If you’re getting ready for an extended trip around the world, why follow the advice of all those seasoned travelers who have done it already? Ignore those dolts blogging from the road for years and those know-nothings on the message boards at Lonely Planet and BootsnAll. Do it your way. I’m sure everything will turn out just fine.
1) Hit 36 countries in 12 months
Forget what all those long-term travelers are telling you. You’re out to see the world, dammit, not just a piece of it! Cram as much into that itinerary as you can. If you can only visit Laos for one day, so what? You’ve checked off Laos! If you stop over in Bali for two nights and hit Kuta Beach, you can say you’ve seen Indonesia. You have the passport stamp to prove it. Be sure to hit five or six continents, even if it means you spend half your trip in planes and buses. You need a trip worth bragging about. “Slow travel” is for underachievers.
2) Pack a rolling suitcase so you don’t “look like a backpacker.”
Call yourself a Flashpacker and disassociate yourself from all those scuzzy shoestring travelers by carrying a suitcase with wheels instead of a backpack. Sure, you’ll be picking it up and carrying it half the time once you leave the airport in developing countries as you encounter cobblestones, sidewalks jammed with vendors, sacred cow crap, 1/2-mile staircases, and dirt paths leading from the bus station to your hotel. But hey, sometimes it takes some sacrificing to project the right image.
3) Spend a few hours nightly on Facebook and Twitter
Don’t bother talking to locals or other people in your guesthouse to get travel advice. How can you trust these strangers? Plug in the earbuds each night and tap into that Wi-Fi signal so you can pump out status updates on everything you did that day. Otherwise people won’t remember you’re traveling and won’t be able to keep telling you, “Way to go!” with a thumbs up icon. You are special because you are traveling while they are going to their stupid job each day. So be sure to keep reminding them. That’s more important than spending time interacting and learning wherever you happen to be that week.
4) Don’t do any budgeting or cost research before you leave.
Travel is expensive, right? So it doesn’t matter where you go or how much it costs in particular destinations. If Copenhagen turns out to be really costly, you can just skip all the attractions and hang out in the city parks. If Brazil ends up costing twice as much as Peru and your budget is busted after paying $264 in visa fees to enter, just blow off Iguazzu Falls. You’ve seen the pictures on your buddy’s Facebook page. Close enough.
5) Book every hotel and hostel stay in advance.
Just showing up and finding a place to stay? Too much uncertainty. Sure, everyone will tell you you’ll spend far less that way on lodging and you can see the room before committing, but time is money baby! Book all your stays in advance so you’ll know exactly where you’ll be each night of your trip. Serendipity sucks. Besides, this gets you in the habit of going online each night in the guesthouse common area to book hotels—that way you won’t forget to do your status updates.