The hardest part of planning our trip, apart from making the decision to go in the first place, was definitely deciding where to go and what route to take.  We knew that for us, this was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see as much of the world as possible, and that realistically we had to put a limitation on how long we spent out of the workplace.

With jobs in the digital industry, taking too much time out makes it really tricky to keep up to date with technology and we didn’t fancy coming home to have to start again from the beginning jobs-wise.

Controversial really, as many of the blogs we read when researching stressed the importance of spending a decent amount of time in one place to experience it properly to get the real travel experience, but with a limited time frame and a long wish list, we decided to cram in as much as possible.

Once the decision was made, we initially agreed that 6 months was a reasonable time frame… until we realised how much we actually wanted to see and how unachievable our wish list was!  Starting with just a list of countries and sites that we were desperate to see, it was a case of lots of research and lots of cutting out of destinations on our wish list. Until finally, we ended up with 16 countries on our itinerary and an extended 8 months travel time with flexible air tickets just in case!

The Plan

North America – 3.5 weeks

  • New York
    • One week in NYC, hopefully also including a 2 day tour to Niagara Falls if we have time without missing anything out
  • Los Angeles
    • 4 nights in LA staying in West Hollywood to take in the sights and do some celeb spotting, as well as catching the very important Leicester City vs Paris St Germain game
  • San Francisco
    • 3 nights in San Francisco to take in the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the rest of the bay area
  • Las Vegas
    • 3 nights in Las Vegas staying in super cheap rooms at The Luxor to play penny slots and hopefully take a trip to the canyon
  • Yosemite
    • 4 nights on a camping / bus tour hiking in Yosemite organised by Green Tortoise adventues
  • Miami
    • 4 nights in Miami (actually coming back here on our way to Fiji from Ecuador for Halloween and a couple of beach days, but included it in the North America itinerary anyway!)

Central / South America – 11 weeks

  • Mexico
    • A week in Cancun to see Chichen Itza and other Mayan ruins, and the beach, clearly. (although unfortunately it is hurricane season!)
  • Brazil
    • A week in Brazil for a whistle stop tour of Ihla Grande, Rio and then a flight up to Iguazu Falls
  • Argentina
    • 2 weeks in Argentina where we’ll head from Iguazu to Mendoza and then onto Buenos Aires
  • Bolivia / Chile
    • In Buenos Aires, we pick up our tour group to start our 15 day tour from here to La Paz via Salta, San Pedro de Atacama, Uyuni, Potosi and Sucre
  • Peru
    • We’ve then got 3 weeks in Peru to see the main sights – Macchu Picchu, the Amazon rainforest, Nasca Lines etc
  • Galapagos
    • Our final stop in South America is 10 days chilling on the Galapagos Islands, after a manic couple of months travelling.

Oceania – 2 months

  • Fiji
    • Just a quick stop over in Fiji – 4 nights on the beach en route to our next stop, as while you’re over that way you might as well, right?
  • New Zealand
    • We then pick up our campervan in Auckland, before dropping it off again 5 weeks later in Christchurch
  • Australia
    • Finally, we have 3 weeks on the East Coast travelling from Cairns south – spending Christmas in Byron Bay, and New Year in Sydney.

Asia – 2.5 months

  • China
    • Having spent time in Cambodia, Thailand and Sri Lanka previously, we’re keen to see more of Asia, stopping off first for an 8 day tour from Beijing to Shanghai followed by a couple of days in Hong Kong.
  • Japan
    • We’re then planning to spend 4-5 days in Tokyo before heading to Kyoto and Hiroshima on the bullet train and back again.
  • Laos
    • Next stop is a week to make our way from Bangkok to Hanoi via Laos, allowing around 10 days to travel across the North through Vientiane and Vang Vleng to Luang Prabang.
  • Vietnam
    • 3 weeks then in Vietnam to travel from Hanoi via Halong Bay down to Ho Chi Minh City
  • India
    • And our final final stop is scheduled to be in India, where we’re joining another G Adventures tour of the Golden Triangle

….. An ambitious plan no doubt! But we have every confidence we’ll make it, and have planned our route carefully to include some tours in places we’re not so confident to travel alone (Bolivia, China. India), and plenty of beach time to recover between stops (Mexico, Miami, Fiji, Australia, Vietnam).

Whilst it looks like it’s going to be quite manic, other than our main stop offs (about 13 flights) and our 3 tours, we’ve not booked too much else, as whilst we’re determined to fit all of our itinerary into the time we have, we do appreciate that plans change and a little bit of flexibility is always a good thing!

Our Planning Recommendations

We had some really great advice and help from the following sources – would definitely recommend all of these if you’re in the planning stages of your trip:

Tour Companies / Agents

  • STA Travel – we went in to our local branch in Leicester and booked our RTW tickets and campervan hire, as well as getting tons of other useful information from the team
  • G Adventures – amazing options when it comes to tours, with so many different locations, types of tour and really good pricing
  • Green Tortoise – we used these guys to book a 3D/4N tour of Yosemite, and they’ve been brilliant to deal with, we’d have loved to do more of their tours, but unfortunately the timings didn’t quite work out
  • Vertigo Tours – these are based out in Peru and my sister recommended them after her gap year in South America, a great local tour company

Travel Bloggers

Too many to mention really, hence the name of our blog, but some of the stand out ones I bookmarked time and again were:

  • The one and only Nomadic Matt – absolute treasure trove of information on a huge amount of destinations, but also a great resource for some of the more practical elements of trip planning.
  • Expert Vagabond – another mine of information on everything from money, packing lists and visas to destination guides and
  • Brendan’s Adventures – great for Argentina advice and itineraries
  • Free Your Mind Travel – brilliant itineraries for Asia, including practical tips on budgeting, tours and accommodation
  • Mollie Bylett – really helpful for Australia and New Zealand – inspired us to spend Christmas at Byron Bay

So join us as we head off round the world, where we’ll post more detailed itineraries for each of our destinations and share what goes well, and what was less successful!