Planning a round the world trip is overwhelming. Hours of research and thought go into making a trip like this a reality. You must consider your route, visas, your budget, accommodation, transportation, activities, and much more. This guide will give you an outline to follow to help you plan a trip around the world. It also includes useful tips and advice to make your journey a little smoother, safer, and more affordable.
Table of Contents
- Route Planning- Where do you want to go?
- Budgeting- How Much does a Round the World Trip Cost?
- Visas and Entry Requirements- What documents do you need?
- Transportation- Info on booking your flights as well as ground transportation
- Accommodation- Where will you sleep?
- Vaccinations and Medications- How to stay healthy
- Money- Banking and finances
- Packing and Travel Gear- Preparing for departure
- Sample round-the-world trip itineraries- A few ideas to help get you started
- Final Thoughts- How to plan a round-the-world trip
What is a Round the World Trip?
A round-the-world trip is an extended vacation that allows you to visit multiple countries on multiple continents. To make a round-the-world trip, you start traveling in an eastward or westward direction and continue your travels in that direction until you return to your origin. An around-the-world trip involves a circumnavigation of the globe. You travel around the entire world.
For example, you might start your around the world trip in the United States and fly east to Europe. After visiting a few countries in Europe, you might continue east with a flight to Southeast Asia. After traveling around in Southeast Asia, you could fly east back to the United States. For a longer trip, you might add stops in South America or Africa.
Most round-the-world travelers choose destinations on 3-5 continents and visit anywhere from 15-30 countries or more. An around-the-world trip can last anywhere from 3 months to 2 years or more.
Most round-the-world travelers travel by air between continents and travel locally by bus, train, taxi, and public transit. It is also possible to travel around the world in a truck, motorcycle, or bicycle.
Round the World Route Planning: Deciding Where You Want to Go
Choosing your route is the most exciting and important part of planning a round the world trip. You need to know where you’re going in order to calculate costs and plan activities, accommodation, and transportation. At this point, let your imagination run wild.
I recommend you start by researching the various regions of the world that interest you and make a list of potential destinations. While making your list, you may want to consider:
- Cities- Are there any major world cities that you’ve always wanted to see? Maybe you’ve always dreamed of visiting London, New York, or Tokyo. Add it to your round-the-world itinerary.
- Countries- Maybe there’s a particular country that you’ve always dreamed of visiting. While planning my round the world trip, I knew I had to include India and Thailand in my round the world itinerary.
- Major tourist sights– Which world wonders do you want to visit? For example, maybe you’ve always dreamed of visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza, Angkor Wat, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, or Macchu Picchu. One of my bucket list activities was going on an African safari. I ended up visiting the Serengeti and Maasai Mara parks.
- Foods- Consider your favorite cuisines. Maybe you really like Italian or Thai food and want to taste authentic flavors.
- Activities- What types of activities do you like to do? Do you enjoy hiking, diving, surfing, laying on the beach, dancing, extreme sports, or visiting museums?
- People- Do you have family or friends in another country? Your around-the-world trip is an excellent opportunity for you to stop in for a visit.
- Culture- Maybe you’ve always wanted to experience a particular culture. For example, maybe you’re fascinated by Japanese culture and you want to learn more about it.
- Parties, festivals, and concerts- Another valid reason to choose a destination. Maybe you’ve always wanted to attend a particular music festival, for example. Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Rio de Janeiro for Carnival or Munich for Octoberfest.
If you need some inspiration, you can check out my destinations page. Also, read some travel guides, blogs, or books, or watch some travel vlogs.
How to Make a Rough Around the World Itinerary
After making your list of potential destinations, it’s time to put together a rough round-the-world itinerary. This itinerary will probably change multiple times throughout the planning and research process. This is just a rough draft so you have something to start with for budgeting purposes. You can always add or remove destinations as you plan your round the world trip. You can even change plans mid trip. Nothing is set in stone.
To make a round the world itinerary:
- Prioritize your list- Chances are, you can’t hit every destination in one trip. Move the ‘can not miss’ destinations to the top of your list and place the lower-priority destinations toward the bottom. I recommend you select 3-5 dream destinations that you can not miss. These will be the base of your round the world trip.
- Look at the location of each ‘can not miss’ destination on the map- This gives you a rough overview of your general route. You’ll travel from one destination to the next either east to west or west to east until you return home. If one destination is too remote or out of the way, consider saving it for a future trip.
- Find the closest ‘can not miss’ destination either to the east or west of your starting point- That will be the first region that you visit on your around-the-world trip.
- Look for nearby countries and cities to visit in the same region- You will visit these destination on this leg of your journey. If you’re unsure, research nearby cities and countries. You want to visit all of your desired destinations on each continent or region before moving on. If you don’t have any other destinations to visit in that region, you can move on to the next region.
- Find the next closest ‘can not miss’ destination in the same direction of travel- It’s time to move on to the next another continent or region. This is the second leg of your journey. Research the region and look for activities, events, and points of interest in nearby cities and bordering countries.
- Continue plotting a general route around the world- As you go, research each destination to find potential activities and other nearby destinations. The number of stops that you make depends on your budget and the amount of time that you can travel.
By now, you should have a rough around-the-world trip itinerary. If you’re having trouble, look at a map. I found it really helpful to study the world map while planning my trip. Looking at the map made it much easier for me to plot out my travel path.
Consider the Timing of Your Round the World Trip
Some destinations are seasonal. When planning your around the world trip, you’ll need to consider the season you’ll visit each destination. You may need to be in a specific place for a specific date. This can determine the direction you travel or the order you visit each region.
For example, you may not want to visit Europe during the winter because most of the continent is cold and snowy. You might travel to Asia for the winter, then head to Europe in the spring when the weather warms up.
if you’re planning a particular activity, you may need to visit during a particular season. For example, if you’re planning on going skiing in Colorado, you’ll have to visit during the winter.
Also, keep in mind that the seasons are flipped in the southern hemisphere. If you’re visiting the southern cone of South America, Australia, or southern Africa, summer runs from December-February. These are the warmest months. If you’re visiting the global south, you may need to take this into consideration.
If you’re planning on traveling for a particular holiday, festival, or event, you’ll have to time your visit. For example, maybe you want to visit Oktoberfest in Germany. You’ll have to plan your trip so you’re in Germany in October.
Traveling East Vs West on a Round the World Trip
When planning your around the world itinerary, it’s important to decide whether you want to travel East or West and stick with this decision. You want to minimize backtracking. Many round-the-world tickets don’t allow you to backtrack. Backtracking also increases costs and travel time. It’s inefficient.
