6 Books You Need to Plan Your Trip Round the World

An my reading essentials for my backpacking trip around the world

As exciting as the journey will be, organising a trip around the world is no easy feat. In many ways, I found the trip planning process nearly as involved as the day job I quit to go backpacking. But in my search for 'destination inspiration' as well as all the essential practical planning advice (from booking a round the world ticket to visas to travel insurance), I discovered some very helpful tomes along the way. If you don't know where to begin, or simply want to get the juices flowing, here are a few handy guides to get you one step closer to your own adventure. 

1) 1000 Places to See Before You Die  This book has sat on my bookshelf for years and I've gifted it to nearly every travel junkie I know, including my dad. I've always used it as a reference to tick through my travel bucket list and I skim it ahead of every trip to ensure I don't miss any must-see sites. But when it came time to narrow down my insanely long list of places to see during my round-the-world travels, this guide helped reign me in. The book is divided by continent and country and each entry is short and sweet, making it easy to browse and providing you just the right amount of information to give you a flavour of each place. This was the starting point for my more sensible RTW hit list. 

2) Lonely Planet's Ultimate Places I initially bought this book for its eye-wateringly beautiful photos. I spotted it in a bookshop, bought it for a friend's birthday and finally caved and picked it up for myself too. It sat on my coffee table for ages, triggered my one week jaunt through Iceland, and eventually became a source of inspiration for my round the world itinerary. Though the photographs are the real highlight, this book also includes descriptions of each location and recommendations for similar sites. There are 500 places in total, and given that they've been ranked and voted by the Lonely Planet community, you can trust that they're based on the opinions of like-minded travellers. 

3) Rough Guides: First-Time Round the World This was the first book I bought once I'd made the decision to pack my bags and go for it. I knew planning longer-term travel would require a lot more effort and challenge my very spur-of-the-moment nature. And given that I'm not the biggest fan of the more practical / logistical bits of planning a trip, this felt like a nice gateway into the details I'd need to help me get organised. And it didn't disappoint. This book is informative without being overwhelming, and gives you interesting insights about things you probably otherwise wouldn't have considered, such as the perks of travelling solo vs. travelling with friends and the top backpacker destinations for yogis AND ravers.  

4) Gap Years for Grown Ups  This was hands down my number one resource for planning the details of my round the world adventure. This book walks you through every step, from how to quit your day job (and leave your career intact should you decide to come home) to buying the right travel insurance, staying safe on the road and adapting back to the 'real world' when your adventure ends. I bookmarked and highlighted pages to help me build my pre-trip to-do list and worked my way through it over the course of a couple months. Though the title claims this book is only for those who are already adulting (i.e. full-time job, mortgage, kids), I think this is a helpful resource for students and traditional gap year travellers too. 

5) South America on a Shoestring and Southeast Asia on a Shoestring  I'm sure you're pretty familiar with these already, but I still think they're worth a mention. These classic Lonely Planet guides are a great resource for long-term travellers planning to trek through a specific region on the cheap. There are great tips for hostels, cheap transport and, most importantly for me, crossing borders in a inexpensive, safe and painless way. When you're travelling without a clear trajectory, its helpful to have a reference for those last-minute surprises, like getting stuck in a border town because your visa wasn't processed. As a frequent female solo traveller, this type of information is invaluable. 

6)  The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich  I know - this one's a bit rogue. But I love that Tim Ferris's best-seller encourages what is required more than anything else to take up long-term travel: courage. It can be terrifying to quit your job, book a one-way ticket and dive into the unknown. But you open the door to experience the immense richness of this planet, and life, in return. So if you're still on the fence and are looking for that extra nudge, then I beg of you, pick this up. It'll leave you feeling inspired, exhilarated and ready to take that big leap. 

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