RTW bloggers saved me time by graciously sharing their research and experience; I want to pay it forward.


Below is what I did to prepare. For more details:

  • Money (breakdown by countries)
  • Gear (backpack, clothes, technology)


When I first started fantasizing about taking this trip, I read RTW travel blogs to figure out what I needed to do. I naively thought it would take me a month to get it all together – it took me 5 1/2 months.



Start saving a year in advance or get lucky. How I got the $$ for this journey:

  • Saving (50/30/20 budget)
  • Selling stuff on eBay (hence bought most of my gear on there)
  • Selling my car
  • Renting my condo
  • Tax refund


Remember to set aside 30-40% for pre-trip stuff.


 Pre-Trip Expenses












Passport (extra pages)


Extra Passport Photos


India Visa




Vaccines (in States – had insurance so this was my out-of-pocket)


Prescriptions (My out-of-pocket)


Dr Appts (My out-of-pocket)


Short Term Health Insurance (for 5 months while still in States) 


Travel Insurance (for year)




Storage Unit (for year)


Fixing Up Condo to Rent


Setting Up Blog






  • The library is great for free scanning/printing travel stuff (copy of passport, credit cards, etc). While I was there, I also scanned in an extra passport photo and made an 8′ x 10″ sheet of photos (~20 – 2″ x 2″s). Uploaded the .jpg to WalMart and printed for under $3.00).
  • Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. I have Capital One Venture credit card which earns miles (2x miles on all purchase) and has no foreign transaction fees. Also looking into their benefits like rental and travel insurance. This site is great is you want to play with miles.


A heartfelt thank you to friends and family that bought me drinks and meals before I left. And to my father dearest for doing hard labor for free.



For someone who’s supposed to be flying by the seat of her pants, I spent too much time thinking about where to go. When it feels like you only have one chance at a year trip, you want to fit it all in. It took me 2 months to learn about weather, routes, RTW tickets, etc.


  • Books
    • The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World, Lonely Planet
    • Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, National Geographic
    • The World’s Must-See Places: A Look Inside More Than 100 Magnificent Buildings and Monuments, DK Publishing
    • The Rough Guide to First-Time Around The World, Doug Lansky
    • Best in Travel 2015: The Best Trends, Destinations, Journeys & Experiences for the Year Ahead, Lonely Planet
  • Blogs (including this planner, and this chart)
  • Forums
  • Physical world map
  • Talking to fellow nomads (xo NK/EK/HK)


I attempted to aggregate everything into my own “calendar“,which helped me see patterns in seasons and how others lotted. I then got overwhelmed and made a priority list of where I wanted to go – should have started this way.



This can take 2+ months. It took me too long because I research too much and am picky and am cheap. It’s easy to get caught in a loop of buying more and upgrading. Stick with what you feel comfortable in (e.g. you really going to wear that turtle v-neck?), and think through what you would really use vs thinking you would use (e.g. hiking boots?).



Get vaccinations at least a month in advance and while you have health insurance if possible. Travel insurance can take up to a month to get figure out how it works and what type of coverage you want.



I kept going back and forth on vaccines and medications. Finally, my insurance was going to run out and I didn’t have a defined itinerary. So I consulted my Dr. / Northwestern Travel Medicine, and got everything they recommended.


Great online resources:


Shots I got:

  • Hepatitis A/B
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Meningitis


No Yellow Fever (which currently is the only required vaccine for some countries) since Africa and Central and South America were not on radar currently – I can always get internationally.



  • Typhoid
  • Malaria
  • Levaquin
  • Zithromax
  • Zofran
  • Lomotil


Over the counter:

  • Motion sickness
  • Cold/Flu
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antihistamine (allergies)

Travel Insurance

This was so much fun. This article, this article and this resource helped me. Here’s what I got out of my research as a US Citizen.


First, because I’d be out of the country for a year, I did research with the government (I actually called the IRS, Health Insurance Marketplace, and US Dept of Labor).


  • Affordable Care Act requires coverage for 3 months or more or else you’ll get fined
    • But, if you’re out of the country for a total of 330 days, you may be able to get an IRS exemption (2015 not confirmed)
    • HIPAA 63 day significant break in coverage is supposedly not valid with Affordable Care Act


Then, I started looking into types of insurance. My needs were being covered for:

  • a continuous trip (vs multi)
  • if/when I visited the US (xo SC/RS)
  • emergency evacuation (my Dr insisted)
  • sports coverage (e.g. scuba diving and surfing)


From there, I decided I had three types of insurance options:

  • International health insurance (full medical coverage worldwide including US)
  • Travel insurance (emergency coverage and travel coverage e.g. trip interruption)
  • US insurance with travel supplement


I got online quotes for every option. International health insurance is very expensive ($2k-6k). US insurance with supplemental seems odd since I won’t be US (and it’s pricey).


So I narrowed it down to travel insurance with home / sports riders. I wasn’t concerned with the travel options (baggage loss/trip delay, etc).


From there, decided on deductible and medical coverage amount. I ended up going with HCC Atlas. Make sure to read your policy.

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