My Round-the-World Trip Itinerary


Map of a round-the-world route

“So where are you going?”

It’s one of the first questions people ask when I tell them I’m leaving to travel.

If only it were that easy! It’s such a simple question but I often find myself struggling to answer. If I’m being honest, I haven’t actually decided. I said from the beginning that I wanted to travel without a fixed plan, and I still stand by that, but I should probably form a vague plan! At the moment, I’m researching different countries, trying to narrow down my options and come up with a definitive list of where I’ll definitely be going, along with a list of places that interest me.

As of March 2011, this is my plan (which is so much different than my first itinerary I shared!):

Map of my future travels - February 2011
Map of my future travels: March 2011

Start in Eastern Europe

I’m going to avoid Western Europe because it’s expensive and I’ve visited many of these countries already. I’d originally planned to spend four months in Europe, but I’ve now reduced it to six weeks. As well as wanting to save money, I also didn’t want to travel through Russia in winter which would have been unbearable.

I decided to pick the countries that most interested me. I’ll be flying into Croatia, and then traveling by train to Slovenia, Hungary and Ukraine. While in Ukraine I am going to take a tour of Chernobyl.

A Trans-Siberian Adventure

I’d always planned on flying to Asia next, but one night, as I was falling asleep, the idea of the Trans-Siberian Railway popped into my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I got out of bed, powered up my laptop and spent the evening researching. It’s funny how these things just jump up to you from out of nowhere. I’d never even considered it before, and now I can’t wait!

I haven’t decided on the specific stops yet, but I know I want to spend a few days at Lake Baikal.

Instead of taking the whole route across Russia, I have decided to visit Mongolia instead.

China

I spent ages agonising over whether to go to China or Japan and after much deliberation, I finally decided on Japan.

A week later, I changed my mind again and settled on China. I plan on taking the train to Beijing and slowly making my way down through China and ending up in Hong Kong to finish.

Malaysia

From Hong Kong, I will fly to Malaysia and spend a month exploring some of their amazing islands. I chose Malaysia based on a Google Image search of “Malaysian beaches.” I love using Google Images to decide where to go.

Australia/New Zealand

I’ve decided to get a Working Holiday Visa for both countries, and as these can be valid for up to two years, I’m not going to plan too much past this point.

I’d like to settle in Australia for a while, find a job and get to live in one place for some time — as opposed to travelling around like crazy. There’s so much of both countries that I want to see, so I need to make sure I don’t spend my whole time working and not exploring.

Afterwards

This could be in a few years time, depending on how long I decide to stay in Australia and New Zealand, but I know there are quite a few South Pacific islands I’d like to see, like Fiji and the Cook Islands.

I’d also like to visit Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Last on my list is Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. I hope that my money will be able to last to this point.

I’d love to go to South America, but I’m trying not to plan too far into the future in case it doesn’t all work out. I know, it’s insane to think of a plan that’s five years in the future.

 

Have any suggestions or advice on my current route? Leave a comment and let me know!

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27 Comments

  1. Dustin Main - Skinny Backpacker
    February 4, 2011
    Reply

    Best of luck. My advice, don’t plan too much or too far ahead. Have a general outline and then just wing it :)

    • Lauren
      February 13, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Dustin! That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m normally such an obsessive planner that it’s quite scary not having a completely fixed outline!

  2. pokeken
    February 4, 2011
    Reply

    I wonder whether its really worth even doing eastern europe to begin with…straight onto the siberian railway sounds like a better use of time/funds?

    As for the choice between China or Japan…..it depends on whether you want to try something thats well established and easy to get around (Japan) or China which is alot comparatively more younger for travellers and comes with additional visa requirements etc.

    Both are cool….although having spent 1.5 yrs in Japan, that would be my choice.

    Good luck

    • Lauren
      February 13, 2011
      Reply

      That’s something I’m considering but I think I would like to at least do some of Eastern Europe, even if it is only for a month or so.

      I think I am leaning more towards Japan at the moment… Or maybe do half and half! I hate making decisions!

  3. Garreth
    February 9, 2011
    Reply

    That’s crazy we’re both finishing up our uni and getting away as soon as possible!

    Loved the idea of the trans-siberian. Actually crazy jealous you’re doing it. My one way flight to Beijing for £300 was just too good to turn down though! After arriving in Beijing I plan on spending 5-6 months in SE Asia before heading to Australia at Christmas on my working holiday visa as well and also fancy settling down there and working for a while to bump up the travel funds again! Definitely grab a beer if our paths cross at some point! How much money are you hoping to depart with?

    • Lauren
      February 13, 2011
      Reply

      I know, hey twin!! :)

      I love how our routes are pretty similar and i’m sure if we’ll both be in Australia for Christmas onwards then we stand a good chance of being in the same place at the same time! I’m hoping to leave with £15,000. I’m about £4000 short at the moment though, and getting worried I won’t make it! How about you?

  4. Scott
    February 14, 2011
    Reply

    Just discovered your site, will be following along of course as I am planning my own RTW for 2012! Croatia & Slovenia are two of my absolute favs!

