How to Plan a Trip Around the World

The world is massive, and there are many fantastic destinations to see and things to do. However, it can seem like traveling all over would take a long time. The good news is that, if you know how to plan a trip around the world, you can visit multiple fantastic cities and countries all in one big trip.

Now, it will take some planning to make this trip a reality, but it’s not much different from planning a single destination. All you need to know are the steps for booking travel and finding places to stay and things to do. After that, you can start counting down the days until you leave for your worldwide adventure.

How to Plan a Trip Around the World

If you want to decide how to plan a trip around the world, you should consider why you want to take that sort of trip. There are many reasons why you can and should visit different places in one go, especially when it comes to faraway destinations. Determining why you want to travel around the world can help you plan the best possible trip.

  • One great reason to take a worldwide trip is to explore multiple new places. While it can be great to take a trip to a single destination, going to different cities and countries can give you more of a taste of the world.
  • You can learn about multiple cultures, and you don’t have to spend a long time in any one place. There’s no need to decide on a single destination.
  • Traveling around the world in a single trip also gives you a chance to use up travel rewards from airlines and hotels. As nice as it can be to earn those rewards, it can be sad to see them go to waste as the expiration date approaches.
  • If you have a lot of airline miles, flying to multiple places is the perfect way to use those rewards. You can also use up hotel points by staying at the same hotel in different cities.

Of course, there’s no better reason to travel around the world than your desire. If you want to see what the world has to offer, visiting multiple places is a great option. However, you still have some work to do to plan such an adventure.

What to Do Before Booking Your Trip

Once you decide why you want to plan a trip around the world, it’s time to start thinking about it. Now, it’s time for you to consider what you want to do and where to go for your big adventure. That way, you can book everything in one fell swoop so that you don’t miss a leg and have to change everything.

Figuring out what you want to do will also help you plan your trip since you can research more efficiently. If flights to a particular destination aren’t available for a part of the year, you can take that into account when planning the rest of your trip.

Decide Where You Want to Go

Odds are, you probably have some places in mind for where you want to travel. Assuming your planning the trip yourself, you don’t have to worry about doing what a tour group does. However, there are a lot of amazing places to visit, and you have to choose where to go.

Not only that, but you’ll also have to determine how many places you should visit. The more places you go, the more transportation you’ll need to book. That could add to the cost and time of your trip.

When choosing your locations, you should consider if there are any cities where you want to stay for longer. If you’re going to stay in Paris for a while, you can use that as a “hub” of sorts for day trips to nearby cities and countries.

On the other hand, you should consider stopover spots, which are locations with somewhat long layovers. As you travel, you’ll probably have a layover or two. If a layover lasts close to a day, you can use that time to see yet another amazing place.

Figure Out When to Go

Now that you have a list of places you want to visit either for a day or a week, you can decide when to travel to those places. Of course, some cities and countries are accessible at any time of year. However, there are times when traveling will be much easier or more difficult.

If you want to travel to places way up north, consider booking your trip during the summer. That way, you won’t have to worry about the extreme winter that these places experience. Booking in the summer could also help you avoid flight delays due to bad weather.

Even if you’re primarily going to tropical places, you should consider when you want to go there. Spring break is a popular time for people to travel to Mexico, for example. While the summer is a fantastic time to take a trip almost anywhere, that means it’s also a popular time to travel.

Consider if you and any travel companions have a flexible schedule. That way, you can choose times where you can travel and will have things to do. However, you won’t have to deal with as many crowds as you explore your chosen destinations.

Many frequent fliers also know that flight prices aren’t always the same. If you know when you want to travel, make sure you follow the prices of flights on different airlines. That way, you can book the right tickets at the right time.

Choose How Long You Want to Travel

When it comes to scheduling a trip around the world, you also have to determine how long your trip will last. If you only have a couple of weeks, you won’t be able to visit many places for very long. That doesn’t mean you need months to travel, but it is something to think about.

Perhaps you have two weeks of vacation time plus the weekend on either end of that. That gets you about two and a half weeks to travel. Depending on where you want to go, you should think about how long you want to stay in each place.

Two and a half weeks is enough time to visit five places for a few days or over a dozen places for a day or so. You can also choose how long to travel based on the places you want to visit for longer versus short stopover spots.

If you have more time to travel, that means you can visit more places or stay in the same number for a longer period. No matter how long your trip around the world will be, make sure you are realistic about how many things you can do and places you can visit so that your trip is more enjoyable than stressful.

Start Booking Travel and Accommodations

Now that you have a list of places to go, things to see, and when you want to go, it’s time to book your trip. If you have a lot of places to go, it can help to work with a travel agent. Of course, you will have to pay for the travel agent since they’re providing their time to help you.

However, a travel agent can help you with your plans so that you don’t miss anything. They can help you find the right flights, and you won’t have to worry about skipping over a destination. That can be especially helpful for a longer, more extensive trip around the world.

