If you’re considering an extended multi-destination or around-the-world journey chances are you’ve got a pretty advanced sense of curiosity about the world and a strong personality to boot.
The first part of deciding where you want to go on your trip is to determine your traveling “personality,” that is, how you identify yourself as a traveler, the passion behind your planning, your modus operandi if you will.
To help you identify yourself (and likely travel companions), we’ve pinpointed a few basic travel personalities – one or a few are likely to fit your profile. You can use them to establish an overarching theme for your trip, or to divide up the world into those places that have a place on your RTW route and those that you probably don’t care to include.
If you imagine yourself bungee jumping in New Zealand, running with the bulls in Pamplona, dancing until 6 in the morning in Berlin, heliskiing from the top of a mountain in Banff or boating down the Amazon, all signs point to you being an adventure traveler.
National Geographic has a list of the top adventure tour operators and outfitters worldwide that may be worth a look. Of course, you don’t need to be a part of a tour to have an adventure, but if you’re not sure what adventure travel means or if you just want an idea of what kind of companies operate tours and which ones to use, it’s a great place to start.
Recommended destinations for adventure travelers: New Zealand, Brazil, Bolivia, Nepal/Tibet, Tanzania, India.
If your travel dreams are populated by the perfect sunset on a secluded beach in the Seychelles, gondola rides in Venice, and a honeymoon for the storybooks, this is probably you.
Travel can be an amazing way to connect with your partner, or even meet someone new! Check out Travel and Leisure’s list of the 50 most romantic places for a general idea of what’s out there in the way of romantic destinations. The notion of taking off to far-flung places is a romantic idea in itself, so grab your partner, your passports, and get out and see the world.
Recommended spots for romantic travelers: Santorini, Venice, Paris, Buenos Aires, Goa, Bali, Phuket, Fiji, Tahiti.
If travel is just another way you broaden your internal encyclopedia with art, culture, and history, and your dream itinerary includes days filled with museums, archeological sites, groundbreaking architecture and traditional experiences, you may be an intellectual traveler.
Lucky for you, destinations all over the world cater to the student inside of all of us. The world’s full of lessons, and travel is the way to learn them.
Recommended regions for intellectual travelers: Europe, India, Japan, Machu Picchu, Istanbul, Cairo.
Will this be your first time traveling internationally? A little nervous about flying overseas? Concerned that you don’t know what you don’t know?
Those are all normal concerns for first-timers. Don’t worry. There are lots of places that’ll present much less of a cultural shock where you can ease yourself into the world at large. You’ll be a pro before you know it.
Recommended stops for first-time travelers: London, Paris, Rome, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand.
If you prefer to live on the edge and explore destinations widely considered off-the-beaten-path or even unsafe, you’re probably a danger junkie at heart. Your ideal trip includes Ghana, possible brushes with the FARC in Colombia, or meeting some Maoist rebels in Nepal. Robert Pelton is your personal idol.
You’re a risk taker and enjoy finding destinations that give you the thrills you desire. Of course, we caution our travelers to read US State department warnings, as well as the warnings posted by other nations (that said, many warnings can be colored by political agendas).
Recommended locales for danger junkies: Tibet, Colombia, Uganda, Papua New Guinea
ALL, A COMBINATION, OR NONE OF THE ABOVE
Most people want to include elements of every different type of travel in their around the world experience, and we certainly encourage you to do so, too. The best way to prepare for an extended journey is to be completely honest with yourself about what you want to accomplish with your RTW trip and how you want to experience the world. The truth is that most travelers don’t fit neatly into one travel personality type. Still, it’s important to think about what kind of activities and attractions appeal to your personality, not just what cities you want to visit or on what airlines you’ll be flying. Another way to narrow down the endless possibilities while making complex travel plans is to identify how you like to travel, i.e., your travel style.
5 Travel Styles.
Traveling Off the Beaten Path
You’re not the average tourist. You want to add more layers to your travel experience and have rich cultural experiences every step of the way. You try things that more tentative travelers might skip.
Popular tourists spots are crowded for obvious reasons—history, beauty, craftsmanship—but some of the most rewarding traveling experiences happen away from such places.
Some of them are as simple as a cup of tea with a local shopkeeper in Turkey, or a conversation with local university students about politics in a bar in Colombia.
Sometimes the proposition of striking out on your own in a place where you don’t speak the language is daunting, but it’s all part of the travel experience, and courage, not fear, reaps the greatest rewards in new places.
