In our early 30s we took 18 months off work and travelled through 17 countries on the trip of a lifetime. This page is for anyone interested in planning their own Round the World (RTW) trip – we share all of our knowledge, experiences and resources to assist you with your own adventure.
It may sound like a stupid question, but long term travel is far more than visiting beautiful places. All of the cliches about how much it changes you are cliches for a reason – they’re usually true. Our own trip opened our eyes to the world and also gave us a lot of thinking time, read more below.
How to Plan a Round the World (RTW) Trip
Where to go?
This is the place to start when planning your adventure and the most exciting. Where do you want to go?
It can be an overwhelming task so start with listing all of the places you’d like to visit and then try to map a logical path between them. Do the fun bit first and then try to work out all of the logistical stuff to fit in with your dream destinations.
If you are looking for travel inspiration – make sure to check out our Destinations page for all of our blog posts categorised by country.
Our own RTW itinerary
Our own itinerary was a bit haphazard. Initially we had a logical plan of heading west from the UK until we got back to where we started.
However, we extended our own trip by three months which took us home to the UK from Thailand for a brief visit and then into South America – once you’ve been bitten by the bug it’s hard to stop!
It looked a little something like this…
RTW ticket – yes or no?
This debate is always hotly contested amongst travellers. We have friends who always use RTW tickets because they like having the upfront cost and their route planned out.
RTW tickets are good for people who have a firm itinerary but be warned, plans have a habit of changing once you actually start travelling. Take it from this reformed over-planner!
Facts about RTW tickets:
- You can change dates and times but you can’t change the routes.
- You always have to go one way around the globe, you can’t backtrack.
- Their validity is normally for a year.
We are firmly in the book one-way flights as you go camp. For us, the main reason was flexibility – we weren’t tied to any airlines, dates or a route. We had the freedom to find the cheapest deals and make up our route as we went along.
Credit: Pictures by Money
Inevitably you are going to need some sort of budget to travel. This can be anything from spending a few dollars a day on a dorm bed, travelling slowly to save money and being frugal with activities… Right up to 5* luxury resorts, first class travel and doing whatever you like, whenever you like.
We fall into the budget comfortable category. We’re past the days of sleeping in dorms, we like to be comfortable on long bus or train journeys and we won’t scrimp on once in a lifetime activities.
We will always stump up the cash for a private room but we love street food, getting a bargain flight and are generally budget conscious people. We scrimped in our life in the UK to allow us the financial freedom to travel, more below.
So what did we spend?
Now that you know what sort of travellers we are, you can delve into our budget to find out what we spent. We tracked every penny during our 17 month trip and the overall costs are here for you.
When people looked shocked at how much we spent, I ask them to track how much they spend in their annual budget without any travel… It soon shuts them up!
Total RTW Budget – 17 months for 2 people = £43,129.45
£ 6613.22 Flights
£ 8037.04 Other Transportation
£ 12,452.19 Accommodation
£ 8004.87 Food
£ 5424.99 Activities & Entertainment
£ 293.57 Visas
£ 2303.40 Miscellaneous (Internet, Phone, Clothing replacements etc.)
If you’re planning on travelling for one year, based on our budget it would cost you £15,222 per person.
As you can see from the charts below, not all countries are alike when it comes to budget. You can tailor your budget accordingly depending on where you want to visit.
We also wrote Round-Ups for each country we visited with our top experiences, where we stayed and the full budget laid out. Click on any of the links below to learn more about our budget in those countries.
Life on the Road
One of the fundamental aspects of our blog is honesty. We don’t tend to sugarcoat, we like to share completely open and honest versions of our experiences.
A RTW trip will undoubtedly be one of the greatest experiences of anyone’s life, but you will also have challenges and setbacks. We made sure to document the full experience, warts and all!
In the posts below you’ll see the rollercoaster of emotions you can go through on a RTW trip.
Many folks today are leaving it all behind to become location independent and earn their money on the road. But what if that’s not for you and you do actually want to go home after your trip?
It can be challenging but there are a number of things you can do to make it easier on yourself.
We share our own experiences of returning home after 17 months and some top tips for getting through the big adjustment.
Fancy a binge read? You can find the full list of every Two for the Road blog post here.
If you're looking for some inspiration to plan your own RTW trip, there's no better place to start. Browse articles by country.
Grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy our travel videos.... Prepare to get some serious wanderlust!