Probably the most common lenght of trips around the world is 1 year. The gap year between your studies, after the marticulation, etc. That’s also about the best point of time in your life to do it. Usually you are still quite unbound. No family to take care of, no own flat/house, not a lot of possessions. A sabbatical is also an option. Of course, it doesn’t have to be exactly one year. A little overview of some options with my thoughts added.
A year´s holiday (4-5 weeks)
Saving up a year´s worth of holiday is a great option to discover a country, without the need to rush. Also a great option to get back into travelling, once you returned from your “big trip”. It requires some nice amount of planning, since you want to get the most out of your weeks. Usually you have a quite strict plan in terms of destinations. It’s also the easiest option to discover a country, since you don’t need to quit your job, buy insurance, ask for a sabbatical, buy a lot of equipment or think about officialism too much.
2 year´s holiday (8-10 weeks):
Harder to realise since an employee missing for 2 months won’t make your company happy. Pretty much the same as above, except that you can travel 2 countries and add some “bumper days” in case you want to stay longer at a certain destination.
Medium period trip (2-4 months):
A nice chance to try whether you like travelling or not. Works well between 2 jobs or during summer break, for example. Basically it’s pretty much the same as a long-term travel, just on a smaller scale.
- You have enough time to see a bigger country (Australia, India, China…), or several smaller.
- Since you might enter more than one country you have to inform yourself about visa regulations (where to get it, when to apply).
- It also makes sense to think about how to get back home. Usually you don’t want to go all the way back to the airport from where you started.
- You will need to get a travel insurance since your already existing insurances most likely won’t cover a trip of that length.
- Planning every day in advance doesn’t make sense anymore, it would take to long. You’d also destroy your flexibility for no reason. You can create a more rough plan and decide during your trip whether you want to stay a little bit longer or not.
- Subletting is probably worth to consider.
Long-term trip (6 months – 1,5 year):
As soon as you get close to the 1-year limit you will enjoy all the benefits of a long-term trip. But, of course, the amount of preparatory work will raise aswell. It’s also the easiest way to see quite a chunk of the world since you don’t want to do all the preparatory work again and again.
- You have enough time to set foot on atleast 2 continents.
- Visa regulations will force you to go to certain destinations in order to get them. If you want to apply for work and travel you will need to do it in advance.
- It’s necessary to think about the best way of transportation (Around the world ticket, single tickets etc.).
- Insurance is mandatory on a trip of that length. You just need to fall one time and the expenses of the curing might mean the end to your travels. Insurance for equipment, like an expensive camera, is probably worth aswell.
- Planing will take a serious amount of time.
- Subletting/terminating your rental contract is worth. You might aswell sell your car.
- A lot of organisational work needs to be done (cancel subscriptions, declare a new domicile, sort your documents…).
- You will start to face a lot of everyday work since you can’t buy everything in advance.
- You are able to experience the feeling of absolute freedom.
No time limit or very long trip: (1,5 years – …)
- All points from above apply.
- Getting close to a life choice.
- Almost a preform of dropping out of society.
No time limit gives you infinite possibilities, but you will face some downsides aswell. If you really want to go on a trip without time limit, I can guarantee you, it will be the time of your life. Altough the amount of preparatory work will reach unknown quantity. Basically you want to sell most of your possessions since you don’t know if you will ever use them again. That means your old life will be almost unreachable. Also because of the big gap in your CV. There is no reasonable argument unless you can work while travelling. Furthermore, you will evolve probably more than others do in their whole lifetime. Which means you will also most likely not have the desire to get back to your old life. If you go with the flow of things and experience the feeling of freedom for several years a 9 to 5 job will make you depressive.
If you really want to see the whole world (atleast all the interesting areas and sights) during reasonable conditions in terms of seasons, it will take you about 3 years. Again, you will change yourself on an unexpectable scale. If you go back into a western industry country you might feel really lonely. Nobody will be able to relate to your experience, or even understand what you went through. Your interests will change heavily aswell. So consider carefully. Probably the shorter trip is a better choice.
As always you are very welcome to leave additions/suggestions/opinions in the comments!
Previous: Travelling solo?