How to Plan a Round-the-World Travel Route That Makes Sense Amanda Kendle February 28, 2011 Features, Money, Pre-Trip, Tips, Travel 31 Comments Planning a route for a round-the-world trip is both thrilling and problematic. There’s a mad excitement to standing in front of a world map and tracing a circumnavigation with your finger tip. Everything seems possible. But when you start trying to create a realistic, practical route, the world can start to fall down around you. So just how can you plan a RTW travel route that makes sense? There are a number of factors to consider, including these: Walking on Water, Indonesia © ^riza^ #1 – Making Sensible Destination Choices I’d say you can’t really go wrong when choosing the stops on a RTW trip, but some routes are more right than others. There are a number of factors to consider, but one that I think many people neglect is making sure your trip has a good variety of destinations. You might love the beach, but a RTW trip that stops in California, Australia and Thailand, all for the sun and sand, could get a bit repetitive. Think carefully about the different kinds of travel experiences you want to have and pick your stops to give a variety of these. At the same time, don’t get carried away with trying to see the whole world. It might be a round-the-world trip, but you shouldn’t treat it as the only chance you’re ever going to have to travel, or you’ll try to squeeze in everything and end up hating it. Remember that you’ll definitely enjoy your travels more if you have just half a dozen really interesting destinations, rather than trying to see every landmark in a continent. #2 – The Biggest Problem: The Cost I’ve often dreamed up some truly fantastic RTW itineraries for myself, only to plug them in online and discover that buying a new car would be significantly cheaper. My favorite site to use is the Airtreks TripPlanner which allows you to experiment with all kinds of great routes, seeing different prices and adding or subtracting cities as it suits you. They also have a neat interactive map which makes it easy to map out a trip idea while making sure you keep traveling in the same direction, and the search results add in additional stops that can be made either for the same price or just a little more – although more choices are sometimes not what you need. In any case, a RTW travel ticket is nearly always going to start at $2,000 and can often be around $3,000 or $4,000. That makes it a pretty hefty part of your budget. If that’s tight – whose budget isn’t? – then play around with your route to get the best value for your money. Of course, there is more than just your flight to pay, especially if you’re traveling for a long stretch. Research your destinations to get an idea of the average daily costs for travelers and figure out your budget (adding a good 10 or 20 percent buffer). You might decide you need to spend longer in cheaper countries and have a relatively short stay in more expensive places. #3 – Different Climates and Seasons There are two reasons why the weather is important: you might have a personal preference (I’m a summer girl), and it has a big impact on what you pack. If you’re doing a medium to long-term backpacking stint, you may not want to have to carry clothes for all seasons. Alternatively, you might want to visit winter or cold climate destinations as the first part of your trip and then dump your coats or send your winter woollies home. There are, of course, ways around these problems, but if you have the flexibility while you’re still in the planning stages, do a bit of research about the expected weather at particular times of year in the places you want to visit. WorldClimate.com is a great resource for this and can help you structure your trip to take advantage of better weather, or perhaps even avoid your most hated season altogether. Daydreaming, Japan © *Solar ikon* #4 – Time Spent Traveling While you might imagine anyone booking a RTW flight to be taking a slow journey of months or even a year, a lot of people are taking advantage of RTW flight routes to travel for just a few weeks, visiting several places in different continents. In that case, you really need to do your research on how much time will be spent in traveling, whether by air or land. You don’t want the memories of your big trip to be of departure lounges and airplane food. And remember – pure flight times aren’t enough, you have to factor in checking in before hand and traveling to the airport. It all adds up. #5 – Practicalities: Visas and Health It’s not much fun to get back down to earth when you’re planning your RTW route and think about boring practicalities like visas or medical insurance, but it’s still necessary. You should check which countries you’re going to visit will require visas, and make sure that the timing of these will fit into your overall route. For example, some countries have visa requirements that limit the validity