Travelling the globe – but how?
Surfing in Hawaii, backpacking in Sri Lanka, trekking in the Andes, travelling from Europe to China on the Trans-Siberian Railway, or spending several months volunteering for an international aid agency: many people feel a strong urge to plan a long trip combining their dream destination with activities abroad. While there are practically no limits to our travel fantasies, in reality we're likely to face a few challenges in the form of budgeting, deciding when and how long to travel, other planning and heaps of preparation. If you're planning a round-the-world trip, you should start by addressing the following points a few months before your planned departure:
- Budget: How much money do you have available to spend on globetrotting?
- Where to go: Are your dream destinations easy to combine?
- When to travel: Will the trip take place during the local rainy season, or are there any other conditions that make travelling unsafe?
- Means of transport: Around-the-world ticket, public transport or your own car?
- Fixed expenses: How high are your ongoing costs in Switzerland?
Planning the trip of a lifetime properly
Once you've dealt with these questions, you can start planning and structuring your adventure in earnest. Reading travel blogs where other people talk about their experiences can be a helpful form of preparation, as can discussing your planned trip with a travel agent or consultant. As well as booking flights, other forms of transport and accommodation, these professionals can help with your questions about local conditions, visas, vaccinations and more.
How much does a round-the-world trip cost?
The costs associated with a round-the-world trip will vary according to your wishes and requirements. From low-budget to luxurious and expensive, everything is possible – and the costs will vary accordingly. Living expenses in parts of South-East Asia, South America and Africa will certainly be lower than those in Australia, the USA and Japan. Which is why it makes sense to read up about the cost of living at your dream destination, so that you can plan to set aside a fixed daily or weekly amount for transport, accommodation, food and activities. Together with normal reserves of cash, this will give you a rough idea of your budget for the whole trip.
Minimise your ongoing expenses & sublet your apartment
Ongoing expenses such as taxes, rent and general health insurance should be factored into your calculations. However, it may be possible to sublet your apartment and thus save on several months' rent.
Get insurance cover instead of paying extra
Travelling to a number of different countries or even continents is exciting and broadens your horizons. But it also involves certain risks, especially where obtaining medical care in a foreign country is concerned.
All about health insurance
It's important to take note of the cover and benefits your health insurance provides if you need treatment abroad. We recommend taking out travel insurance in addition to your basic insurance. Your supplementary insurance can be suspended during the period you spend travelling, on request. That way, you don't have to complete the health questionnaire again on your return.
Only a few countries require confirmation of insurance. Your insurance policy and insurance card are all you normally need to prove you're insured when abroad.
Checklist before setting off
The destinations are clear, your budget has been set and you can't wait to embark on your extended trip. But there are still a few things to be planned and attended to before setting off. Our checklist can help. The better prepared you are for a major journey, the more you'll enjoy the months spent abroad.
Deregistering: If you're going to be spending more than a year abroad, you'll need to deregister in Switzerland. But you'll still have basic insurance cover under the Federal Health Insurance Act.
Standing orders: Set up standing orders for regular payments to keep the admin you need to attend to while travelling to a minimum.
Vaccinations: Find out in plenty of time what vaccinations you need or are recommended. Ask your (tropical) doctor or travel agent and seek medical advice.
Travel first-aid kit: Put together a compact first-aid kit for treating typical travel-related diseases during your trip. Drug stores and pharmacies can provide you with a practical checklist.
Passport, visa(s): Check the validity of your travel ID in plenty of time – and apply for a visa if you need one. The time taken to issue and send out a visa varies from consulate to consulate.
Well prepared: Read up as much as you can about the various destinations. What unwritten laws apply, which payment methods are preferred, how do you get from A to B, and are there any particular obstacles? Do you need an international driving licence?
What about your pension savings?
Contribution gaps may arise in your AHV/IV cover if you spend a lengthy period of time abroad. We recommend making voluntary payments to close these gaps. If giving up your job to go globetrotting, you need to park your accumulated second pillar (BVG) contributions in a vested benefits account.
Good to know: 'Globetrotter' status doesn't entitle you to have your second and third pillar savings paid out.