If you’re traveling on a budget, hiring a travel agent may not be worth it. In that case, you can use travel booking sites to find the best deals on travel to certain areas. While it can be nice to book individual flights and hotels, booking them together can save you the headache of finding flights and accommodations for the right dates.

As you book your travel and accommodations, consider how you want to get to places and where you want to stay. There are multiple ways to travel to different places, so flying might not always be best. Similarly, hotels aren’t always the right option for certain cities and countries.

Air Travel

For travel between different continents and to islands, flying is the easiest and most common option. A flight across the Atlantic will get you there much faster than if you took a boat. Flying is also surprisingly safe, so you can board your flight with a little more confidence.

Especially for Americans, flying is the easiest way to pursue international travel. Europe is an especially popular continent for tourists, and you don’t have many options for how to get there. You can find flights from many American cities to many European cities, and you also have a choice in which airline to fly.

That gives you plenty of choices when booking flights between the continents. Once you’re done in Europe, you can also take a flight to visit Africa, Asia, or Oceania. Flights can cut down on time between destinations, which means you won’t have to feel like you’re wasting your time.

However, flying can get expensive, especially on a trip around the world. When possible, you should also consider other forms of transportation, particularly within countries or between nearby countries. That way, you can save some money, and you’ll be able to view more of your chosen countries as you travel.

Ground Transportation

Ground transportation comes in many forms, from trains and buses to taxis and your own two feet. Odds are you’ll probably use at least one method of ground transportation in each place, and you’ll probably use multiple options throughout your trip. That’s because ground transportation is a great way to travel for shorter distances.

Once you land in Europe, for example, you can take a train from one city to the next. That can be much cheaper than flying from place to place, and it won’t take much longer. Outside of Europe, you can take a train from city to city within a country, which can be nice in larger countries where you want to explore more than a single place.

Within a city, you can use the local bus system or take a taxi. That way, you can get from one side of the city to another more quickly. If you have an early day in a city, you can take a taxi to reach your first event or tour on time.

If you don’t need to travel very far, you can walk within a city. Many European places are very walkable, and this can be a great option if you’re tight on money. You also have more control over when you walk since you don’t have to wait for a taxi or worry about a bus schedule.

Cars and Road Trips

Cars and road trips aren’t super common all over the world, but they can be a great way to explore different parts of North America. After all, the continent is part of the world, and there’s no shame in including it on your worldwide trip. Whether you spend a day or a week in the U.S. or Canada, consider taking a road trip.

You can see a lot of the rural areas of North America this way, and you can have control over when you travel. If you don’t live close to an international airport, this can be a nice addition to international travel. Instead of connecting to a larger airport, you can take a road trip to one as an excuse to see more of the U.S.

Cars and road trips aren’t as common abroad, but you can also use them to explore. As you research travel options, consider renting a car so that you can explore more of a country without the need for a bus or train. Of course, you’ll need to make sure to drive on the correct side of the road, especially in countries like the U.K. and Australia.

Hostels and Hotels

Once you reach your destination, you’re going to need a place to stay. When traveling around the world, hostels and hotels are two popular choices. Of course, hotels are the more traditional option when it comes to traveling.

Hotels provide you with everything from a private bed and bathroom to free breakfast. Some hotels also offer spas and pools where you can relax after a long day of traveling and exploring. The downside to these amenities is that they come with a cost, especially in more expensive travel destinations, like Paris and Dubai.

Meanwhile, hostels have some amazing benefits, from saving money to meeting new people. They can be worth exploring for at least one of your stops.

  • One reason to stay in a hostel is that it’s cheaper than a hotel. By staying in a hostel, you could put more money toward a longer stay or some other part of your trip.
  • Because of the low cost, many travelers believe that hostels are a better value than hotels.
  • While hostels are less private than hotels, you can take advantage of that by getting to know people. You can learn about their travels and get advice on what to do or see.
  • Hostels also tend to be in good locations, which means you can explore the area more easily than if you stay in a hotel.

If you’re on a budget, hostels can be a great way to save money, and they’re common among younger travelers. However, hotels do have the added benefit of more privacy. To make the most of your travels, consider splitting your time between both.

Plan Your Itinerary

After you book your travel and accommodations, it’s time to plan the rest of your trip. Since you know where you will be and when you can look for things to do in each place you plan to visit. That way, you can book any guided tours or other activities, and you won’t have to scramble at the last minute.

Every city is different, and the exact tours and events will vary based on when you go to each place. As you plan your trip, consider if you want a full schedule or if you want to take each day as it comes. It can also be nice to plan some days while leaving others more open.

That way, you won’t be completely bored, but you also won’t have to stick to a schedule for the entire trip. You can do some research on each of your stops to find out what is worth doing and what you can pass on. Of course, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself, so if it’s your first time planning a trip, don’t be afraid to keep things simple.