If you have the option, traveling west is better. According to this article, traveling west produces less jet lag because it disrupts your circadian rhythm less. This is because your days will be longer when you travel west. This makes it easier to sleep at night. If you travel east, you’ll deal with more jet lag.
It’s also important to consider the dates. When you cross the international date line, you will gain or lose a day. Consider this when making bookings.
Scheduling Your Round the World Trip
You’ll have to calculate how much time you need to see every country you plan to visit. Spend some time researching each attraction and how much time it takes to see. Don’t forget to consider transport time.
Exactly how many countries you can visit on your round-the-world trip depends on which countries you’re visiting. In some countries, you can see all of the main tourist sites in a week. In some countries, you might need a month or more to see everything you want to see.
When planning your around the world trip, it’s important to remember that you can’t see everything. Pick and choose the sites that you want to see. Save the rest for a future rtw trip. You can always find something to do if you have some extra time. If you want to visit a country to see one world wonder, you can.
Also, try not to pack your around the world itinerary too full. You will burn out if you’re running from one site to the next every day of your rtw trip. You need some rest days. Another problem with packing your schedule too full is that you can easily fall behind if you hit a setback such as a canceled flight or missed connection. Many new world travelers on their first trip try to visit too many countries and see everything.
Plan Overland Routes
Most around-the-world travelers fly into a region and then take overland transport between destinations. Traveling overland is cheaper and more adventurous than flying everywhere. You’ll also get to see more when you travel overland.
For example, maybe your first ‘can not miss’ destination is London. You might fly into London, then take a train to Amsterdam and Paris before moving on to the next destination. Maybe your next ‘can not miss’ destination is Los Angeles. From there, you might rent a car and drive to the Grand Canyon.
Budgeting: How Much Does a Round the World Trip Cost?
Before you start calculating how much your rtw trip will actually cost, you need to know how much money you have to work with. Most travelers don’t have an unlimited budget for world travel. Look at your finances and calculate how much money you are able to spend. Consider your occupation, your age, your savings, and your income.
The average round-the-world trip costs somewhere between $1500-$2500 per month or $18,000-$30,000 per year. This budget includes all costs including airfare, accommodation, food, ground transport, activities, and entertainment. Basically, all costs associated with an rtw trip.
A good budget for a one-year round-the-world trip for one person is $25,000. That gives you $2083 per month or about $68 per day. That is manageable if you budget correctly.
You will have to watch your spending to stick to this budget. You’ll have to limit your time in expensive countries, shop for affordable airfare, stay in hostels, and cook some of your own food. You will have some room to splurge on some more expensive activities.
Of course, your budget can be significantly lower or higher than this depending on the style of travel that you prefer and the level of comfort that you require.
If you’re a frugal traveler, you may be able to travel for a year for $15,000-$20,000. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can take a round the world trip for as little as $500-$1000 per month or $6,000-$12,000 per year. In this case, you’ll be camping for accommodation, hitchhiking or bicycle touring for transportation, and cooking all of your own meals.
If you prefer to stay in hotels every night and eat in restaurants every day, you might have to budget $35,000-$40,000 for a year of travel. If you prefer to travel in luxury, the sky is the limit. A round-the-world trip could easily exceed $100,000 for a year of travel. In this case, you would be staying in luxury hotels and resorts, traveling in business or first class, and eating in restaurants for every meal.
In the following sections, I’ll give a brief outline of each of the major costs associated with a round-the-world trip. This will help you form a rough idea of your total budget. We’ll cover flights, accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment.
Flights for an Around the World Trip
Most round-the-world travelers fly between continents. This cost of flights depends on the number of flights you plan to take, the countries and cities you plan to fly into, when you plan to fly, and how far in advance you book your rtw ticket.
To purchase round-the-world flights, you have two options. You can book your flights individually or you can buy a rtw ticket. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options.
Booking your flights individually is usually cheaper because you can take advantage of budget airlines. In Europe, you have Ryanair and Easy Jet. In Asia, you have AirAsia, IndiGo, JetStar, and more. On these budget airlines, you can find flights to nearby countries for less than $100. Booking flights as you go allows you to be more spontaneous. You can change your plans as you go. It is slightly less convenient to book your flights individually because you must do all of your own planning and booking.
A number of companies offer round-the-world airplane tickets. Buying a rtw ticket is slightly more expensive because these tickets offer more flexibility. You can generally change the date of departure without an extra charge on round-the-world tickets. You can also change the airports but there will be an extra charge. This makes it a bit harder to change your plans as you go.
If you’re traveling for a year or more or if you’re booking a very simple around the world itinerary, buying flights as you go is probably the best choice. I always book my own airfare because I appreciate the spontaneity. I can also save money by taking advantage of budget airlines.
Sometimes buying a rtw ticket can be more convenient. Particularly for round the world trips that are shorter than one year or trips with many stops. Some travelers find that having all of their flights booked brings peace of mind.
Most travelers who book flights individually spend $2000-$3000 on airfare for a simple round-the-world trip stopping on 2-3 continents. This includes 3-4 international flights. If you want to fly more frequently or visit more remote destinations, like Africa or South America, you might spend $5000 or more on airfare.
Travelers who book a rtw ticket typically spend $2500-$5000 on airfare. This includes 3-4 stops on 3-4 continents. You can spend up to $15,000 or more on a rtw ticket if you want to make lots of stops, fly into smaller airports, or fly first class.
To save money on airfare, try to fly into and out of major cities in each region you visit. Flights are cheaper if you fly into major hub cities. For example, if you’re flying to Europe, fly into London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Frankfurt. If you’re flying to Southeast Asia, fly into Bangkok, Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur. Every region has large hubs. Once you’re in a large hub, you can easily catch a budget flight, train, or bus to your next destination. This can save you a good amount of money on flights.
Accommodation is probably the biggest expense of your rtw trip. If you plan to stay in budget accommodation like hostels, guesthouses, and campgrounds, you can expect to spend $20-$30 per night in expensive countries and $10-$15 per night in cheap countries.
If you prefer to stay in private accommodation like hotels or Airbnb, you can expect to spend $20-$40 per night in inexpensive countries and $60-$150 per night in expensive countries.
To more accurately estimate your accommodation budget, I recommend you go to your favorite booking site like Booking.com or Hostelworld.com or Airbnb.com and price out accommodation at your destination.
Take note of the prices and consider the number of nights you plan to stay at each destination. Multiply the price by the number of nights and add them all up. This will give you a pretty good idea of what you’ll be spending on accommodation.
