Planning a round the world trip can be daunting. Deciding where to go, how long to spend in each place and figuring out how to fund your time away are all things to consider.
These are all questions I had to ask myself before a year long journey in 2006 and here are my six tips on how to plan your round the world trip.
Do your research
You'll have an idea of where you want to go but not necessarily what to do in those places. The internet is a great source as is reading through some travel blogs from people who have been to the places you intend to visit.
Offline, I can recommend buying two or three Lonely Planet guidebooks as most of my research was done using them. Knowing the general areas we wanted to visit influenced our purchase of Lonely Planet's Australia and New Zealand guides and also their Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei book.
All three books gave us a better idea of the route we would follow and also what times of year is best to visit.
Work out your budget
Unless you have an unlimited amount to spend on your round the world trip (we can all wish), then you'll have to come up with some sort of budget.
Wherever you decide to visit will ultimately affect your budget. South Asian countries will take up less of your money than countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
If you intend to work through your travels to fund part of the trip don't forget to apply for all the necessary visas before you leave. We worked for six months in Auckland, New Zealand and this funded 2/3rds of our year long travels.
Overall we spent around £9,000 each over the year which worked out at around £25 per day.
Speak to a Travel Agent
A lot is made of booking flights and accommodation online in recent years. Whilst I would recommend this whilst you are away to book transport and hostels, speaking to a travel agent beforehand can be crucial in selecting your route.
We booked our round the world plane tickets and hotels in both Hong Kong and Singapore, our first week away, through STA Travel in Manchester, UK. As STA Travel have branches worldwide we knew we able to go into any of them for assistance and they would know how to help.
The agent was able to guide us through the flight options available and it was through them that we added Fiji and the Cook Islands to the itinerary as they were available on the Star Alliance route, the latter of which was the perfect end to our trip.
Don't plan everything
Being on a round the world trip is all about planning a few days ahead as you never know what you might find. If you've booked a week somewhere and you find you hate it, then you'll either have to leave and forfeit the money or grin and bear it. Booking for a few nights gives you the option to extend or leave when you've had enough.
Although we had our first week's accommodation planned we left ourselves 12 days in Malaysia. After a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur we flew up to Penang. We loved it so much we stayed for a week and made some travel buddies who we then spent a week in Langkawi with.
Leaving yourself with open plans means you can follow recommendations of the people you meet and can make you visit places you never thought of visiting.
When travelling for a few months up to a year, it's tempting to pack everything but the kitchen sink but the thing to remember is that you'll have to carry your backpack round the world.
I bought myself a 65 litre backpack for my trip and found that it was too large. Dragging it onto trains and packing into a car every few days can get tiresome after a while.
I met people who had set off with the bare essentials of underwear and few clothes and whilst travelling around Asia, stocked up on cheap t-shirts and shorts. Even if the quality isn't the best you'll get the wear out of it before throwing away and it'll be one less thing to bring home.
Go book your round the world trip
Just do it. What are you waiting for, go do it today.
Have you been on a round the world trip? Are you about to embark on one? How did you plan your trip?