Creating a route is an exciting part of trip planning. It can also get overwhelming because there are so many beautiful places on this earth!
First of all we started out with a “Why?” Why do we want to go travel for a year?
After some time of thinking, discussing, and writing we came up with our why.
“We want to be changed by the knowledge and experience of the world, to see what God is doing around the world and take part in it. To get out of our comfort zone, challenge ourselves and grow through it. Lastly, we want to be people who never settle. We are aiming not to be tourists who try to see as many things in as short of a time as possible, but learners who experience and are changed by the cultures and the surroundings which we visit.”
This is what motivates us to save and eventually leave the comfort of our home, jobs, and sell everything to travel the world.
Deciding Where to Go
The first step to planning our long-term trip was to make a list. We started putting priorities on where we wanted to go , what we wanted to see and the activities that we cared about most. This created a framework for the trip.
For us hiking to Machu Picchu, spending a few weeks climbing/hiking in Patagonia, standing in front of the Taj Mahal, diving off some island in the Philippines, sleeping in a yurt, and so many more ultimately topped our list. While there are so many other beautiful places we are dying to go to, these became our “pillars” that helped create the framework of our trip.
We also considered many questions like,
- “What types of accommodations are we planning to get?”
- “Do we have a budget in mind?”
- “How much time do we want to spend in each country”
- “Do we want to fast travel or do slow travel?”
- “What continent are the activities that we want to do located in?”
- “Do we want to volunteer with organizations?”
- “What time of year & and seasons do we want to travel in?”
Answering these questions really helped us get an idea of what the both of us wanted and how we saw our trip. As sun lovers we decided that we would chase summer as it travels around the globe. It is much easier to pack for and we would need a lot less stuff with us.
With our “Why” in the back of our minds we started circling on a laminated map the countries we wanted to visit. We had an unreasonable amount of countries at first so we had to revise. Recognizing that we couldn’t do everything we wanted and planning to do less would actually be more. We would be able to do slow travel and spend more time in a country. We would be able to get to know the local people, their culture, their language and even give back to their community by teaming up with local missions organizations.
So far we have 18 countries on the list. We decided that we would mostly be traveling through South America, Asia, and a couple of countries in Europe. The reason we are traveling through S. America and Asia is because the dollar goes far in those areas and there are some amazing places to visit. We also noticed that many of our “Pillars” experiences that we wanted to have, bucket list places and activities were located in that area of the world. Sorry Europe, Australia & New Zealand, I promise we will come back for you as soon we can! You know, saving the best for last! 😛
We’re planning to spend 3 weeks to a month in each country so that we can spend more time in one place rather than hopping from place to place. We are not booking hotels, tours, or sights ahead of time but rather we will be deciding as we go along the way. The only thing we reserved so far is our one-way ticket to South America. Most of the travel in South America will be overland so bus & train tickets can be purchased a few days before or the day of. When traveling excruciatingly long distances we will purchase our tickets a couple of weeks or months before. Sometimes you can even get cheaper tickets if purchasing from within other countries instead of in the US. During the trip plans can change and we want to leave openings for spontaneity.
Setting a Budget
A big part of planning is BUDGETING. This is where many people assume that you need to be rich. It’s not true. We are an average couple. We work regular jobs that give us enough income to live and save.
So, how are you supposed to know how much a Round the World Trip would cost you? Well, this is where research and a spreadsheet comes in handy. With the help of BootsnAll Travel we figured out our budget for the year, each country and even the budget for the day.
For a couple traveling the world for a year a good budget is around $30,000- $35,000. That comes out to be $82/day. In Thailand a couple would get a deluxe room for about $25, eat for $5-$10, rent a moped for about $10, and have $37 for activities. On some days you will chill at the beach and spend none of that. Other days you’ll take a snorkeling excursion for $60, and finish the day with an hour long Thai massage for the two of you for $30.
BootsnAll is a great place to start planning your own trip. You can sign up for the 30-day email series for planning a RTW Trip. We read these emails weekly and complete the action steps that come with each email.
My Maps & Evernote
I have been doing lots of research online, reading blogs, and guidebooks. As I research I created an Evernote Notebook for our trip. Within the Notebook titled “Travel” I created notes for each country we will be visitng. In the specific notes, I copy and paste places I want to visit while in that country. I also put facts and blog posts that I want to revisit while traveling there.
In addition, I have been using My Maps to build a route. It has been extremely useful to pin the different cities, national parks, waterfalls, and landmarks that we hope to see.
Here is what I have so far (it is not complete):
You can also customize your route by adding notes in the pins and changing the pins to different icons & colors to better identify each place.
Lastly, we have been listening to podcasts, watching CrashCourse, creating a travel pin board on Pinterest, and reading through guide books to help us better prepare & understand each country. This can all be done through smartphone apps like Overdrive (free libarary ebooks & audiobooks), Podcasts (Amateur Traveler, Zero to Travel, EPOP Travel Podcast), hanging out at a bookstore and going through travel guides or checking them out through the library.
I know that not everyone is planning a world trip, but I hope you can use these ideas to plan your own trips or just follow along our journey!
-Katie & Alex