Five things I have learnt on my round the world trip


Last week I was kayaking towards the amazing Angthong National Marine Park in Thailand. Today, I am sat on my balcony, overlooking Lake Toba on Samosir Island. Travelling round the world comes with its own challenges and after seven weeks exploring SE Asia, I have learnt a lot of lessons that I would like to share with you.

Expect travel issues

This is the last thing you want to read when you’re planning a round the world trip, but things happen that are out of your control. You will find yourself in stressful situations, like struggling to find your hostel late at night, flight delays, and occasionally being ripped off. I’m afraid it happens. Just take a deep breath, smile and remember that your family and friends are either sat in an office working, or getting drenched cycling to work.

Travel light

Prior to starting my RTW trip I spent countless hours deciding if I should take one cabin size backpack, or, check in a large backpack. My concern was that the airline could lose my luggage, and I wouldn’t be in one place long enough to get it back. In the end I opted for a 46-litre backpack. I jump off the plane (of course, not literally!), through security, and walk straight past the baggage claim area, with a smug grin on my face.

For clothing, pack three of everything; so three t-shirts, three pairs of shorts etc. After you’ve packed your backpack, go through it again and remove any items that you don’t really need – be strict with yourself, you will not regret it.

Don’t look vulnerable

When you arrive at a new destination, walk through that exit with confidence – big striding steps, smile on your face, sending out the message that you know which direction you are heading in and how you are getting there. Walk around looking like a lost little sheep will send out a signal that you’re vulnerable, and the locals will pounce.

I walked through Kualanamu International airport in Medan, Indonesia looking stressed because my bankcard wouldn’t work in the ATM, and local tricksters pounced on me.



Be a responsible traveller

I have a problem with animals like elephants being used to entertain tourists, and cringe at the thought of them being made to do stupid acts like kick a football and do circus tricks. So, while in Thailand I went to an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai where I learned more about the dwindling numbers of elephants in the country (approx. 3,000 left), and helped feed them. Of course, this tour was aimed at tourists, but it was much more ethical in my eyes. It is important that you are responsible about the places that you visit on your travels.

Have a great travel agency behind you

Having a reputable travel agency behind you can be the difference between a trip of a lifetime, and a trip from hell. There is no doubt that your travel plans will change, and having the support of a travel agent helps make the trip stress free. I wouldn’t have said that five years ago, but for a round the world trip they’re an essential part of it.

by Darren Cronian

Disclosure: Darren is travelling on a Navigator round the world ticket which is valid for 12 months and is date changeable free of charge. His RTW consultant is Stuart, the handsome one.