7 Ways to Know When to Take a RTW Trip

By Nico Crisafulli

It may be the hardest decision of your life, pinpointing the right life moment for a giant round the world trip. You’ve always wanted to travel and are sure a big trip is in your future, but you just can’t seem to decide the right time to actually do it.

Your long-nurtured sense of responsibility tells you maybe you shouldn’t pack in your sweet apartment or job right now, but this sedentary life just won’t do. There should be something that allows for a long break in your career path that can support the plan.

Without resorting to the “just do it” cop out (it’s far more complicated than that) here are some signs that your traveling moment might be nigh:

1. Your job is ending

Life transitions are the obvious signal that it may be time to take a big trip. Whether the termination was voluntarily or obligatorily, wrapping up a job you loved, didn’t love or were perfectly ambivalent about puts you in a place with an uncertain future. Even if there’s another job lined up, this could be the moment you were waiting for to expand your mind with travel, tell your new boss you need two or three months before you start to re-energize. Don’t let an impending lack of income scare you; there are plenty of places that you can spend less on a daily basis than you would in your hometown.

Unlike ten or fifteen years ago, it’s also now debatable whether resume gaps actually work against you for future job prospects.

2. Your education is ending

The same as the above, just without prior career experience. You’re young, you’re amped, what’re you waiting for?

3. You just landed a windfall

You’ve just inherited/won/embezzled/earned a bunch of money! Well done. So now that buying an expensive plane ticket won’t hurt nearly as much as it did when you were living off dollar taco night, it’s time to get that purchase out of the way while it doesn’t hurt so much.

But even if your windfall won’t buy you a full year on the road, put it toward the cost of the ticket. Look at the price as a cash-in-hand proposition – the less you need to pay yourself, the cheaper the ticket is overall.

If you worried that you should be doing something else with your windfall, remember that the value of travel is infinitely higher than the value of actual money. Think about it – which will you remember in ten years, your month in Thailand or the number of zeros at the dollar figure on a ten-year-old bank statement.

4. You just broke up with your girl/boyfriend

You’re wracked with grief. You can’t stop thinking about them. You’re damn near suicidal. What better way to forget about that lousy jerk than to whitewash over their face with the colors of an exotic new land? A breakup can be an emotional train wreck but the damage doesn’t have to mean you not enjoying your life. Take advantage of the moment to be spontaneous and book a trip, if for nothing else than to make that person jealous you’re not the one dwelling on the memories.

5. There was a death in your family

I’m sorry for your loss, but like breakups (which are a kind of death in itself) nothing helps you forget past better than buffing off the jagged edges of grief with travel. The recommendation is to go solo due to the number of alone hours to contemplate mortality and life direction, especially when sitting by yourself on a bus in Bolivia, and while the pain is tangible, it can be made relevant by seeing how foreign cultures celebrate the passage of life into death.

6. Your baby arrived

Mazeltov! You’re new life is about to begin! A lot of people think that the arrival of a baby also instantly means the removal of everything fun in your life, especially the ability to explore travel dreams. On the contrary, this may be the best time to do it. Perhaps don’t have the baby on the way to the airport but from the ages of six months to a year and a half babies are extremely portable, not to mention cheap on airline tickets. There’s also the added bonus of a little something I call the Rock-Star Baby Effect.

Don’t believe me about traveling with babies? There are baby travel blogs galore that will argue otherwise.

7. Nighttime is the right time

On the other hand, the right time to travel may be as soon as you can get over your traveling objections, which admittedly, are numerous. The right time to travel is when you’ve thrown off the shackles of self-doubt, when you’ve saved enough money for a round the world plane ticket, once you’ve sold off your trivial possessions and bought a backpack. It really is as simple as that.

Ready to go? See our Packing Tips: 15 Genius Ways to Save Space in the Dreaded Suitcase

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Author bio: Nico is the primary writer for the blog at AirTreks.com, a place to find your dream RTW ticket. He’s a proactive traveller and smitten with a love of airplanes, an affliction he will soon pass on to his now five-month old son.

Thanks to garryknight, TheFutureIsUnwritten, kezze and CazzMatt for the images off Flickr.

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