of the visa – you may not be able to get it issued more than six months in advance, which could be tricky. Also, it pays to start researching a decent travel insurance policy – particularly one that includes health cover – while you’re still at the planning stages. Plus you’ll need to take a note of which countries you might need vaccinations or shots for, and how the timing of these work, too. When I was planning a trip to Namibia, I remember getting stumped by how and where I was going to be able to get the booster vaccinations required. Long trips can make timing complicated. Enjoy Your Planning Don’t forget that the planning is often just as fun as the actual traveling. Take enough time to daydream about what your trip might bring, and to let your imagination run wild. Don’t be afraid to visit a country that you don’t know much about, or better yet, get your hands on some good reading material and learn about it. Keep a world map handy so you can play with possible routes in your mind whenever the mood takes you. This trip will undoubtedly be one of the best experiences of your life. Enjoy it right from the start. 31 Responses Elizabeth March 5, 2008 Great suggestions! As someone who is considering a RTW trip in the future these are definitely tips to remember. Reply Gary March 5, 2008 So given all of that – any suggestions as to a potential itinerary as an example? Reply Mike March 5, 2008 Quite a bookmark-worthy post, Amanda! Reply Gavin March 5, 2008 Solid article. Does anyone think it makes any sense to try and do RTW by purchasing individual tickets, either beforehand or en route? Reply Amanda March 6, 2008 Gary: potential itineraries sounds like a whole new post! In my life I’ve mapped out an extraordinary number of RTW itineraries, most of them purely wishful thinking though. Stay tuned and perhaps we can put up some ideas. Gavin: Depends on where you’re going, but with the increasing availability of cheap tickets on low cost carriers – which are starting to do long haul routes – then yes, sometimes it might (a) work out cheaper and (b) be more flexible. You’d need to be really in touch with the different airlines and when they have specials, etc – I still think whichbudget.com is the best place to start for that kind of research. Reply Lola March 6, 2008 Good stuff as always Amanda. My subconscious has been itching for a RTW the last 2 years and this thought has been looming over me these last few months….. Reply Amanda March 7, 2008 Then it’s time to start planning, Lola! Even if you don’t actually travel for a while, the planning phase is so much fun. Lots of delicious daydreaming and crazy ideas … Reply Weekly Links - 3/9/08 - Sean’s Blog - March 9, 2008 […] How to Plan a Round the World Trip – Vagabondish puts together a good list for something I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time or money.Â Namely traveling around the world. […] Reply Leah May 5, 2010 Myself and my boyfriend are in the early stages of planning a year long RTW trip. I plan on leaving Ireland for India in early September. Spending a month traveling around India. Then Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Oz for a short while in late December, renting a campervan in NZ then hitting south america for three months before home. I wanted to do central america too but the RTW flight companies (trailfinders/usit etc) are telling me that I will go over the milage allowed. (29,000). We’re very flexible with our dates/ destinations. I was wondering does anyone think we should travel the other way around, as in South America first, finishing up in India? Any advice from anyone who has done a similar route would be greatly appreciated!!! I’m so nervous and excited at the same time! Reply Nico June 15, 2010 Hi everyone..I do have a question that it might look stupid but I do need to know the answer..what is consider a Round the world trip??..how many countries do you have to touch??..can I just pick the ecuador line and just follow it??..Any suggestions? thanks!!! Reply Tweets that mention How to Plan a Round-the-World Travel Route That Makes Sense -- Topsy.com June 17, 2010 […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by GotSaga, AirTreks. AirTreks said: A little old but still relevant. How to plan a round the world route that makes sense (from @vagabondish) http://bit.ly/af2Fxr […] Reply Andy January 21, 2011 Hi Amanda. Enjoyed reading your post, I’m planning a trip around the world. With a budget of Â£5000. I was thinking of starting in India. But then going to China to teach English as a foreign language for 6-12 months. Trying to live off the money I earn there to help my budget. The sort of just going through South East Asia like Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, malyasia. The try and see some of Australia and New Zealand. After that going to South America to once again to teach english for 6-12 months living off what i earn and then coming