Try to book your accommodation at least a couple of weeks in advance. If you’re traveling to a particular destination during the busy season or during a holiday or festival, you might need to book a couple of weeks in advance to ensure that you get a decent room at a reasonable price.
Food is another major expense. Your food budget depends on how often you plan to eat out, the types of food you like to eat, and the destinations you’re visiting.
If you plan to cook most of your own meals, eat street food, and eat in restaurants occasionally, and you can get away with budgeting $10-$15 per day for food. You can get by on this budget pretty much anywhere.
If you plan to eat out at restaurants for most meals, you can plan to spend $25-$40 per day in inexpensive countries and $40-$60 per day in expensive countries. If you cook almost all of your own meals, it is possible to eat for $5 per day.
I have found $10 per day to be a pretty comfortable food budget. This assumes that I prepare most of my own meals with the occasional restaurant meal.
Another major expense to consider is alcohol. To get an idea of how much you’ll spend on alcohol, look at some restaurant menus in the locations you plan to visit to see how much drinks cost. Consider how much you drink, how often you drink, and what you drink when calculating your alcohol budget.
Drink prices vary greatly around the world. In some countries, you can buy a drink for $3. In other countries, a drink costs $15. If you like to drink, you could spend as much on alcohol as you spend on food.
Drinking too much is one of the easiest ways to go over budget. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll need to be careful with drinking and partying. The easiest way to save money or extend your trip is to limit your drinking.
Activities, Entertainment, Tours, and Admission Tickets
You need to budget for all of the activities you plan to do and the sights you plan to see during your trip. This includes admission tickets, entrance fees, tours, permits, guides, tips, equipment rentals, entertainment costs, etc. This cost depends on where you travel, what types of activities you enjoy, and your personal preference.
To calculate your activities budget, it’s best to price out each activity individually. If you plan to safari in the Serengeti, go online and price out the tour you plan to take. If you plan on diving the Great Barrier Reef, go online and see how much tours cost. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of transport, entry tickets, parking, a guide, tips, etc.
You don’t need to calculate the price of everything you plan to do. Just research the price of big-ticket ‘cannot miss’ items and add the prices up. You can pay for smaller activities such as museum entry or snorkel rental out of your daily spending money. It’s important to budget for big-ticket items to make sure you leave room in your budget.
Most travelers only take flights for the long-distance or overseas sections of their around the world trip itinerary. You can cut costs significantly by taking the bus or train between cities within one region.
The best way to calculate this cost is to research each journey that you plan to take and add them up. Generally, a full-day bus ride or train between two major cities costs $30-$100 depending on the region and distance. In the developing world, expect to spend $3-$3 per hour of travel. In the developed world expect to spend around $5-$10 per hour of travel.
A great resource for finding bus and train routes and prices is Rome2rio.com. This site makes it easy to research transportation options and estimate ticket costs. Another great booking site for finding bus ticket prices is Busbud. For train routes and ticket prices, Seat61.com is a great resource.
You must also consider the cost of local travel around the cities you’re visiting. Depending on the city, you may have a choice between taking a taxi, Uber, public bus, metro, tuk-tuk, rickshaw, motorcycle taxi or cycling or walking.
This cost is difficult to estimate. Generally, a one-way public transit ticket or rickshaw ride costs $2-$5. In cheaper countries, a taxi or Uber ride across the city costs $5-$10. Consider the sights that you plan to visit in each city to determine how many intercity rides you’ll have to take.
For more help budgeting help, check out my guide: How to Create an Accurate Budget for Long-Term Travel.
This is one budget item that many travelers forget to consider. Visa costs vary depending on the country that you’re visiting and your nationality. They can really add up in some regions.
To calculate visa costs, simply look up the visa requirements for each country that you plan to visit and add up the visa prices for your nationality.
Visa costs vary widely. Many are free. If there is a charge, the average visa costs around $20-$50. There are a handful of countries that charge upwards of $150-$300 for a tourist visa.
For most round-the-world trips, your visa costs will be minimal. In some instances, the costs can be substantial. For example, while traveling through East and Southern Africa, I spent over $600 on visas over the course of 5 months.
For a round-the-world trip, buying travel insurance is a good idea. In most countries, travel insurance is optional but highly recommended. Travel insurance will be one of your major expenses so it’s important to budget for it.
Travel insurance can cost anywhere from $25-$200+ per month. The cost of travel insurance depends on the kind of coverage you buy, the amount of coverage, the deductible, and your age.
The more coverage you get, the more the policy will cost. Most round-the-world travelers should buy a minimum of $100,000 in coverage. If you’re traveling to the United States, you should have at least $250,000 of coverage.
Travel insurance can cover you in the event of an injury or unexpected illness. Some travel insurance covers. Some policies can cover theft, damage, or loss of your belongings and trip interruptions.
If you’re on a budget, you can opt for medical-only travel insurance. Travel insurance that covers your luggage and trip interruptions is significantly more expensive.
I use SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. They offer affordable insurance for long-term travel.
For many destinations, you’ll need a couple of travel vaccinations to protect yourself from various diseases that aren’t common in your home country. You may need a vaccination for Yellow Fever, typhoid, and hepatitis B. You may also need malaria prophylaxis if you’re traveling to a malaria zone.
This cost depends on which vaccines you need and where you live. To calculate this cost, find a local clinic that offers travel vaccines and malaria consultations. They probably have a price list online.
Add up the cost of all of the vaccines and prescriptions that you’ll need to buy. For most round-the-world trips, expect to spend $100-$400 on travel vaccines and malaria tablets.
Factors that Determine your Total Round-the-World Trip Budget
- How long you plan to travel- Every day, you must at least pay for food and accommodation. If you can cut a month off of your rtw trip by traveling faster, you might be able to save $1000-$2000.
- The number of destinations you plan to visit- The more stops you plan, the more your rtw trip will cost due to the additional cost of transportation. Airfare is one of the most expensive parts of the trip. Train and bus tickets also add up.
- Where you travel- Some regions are more expensive than others. If you plan to visit expensive places like Western Europe, Australia, Japan, the U.S., etc., you’ll spend a lot more than you will if you visit cheaper regions like Southeast Asia, Central America, and Eastern Europe.
- When you travel- Many destinations are seasonal. Prices are higher during the busy season. You can save money by traveling off-season or during the shoulder seasons.
- The transportation that you choose- Do you plan to fly everywhere or are you comfortable taking buses? Will you take taxis around the city or walk?
- The type of accommodation that you choose- Do you plan to stay in budget accommodation like hostels, guesthouses, and campgrounds, or do you plan to stay in hotels, Airbnbs, and resorts?