Suggestions on how to get off the beaten path:
- Go somewhere that’s not in your top 10 places to see.
- Visit a village as opposed to a city.
- Skip your first choice of continents.
- Make a point of interacting with locals.
While it’s not easy, you can get away from the camera-toting masses, perhaps right in the middle of the most visited city of all. Check with your personal travel consultant for help discovering that proverbial and elusive “hidden gem”.
Traveling In Style
You need a little comfort on the road, and you’re willing to stretch your budget a little to get it. There’s no shame in wanting fancy sheets and a warm pool every once in a while.
If you’re going to be traveling RTW for several months, you may not want to always (or ever) go the cheapest route. A hot shower with good water pressure and a comfortable bed are a miracle after a few months, weeks or even days of traveling.
Many of our clients like to book a few splurges into their trip, even if they’re trying to keep their costs down as much as possible.
If you’re looking to keep your budget on track, you might consider doing this in parts of the world where a splurge isn’t that expensive. For example, maybe during your travels through Europe, you’d stay in budget hotels and hostels, but the night you arrive in Jaipur you might hire a car to pick you up at the airport and drive you to a 5-star hotel built into an old palace.
Here are a few other ways where you might spend a bit more money to have better experiences:
- Trek the mountains in Nepal with a guide
- Go on safari in East Africa
- Cruise to Antarctica from Ushuaia
- Tour the Silk Road
You might also consider upgrading your long flights: a fully reclining seat for that 10 or 20-hour flight might just be worth the investment. AirTreks can accommodate first and business class upgrades for all or part of your trip, often for a discount.
Traveling with an Agenda
You have things to do, places to be, going from place to place with an angle, an agenda on your trip. People who are working weddings, studies, volunteering, practices or business into their RTW trip fit into this travel style.
For some people, traveling isn’t about aimlessly wandering the world, bouncing from tourist site to tourist site — they hit the road on a mission with a strong sense of purpose and responsibility to themselves (and others) to motivate them and help them pull it off.
Of course, as an individual, this can mean any number of things — maybe your life’s dream is to climb K2 or to take a perfect honeymoon at a resort in the Maldives and fit in a visit to Venice’s Grand Canal and the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Or, maybe you have a meeting in Shanghai on Monday and a meeting in Bangalore on Thursday and need to be in San Francisco, then Toronto, then back to New York after that. Perhaps you’re on a wedding tour, paying respect to friends in Phuket and family in Rome, or maybe you just got accepted to study at an ashram in India.
Perhaps you’re on a wedding tour, paying respect to friends in Phuket and family in Rome, or maybe you just got accepted to study at an ashram in India.
Whatever your “must do” may be, it can form the linchpin of your trip and serve as something to build the rest of your RTW trip around.
Traveling to Get Immersed
Getting in touch with a place takes a little time. You’re the type of traveler that likes to move slowly, to connect with locals in ways you just can’t on a whirlwind trip.
The Peace Corps is just one way to immerse yourself in cultures around the world, long-term, slow travel is another way to stay in a place over a long period of time to experience what daily life is like.
A great way to stop, recharge the batteries and get in touch with a local way of life is to rent an apartment in the city of your choice. It slows you down and allows you to connect with a city from a local’s perspective, as opposed to seeing as much as you can every day to check things off your list as a tourist. You could even get a job, do the “metro, work, bed” routine for awhile. Teaching English is a popular and easy option in many destinations if you’re a native speaker.
You make a point of dedicating your travels to the greater good.
As countries around the world develop faster and faster, and as the global community starts to see its impact on the environment, more and more travelers feel that integrating some aspect of responsible travel is essential on every trip.
Lonely Planet defines responsible travel as:
“Minimizing your impact and maximizing your connection with people and the environment. It’s about making a positive contribution and having the most rewarding and inspiring travel experiences of your life.”
Our ground partner Global Basecamps offers sustainable tours, treks, and accommodations all over the world. Many volunteer organizations also have conservation projects you can participate in on your travels such as tagging sea turtles, beach cleanups, and cultural preservation efforts. You can also volunteer with organizations like Global Vision International or Volunteer Abroad.
If you want to immerse yourself in local culture on a smaller scale, there are lots of ways to do it. Edward Hasbrouck recommends visiting a local English school and volunteering to be a conversation practice partner for the day.
Independent travelers can play a vital role in fostering a universal attitude of respect by helping support local communities cultures in the hard work of maintaining their cultures and environments.