back to the UK. Is this feasable??? Reply Henrique February 28, 2011 Very good article, I hope it inspires lot’s of 1st timers to get out of the cubicle and go rtw. I just can’t agree with the last paragraphâ€¦ planning isn’t (never) as fun as the actual traveling. Being out on the streets is the real deal, most of the time the best experiences are gained from going with the flow, and keep your plans as open as possible. Over-planning can ruin your experiences and expectations. Keep an open mind and enjoy the freedom of Vagabondingâ€¦ no pressure. Reply Fresh From Twitter February 28, 2011 […] @BootsnAll: RT @vagabondish: How to Plan a Round-the-World #Travel Route That Makes Sense – http://bit.ly/18AdNk RT @traveladvisor4u: Travel Advisor Tip: […] Reply Don Nadeau February 28, 2011 I say pack a RTW trip with places you are not likely to reach easily or inexpensively on shorter trips. For someone from Europe or North America, stops might include places in South America and central and southern Africa. Because Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN connect South America with Australia & New Zealand, you need not backtrack. Southern Africa and South America are also linked directly, which saves time and money. Reply Don Nadeau February 28, 2011 Forgot to mention that Aerolineas Argentinas will join the SkyTeam alliance during 2012, which will bring more RTW ticketing opportunities. LAN already is in OneWorld, which may be better than SkyTeam for a southern RTW, because Qantas also hangs out there. Reply Craig S. Holden April 17, 2011 Hello Amanda, Good Advice, thank you for sharing the RTW expirence. I plan my around-the-world trips from West to East. Every completed trip gives me an extra day of life! THX Jules V. and Philias F. The ’73 trip started it all.. there I was, in London, it was 9:12 in the morning, Friday, November 21st. I responded to a lady holding a sign that read “TWA TOURS”, recieved a Numbered Cardboard Badge, climbed aboard a Little Blue Bus. and was told we were headed for the Tower of London… I had been awake for 29 hours and 17 minites and I wanted a bathroom and a hotel bed… By 10:18 that evening I would have seen the Crown Jewels, celebrated my 30th birthday, and become a new, very expirenced, Guiness Drinker, riding the Circle Line Subway, around and around, waiting for the Marbel Arch Stop to arrive. 1975 was the Alaskan Highway in a Type 181 VW, to Fairbanks and back (back was Palo Alto – Silicon Valley during the interesting times). My first ATW trip took place, with bicycle, during 1977 and ’78 and changed my life… two years in Nepal… that would make a good chapter title, ‘Two years in Katmandu’. (Can one be a Buddist Presbyterian? stay tuned) ’85 was 3 months to Alaska by Bicycle, and in 1994 I made the trip in 5 days 9 hours by Buick. An ’84 Trip ,with my Mother, included Paris. I was forty years old, and as she spoke with the waiter in a little resturant next to our lodgings, I realized for the first time, she could speak French! (Mom, when did you learn to speak French?) Now in the seventh decade of this life, I still dreamplan my next trip. Around The World (what else), this time by Car. It is the 16th of April, Milepost Zero – California Station. L.Y.N.D.A. and I have just begun our Around the World Drive. First stop, Roaring Camp RR, there, the Old Steam Locomotive is about to receive a gift of AI from the L.ogically Y.ared N.avigational D.ata A.nalyist, the computer driven automobile, with whom I ride. Using the computers artificial intelligence (and artistic licence) we are going to be introduced to the Steam Engine’s friends, the manificent Coastal Redwoods, from whom we shall learn the history of the Sempervirens, the Ohlones, and the Henry Cowell Redwood State Park as we ride the train through the San Lorenzo Valley on the way to Santa Cruz. (Did you know that there are 94,286 towns, cities, and otherwise wide spots on the World Road, named, Santa Cruz) Wait until you learn the history of Paris told by an animated Tower of Iron Construction. ooh la la. Taste the tears at the Taj Mahal… her lover had planned his tomb to be a copy of her jewel incrusted resting place, His, rendered in black, was to be built on the island across the river from hers. Enter the son, unhappy that ‘dad’ was ‘spending his inheritence’, gave his father a room in Agra’s Red Fort for the remainder of his life. There was a view of the Taj Mahal from the cells window. – The Wonder is the World, a Round Ball Spaceship. I say to all Flat Worlders: See you in the Funny Papers. – The rest of the story will be on “LYNDA Sees the World”. – Come on along… it’s going to be a beautiful drive. – Plan… Dream… but in the end… GO! There is nothing out there but human beings. The only differences are found at borders and in governments. Be flexable… the trip won’t turn out as it was planned. Don’t worry, snafu’s lead to wonderful happens, the successful trip might be, because, it