The very short answer is Google Maps and a Spreadsheet.
End of Blog.
Only kidding! For us we have chopped the trip in half. As we are going to working for 6 months in Australia, we know we have plenty of time to plan the second half of the trip. This has made it much more manageable for us to get our heads round.
We started with our Travel Journal, split the pages in half and wrote a list for Chloe and a list for Duncan, of what we want to do and see in those countries.
We plotted these on Google Maps. Once you have saved it you will find it through Your Places > Maps > Open in My Maps. The mister loves Google maps and he has created layers and a colour coded system that is truly spectacular to look at… as well as informative.
So for example, we have a Destinations layer that clearly outlines our Round the World route. Then we have layers for each country and within that layer the hostels, things to do and bus stations are colour coded. I particularly like that you can add notes to each of your ‘Pins’ for extra detail. I have found I will quite easily forget why I wanted to visit a certain place so this is a great reminder.
The added bonus with maps is the journey time. This has been particularly useful for our North America road trip as we really don’t want to be driving for days. We also need to avoid Death Valley (as were not insured to drive there!) so maps has helped us figured out our route around that. For people who are quite visual this method works well for planning a round the world trip.
Now as visual as I am, I’m more of an Excel kinda girl then a Maps kinda girl. Geography has never been my strong point so this whole planning malarkey has been a learning curve from Day 1. The Mister can vouch for that one!
- Transport to (How an earth we get there)
- Sights to see (in brief as we have Maps for that)
- Accommodation (that we like the look of)
- Transport details (websites for booking buses with costs)
- Comments (I like to know when the walking tours are so we add this here)
As with anything, we started off very vague and have then worked towards the finer detail. Our main focus has been on South America, as we know the language barrier will be a struggle, so the more we know the better.
Read, read, read and read a bit more. It’s literally the only way to learn.
As wonderful as the sight-seeing element is, remember to take a look at the ‘boring bits’. There’s the VISAs, the transport, accommodation and vaccinations (< blog covers this). Make use of your travel provider, STA have been continuously helpful. Even if it’s unrelated to STA, the sales assistants have all been round the world and are more than happy to answer any questions.
We spend most evenings working on something towards travelling. We pick a topic to focus on and simply crack on. Not only are you getting to grips with the scariness of a Round the World Trip, you will continually be inspired by travellers who have gone before you. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last to endeavour on an epic year long trip. So learn everything you can from like-minded people.
Go the Distance