.
This took a lots of time. The torture I went through just to find my pants was hard enough, so imagine how difficult and time-consuming it was to get all my kit together.
There are not that many types of trekking pants around at the moment. There were some companies selling them for around £25 but I did not want to pay that much for pants! I had an approximate limit how much I would pay for certain items to stop the total being too much. If I wasn’t careful. I would have easily spent £1000’s of pounds on kit.
But why do I need such a special pants? I only wanted an extra lightweight, comfortable, moisture wicking, seamless one which dries within hours. I won’t be able to dry my pants for days on my bag. I don’t want to be the infamous backpacker who always have a pants hanging on her bag, not to mention the fact that can be offensive in some countries! After months I did not manage to get anywhere with my pants project so I started to go around in different trekking and sport shops around London. Hoping I will find something that slipped my attention on the internet. In one sport shop I found the one, which was love at first sight, in a sports shop called Sports Direct. They only had one pair though, so with I had to check with lots of other branches and managed to find another two pairs. As you can see, just buying pants was hard work, so if you have any plans similar to me with travels, I strongly advise you to start buying your kit as soon as possible.
More stuff that might be more important than pants
I checked the expiry date on all of my documents and calculate into my trip. I also had to bear in mind that lots of countries only grant visa if your passport has at least six months left on it.
What documents I checked:
I have US dollar based My Travel Cash MasterCard. Not planning to have to much cash on me, as it’s too dangerous. Also using my own banks debit card would cost me very silly bank charges whilst abroad.
Some injections are given as a course which means it can take months to complete them. It all depends on which countries you are planning to go. It is advisable to have a little booklet of your injections to keep a log of what you have had, and when you need boosters etc.
Check what vaccinations you need for each of the countries you are visiting. You also need to pay attention if there are any recent changes in the country, just to be extra cautious. My travel starts in Nepal so I had to bear in mind that after the earthquake you can have different diseases around due to water contamination. I found all the information what I needed on fitfortravel website.
Was not an easy task either. I wanted to be insured in the mountains and have insurance on my Mac and camera. These two together seemed very difficult to insure as companies usually cover either but not together. At the end I got insurance with UK General Insurance.
I will not have any visa when I start to travel. Travelling without plans makes this impossible to get visas. I hope I will get visas on the go. If I don’t I will write an article how stupid I was and at least you can laugh at it. I researched the internet that to lots of countries you can get visa on upon arrival, so I put together a little spreadsheet with the countries I have an idea to plan, and what I would need to pay when I get there. A lot of countries require you to have spare passport photos for the visas, so I got ten ready to be well prepared.
My first stop is Nepal and I know there you can get visa at the airport and will work out the rest.
If you taking any medicine permanently you need to get them for the duration of the trip.
You do not need to buy everything before the trip
Despite there being no strict plan, the vision is to follow the sun around the world (had enough of English winters for a while). This means that if I am not in high mountains I will be probably hot, I bought kit according to this. Unfortunately I can not fit in my storm-proof down jacket into my bag. If I go to a cold climate then I will buy some cheap warm kit in that country, and once I finished using it, I will give it to somebody on the street. The start in Asia is really handy, because there is lots of cheap stuff to find. I will buy some stuff here as even if I buy in Europe it comes from Asia anyway.
Maybe it does not seem important but, I will take it because it is important for me
To live from a light backpack means I will need to give up lots of comfort items that I have got used to. Even on my first stop in Kathmandu I will not be able to drink water from the tap or continuous electricity. There is one luxury item that I have decided to take though…. COFFEE! Although I will grow to hate every little gram of weight that I have to carry, I will be even grumpier if I don’t have my morning coffee! My morning coffee is more important to me than wearing fresh clothes every day. I have been in mountains for weeks where I was just happy to breath and was not thinking of clothes but every morning when I opened my eyes I thought of coffee…. hot sweet coffee! You must also remember that most of my crazy ideas were born with a coffee in hand!
You have to have a good base level of fitness for a trip like this. You can train in the gym, but you really need to get out and about with your backpack and put in some serious mileage. Backpacking uses such specific muscles that you can only properly train them when you actually backpacking! The way I prepared was to go hiking with my pack on weekends, starting with 10kgs and gradually building up to 18kgs. On weekdays I walked home from work (often taking much longer routes) I tried to make it nice by including some of the London parks on my route (Hyde Park, Regents Park etc.) but it was often dark, rainy and windy, so not always that nice! On these lonely walks I often asked myself if it is worth it. Now that I have started my travels I can absolutely say that it was worth it as I feel fit and ready!
This list is a bit to long, so to see it please click on full list.