didn’t go… According to the Plan. C. Holden – 2011 – at the Station Reply Booking My Round The World Ticket | Small World Pursuits May 29, 2011 […] my around the world ticket: How to Buy an Around the World Ticket World Climate: Temperature Data How to plan a RTW route that makes sense Budget Your Trip Cost of a Trip Around the World One World Star […] Reply Saran August 31, 2011 Hi Amanda, Thanks for the avice… I not really trying to do it all in one trip. I’d like to plan for visiting a few different countries each year… Until today I had no idea RTW tickets were available. I am excited about that, I may do a 2 week RTW trip next year Reply matthew August 27, 2012 Europe, S.A. and Asia in one year! I am currently planning a 1 year RTW trip – August 2013 – August 2014. I am just starting to plan everything. I will be travelling alone. I hope to visit the following countries but some will probably have to go: Europe: England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic South America: Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador Africa: South Africa, Morrocco Asia: Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Europe: Russia, Greece, Turkey, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland Which way is the best to start out…going West or East? When taking weather conditions and everything into consideration. Should I filter some of the countries out or is it possible to reach everyone of them within 1 year? Looking forward hearing from all! Reply Don Nadeau August 28, 2012 Matthew, you don’t mention where you trip starts, but if Canada or the States, travel west, both for best weather (you’ll end up in Europe during summer 2014) and because most people seem to cope with jet lag better in that direction. In addition to my 2011.02.28 comments, am sure that you will 1) consider the cost of being in each area when planning your time (some places on your wish list are very expensive) and 2) the least expensive airline routings. Having lived in & travelled all over South Africa, glad its on your list. Haven’t used bazbus.com there, but like its itineraries. Reply matthew October 28, 2012 Hi Don, I’m starting in Canada in August. I hope to go to Britain, Germany and Austria for September. In October, November and December I plan to be in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.In January I plan to be in Morocco and South Africa. In February, I plan to be in Nepal, thailand, Cambodia, Loas, Fiji and Singapore. In June and July, I plan to move onto Finland , Sweden, Norway and Denmark, Greece and Turkey. I understand that jet lag will be a factor I have to deal with. Could it be mitigated somehow? I havent checked the airlines yet but I’m leaning towards round the world ticket to easy exhaustion and travel time. The costs in Europe are hard to avoid in the warmer months but easier travel to manage, which is why I chose them at those points in time. My big concern too is the weather in Asia at that time of the year. Any advice? Reply Don Nadeau November 14, 2012 A fellow Canadian, eh? Let the good advice flow! Seriously, the more you travel, the more you realize how much you do not know. That certainly applies to me. Hopefully, others will join the discussion. Matthew, I am facing a deadline and will get back to you in a few days. It would be helpful to know how limited your budget is, if at all, and whether you will begin the trip in eastern or western Canada or someplace in between. Reply Mish November 19, 2012 Love to hear travel advice from fellow Canadians :) I am also planning a RTW trip and am very excited to hear the tales of other travelers. Matthew, I just came back from Portugal, Morocco, and Spain —> amazing!!! Don, would love to hear more about South Africa bc that is definitely on my list as is India. Cheers and remember a rolling stone gathers no moss! Reply Don Nadeau November 25, 2012 Hi Matthew and Mish, This includes stuff for both of you. Totally jealous of both of your trips! Uploaded this a few days ago, but apparently was rejected because I linked to various articles I’ve written (most in my blog), even though none of these attempted to sell anything. Anyhow — Michael, the order in which youâ€™ve arranged your destinations will cost you big time. International airfares, especially round-the-world fares, often directly correlate at least to some extent to distance traveled. As an example of excess distance, you have scheduled Morocco between Argentina and South Africa. Ceuta, a tiny enclave of Spain on the coast of Morocco, and Tangier in Morocco both sit just 35 minutes by ferry from Algeciras in southern Spain. Morocco would probably work best as an add on to time spent in Europe. Unless you have an unlimited budget, be careful. There are times you can find better fares if you travel via an indirect route, for example perhaps Rio to Cape Town via London or maybe Johannesburg to Bangkok via Dubai. I donâ€™t think this