This is it.
You’ve dreamed about it for a long time.
And you finally made your mind up.
You will travel around the world, in 60 days, more or less.
You’ll visit exotic locations, explore different cultures and taste delicious foods.
But where do you start?
Isn’t planning a long trip really complicated?
Which steps must you take?
I get it.
My husband and I longed for a long trip for many years until we finally did it.
But planning it was a process.
Fortunately, it was a fun one.
To help you, we’ll tell how to plan your dream round-the-world trip.
Choose how many countries you want to visit
First things first.
You have to start by choosing the countries you’d like to visit.
So make a list of the countries you’d like to go to.
Once you have your list, consider your starting point or the airport from which you’ll leave. From there, choose your first country, then the next one and so on until you get to your point of entry back home.
Also, check the weather before you choose your destinations and dates. This will help you avoid extreme weather or a rainy season at your destination.
When we were doing our plan, we printed a world map and marked every place we’d like to go to.
We soon found out that we couldn’t visit every country on our list in 60 days, so we narrowed it down.
Since we live in Panama, we went first to Costa Rica to visit my sister and then to The U.S. to visit my other sister. From there, we left from the U.S. west coast to Asia, where we visited my brother in law (we have family living all over the world…).
We then came back from Europe to the American continent through the U.S.East Coast of and then came back to Panama.
Plan how many days you’re going to stay and what you’ll do in each country
After narrowing down your list, start researching the places you’d like to visit in each country. And estimate how long it will take you to visit them.
If you want to do something a little bit different, like volunteering or working, then you should also add that time.
But bear in mind that not everything is going to be perfect. Some days it’ll rain or you’ll get a virus or something.
So make your plans, but remember that it’ll be almost impossible to do every little thing you planned for.
And that’s ok.
But if this bothers you, you can leave a day or two in each country “just in case” or to relax a little bit before leaving.
Sometimes you’ll find that you have a more structured plan for some cities or countries and a more relaxed plan for others.
For example, when we were in Bali, we knew we wanted to visit 3 or 4 temples, but we were flexible enough to choose daily were we wanted to go. We didn’t have a fixed itinerary, but we went to all the places we wanted to go to.
Make your budget
Ok, now comes the not so fun part.
Our careers are related to numbers, so for us, this is a natural part of our planning.
But we know that making a budget is not everyone’s cup of tea.
And it’s really important that you have a good idea about what your expenses would be before you get into a plane.
To start your budget, estimate the cost for tickets (by air, train, ferry, etc.) and then the costs for lodging.
Also, determine the costs of transport within every country.
We use Hipmunk and Hopper to find flight tickets. It’s also a good idea to check the airlines’ websites to see if they have a better offer there.
By the way, when checking ticket prices, you can choose the flexible dates search mode. This can help you save since tickets can vary a lot depending on your departure or returning dates. You can also use miles to buy your tickets if you have them.
Once you’ve estimated the cost for your tickets, you can check the hotels’ costs.
For instance, we like to make our hotel reservations through booking.com or Airbnb.
You can also check your favorite websites to see the different options, reviews and, costs.
Then you need to estimate your food expenses.
If you want to save, you can prepare your own breakfasts (we’ve done this many times).
Confession time: we’re not the hostel type. The only hostel we stayed in during our 60-day trip was in Costa Rica and we didn’t have a good experience.
This means that we budget because we like to have good value for our money, but we really like to have some level of comfort and privacy on our trips.
But you can choose your accommodation depending on your preferences and the money you have available.
Mark your calendar and buy your tickets
Now that you have a reasonable estimate of the cost of your round-world trip, you can mark your dates on a calendar.
By the way, we checked the round the world ticket option, but it was far more expensive than buying the tickets separately as we did. But it’s always a good idea to also check this option before buying.
With your research ready, and knowing were the best deals are, go on and buy your tickets!
Remember, the earlier you buy, the better prices you get.
When going to Singapore, we got a deal through Air China from San Francisco that costed $ 275.
And let me tell you, despite being the longest flight, it was the best flight of the entire trip.
Make your hotel and transport reservations
With your air tickets in hand (or better said, email) you can start making your hotel reservations.
Research the areas you’d like to visit and their safety and start looking at the hotels in the region.
As we said, our favorite website to do this is Booking.com. We also compare prices or reviews on TripAdvisor.
You also have to research and choose how you’ll get from the airport or train station to your hotel.