- The foods that you eat- Will you cook for yourself and eat street food or do you plan to go to a restaurant for each meal?
- The activities that you plan- You’ll spend more if you plan to ski, dive, take tours, etc. If you want to save money, there are plenty of free things to do while traveling.
How Long are you Traveling?
After determining how much you have to spend and learning about the costs associated with a round-the-world trip, you must consider the duration of your trip. How long do you want to travel?
Your trip’s duration affects your costs. The longer you travel, the more money you will spend. The duration also determines your around the world itinerary. The longer you travel, the more destinations you can visit.
When deciding how long you want to travel, consider your future obligations. Do you need to return home by a specific date for work or school? Also, consider your ability to find employment. Remember, a long gap in your resume can be problematic in some industries.
Most likely you only have a limited amount of time to travel. In my experience, 3-6 months is the ideal amount of time for a round-the-world trip. Anything less will feel rushed. Longer trips get exhausting. You will start to slow down after you’ve been on the road for 6 months.
Trips lasting 1-2 years are great but you will notice diminishing returns. After 6 months of travel, you may begin taking things for granted and get sick of sightseeing.
Updating your Round the World Itinerary to Fit Your Budget and Trip Duration
At this point, you may have found that your initial round the world itinerary is too expensive. Take some time to re-evaluate your plan. A few ways you can cut costs include:
- Substitute expensive countries for cheaper countries- For example, instead of going to Japan or Korea, go to Thailand or the Philippines. Your money will go much further.
- Eliminate expensive activities- Skip the SCUBA lessons and just go snorkeling. Instead of hiking the Inca Trail, just go for a free hike.
- Reduce the number of flights by traveling some sections overland- Take a bus or train across a country instead of flying.
- Reduce the total trip time- Cut a month off of your rtw trip. That will save you $1000-$3000.
For help reducing your budget further, check out my guide to ultra-low budget travel.
Visas, Travel Documents, and Entry Requirements For a Round-the-World Trip
The next step in the planning process is to research the entry requirements for each country that you plan to visit. Continue refining your round the world trip itinerary through this process. Items you need to research include:
Look up the visa requirements for each country that you plan to visit during your round-the-world trip. Remember to look at the requirements for your specific nationality. Also, consider any countries that you are transiting through. Occasionally, a transit visa is required.
If you need a visa, find out if you can get the visa on arrival or if you must you obtain the visa in advance. If the visa is available on arrival, make sure that it is available at the port of entry that you plan to use. Some countries only issue visas on arrival at international airports and not at land borders. Some smaller land borders don’t have the capability to issue visas.
If you find that you must obtain a visa in advance, find out if you can get it online or if you need to get it from an embassy or consulate. These days, many countries offer e-visas. You apply for the visa and pay online then print your approval letter. When you reach the point of entry, you receive the visa in your passport.
If you have to apply at the embassy, find out if you can apply in a neighboring country or if you must apply in your home country. Some countries only issue visas to foreigners from the embassy in their home country. If you can get the visa in a neighboring country, I recommend you wait and do it there. It’s often easier and cheaper to go to the embassy in person to apply for the visa.
If you must obtain a visa in your home country before your rtw trip, consider the logistics and costs. Find out how long the visa takes to get and how long it is valid. Find out if you can apply by mail or if you must visit the embassy in person. Consider the cost of the application including postage or travel. Having to travel to an embassy to apply for a visa can be expensive.
While researching visas, take note of the amount of time the visa takes to obtain. Sometimes you may have to wait up to a month for an embassy to process the visa. You also have to account for shipping time if you must mail your passport to an embassy for a visa.
You may also need to shift your round the world itinerary based on the visa’s validity. Some visas are only valid for 3 months beginning on the date of issue. Some expire after 3 months if they are not used. You need to use the visa before it expires. You may need to adjust your round the world trip itinerary.
If you find that a visa is too expensive or complicated to obtain, consider cutting that country from your round the world itinerary. Personally, if a country’s visa process is too complicated, I skip it.
Proof of Onward Travel
Some countries require that you have a confirmed ticket out of the country to prove that you have plans to leave the country. This ticket can be back to your home country or to a third country. It can be a flight, bus, or train ticket. Oftentimes, the airline checks for proof of onward travel before they allow you to board your flight. Sometimes immigration checks this before allowing you to enter the country.
Proof of onward travel is often a problem for those traveling long-term or those planning to exit a country overland. Sometimes, it’s impossible to buy bus tickets in advance. Sometimes you don’t have a confirmed booking when you enter a country.
Luckily, there are several solutions to this problem. Some are free and some have a minimal cost. To learn more, check out my guide How to Provide Proof of Onward Travel: 8 Options.
Vaccine Requirements for World Travel
A handful of countries require that you have a Yellow Fever vaccine in order to enter. This is a common entry requirement in most countries in Africa and a few countries in South America. All you need is proof that you have been vaccinated in the form of a Yellow Fever vaccine certificate.
If you have been traveling in an area where Yellow fever is a risk, you may be required to show your vaccine certificate in order to enter another country. For example, when I flew from Nairobi to Bangkok, I had to show my Yellow Fever vaccine certificate in order to enter Thailand.
A few countries require you to show proof that you have enough money to sustain yourself for the duration of your stay in that country. They do this to make sure that you don’t plan to stay and work illegally.
A bank statement works fine for this. Sometimes, a credit card is sufficient. Countries that have this requirement usually expect you to have at least $5000 in your account. This is a common requirement for those who plan to travel on a working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand, for example.
A Note on Border Crossings
Be sure to research the entry requirements of the exact border crossing that you plan to use. There are a few instances of borders between two countries being closed due to a conflict between those two countries. For example, you can’t cross between Armenia and Azerbaijan. You must transit through Georgia if you plan to visit those two countries.
Occasionally, borders are only open for locals. Sometimes visas on arrival aren’t available at smaller border crossings. Some border crossings are notorious for bribes or scams and should be avoided if possible. Some are simply hectic. Research each border that you plan to cross to make sure that it is open and crossable without too much hassle.
Updating your Around the World Itinerary
After researching entry requirements, you may have found that some visas are overly complicated or just not possible logistically with your round the world trip itinerary. At this point, revisit your itinerary and re-evaluate your plans.
Consider changing the order of the countries that you plan to visit. You could also substitute countries with other nearby countries with visas that are easier to obtain.
While planning my round-the-world trip, I really wanted to visit Russia. I found that the visa was too expensive and time-consuming to get. After researching, I decided to visit St. Petersburg by ferry because a visa wasn’t required. I then visited the Baltic countries instead of traveling around Russia. This was a nice compromise.