applies to travelling via Morocco, which has no major airline hub, however. You will probably end up flying nonstop from either Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo to Johannesburg, and then hopefully connecting to Cape Town, an IDEAL place to start a trip in South Africa, in contrast to Jo’burg. BTW, Mango in South Africa offers excellent budget airline service. Took it twice and was really pleased. Havenâ€™t used http://www.bazbus.com yet but its itineraries are great. â€¦.. I wonder if you are focusing too much on places that will be easy to visit later in life when you may have less time to travel. For instance, a 2-week trip to Europe will be easy to do anytime, but a 2-week one to New Zealand comes less easily, both in terms of airfare price and in the proportion of time travelling to get there versus the time being there. What I am saying is that, for example, if you are going to Nepal during the winter, why not include southern India, especially its coastline, in lieu of spending so much time in Europe? The same applies to Australia and New Zealand, between Southeast Asia and Canada. In some cases, additional countries may add little or nothing to your international airfare, especially all but the most limited stop RTW fares. After all, you are already in the neighbourhood. In some cases, you may even save. â€¦.. Have you considered exchange rates and local costs of living when determining your itinerary and how much time to spend in each place? I hardly need to say that Cambodia and South Africa are cheap and the UK & Europe are out of this world expensive compared to many places. â€¦.. I am also wondering if you will be focusing on some countries more than others? Are you going to take the time to really get to know a few countries? Or, are you going to associate mostly with backpackers and travel in sort of a parallel realm for a few days here and there, where you never really feel part of a country? I am not saying that you should get rid of 90% of the places on your itinerary or spend months in any one, just that you might consider picking several areas to spend more time in, places that can be used as bases for exploration. IMO, Wellington, NZ would be a good choice. It gives you easy access to both the north and south islands and is small enough to make it easy to plug into the community. I also love it! In South Africa, with a special non-working resident visa for a long-term sabbatical, I was able to base myself in Durban for nearly a half year. That does not mean that I was always in Durban. It means though that true friendships with local people developed over time. I came to feel that Durban was a second home. Three Durban friends and I went camping for five weeks throughout southern Africa and visited many out-of-the-way places that Iâ€™d never reached on my own. Another trip took us to KwaZulu-Natal game reserves that few foreigners visit. I got to fly in a private plane to another reserve. (We accidently landed in an uncultivated cornfield, but thatâ€™s another story!) Using Durban as a base, I set out for places like Mozambique on my own. I will never forget these experiences. With its card, I was able to pick up mail reliably at the Durban American Express office each time I returned, sort of like having a post office box there. You donâ€™t need to be rich for some AMEX cards. â€¦.. Have you considered spending enough time in a place to take a few weeks of language classes, something you will use later such as Spanish? You have time now for this. School costs vary hugely from place to place and you can save a lot picking a country like Bolivia. I like Lonely Planetâ€™s school reviews. Moreover, you need not be in class all day. Most courses involve just 4 or 5 hours weekdays and your surroundings are your language lab. â€¦.. You have nearly a bewildering number of airfare comparisons ahead of you. The basic decision will be whether or not you should 1) Go with a higher priced RTW fare that allows unlimited stops within a certain mileage, as well as permitting you to change your ticket, 2) Buy a series of one-way tickets, or 3) Buy a less expensive RTW ticket that limits stops, but its low price gives you the chance to buy tickets on budget airlines like Air Asia, Pacific Blue, and Mango (South Africa) in conjunction with it, with the end result being a lower overall airfare cost for your trip. If you do #2 or #3, look into the price of buying tickets along the way. London and Bangkok, for example, are very competitive, but you also need to consider exchange rates and whether or not you can buy cheaply at the last minute. On the other hand, with the Middle East and the world in general so unstable you may wish to lock in an affordable airfare as soon as your plans are set. Be very careful about restrictions about arrival in a country without an onward ticket. For example, no airline will let you board a plane to Australia unless you have