I got an email from a reader who posed a question regarding my past around the world trip that is a great question and worth several posts…
I am planning an around-the-world trip, and hope that you will write more about how you approached it (and the most money-saving ways to plan). Thanks DB
My husband and I had 12 months available to travel so time wasn’t a big concern for us. We wrote a list of cities we have always wanted to visit and started from that list. Our unwritten rule was that we didn’t want to stay less than 3 nights in any city and no less than 2 weeks in any country. It seemed like a good idea…
LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKE — To be honest, in hindsight, that was too short for many places we went. We stayed 3 weeks on the South Island of New Zealand, which was the right amount of time for us on the that island but we wished we would have added an extra week or two for the North Island. (Oh well, that will be another trip.) Also, we only spent 2 weeks in Australia and really wished we had a few extra weeks to explore the outback and west coast. Unfortunately both New Zealand and Australia required proof of onward travel upon entering the country so we had to set dates in advance of our trip.
While planning our trip around the world I visited a lot of people’s travel blogs and one thing I noticed was that almost everyone travels very quickly. And most of the fellow travelers we met along the way were only staying a few days in each place. It’s a trap that we fell into as well.
If you only have a few months to travel, I would not do an around the world trip. I met plenty of people doing 1-2 month trips around the world, but in my opinion they were very rushed and missing a lot of great places in between stops. We are middle aged but honestly, it was exhausting to travel so frequently. Every 30 days we found ourselves craving to be on a beach for a few days doing absolutely nothing. In fact, the main reason we cut our trip short was because it was so tiring. Don’t rush yourself. Take time and enjoy just being in a place.
My Advice About Length of Time
Less than 1 Month — Spend time in 1-3 countries in a small region.
2-3 Months — Spend time in 4-5 countries in one region (i.e. Western Europe, SE Asia, Central America, etc.)
4-5 Months — This is the minimum I would suggest for an around-the-world trip. I would limit your distance to one hemisphere. Our trip ended up being 5 months long because we cut it short from our exhaustion of moving from place to place so frequently.
5-8 Months — You can really cover a lot of ground but I still would not consider doing Europe, Africa & Asia OR South America, Europe & Asia in the same trip.
8-12 Months — Now you can consider adding that 3rd big continent and take your time
12+ — Lucky you!! Go where you want and stay in places you like for a few weeks at a time.
LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKE — There’s an overwhelming temptation to check countries off a list to say you’ve been there. It’s great cocktail party talk. And even though a short visit gives you some sort of sense about a place, have you really been there just because you spent two days in a country?? Have you been able to have a meaningful conversation with a local beyond the guesthouse staff, waiters and bartenders?? Take my advice even though you are super excited to see so many countries, and cut your dream list in half to really get to experience those countries in depth.