Traveling the world changed over the years. What used to take years now takes days only. One thing remains – traveling the world is in our nature. We all have travelers DNA. We dream to travel the world, to see different continents, to visit exotic places… Who as a child didn’t want to take a trip like Phileas Fogg form Jules Verne’s book? I did! As a matter of fact, I still do. Let me tell you some of the most important things about the history of around the world travels and a description of how to travel around the world in modern days.
FROM FERDINAND MAGELLAN TO STEVE FOSSETT
It took over 3 years and costed life of almost 250 people (including Ferdinand Magellan’s) to circumnavigate the Earth for the first time in the history of mankind. The 18 men, who managed to return home from the expedition lead by Magellan were literally the first people to travel around the world (at least on the official record – who knows what those Vikings were capable of?). They went from Spain across Atlantic, along South America coast, through the strait, that was afterward called The Strait of Magellan, the Pacific Ocean, the territory of today’s Philippines and Indonesia, Indian Ocean and alongside Africa’s west coast back to Spain. The only continents they didn’t visit were North America, which just wasn’t in the neighborhood and Australia, existence of which nobody was even aware back then.
After that, long distance and round the world travels were getting easier and much more comfortable. Like the 19th century Orient Express. Ok, maybe the train never left Europe, but still it was something remarkable. And so cosy!
Technological achievements of the 19th century made it relatively safe and easy for almost anyone to travel around the world. That is of course, if they could afford it. One of the most famous people to travel the world was a controversial president of the United States Ulysses S. Grant. He started his journey after finishing his second cadence in the White House in 1877. In two years he managed to visit the most important European countries, as well as Egypt, India, China and Japan.
In 1924 the United States Army Air conducted the first aerial circumnavigation of the globe, which took 175 days. Since then the engineering progressed so rapidly that nowadays it is possible to do that in a little over 67 hours (what was done in 2005 by Steve Fossett, who flew an aircraft constructed especially for this task). But where’s the fun in that?!
WHAT’S A ROUND THE WORLD TICKET?
Much more interesting is to actually see some of the places you fly over. And for that purpose the Round the world tickets were invented. Basically how they work, is they allow you to pick itinerary and travel from city to city with just one ticket, which is usually valid for a year. It’s cost is calculated depending on the amount of miles you wish to fly and continents you plan on setting foot on. The round the world tickets are usually operated by airline alliances like Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Openworld, but there are also some travel agencies that specialize in preparing such a ticket. Also, if you’re patient enough, and have some time on your hands, you can try searching for flights yourself. There are a few websites, that offer you booking flights, sometimes even cheaper than if you bought them directly from the airline.
HOW TO GET READY FOR A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD?
Trip around the world can last two months, if you’re only visiting each city for a few days or several years, if it’s a part of your lifestyle: traveling to a lot of different countries, working as an English teacher in Venezuela the first 8 months and digging a well in Sudan for the next half a year. In any case, certain preparations have to be done.
First of all, you have to check your passport. Most of the countries require it to be valid for at least six months prior to the date of entry. If your passport is close to that limit, you should think of replacing it with a new one. You might also want to do that, if you traveled a lot before and there is only a few blank pages in your passport left.
Also, to get into some of the countries, you have to apply for a visa. Whether you need it or not depends on the relations between your country and the country you want to go to. It is common to obtain it upon the arrival, but in some cases you are required to contact the embassy of the country weeks before the visit. If you plan on crossing many borders, a useful thing to have is a few spare photos for the visa applications – this way you won’t have to pay for the photo service and save some cash.
While checking if you need a visa or not, you can also find out what, if any, type of vaccinations you need. In order to enter some countries, you will have to prove you have been vaccinated for certain diseases, so it’s best to take a medical documentation with you.
And another thing, we can’t stress enough – no matter what destination you choose, you should always have an insurance. The policies, that cover the whole world are quite expensive, but not as expensive as paying for a specialist consult, for example in Dubai.
Generally a good idea is also to browse through the offers of some banks to find a travel-friendly account, so that you don’t ruin yourself while taking some money from the ATM abroad (it’s bad enough you have to pay provisions to the ATM owner!). And while you’re searching, look around for a travel-friendly credit card, because it is always best to have options, especially when it comes to money.
Travel plan is made, all the preparations done, ticket bought, hotels booked. Almost everything done via internet, with a glass of wine (or juice if you’re not of age) in your hand… Man, that Magellan had it hard! Compared to 16th century, traveling around the world in 2013 seems to be a piece of cake!