    • Lauren
      February 26, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Scott! I am probably most excited about Slovenia and Croatia for my Europe part of the trip – They look so beautiful!

  5. Bryan
    February 26, 2011
    Reply

    Sounds like a great trip! Like someone else said, don’t plan ahead too much. You’ll want to be able to make more decisions later once you figure out where you want to go. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and your travel interests after your first few countries, and this will help guide you. For example, if you do the Trans-Siberian railway (we’re planning on this ourselves, soon!), and then go into China and southeast Asia, you’ll have a blast. After that if you go to Australia, you might find it to be quite tame and a lot like home like many travelers do when they get there – it just won’t have the exotic culture that you immersed yourself with in Asia. Not that it wouldn’t be fun though, just leave yourself open for new opportunities. Good luck and enjoy the planning stage!

    • Lauren
      February 26, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Bryan!

      Everyone has told me not to plan ahead too much and it seems like sound advice!

      That is a very good point you make about Australia, and something I’ve been thinking about myself! I definitely want to do Australia and New Zealand, and it’s just a case of when. Because it will be similar to “home”, I decided to do it before the South East Asia portion, so that I can save the really exciting, exotic parts until later on in the trip!

      It’s so hard making these decisions! But they ARE nice decisions to have! :)

  6. Erica
    March 4, 2011
    Reply

    Having a rough idea vs knowing exactly will save you lots of heartache. With flexibility comes amazing adventures. Best of luck!

    • Lauren
      March 4, 2011
      Reply

      Hey Erica! Thanks!

      I can’t wait to get out there, throw all my plans away, have total freedom, and go wherever the wind takes me! :D

  7. Angie Orth
    March 4, 2011
    Reply

    Hi Lauren – I was a big planner, too, until I got out on the road. I have to admit, it’s kinda fun winging it. HAVE A BLAST!

    • Lauren
      March 4, 2011
      Reply

      Hey Angie! It seems scary at the moment, but I can’t wait to give it a go… I’m sure I’ll love it!

  8. Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures
    March 6, 2011
    Reply

    I echo Dustin’s remarks. Basic outline of what you’d like to do is great, but leave yourself open to changes because you’ll definitely want to see other things once you get moving!

    • Lauren
      March 7, 2011
      Reply

      That definitely seems to be the consensus from everyone I’ve spoken to!

  9. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    March 14, 2011
    Reply

    Sounds like you have a great plan! I think mixing in places that are more like home (such as Australia) along with the more exotic locations is a good way to go. My top travel rule is to always mix things up!

  10. Michael
    March 25, 2011
    Reply

    Its gonna be an amazing trip!you should also check out Ethiopia in Africa

  11. Paul
    April 9, 2011
    Reply

    Sounds like an amazing plan.

    Just going to echo what others have said and is what we did when we had a year away; just get to the country you’re going to and then plan what to do.

    Early on we were stuck with flights and would have cost us to change. It meant missing out on going from Malaysia to Thailand with people we met whilst in Penang.

    When we got to Australia and NZ we had no plans and just booked hostels a few days ahead.

    Have lots of fun and I’ll be keeping up to date with where you are

    • Lauren
      April 10, 2011
      Reply

      Hey Paul! That’s definitely what I’m going to do. I’ve booked my one way flight to Croatia, and that’s it! Will sort everything else out once I’m out there :D

  12. Ian [EagerExistence]
    April 10, 2011
    Reply

    If I’m back in Oz when you’re settling, you’re welcome to CouchSurf my couch.

    • Lauren
      April 10, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Ian!! When will you be back? :)

  13. rob
    April 10, 2011
    Reply

    What a thrill have a great time I really like your site if you get to the states and want to couchsurf let us know

    rob robin
    luv2travel2

    • Lauren
      April 10, 2011
      Reply

      Awesome, and thanks for the offer Rob! :)

  14. Michael Hodson
    April 15, 2011
    Reply

    you might end up being in some of the spots I will be for part of this. After the Ultimate Train Challenge (www.ultimatetrainchallenge.com), I hopefully will be kicking around SE Asia till the end of the year. Seems that might be about the time you will be there. One thing I’d suggest is not flying from China to Malaysia. Just go overland via train and bus to Vietnam and hit up SE Asia starting there. Email me if you want any advice about overland travel and locations and such. Great trip!

    • Lauren
      April 15, 2011
      Reply

      That’s something I’ve really been seriously considering doing actually. I feel such a strong pull from SE Asia and it’s definitely where I’m most looking forward to visiting… I won’t make any plans and have all the options in my head and just do what feels right nearer the time :)

      Hopefully I’ll see you along the way! :D

  15. Kristian
    April 27, 2011
    Reply

    Nice route! Its very much what I’m doing actually, although I’m attempting to do the whole thing overland (but the cancellation of my ship from Singapore to Oz in December has put a spanner in the works of that plan somewhat!).

    Good to see you’re going to Ukraine too – I went last year and it was fabulous. I did Chernobyl as well, its definitely worth it! Easily one of the most fascinating travel experiences I’ve ever had.

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