already paid for a ticket to leave it and can prove it. Also, and this is really important, if you are travelling on different tickets, do not plan to connect from one to the other on the same day. In some cases, you should allow multiple days between tickets. If airline A arrives too late make the connection, airline B may say you are out of luck. Your B ticket, if it does not allow last-minute changes, may have become worthless. Or, you may find that alternatives are already booked up. Iâ€™ve met people whose trips were ruined by not allowing sufficient time for these types of connections. I have heard great things about http://www.airtreks.com but have never used it. Travel agencies like Travel Cuts serving university students have worked well for me. Be sure to consider cancellation penalties AND especially your ability to 1) change routes, 3) substitute another airline if your flight is cancelled, and 3) change dates without steep penalties. (I hope that you will have both medical and trip interruption insurance.) Ask for a copy of the fare rules and total price including fees before you pay. Iâ€™ve written about buying bucket shop (consolidator) fares for an American audience, but these tips also apply to you: http://www.bidontravel.com/traveltips/bucket-shop.html (I am not attempting to sell anything. Priceline â€œname your own priceâ€ tickets on my site are totally inappropriate for a RTW trip.) â€¦.. Be ready to jettison some places for the sake of airfare. Do you want to go to Fiji for its culture and sightseeing or would you like me be just as happy in another place with fantastic beaches? In many cases, Iâ€™d think first more of the experiences you want to have than of the actual places. â€¦.. â€œI understand that jet lag will be a factor I have to deal with. Could it be mitigated somehow?â€ I am not a doctor, but these work for me: Try to have nearly everything packed and ready a few days before departure. Avoid the stress of rushing at the last minute. Better to focus on friends and family, who will not see you for a year. Moreover, you are less likely to forget something. Important. Get as much rest as possible in the days before travelling. Showing up for a long flight already exhausted almost guarantees that your first several days in a new country will not go as planned. This doesnâ€™t matter as much if youâ€™re travelling to the UK, but does if youâ€™re going to Brazil without knowing the language or having been there before. Drink more water than usual during the days before departure and drink, drink, drink water during any long flight. When permitted, I bring several bottles on board. Do NOT drink alcohol or anything like coffee, tea, Coke, and other items that contain caffeine. Avoid large meals for a few hours before a long flight. I tried the 16-hour fast that some recommend travelling to Australia and it worked well. I timed it so could have a snack before landing and facing immigration and getting to my accommodation. However, your physiology even if perfectly healthy may not tolerate that. Most times though, I merely eat lightly (no hard to digest foods or big portions) during a flight and that works fine. (In fact, I should extend that to all my meals!) By the way, I like to have at least the first night booked in a new place. This avoids hassles upon arrival when the mind may not be as sharp as usual to put it mildly. Sites like HostelBookers.com make this easy. Be sure to check the pros and cons of various seats on something like http://www.seatguru.com For instance, avoid those that have an obstruction under the seat in front of you and seats that are too close to washrooms and galleys, where people congregate. Although I prefer window seats to see as much as possible even if itâ€™s just the sky or stars, go with what you prefer. Do not worry at all about falling asleep. You will survive! In fact, not worrying about sleep may help induce sleep. If you canâ€™t sleep, avoid being too active at night with that media console in front of you. You want to arrive at least partially rested by keeping your eyes closed a considerable amount of time. Upon arrival–this may seem very strange, but it really worksâ€”be outside at least a bit of time with no hat even if itâ€™s raining, night or day. Your physiology then knows the time of day. Donâ€™t laugh. The body is an amazing creation. Even our brain waves differ depending on the direction we face. Adjust immediately to local time by waiting to sleep until early evening. Not all agree, but it works for me. What does not work is going to bed upon arrival, if early in the day. You can stay out of sync for days doing that. â€¦.. â€œMy big concern too is the weather in Asia at that time of the year. Any advice?