1) How much money do I need to run away & travel the world?
If you don’t mind sleeping the street or eating leftovers, you won’t need a dime. Travel is possible on a budget as low as 0$ a day, and The Runaway Road Guides are here to show you how. However, admittedly, this kind of travel is on the extreme side and if you’re the kind of person that needs a shower every night then you are going to need some cash.
A more realistic budget which includes your cherished creature comforts really depends on what part of the world you want to run away to. If you are traveling in South East Asia, the Middle East, or Eastern Europe a budget of 20$/ day is enough to keep your belly full and warm at night. While in Western Europe, 40$/day is the necessary minimum.
2) Is traveling dangerous?
Practically everything in life is dangerous. There is nothing that we do as humans that isn’t accompanied by some degree of danger. However, more often than not, the more dangerous something is, the more rewarding, enlightening and fun it is. And without question, this too goes for travel. So, you shouldn’t let your fears get in the way of what could potentially be a life altering and immensely pleasurable experience. Be sure to read, Overcoming Your Travel Anxiety.
3) Where should I start my trip?
What I always tell people is to think about where you have always wanted to go. Maybe you saw it in a movie or read about it in a novel and thought, wow, I would love to go there. That’s the place you should start. For more ideas on where to begin, check out The Best Countries For First Time Budget Backpackers.
4) What should I bring with me?
The best answer to this question is very little. No matter how light your travel plans might be, the weight of that blow dryer or hair gel will quickly begin to feel like led bricks. So if you don’t want to suffer from shoulder cramps or backaches, just bring the essentials. For a better idea on what to bring from technology, to survival gear, check out my section on Backpacking Gear.
5) What kind of backpack should I get?
Since we always have a tendency to fill our bags to the brim, the smaller the backpack the better. Once you have determined the proper size, make sure that the backpack fabric is both durable and semi waterproof. An additional feature that I would recommend is a backpack with a front loading panel. This way you can access your gear without having to take your whole bag apart. For more help on backpacks, check out this guide on “Choosing A Backpack.”
6) Do I need a visa? How much do visas cost?
Most countries around the world will require a visa to enter. However, many countries offer 1 to 3 month tourist visa for free. For US citizens, this includes all of the EU and signatories of the Schengen treaty. Other popular countries where tourist visas can be obtained at the airport or at the border for free include Japan, Thailand, Norway and Israel.
On the other hand, there are also many countries that require a small fortune for a visa. They also insist that you obtain your visa beforehand and not upon arrival. These include countries such as Russia, China, and Sudan where visa fees range from 100 to 250$.
7) I’m An America, will I be harassed for being American?
This is a major misconception. The truth is, most people around the world welcome Americans with unparalleled hospitality.
Even in the Middle East during the Bush years, being an American traveler would still make you popular among the locals.
Almost every one can recite a Disney song or Arnold Schwarzenegger line. And since people know that people are people and governments are governments you will hardly ever have a problem.
Regarding other backpackers, you will inevitably meet a few who subscribe to the the stereotypes of Americans being ethnocentric and ignorant. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen too often. And if it does, just prove them wrong.
8) I don’t speak a foreign language, how will I communicate?
Nowadays, no matter where you go, you can almost always find someone who speaks english. Practically everyone who works in the tourist industry will speak english and many of the ticket office workers, border guards, and hotel staff do so as well. More, most college age kids around the world will have had some training in English as well.
Even if no one around you speaks english, you will be surprised at how effective body language can be. After a while, speaking through your hands and with basic semi universal words such as “OK,” will become second nature. In any case, if english is your only language, I wouldn’t worry. However, if you do want to learn a language, check out this Runaway Guide, How to Learn a Language.
8) Is it possible to fly for free?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. While it used to be possible to fly for free through a courier service, with all the new security measures following 9/11 and the advent of the internet, it appears that courier services are nearing their extinction. However, as long as you know where and how to look, it is still possible to fly for extremely cheap. Check out this guide on How To Fly For Cheap.
9) Should I travel alone or with a friend?
Traveling with a friend and going solo both have their pros and cons. However, if you ask me, I would say that for your first trip you should go solo. When you go it alone, you are forced to rely on yourself and in turn gain tremendous confidence. More, solo travel gives you the freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want. Finally, one of the best things about travel is meeting people along the way. And if your traveling with a friend, you will be more likely to socialize with your friend than with others. So, trust yourself, take the plunge, and travel solo.
1o) Can I work abroad?
Definitely. There are countless jobs available to you as a backpacker. While technically you need a work visa, many employers don’t mind turning a blind eye. Some potential jobs include working on a charter boat in Israel, picking grapes on a vineyard in Italy, or teaching english in Asia. There are always off the books jobs to be had, you just have to get out there and find them. Check out this guide on Runaway Backpacker jobs for more potential work opportunities abroad.
If you have any additional questions or want some advice, don’t hesitate to contact me. Just leave a post below and I will get back to you asap.