The decision has been made. You’re taking six months or maybe even a year off, and it’s time to go travelling. You get the prosecco out of the fridge, pop the cork, pour yourself a glass and celebrate. But wait…where are you going to go? Time to open the laptop.
Choosing the route for your travels is one of the most exciting and important parts of your travel adventure. I loved looking at the world map. Looking at the places I could potentially visit. South America, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, USA – the opportunities are endless.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR ROUTE
The places you want to visit might be dictated by budget. For instance, places like Thailand and Cambodia are much cheaper than Australia currently. But this might be your one time to explore everywhere, so, budget aside, how do you choose where to go? Which country first? Where to finish? Is there a full moon party you want to attend in Thailand? An event in Californina? Carival in Rio?
The route I chose when I travelled for 6 months was not one of the standard round the world routes.
I custom built my flight route based on locations I had never visited before, and I also wanted to maximise my time in the sun (I travelled between October to March with the idea of missing the British winter completely). Planning the flights was the first crucial step in the process.
Once you know your locations and rough dates, you can start planning your route. How much time do you want to spend in each country? Do you want to be somewhere specific for a birthday or Christmas?
With these things in mind, you should be able to start building the route you want to take.
STAY FLEXIBLE…IF POSSIBLE
Being flexible with your dates can often work in your favour, as certain journeys in your flight route may be cheaper one or two days either side of the day you arrive / leave. Depending on your booking, you can also make date changes to your flights once you’re on the road. That means if you’ve fallen in love with Thailand / Brazil / Colombia you might be able to extend your stay ☺
Round The World Experts helped me with advice on the best routes to take, and how to avoid extra charges. For an around the world ticket, there are certain rules which state that if you go over a certain mileage between countries, your ticket becomes more expensive. Calling them and getting a feel for the best route and dates can help tremendously. Just make sure you have a list of places you want to visit, and a rough idea of how long you want to spend in each country / continent.
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
Depending on when you travel, your ticket might cross over with peak season flight times (and costs). Flights around Christmas and New Year are notoriously more expensive, so preparing where you want to be is key, and booking early helps get the best flights at the lowest costs.
If you’re anything like me, you probably stay glued to Google Flights anyway 🙂
It’s also worth keeping an eye on the weather in each of your locations. I was very lucky when I first landed into South America – I had three days of rain in two months. I was then in flip-flops and shorts in January and February in Australia and New Zealand because those months are during their summer season.
Don’t make a rookie backpacker mistake. For example, if you visit Buenos Aires in July and arrive with a suitcase full of shorts and tank tops, you’re going to be sorely disappointed (and cold!). Getting a rough idea of the weather helps you choose your clothes, and probably the size of your backpack!
You’ll probably get advice from family, friends and fellow travellers about where to travel, but remember this is your trip. It’s personal to you, so go where you want to go.
If you want to extend your trip whilst you’re away, do it. I always have the attitude ‘I might never go back to this country,’ so do every activity possible, and go to as many places as I can.
Enjoy every minute…especially the prosecco at the beginning 🙂