â€ This is a hard question! Places like India, Nepal, South Africa, and Thailand have different rainy seasons in different parts of the country. Nepal will be cold or cool when you are there, but the views will be beyond awesome. Most of Thailand will be ideal in February when you are there. The other places you mention in Asia are close enough to the equator and close enough to sea level to not to worry much about climate. Even the Monsoon season in most of India (our summer) does not usually bring continuous rain. (Some may disagree depending on their experience but I was there most most of the time from late June until early September.) All the best to you both. Reply Michal March 13, 2013 Great article! I found it while researching my own Round-the-World Honeymoon, scheduled for Late October and November 2014. The timing works on a number of levels for my partner and I, and we are forgoing a big wedding for a small ceremony and a RtW Honeymoon. I was hoping to get some feedback as typically our travelling is limited to proximate locations. Since we will be going in the third week of October and through the first two weeks of November, a few destinations or ideas fell off our list. Yet, we would prefer to do “new” destinations to us or do something we wouldn’t do normally (especially in Europe, which we love but have been to most of the major sites and countries). We are thinking: Last week of October: Europe (currently undecided; initially, we were thinking of a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona through to Venice and pitstopping in Istanbul but the weather may be an issue) First week of November: Phuket or Bora Bora (likely meaning we’ll have to fly out of a major European city, ie London or Paris) Second week of November: California (driving up the coast, flying to Toronto from San Francisco) I am particularly interested in input on the European leg – we wanted to have a good combination of urban / natural / relaxation, though we are not particularly fond of extensive stays outdoors. Anyone have any suggestions? Reply Bryan March 21, 2013 Great advice all around. I’d say the most important part of budget planning that most people overlook is choosing locations, just like you mentioned as your first piece of advice. Everyone always wants to visit certain places like Europe because these are the places that they have heard about. They’ve heard about them because everyone else has been there. And since everyone else goes there, the price tends to be much higher. On a long term trip, there is plenty of time to see more off-the-beaten-path places that will open your eyes to the world. These “alternative” places tend to be much cheaper, too. Don’t get me wrong, Europe is amazing, and so are a lot of the other expensive places in the world, but there are plenty of other amazing places to visit as well for a fraction of the cost. On our trip we spent a lot of time in India and Nepal, both of which are dirt cheap, yet stunning. We also spent a lot of time in cheaper countries of the middle east and some of Africa as well. We had the time of our lives, didn’t spend a fortune, and found exotic cultures around every corner. It can be done for a lot less if you broaden your mind to different places. On top of that, we didn’t buy an around-the-world plane ticket. A lot of people swear by them, but I’d just like to throw in my two cents that a long trip can be done without such a ticket if necessary. Look into the costs, it might be totally worthwhile to buy one, but don’t go into it blindly. Reply Don Nadeau April 22, 2013 Thanks Michal and Bryan. Michal, I totally agree with Michal. Now that am older, decided to ignore my gut aversion to cruising and took one Barcelona to Istanbul in October as you may do. I picked a ship where the majority of the passengers were from the British Isles and Europe and really liked it. I wouldn’t want to do a trip like this in the company of just one nationality. That limits the experience. In late October, Istanbul can have colder weather and rain, but my reason for going there was not to relax on a beach. All the best to you both. Reply Don Nadeau April 22, 2013 I meant Michal, I totally agree with Bryan. Reply Annie@GreenTravelReviews December 3, 2013 “Iâ€™ve often dreamed up some truly fantastic RTW itineraries for myself, only to plug them in online and discover that buying a new car would be significantly cheaper.” I had to laugh when I read this, I’ve experienced the exact same thing ;-D It’s hard! Thanks for the tips, might make my trip a bit easier to plan… Reply Stacey April 13, 2014 Thank you for writing this! I am currently planning my own round the world trip (which is mostly because flying to South America from Australia is not much cheaper than stopping over in Africa for a few weeks on the way). I found the website you linked, trip planner to be more expencive than the prices I’ve been working with off STA’s website. Perhaps I will need to save just that little bit longer but it will all be worth it in the end. Also, the world climate website is just what I’ve been looking for! 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