Sometimes the hotel has an airport shuttle. Other times it’ll be better to arrange with your hotel a taxi to pick you up at the airport.
There are always other options like buses, subway, taking a cab or getting an Uber ride.
For example, for Bali, we did a transfer reservation through booking to get from the airport to Ubud, but when we arrived at The Czech Republic, we got an Uber ride.
Get your documents ready – passports, visas, and vaccines
If you still don’t have a passport, start by filling your application.
Depending on your country, it’ll take you between a week and a couple of months to get yours.
If you already have a passport, make sure that the expiring date is at least six months after the date of your return.
Because most countries won’t accept anyone with a passport that will expire in less than six months.
Another thing that you need to check is if you need a visa to get to any of the countries that you plan to visit. If you do, get in touch with the countries’ embassies to confirm the visas’ requirements, costs and time.
Since we had a long list, we decided to take off almost all the countries that requested a visa to any of us. We already have American visas and the Vietnams’ visas were issued at the airport.
You also need to check if you need vaccines to travel to a specific country. If you do, get them in a place that issues an international vaccine certification.
And make sure to carry the certification always with you. Airlines can ask for it, and they’ll refuse to let you board if your destination requires a vaccine.
Think about how you’ll handle your money
Now that you have your budget, reservations, and documents ready, you have to think about how you’ll pay for your expenses.
In our experience, most places accept credit cards, but you must also estimate how much cash you’ll take with you.
We always take about 10% of the expenses we estimated for the trip in cash. We use it for street food and to pay in places where credit cards are not accepted.
You should also travel with 2 or 3 credit cards, in case you have some kind of trouble with one of them.
For instance, at the end of our trip, my credit card stopped working and I had to replace it when I got home.
Make sure that you have the pin for every card and that they work before leaving, in case you need to use an ATM abroad.
How much cash you change to the local currency will depend on how long you’ll stay and how remote the place you’re going to be is.
We like to change about $ 100 to the local currency to start with and change more later if we need to.
Choose your suitcase
When going on a long trip you may think that you need a big suitcase to pack a lot of things.
After all, you’ll be gone for many, many days.
But we recommend avoiding that temptation.
Because the more compact your suitcase the easier you’ll move around and the less you’ll spend on airline tickets.
For our trip, we chose the Osprey Farpoint and Fairview and also bought some packing cubes.
The good thing about these backpacks is that they’re carry-on. You can also hide away their straps, which leaves you with a nice looking bag.
These bags let us move easily between all kind of transports and places. Like from a train to a subway or from a ferry to a beach.
Choose your clothes
If you go the minimalist way, as we did, you have to be very mindful about the clothes that you’ll take with you on your trip.
First, consider the weather and season of the places you’ll be visiting.
It’s always better if you travel to one type of weather only, but depending on the length of your trip it may not be possible.
In our case, we were going to be in both cold and hot weather. It seems difficult to pack a few things with this variation, but believe me, it’s possible.
And those bags can carry more stuff than you’d think.
For instance, I packed:
- One winter jacket
- One thin jacket
- One light cardigan
- 3 long-sleeve T-shirts
- 3 T-shirts
- 3 sleeveless T-shirts
- 3 shorts
- 2 jeans
- 2 pair of shoes
- 1 pair of sandals
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 beach dress
- 1 bikini
- Underwear for approximately 7 days
- Toiletries and makeup
I’m not going to tell you that I never got bored of wearing the same clothes, because I did.
But I packed neutral colors and in the end, I was more interested in the trip itself than about what I was wearing.
And it was also easy to keep our clothes clean. At the hotels, we hand washed or send our clothes to a laundry service. Also, the AirBnB apartments where we stayed at had washing machines. So we had no trouble with that.
Plan what to do with your stuff, house, and pets while you’re traveling
Before you leave, think about what you’ll do with your stuff.
If you own your place, then turn off everything and lock your house. You can also leave a key with your neighbors so they can check if everything is ok from time to time.
If you rent, you can consider canceling your contract and leaving your things at a storage unit.
If you have plants or pets, then find someone to take care of them while you’re gone.
And find a way to pay for your bills while you’re traveling or pay everything in advance.
Pack and go!
As you can see, planning for a long term trip is a process.
You have to consider a lot of things.
It will take time and energy.
But did you know that the anticipation you feel while you plan your trip is beneficial for you?
So enjoy this step.
Daydream about your trip, you’ll be packing and leaving before you expect.
Do you need help to plan your trip? Click here and get your FREE Dream Travel Planning Kit