You’re putting together an itinerary for a round the world trip planner. Congrats! My one-year vacation grew into ten years of travelling, and it completely changed my life. My own one-year vacation plan took me to 15 countries and innumerable adventures, but it was difficult to narrow down my dream countries to only 15.
After so many years on the road—and multiple round the world trip planner since that first one—I’ve learnt some valuable lessons for anyone planning their own journey. A round the world trip planner is often a long-term journey lasting at least a few months and up to a year or more. These are eight ideas—or, more accurately, eight steps—to help you narrow down your travel schedule to those destinations along the way that match your budget, emphasize the most memorable sites for you, and make sense for the trip you’ve always wanted to take.
1. Make a global bucket list of things to see and do.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of arranging a round the world trip planner is the inspiration phase. Perhaps you already have a long list of sites you want to visit on your trip. Or maybe you’ve nailed down a few important experiences but are looking for more. You should definitely start with a lengthy bucket list of places to see throughout the world, but weather and route may immediately cross a few off your list.
If you’re looking for more travel inspiration, check out my Destination Travel Guides, where you can browse the finest travel books by destination or search for long-reads and podcast recommendations. Use these books and resources to get ideas for not only places to visit but also activities to include in your round the world trip planner.
Perhaps you read The Devil’s Picnic and added Paris on your list because of the stinky but delicious Époisses de Bourgogne cheese, or perhaps you added Bhutan because of its unique portrayal in The Geography of Bliss (which is why it’s on my next RTW trip!). Books and podcasts are fantastic ways to broaden your perspective on what you can do on your trip.
Once you’ve compiled a list of fantasy places for your trip, choose up to five that are absolute must-sees—these will form the foundation of your round the world trip planner itinerary. The rest of your itinerary will fall into place around those stops, depending on scheduling, weather, and other factors. It’s up to you how detailed you plan—some travelers leave with a detailed list of places and timetables, while others only prepare for the first few months.
My top three travel destinations are as follows:
I planned three major events for my first year. The first was scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, which is why I began my journey in Australia. The second was meeting up with my cousin in India and going on a two-month backpacking trip north from Mumbai before finishing our time together at a volunteer job in Nepal. The third was time-sensitive since I had always wanted to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, which takes place every August.
Later, while traveling in Southeast Asia with my 11-year-old niece for six months, I guided her through some simple Google searches so she could see what was available. We devised a collaborative round the world trip planner schedule around her three major goals: an ethical elephant encounter, ziplining somewhere, and seeing Angkor Wat.
2. Decide on a course on round the world trip planner.
Because sometimes you simply need a nap, I slept on an airport couch in Morocco before a very late night trip.
Your journey plan will take you around the world from your home nation, either east to west or west to east. Backtracking is inconvenient since it is costly, produces more jet lag, and is harmful to the environment. Use this method whether you’re flying around the world on a round the world trip planner ticket (which requires this stipulation) or booking flights as you go.
The advantages and disadvantages of heading east include:
• According to science, this route is more taxing on your body and causes more jet lag. The short of it is that when you travel through time zones, you lose time, but your body loves cycles that are little longer than 24 hours, not shorter.
• To avoid losing several days to jet lag in each new location, you’ll need to become an expert at minimizing it.
• If you’re planning a long round the world trip planner, say 18 months or more, and your route creeps around the globe, you won’t notice much of a change.
The benefits and drawbacks of traveling west include:
• As previously said, your body enjoys days that are longer than 24 hours, thus your internal clock finds it much easier to add hours to your day. There will be less nights spent adjusting and staring at the hotel ceiling at 3 a.m. as a result of this.
• It’s best to steadily hop west around the world because your body can handle at least two hours of time zone
bouncing in this direction without feeling ill. If you’re crossing the Pacific from the United States, your biggest time zone adjustment will most likely happen at the start of your journey, allowing you to relax for the next several months.
How I choose my round the world trip planner route:
I was fortunate in that two of my most memorable encounters coincided with the end of my journey. Due to the distance between Scotland and Australia, it was simple to round the world trip planner many of my other dream places to fill the gap.
Because I planned to leave the United States in November, it seemed obvious that beginning my journey in Australia, which was in the midst of summer, made the most sense. Then I’d head west to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, skipping both Europe’s winter and Asia’s summer.