Transportation: Round the World Flights and Ground Transportation
You should have a pretty good idea of your round the world trip itinerary by this time. Now it’s time to begin researching flights. When it comes to arranging your flights, you have two options. You can buy a round-the-world ticket or you can buy your flights separately. In this section, I’ll outline each option and list the pros and cons of each to help you decide which works best for your itinerary.
In this case, you book all of your flights before you leave home. A round the world ticket is essentially a flight pass with one of the major airline alliances. The three alliances include One World, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam. Another company called Air Treks offers round-the-world tickets on a wide range of airlines.
Each ticketing company has slightly different terms and conditions. If you choose the rtw ticket route, you can only fly airlines in the alliance that you choose.
Generally, tickets are sold in terms of miles or segments. If you’re buying a rtw ticket based on miles, you can choose from 26,000, 29,000, or 39,000 miles for economy tickets. Each rtw ticket has a maximum number of stopovers that you can make.
If you buy a rtw ticket based on segments, 1 flight=1 segment. If your flight includes a stopover, that counts as 2 segments. In this case, miles aren’t counted. You can maximize the utility of your rtw ticket by using each segment for the longest possible flight.
Pros of Round-the-World Tickets
- Saves time- You don’t have to spend time shopping around for each flight during your journey. You can easily book everything with one company.
- Can be cheaper- If you choose the right rtw ticket for your trip and you’re smart with your booking, you can save around 25% by buying a round-the-world ticket. This is particularly true if you visit a lot of obscure or less popular destinations.
- More convenient- You book all of your flights before you leave home. It’s one less thing to worry about while you’re on the road.
- You can make changes without a charge- Generally, you can change the date of travel for free on round the world tickets. If you want to fly out of a different airport or change your destination, you’ll be charged a fee of around $150 or so.
- You earn points- You can rack up a decent amount of points and gain some nice perks by making so many flights with the same airlines.
- You always have proof of onward travel- If you’re asked for proof of onward travel when checking in for a flight or passing through immigration, you always have a valid ticket to show.
Cons of Round-the-World Tickets
- Can be more expensive- If you buy the wrong rtw ticket or you use flight segments for shorter trips, you can end up spending more than if you had just bought your tickets separately. This is particularly true if you fly between major hubs where flights are inexpensive.
- You can only fly certain airlines- When you buy a round the world flight ticket, you’re committing yourself to only flying the airlines in the alliance that you choose to buy your rtw ticket from. Of course, you can buy additional tickets on other airlines but this adds to the cost.
- You can’t fly budget airlines- None of the major budget airlines belong to any of the alliances. When buying a round-the-world ticket, you can’t take advantage of low fares on Ryanair, Air Asia, Southwest, or Tiger, for example.
- Less flexibility- You need to have a solid round the world trip itinerary before you can book your tickets. You won’t know which rtw ticket to buy if you don’t have an itinerary planned out. This means you can’t be as spontaneous.
- You must start and end your rtw trip in the same country- Most round the world flights have this rule. You can usually start and end in a different city, but it they must be in the same country. For this reason, you can’t really buy a round the world ticket if you’re already traveling.
- Not ideal for those traveling longer than a year- Most round the world tickets have a maximum validity of one year.
- You can only make a limited number of stops in each country- The maximum is usually 3.
- You can’t backtrack in some cases- The rules usually state that you can only backtrack on continents. Backtracking over an ocean usually isn’t permitted. Sometimes you can’t backtrack at all. Sometimes there are penalties.
Remember, the exact rules depend on the round-the-world ticket that you choose. Some of the above points may not apply. You’ll need to do a bit of research in order to choose the ideal rtw for your particular itinerary.
Buying One-Way Flights Separately
In this case, you simply book each flight of your journey by yourself. You can book as you go or book them all before you leave. You can fly any airline that you wish.
Pros of Booking Flights Separately
- You can fly any airline- You don’t have to stick to the members of one alliance. This gives you more flight options.
- You can fly with budget airlines- This can save you a good amount of money. Most budget airlines don’t belong to an alliance.
- Usually cheaper- Most travelers save money by booking their own tickets. The reason is that you can wait for discounts and deals. Taking advantage of budget airlines also helps cut costs.
- You don’t need a set plan- If you’re the kind of traveler who likes to keep their plans open, you’re better off booking as you go. You can be as spontaneous as you want.
- More freedom- You can fly wherever you want, whenever you want. There are no restrictions in terms of the number of stops, the amount of time you travel, backtracking, where you start or end your rtw trip, etc.
Cons of Booking Flights Separately
- More time-consuming- You must shop around for each flight that you want to book. I’ve spent hours trying to find the right flight.
- Can be more expensive- If you’re traveling to unpopular or obscure destinations, flights can be expensive. In this case, you may end up spending more if you book your own flights.
- You’ll be charged for any changes- If you want to change the dates or destination, you’ll end up paying a fee. I was once charged $250 to change the date of a flight.
- You won’t always have proof of onward travel- If you try to enter a country without first booking a flight out, you won’t have proof of onward travel.
Shopping for Tickets for Your Around the World Trip
Whether you book a round-the-world ticket or book your own really comes down to the type of traveler that you are and your around the world trip itinerary. To determine which option is best for your itinerary, I recommend you price out both options. You’ll also want to consider flight times, durations, layovers, and the airlines you fly with.
Spend some time shopping around on Google flights or Kayak for each of the flights that you plan to take. Add up the cost. Remember that flight prices vary depending on the season and how far in advance you book.
Next, price out around the world tickets. You can buy them from a major airline like United or American Airlines. Alternatively, you can also buy them through a booking company like AirTreks or STA travel.
You may also want to consider playing around with your round the world trip itinerary a little bit. Maybe you can save some money or take better flights by making a minor adjustment. For example, you may have better flight options if you fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo rather than from San Francisco to Tokyo or vice versa. After shopping around for a bit, you should have a pretty good idea of which tickets offer the best value for your specific itinerary.
Tip: Consider making a stopover to break up long journeys
Scheduling a stopover is a good way to visit some places that you otherwise might not get to see. It’s also nice to rest between long flights. May airlines offer free stopovers in the country they are based in. You can also schedule your own stopover by buying multiple tickets with a few days between flights.
I have done this on several occasions. When I flew home from Australia, I made a stopover in Beijing. I visited the Great Wall and enjoyed some incredible Chinese food. I made a similar stopover in Dubai while flying from Europe to India. In this case, I saved some money by booking two separate flights. I also scheduled a stopover in Island when flying from the U.S. to Europe.
For more info, check out my list: 17 free stopover options and how to make them.