If you don’t know what to do at a specific stop, you can look up activities or events online. You can also ask people you know if they’ve traveled to that place to see what they did. As always, you can stick to some common tourist spots.

Popular Spots

Odds are, you probably want to visit some of the more popular tourist sites on your travels. If you aren’t sure what to see, the popular sites are a good starting point. After all, they wouldn’t be so popular if they didn’t have anything to offer.

Some popular spots to visit are the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, and Big Ben. Of course, the U.S. has the Statue of Liberty and sites like the Lincoln Memorial. A surprisingly common tourist attraction is Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, which boasts stunning lanterns, carpets, and jewelry.

Disney fans can check out Tokyo Disneyland while in Japan, which has some of the same parks as the American one but also some unique attractions. Nearby in China, you can visit the Forbidden City in Beijing. You can take in the beautiful gardens and pavilions.

Of course, these spots have millions of visitors annually, so they can be a bit crowded. However, if any of them are on your bucket list, you should make time in your schedule to visit them. Many countries have at least one or two tourist spots, so you can probably find an interesting attraction wherever you go.

Hidden Gems

While popular tourist spots can be fun to visit, going there at the wrong time can mean crowds upon crowds. If you want to visit some less popular places, you can find some hidden gems near the more popular ones. Leaving room in your schedule will allow you to explore some unknown places that you find along your travels.

As you meet people in hostels or elsewhere on your travels, they might suggest lesser-known things to do. While you may not have time to go to a new country, you can find some exciting spots to visit within the same country. If you’re in Europe and looking for a less popular place to visit, you can travel to a smaller city, like Hamburg, Germany.

Smaller cities may not have as many tourist spots, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth visiting. If you know you’ll want a break from the huge crowds, try to book a day or two somewhere with fewer travelers. You’ll be able to explore a new place and see things without having to worry about tons of other people.

Things to Keep in Mind

Once you book everything for your trip, you will probably be beyond excited about it. However, you will need to be mindful of everything from your plans to your surroundings. While it would be amazing to have the perfect trip, things can and do happen that can derail your plans.

If you’re on top of your game while you’re traveling, you can enjoy more of your activities. Of course, you won’t be able to plan for everything, so it’s important to be flexible. That way, if something doesn’t go how you planned, you can resolve the issue and continue with the rest of your trip.

Expect the Unexpected

If you’ve ever traveled before, you probably know that trips don’t always go according to schedule. Unfortunately, a lot of things can happen that aren’t in your control. Flights can have delays for many reasons, like weather or maintenance issues.

Similarly, trains and other forms of ground transportation might not run the way you expect. You may choose a hostel and end up not enjoying it as much as you thought you would. Or perhaps the popular tourist site you couldn’t wait to see didn’t live up to your expectations.

Whatever happens, you have to work with it. Dwelling on what goes wrong will only make your trip more stressful, so you won’t be able to enjoy the rest of it. While it can be difficult to let things go, at least expect that things won’t always go your way so that it won’t be such a shock.

Beware of Scams

Unfortunately, there are tons of scams aimed right at travelers. One common scam that might have you planning a worldwide trip would be winning a free trip. If you win a prize and have to pay to claim it, odds are it’s a scam.

Instead, save your money and pay for the trip that you want rather than paying to get a “free” trip somewhere. The FTC says this is especially important if you can’t get any details about where you will stay in a certain country.

As you book your trip, use a credit card to protect yourself in case of a scam. When you use cash or a check, you’ll be out of any money that you spend. However, your credit card company can help you resolve any issues.

While on your trip, be on the lookout for traveler scams. When traveling internationally, make sure you exchange currency at a legitimate location. That way, you can minimize the risk of being given counterfeit currency.

Similarly, avoid unmarked cabs and other ground transportation. With cabs specifically, make sure you get the ride before you have to pay so that you don’t lose money. You may want to relax on your trip, but don’t let your guard down when it comes to your money or your safety.

Stay Safe

When traveling, make sure you stay aware of your surroundings, even when you’re in a large crowd. Of course, no one wants to think about the worst thing that could happen, but it’s important. Especially when you’re alone, you are vulnerable, and some people can see that.

  • If traveling with someone, always stay together. Make sure you know where the other person is at all times.
  • If traveling alone, tell someone back home about where you plan to be and when. Have a way for you to contact them or vice versa in case of an emergency.
  • When possible, avoid walking late at night. Instead, opt for a taxi or bus to get back to your hotel or hostel.
  • Keep important items on you at all times, such as your wallet, phone, passport, and keys to your current accommodations. Make sure you also have a map in case you get lost.

Staying safe is crucial when traveling around the world, and it’s the main concern for many travelers. Of course, going with someone means you can look out for each other. However, even solo travelers can and should take precautions before and during the trip to make sure their safety isn’t compromised.

Get Excited

Now that you have planned your trip around the world, it’s time to get ready for the big day. Make sure you know where all of your important documents are for hotels and planes. Finally, pack your bags and get excited about your amazing trip.

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