3. Come up with unique overland routes.
Whew, you’ve compiled a list of fantasy destinations as well as a vacation plan. It’s now time to fill in the blanks on your global travel schedule. And you’ll accomplish it by taking local transit, which is a lot more enjoyable than flying because you’ll get to see more of the nation and culture, as well as have more varied travel experiences.
Return to a select few important destinations on your bucket list right now. These are the pillars upon which your RTW journey will be built. These dots on the map should give you a general idea of where you’re going. If they don’t, or if one is just an anomaly making it difficult to draw logical connections, reduce your round the world trip planner list to four and see if that helps—if you truly love the idea of an experience but it doesn’t fit this trip, it might make a terrific vacation on its own in a few years.
Now you need the details for your route, which normally come from visiting clusters of bordering countries—you’ll be traveling overland between several of these locations. (However, check your nationality’s visa limitations, as some countries demand visas in advance or don’t allow crossings at particular borders.) Popular routes (such as backpacking Southeast Asia) have few limitations, which can be readily done online or in the days leading up to your border crossing.
Begin by scribbling on the map the countries that are closest to your bedrock destinations. That looks like this: If hiking in Nepal is a must-do, and India’s Golden Triangle and Sri Lanka are also on your bucket list, it’s a no-brainer to include them in your itinerary, given that you’ll be in the area.
Overland routes that I’ve devised:
As I was putting together my itinerary, a dear buddy expressed an interest in meeting me in Florence, Italy in June. That became another rock-solid item with a firm deadline, so I knew when I needed to depart South Asia and travel to Eastern Europe. I had Croatia on my tentative list, and I had a friend in Bosnia, so both of those places became destinations on my schedule, helping to define it.
After leaving Bosnia, I decided to travel north through Eastern Europe, filling in adventurous stops that would take me from my friend in Italy in June to Scotland in August—enough time for rafting in Slovenia, discovering charming towns in the Czech Republic, biking Amsterdam like a local, and walking through England’s Lake District first!
4. Look for festivals in your preferred locales.
Local festivals all over the world are brimming with life, culture, and good times. When you discover too late that you missed a big religious and festive event by only a few days, it’s a huge letdown. It’s also a shock if you arrive thinking it’s shoulder season but instead find yourself in the middle of Brazil’s carnival.
Plan your journey to coincide with the dates of festivals that appeal to you (this is especially important for travels with children, who enjoy the excitement, colors, and delicacies associated with these events). Because you’ll need to secure accommodations ahead of time depending on the event, you’ll lose some flexibility in your globe travel itinerary, but it’ll be worth it.
Here are a few popular annual festivals that many visitors arrange their trips around: In late August, Spain celebrates La Tomatina; in early March, India celebrates Holi, the Festival of Colors; in late October or early November, Thailand celebrates Songkran Water Festival; and in late October or early November, Thailand celebrates Loy Krathong Lantern Festival.
Festivals all across the globe I looked for:
I went into planning mode when my cousin told me we could only meet in India in February, and I knew we’d be there for two months, so I started thinking about where we might celebrate Holi, the Festival of Colors. It was an absolute highlight of my vacation, and I’m so grateful that our globe travel schedule included this incredible Indian festival. Then there was the Fringe Festival, which was one of my go-to places.
5. Use locales as Tetris pieces to match your travel budget.
I kept to a fantastic year-long international vacation budget of under $20,000! Only by carefully organizing my time to favor budget-friendly countries and then adding in high-cost countries in smaller supply could I accomplish so.
Before you go, do some research on each of your favorite destinations because some places that you might think are budget-friendly are actually more expensive than you think (a safari in Africa is not cheap, nor is accommodation in much of Africa, but visiting a dream destination on the continent is worth it). Japan is in Asia, but it is also expensive. Central America and Mexico, as well as areas of South America, are inexpensive.
How I managed to stick to my RTW travel budget:
Three of my eleven months on the road were spent in Australia, England, Scotland, and Ireland, which were all extremely expensive. India and Nepal were by far the most affordable destinations (even cheaper than backpacking Southeast Asia), and it was tough to go over budget during my three-and-a-half-month trip through South Asia. I spent the next months in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, two low-cost to mid-cost regions. Even though some days in Europe over $100, I was able to easily average $50 per day.