Ground Transport During Your Round-the-World Trip
At this point, you can begin planning overland transportation. This includes transportation within cities and transportation between cities. Ground transport can mean buses, trains, taxis, rickshaws, rental cars, shared minibuses, walking, or riding a bike.
Transportation Between Cities
When planning your ground transportation, the most important thing to do is to verify that some form of transportation actually exists between each of your destinations. For the most part, buses or trains can take you almost everywhere.
Sometimes you encounter a route where direct transportation isn’t available. In this case, you may have to make a transfer. You don’t need to know the exact route. You just want to find out if your desired route is possible.
Occasionally, you’ll run into a route where transportation isn’t offered every day. Maybe a bus only passes through once per week. In this case, you’ll want to plan your around the world trip itinerary accordingly or find a different way to your destination.
You may find that some routes aren’t possible during a particular season. Maybe a road floods during the rainy season. Maybe heavy snow causes a road to close during the winter. Take the season into consideration when planning your route.
During your round-the-world trip, you’ll probably visit dozens of different cities. You don’t have to waste time researching and planning transport for every leg before you leave. Just make sure that each leg is possible and not prohibitively expensive.
If you encounter a leg that’s just not doable for whatever reason, adjust your around the world trip itinerary accordingly. Maybe you can make a detour and transit through a third city. Maybe you can fly that section.
Some legs you don’t even have to bother researching. It’s pretty safe to assume that you can easily travel between any two major cities in any particular country. For example, you don’t need to bother researching transport between Berlin and Munich until you’re ready to make the trip.
Travel tip: Travel By Night
Consider traveling by night when possible. Traveling by night saves you money on a night of accommodation. When you arrive, you have a full day at your new destination. You aren’t wasting an entire day on a bus or train. As an added bonus, you often arrive at your destination faster because traffic is lighter and borders are less busy during the middle of the night.
It’s important to note that some routes are not as safe to travel at night. When traveling through an area that is considered dangerous, travel by day instead.
Transportation Within Cities
You don’t need to put much time into planning intracity transport. It’s safe to assume that you can easily travel anywhere in the city by bus, metro, tuk-tuk, or on foot.
Consider researching transport between your accommodation and your arrival and departure point as well as any major sites that you want to see. You may also want to research transport options from the airport into the city and back. Airport transportation can be surprisingly expensive. Particularly if the airport is located far outside of the city.
Next, start considering where you will sleep. Chances are, you will use a mix of different types of accommodation. Your accommodation options include:
- Hostels- Every budget traveler’s favorite. As a long-term traveler, you’re probably going to stay in quite a few hostels. For help deciding where to stay, check out my guide: How to Choose the Best Hostel. Also, check out my guide to hostels vs hotels.
- Hotels- In smaller towns, hotels are often your only accommodation option. Be sure to shop around and negotiate. Sometimes budget hostels are cheaper than hostels.
- Airbnbs- If you’re staying in one place for longer than a week, you can often score a nice long-term discount. Sometimes Airbnb is your cheapest accommodation option. One major benefit to stayin in an Airbnb is that you’ll usually have access to a kitchen where you can cook your own meals. For more info, check out my guide to Airbnb Vs hotels.
- Couchsurfing- Staying with a local host is a great way to get to know a city and make new friends. You can also save a chunk of money by Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing isn’t exactly free. You will have to spend some time with your host. You’ll also be expected to take them out or cook them a meal.
- Camping- Camping really opens up your options in terms of where you can sleep. You can wild camp, stay in campgrounds, and even find free camping in some destinations. I recommend you always travel with a tent during an around the world trip. A tent really opens up your options. It also saves you money.
Research your accommodation options in each of your destinations so you know what to expect in terms of price and facilities. Accommodation is a major expense so it’s important to know what to expect.
The only accommodation that you need to book before your rtw trip is the first night or two at your first destination. There are two reasons for this. First, immigration will probably ask you where you’re staying. You need to have an answer to avoid any hassles. Second, you’ll probably be exhausted, jetlagged, and possibly not thinking right after a long flight. It’s nice to have a place to go after you arrive at the beginning of your trip.
During your rtw trip, I recommend you book accommodation as you go. Just plan ahead a few nights or whatever you’re comfortable with. If you prefer, you can book a month in advance. Most of the time, you can just show up and find a place to stay.
The exception to this is if you’re headed to a particularly busy destination. For example, if you’re traveling during peak season or attending a large event. In this case, you may need to book several months in advance to secure a decent room. Plan ahead.
If you plan to couch surf, you’ll want to start looking for a host at least a week in advance so you can be sure to find a place to stay. Good Airbnbs tend to be booked up early as well. You may wish to make reservations at least a couple of weeks in advance if you can.
While crossing borders, you should always at least have the address and phone number of a hotel or hostel where you plan to stay that night. One of the questions that immigration forms and officials usually ask is ‘where are you staying?’ You need to have an answer to avoid looking suspicious. You don’t want to give them any reason to deny you entry.
Travel tip: Whenever you check into a new room, do a quick check for bed bugs. Check out my guide How to Avoid Bed Bugs While Traveling to help you out.
Travel Vaccinations and Medications for a Round the World Trip
Before you leave home, you want to make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations and medications to keep you healthy during your round-the-world trip.
Start by researching the recommended travel vaccines for each of the regions that you plan to visit. To help you determine which vaccines you need, check out this guide from the CDC.
Book a travel vaccine consultation at your local travel vaccine clinic. The doctor at the clinic will help you determine which vaccines you need. I recommend you look for a government-run clinic rather than a private clinic. Prices are usually better.
Travel Vaccines You May Need for a Round-the-World Trip Include:
- Yellow Fever- This is the most important travel vaccine because it is an entry requirement in many countries in Africa as well as some countries in Central and South America. Research vaccine requirements before your rtw trip to see if Yellow Fever is a risk at your destinations. Make sure you carry your Yellow Fever vaccine certificate to prove that you have been vaccinated.
- Typhoid- This potentially deadly disease spreads through contaminated food or water. A vaccine is recommended for almost all international travel. Particularly trips in Asia and Africa. The vaccine is available in an oral version and an injectable version.
- Hepatitis A and B- These are liver infections. Hep A is transmitted through contaminated food and water. It is common among travelers. Hep B spreads through bodily fluids. All travelers should be vaccinated against both.
- Polio- Most people receive this vaccination during childhood. Check your vaccine history to make sure.
- Cholera- This disease is spread through unclean food and water. It is pretty rare among travelers. If you are traveling to a region where cholera transmissions are known to occur, consider getting the vaccine.
