As much as I would love to go on an around the world trip, it would need to be done “right.” By right I mean any flight over five hours would require flying in first class (or at least business), and all accommodations would need to have heating and air conditioning depending on the geographical locale. Since this is not exactly feasible at the current time, I am content with taking my trips one at a time. However, my opinion on what constitutes the “right” around the world style trip does not necessarily mean it’s the popular opinion. Around the world trips are becoming all the rage, ranging from the 20 something demographic, to those individuals looking for a change of pace and scenery to retirees who are looking to see and visit all the places they never had the time or money to do when they were younger.
A girl I studied abroad with in Costa Rica actually did an around the world trip with her new husband. After getting married they embarked on a year-long around the world honeymoon (the blog they kept during their year abroad was appropriately titled Hostel Honeymoon). Since they traveled for a period of time unimaginable to most people, money was not free flowing and so accommodations were limited to hostels and extremely basic guest houses. They went to French Polynesia (it was the only flight going east from Easter Island) and stayed in a non air-conditioned guest house. If I ever get to French Polynesia, my only requirement is that I stay in an air-conditioned, over the water bungalow. In my opinion, I can have a beach roughing it kind of vacation a lot closer to home. In Cambodia, both the girl and her husband ended up contracting dengue fever, a prevalent tropical disease caused by the dengue virus which is transmitted through a mosquito bite (there’s neither a vaccine nor a cure for it). The girl’s condition was so severe that the hospital in Cambodia contemplated flying her to Thailand to be treated (Experienced medical personnel and hospital facilities are severely lacking in Cambodia, a lingering effect of the Pol Pot regime. Extremely sick people are often transported to more developed Thailand for treatment). Although dengue fever is a common risk in most tropical areas of the world, including Costa Rica where I spent three and a half months living, I can’t help but think they contracted it in their bare bones guest house in the town of Siem Reap (home to the world famous Angkor Wat ruins) where it was not air-conditioned, and perhaps the mosquito netting over their bed was not the best. Needing to adhere to a budget for 12 months required them to scrimp in areas where I would simply not want to such as beyond basic accommodations and skipping out on attractions whose entrance fees were high.
While I was in Argentina, I met many young people who were doing the “gap year.” Although the term is not really used in the United States, it’s quite popular in Europe and Canada and refers to a young person taking time off to travel between high school and university. I will forever remember the two British girls from our hostel. Although both were Caucasian, the soles of their feet were as black as the night. The hostel where my friend and I stayed in Buenos Aires was quite nice compared to some but I can only imagine the types of accommodations the girls stayed at elsewhere during their year, most likely abysmal enough (i.e. lacking proper bathing facilities) to contribute to their blackened feet. Or perhaps daily hygiene was simply not a requisite must during their year of traveling.
There are a variety of around the world plane tickets available, usually good over a period of up to a year offering between three and twenty stops at different airports. As no one individual airline offers global service around the world tickets and are often associated with an airline alliance, you can normally travel with any airline that is part of the alliance.
Some of the more well known round the world tickets:
-Star Alliance RTW
-OneWorld Explorer/Global Explorer
-The Great Escapade
Have you ever done a round the world trip? If so I’d love to hear about it!