6. Make plans based on weather patterns.
Prepare for your trip by researching destinations ahead of time and making plans based on your personal weather preferences. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to visit every destination during your chosen season, you should be aware of when monsoon season makes the islands uninhabitable, or when blizzards sabotage a planned ski vacation.
To help you get started, my buddies put together a fantastic map showing weather trends throughout South and Southeast Asia. You may also use this wonderful list of shoulder season sites throughout the world, this European shoulder season list, and this extremely cool map showing an example round the world trip planner with perfect weather in every spot to do your study.
Why did I travel round the world trip planner to chase summer? I planned my trip schedule to do just that. As a native Floridian, I have a stronger tolerance for heat than most people, and I prefer being warm. Summer was wonderful for a year. It’s also a lot easier to pack for long-term travel when you can leave your heavy coats and boots at home
7. Think about how you’ll fly.
You must consider more than simply major long-haul flights while arranging your itinerary. I also research local budget airlines when traveling, so I always have a solid knowledge of where parts of the world have cheap puddle-jumper flights. If you’re thinking about buying round the world trip planner tickets, read on for some insider ideas and suggestions!
AirAsia and Vietjet are two of the most popular airlines in Southeast Asia. Vueling, Ryan Air, and EasyJet are just a few of Europe’s inexpensive airlines. In addition, JetStar offers great airline deals in South Asia. By looking for low-cost airline routes, I may easily visit more nations in a region if there are flights under $100 in the area. (Tip: Check out this fantastic interactive map of low-cost airline itineraries.)
My transportation options: I calculated the cost of a year on the road and discovered that combining overland travel with local carriers was less expensive than purchasing a round-trip ticket in advance. Since I never buy round the world trip planner ticket, I also offer a tutorial on how I get decent flight deals. Flights are generally necessary unless you plan an entirely overland route round the world trip planner, but relying solely on this mode of transportation is dangerous, so seriously consider how you can incorporate other options, such as purchasing a Eurorail ticket in Europe or a Greyhound bus ticket to travel down Australia’s east coast
8. Remove some of your travel places from your plan.
There is no right or wrong way to organize your round the world trip planner, and there is no ideal number of countries to see in a year—it all depends on what you want to see. And no matter how meticulously you prepare, you’ll fall in love with some spots, feel lousy about others, and probably even skip a few. You won’t know unless you figure out what kinds of places and activities suit your long-term travel style the best.
Please keep in mind, however, that the speed of short-term travel differs significantly from that of a multi-month journey. Create a route that takes things leisurely, avoids the terrible travel tiredness, and takes you to places you’ve always wanted to go. To do so, you’ll need to examine your vacation with a critical eye and trim the fat.
Is there anything you added because it appeared interesting and was quite near but wasn’t a bedrock item? Or maybe it’s a destination you’ve always wanted to see, but you’re afraid you’ll forget about it if you don’t go now. Remove those from your globe trip schedule right now, and after you’re on the road, send me an email to say thank you.
I omitted the following countries from my itinerary:
When I sought for itinerary guidance in a travel forum, the greatest recommendation I received was to cut out an entire leg of the trip. Between my stay in the Czech Republic and Amsterdam, I had wanted to backpack through Scandinavia, but long-term travelers advised me that I would be grateful for any flexibility in my itinerary at that point (nine months into it). Plus, they correctly pointed out that on my limited travel budget, I couldn’t afford to visit these really expensive destinations.
Turns out that I burned out a month before arriving in the Czech Republic and spent an extra two weeks in Slovenia—if I hadn’t been dead intent on Scandinavia, I would never have had time to accomplish that and still make it to the Edinburgh Fringe in time! (And don’t even get me started on the impact Scandinavia would have had on my vacation budget!)
If you’re worried about organizing the finer points of a months-long trip using round the world trip planner, remember that a general itinerary will suffice. You just need to worry about logistics for the first few of weeks before leaving home; the rest can be sorted out on the road. I’ll keep my word.
I swear I’ll be honest. It may be frightening, but I promise you that once you arrive, you will be happy for the flexibility, and that you will be able to organize the smaller aspects as you go. Before my first round of the world, I had underestimated how easy it would be to move between countries and regions.