- Rabies- This disease is usually transmitted to humans through bites from dogs, bats, and several other mammals. Consider getting the vaccine if you plan to spend time in rural regions participating in outdoor activities or if you plan to work with animals during your rtw trip.
- Influenza- Make sure your flu shot is up to date.
- Other routine vaccines- Make sure that your standard vaccines such as your measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine are up to date.
This potentially deadly disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. If you’re traveling to a region where malaria is common, consider taking prophylaxis. The three most common are doxycycline, atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone), and mefloquine (Lariam).
To help you decide whether you need to take malaria prevention or not, visit a travel clinic before your trip for a malaria consultation. f you need prophylaxis, the doctor will help you determine which one is best for your destination. For more info, check out my travelers’ guide to malaria prevention, treatment, and tablets.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to get all of your vaccines. They often take a bit of time to become effective. For example, the Yellow Fever vaccine takes around 10 days.
Money-saving tip- Travel vaccines can be expensive. You may be able to save money by getting some of your vaccines abroad. For example, in the U.S., I was quoted $200 for a Yellow Fever vaccine. I got my vaccine at a clinic in the airport in Lima, Peru for about $10. I also did this with my malaria prophylaxis while traveling to Africa Rather than buying expensive malaria pills at home, I bought them for a few dollars at a pharmacy in Ethiopia.
Money and Banking for a Round-the-World Trip
Before you set off on your trip, you want to ensure you always have access to your money. The best way to go about this is to carry several credit cards and debit cards. If one is lost, stolen, or eaten by an ATM, you always have a spare.
I like to travel with 2 debit cards and 2 credit cards. To read about my recommended cards, check out my guide: The Best Debit and Credit Cards for International Travel.
Before opening a new account, shop around for travel cards. Travel credit cards are usually free of foreign transaction fees. You can save a nice chunk of money by avoiding these fees. Also, search for new account perks. Some companies offer enough points for a free flight. I flew round trip from the U.S. to Africa on credit card points.
Before your rtw trip, you should also call your bank and credit card company to let them know that you will be using your card abroad. They will put a travel advisory on your account. They need to know the general dates that you plan to travel and the countries where you will be using the card.
If you don’t notify your bank, a fraud detection system may shut off your card when you try to use it. When this happens, you have to call the bank and ask them to turn the card back on.
If you don’t know all of the dates and countries that you plan to visit, that’s fine. You can always call the bank and update the travel advisory during your rtw trip. Just make sure that you can use your card whenever you arrive in a new country so you can withdraw cash from the ATM.
These days, most banks require two-factor authentification (2FA). After entering your password, the bank sends a code to your phone that you must enter to log in. You need to be able to receive calls or texts to receive the 2FA code. You can use your regular number if your phone company offers international texting. Alternatively, you can use a VOIP service like Google Voice.
You should also carry some cash. I usually carry around $300-$1000 depending on my destination. I try to carry enough to sustain myself for at least a week. That gives me enough time to sort out any problems that may arise with my cards or banking.
You want to carry a currency that you can easily exchange everywhere. US dollars are the best. Euros and British Pounds work fine as well. Carry bills in denominations of 20, 50, or 100 that are new and in good condition. Smaller bills are harder to exchange.
Packing and Travel Gear for a Round the World Trip
If this is your first big trip, you may need to buy a couple of items in preparation. Travel gear that you may need includes:
- A backpack or suitcase- For a round-the-world trip, I recommend a backpack instead of a suitcase. Make sure you buy a quality one as you’ll be putting it through a lot of abuse. Look for a pack in the 40-65 liter range. For most travelers, a 40 liter pack is ideal. If you pack camping gear and a lot of electronics, you’ll need a larger pack. I have traveled with my Osprey Talon 44 hiking backpack for about 10 years and am really happy with it. Read my full review here.
- Outlet converters- These allow you to plug your electronics into the various types of outlets found around the world. I recommend you only pack electronics that can be used in 120-240v outlets so you can avoid carrying a heavy voltage converter.
- Good shoes and sandals- You’ll be walking a lot. Probably multiple miles per day. Buy quality footwear before your around the world trip.
- A smartphone with a good camera- Modern smartphone cameras are good enough for travel photography. You’ll also use your phone for navigation, communication, and entertainment.
- Travel clothing- Consider buying some quality travel clothes. Travel clothes are durable, breathable, and quick drying. I like merino wool clothing because it is odor resistant.
- Money belt- This is a hidden pocket that you wear around your waist. The idea is to hide your cash, cards, passport, and other valuables from pickpockets and muggers. I use the Eagle Creek Silk Undercover money belt. Read my full review here.
If you forget anything, it’s not that big of a deal. You can buy pretty much whatever you need at your destination. You don’t really need much gear to travel.
Try to pack a week or so before you set off on your round-the-world trip. I recommend that you live out of your travel backpack during that time. This way, you’ll notice if anything is missing. If there is anything that you didn’t use after that week, you can most likely leave it at home.
If possible, try to stick to a carry-on bag only. This can be a challenge for some travelers but makes the trip much smoother. Being able to carry your bag on a plane, bus, or train saves time and money. It’s also more secure. When you want to walk long distance with your backpack, you’ll be happy that you packed light as well.
For more help packing, check out my Ultralight Travel Packing List. Here, I outline everything you need to pack for a long-term trip. The guide includes info on clothing, toiletries, electronics, camping gear, backpacks, and more. Also, check out my guides to packing cubes and rolling vs folding clothes for more help packing.
Sample Round the World Trip Itinerary
If you already have a solid round the world trip itinerary picked out, you can skip this section. If you’re inexperienced with travel or if you’re just undecided, I’ll try to outline a basic itinerary in this section to help you get started.
A basic round-the-world trip itinerary includes stops in North America, Asia, and Europe. Some travelers include South America and Africa. Many travelers choose to skip their home continent because they’ve probably already spent a bit of time traveling there.
The round the world trip itinerary that I’m about to outline starts on the West Coast of the US and travels east around the world. This itinerary starts here simply because that’s where I live. You can pick up this round the world itinerary wherever you live and adapt it to make it work for you.
Start by choosing a large European city to fly into. London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt are great choices. Next, choose a region of the continent to travel.
An example of a good Europe itinerary might be to fly into London and then travel to Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Venice, and Rome.
Alternatively, you might choose to travel through Eastern Europe. A good Eastern Europe itinerary would be to fly into a large city in Germany then travel to Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania.
From a large European city, fly to your next continent, Asia.
Choose a region of Asia to visit. Most first-time visitors choose to visit Southeast Asia. From a large European city, choose a large city in Southeast Asia to fly into. Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore are good choices.
An example itinerary around Southeast Asia would be to fly into Singapore and then travel overland through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
From Southeast Asia, fly to the next continent, North America.
From A large city, fly into a Coastal city in North America like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Vancouver on the west coast or New York, Miami, or Washington DC on the east coast. From your starting point travel North or South along the Coast.
Alternatively, you could travel overland across the country by bus or train or rent a car and take a road trip. Some popular stops include Las Vegas, Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans.
From North America, you could fly home. If you want to continue your trip, fly to South America from a large city.
Most round the world travelers choose a region of the continent to travel.
If you prefer to visit northern South America, fly into Colombia, travel through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
If you prefer to visit southern South America, fly into Buenos Aires, Santiago, Sao Paulo, or Rio de Janeiro and visit Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
The best way to get around in South America is by bus. You can also fly longer distance sections if you choose. From a large South American city, catch a flight home.
For whatever reason, most round-the-world itineraries skip my favorite continent, Africa. If you decide to include Africa in your round-the-world trip, a decent itinerary would be to fly into Nairobi and then travel overland to Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Alternatively, you could fly into Cape Town and travel around South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.
Consider visiting Africa After visiting Europe or Asia. You’ll find affordable flights to many destinations around the continent from Paris, London, and the Dubai.
Many round-the-world trips also include a visit to Australia or New Zealand in their round the world itinerary. Alternatively, you could visit some Pacific Islands. Oceania would be a convenient destination to visit After Asia or North America. You can find affordable flights to Australia and New Zealand from many large Asian and North American cities.
My Round-the-World Trips
In my travels, I have made 2 round the world trips. I made my first trip around the world in 2013. During the trip, I traveled for around 6 months and visited 15 countries. I visited many of my dream destinations and saw some wonders of the world in person. I started at home in Southern California and traveled East. My around-the-world trip Itinerary was as follows:
- Los Angeles to Reykjavik, Iceland- I made a 4 day free stopover by flying IcelandAir.
- Reykjavik to Helsinki- I continued my flight and spent a few days exploring Helsinki.
- Helsinki to St. Petersburg- I caught the ferry to St. Petersburg and took advantage of the 72 hour visa free visit program.
- St. Petersburg to Tallinn, Estonia- I returned to Helsinki and then caught a ferry to Tallinn on the same day.
- Tallinn, Estonia to Riga, Latvia- I caught a bus to Riga, Latvia.
- Riga to Dubai– I made a 3 day free stopover in Dubai.
- Dubai to India- I continued my flight on to Delhi, India.
- Train travel through India- I spent about a month traveling in India by train. I traveled to Varanasi, Agra, around Rathastan, and Goa, then flew out of Mumbai.
- Mumbai to Bangkok- I caught a flight to Southeast Asia and explored Thailand for a month.
- Travel through Thailand- I visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Tao, Koh Pha Ngan, and Koh Phi Phi, traveling by bus and train.
- Thailand to Cambodia– I caught a minibus from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I spent a few weeks visiting Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sihanoukville.
- Cambodia to Vietnam- I caught a bus from Sihanoukville, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
- Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi- I bought a motorcycle and rode the length of Vietnam. I visited Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hoi Ann, Hue, and Hanoi.
- Vietnam to Laos- I took a bus from Hanoi, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos
- Travel through Laos- I spent a few weeks visiting Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane, Laos.
- Laos to Thailand- I returned to Thailand by bus and traveled there for a couple of weeks.
- Thailand to Malaysia- I took the bus to Malaysia and spent a couple of weeks in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
- Malaysia to Singapore- I caught a bus south and spent a few days exploring Singapore.
- Singapore to Melbourne, Australia- I caught a flight to Melbourne and spent a month traveling up the East Coast of Australia until I reached Cairns.
- Australia to Beijing- I made a free stopover in Beijing while flying Air China.
- Beijing to Los Angeles- I flew home from Beijing.
I completed my second around the world trip in 2017. This one just focused on Africa. I flew from Los Angeles, California to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From there, I traveled overland through 11 countries until I reached Cape Town, South Africa. From Cape Town, I flew to Bangkok where I relaxed for about 10 days. I then caught a flight back to Los Angeles, making a short stopover in Seoul on the way. This wasn’t originally intended to be a Round-the-World trip but the flights were cheaper if I stopped in Asia so I did.
Currently, I’m in the middle of my third around-the-world trip. I started this rtw trip in South America, visiting Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. From there, I flew to Uganda, where I currently am. I will continue to the Middle East and then to Southeast Asia before returning home.
Tips for Planning A Round the World Trip
It’s important to accept that you’re not going to see it all in one around the world trip. Most round the world travelers visit 15-30 countries. There are 196 countries. You can’t go everywhere. You have to carefully pick and choose where you want to go during your rtw trip.
Also, avoid counting countries. I have met quite a few travelers who like to brag about the number of countries that they have visited on their trips. Most of the time, these people don’t really get to see or experience much of anything in the countries that they visit. They’re always in a rush. I used to be like this. Now I travel slowly and enjoy each destination so much more.
The best advice that I can give while planning your own round-the-world trip is to travel where you want to go. You can take the advice of other travelers and your friends and family but it’s important to plan your own route Don’t travel somewhere just because you feel like you have to go because it’s popular. Don’t avoid a country just because a family member tells you it’s too dangerous. Do your own research and make an informed decision. Also, don’t feel bad about visiting touristy places or participating in cheesy touristy activities. It’s your around the world trip. You are spending your own time and money. Do whatever you want to do. The best part of travel is the absolute freedom that it gives you.
Final Thoughts: How to Plan a Round-the-World Trip
Planning a round-the-world trip is an exciting and rewarding experience. Taking the time to research your destination, arrange visas, secure transport, and accommodations, and plan activities ahead of time can help ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Whether you’re looking to venture off the beaten path or simply relax in some of the world’s most beautiful places, having a round the world trip itinerary prepared will give you peace of mind as you explore all that the world has to offer. Wherever you plan to travel, I hope this guide has helped you plan.
Are you currently planning or have you taken a round-the-world trip? Share your around the world trip itinerary in the comments below!
More from Where the Road Forks
- How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
- 35 Types of Tourism
- Should I Travel With a Laptop: Pros and Cons
- Backpack Vs Suitcase for Travel: My Pros and Cons List
- How to Meet People While Traveling Alone
- How to Avoid Pickpockets While Traveling
- 19 Common Travel Scams and How to Avoid Them
- How to Take Your Own Passport Photo for Free
- 30 Free Things to do While Traveling