We’ve made a list of some of the round the world travel planning tips that helped us with our round the world (RTW) booking, and, as we’re always planning new adventures, we’ll add more as and when. 🙂
Use an online calendar.
If you’re planning at least some of your round the world trip before you leave, Google Calendar can be invaluable when planning where to go, your different accommodations and tickets and tours. It’s easiest using ‘month’ view, and you are able to add, delete, drag and drop, move and edit your transport and travel plans, where you want to stay and attractions you want to visit with ease. It also enables you to share your calendar with friends and family, so they can see what you’re up to and when.
Put your plans into a spreadsheet.
It doesn’t have to be a work of mathematical genius, just get your plans down on the screen so you can see costs adding up. Include flights, insurance and car hire, then for each place include accommodation, food, attractions and transport. Then input your estimates and try and stay under them.
*TIP: Not got Excel? We personally use Apache OpenOffice. It’s open-source office software and best of all it’s totally FREE! Head over to www.openoffice.org to get yourself this great software. (No affiliation, I was introduced to this software by my dad, and after two years of use, I’ve never come across any compatibility problems at all.)
There are so many flight options available that your head could be on the verge of exploding with too much information – airlines, airport codes, times, dates, changes, baggage etc, etc. Let someone who knows what they are doing do all the hard work for you. Whether you then book with them is up to you.
Skyscanner is one of the best tools for playing around with dates and prices to pre-arm yourself. Don’t take the prices you see initially as gospel, remember baggage fees etc.
If you are flexible on dates and times, you can save yourself some substantial money on flights, transport and accommodation. If you travel in low season rather than high season, you’ll potentially save thousands of pounds overall.
…but remember that ‘cheaper’ isn’t always better.
For the sake of saving £10, £20 or £50 on a flight, is it worth dragging out your journey with an extra stopover, or landing past midnight when local transport has stopped? You can make the budget deficit up somewhere else. The flights are one area I, personally, wouldn’t scrimp too much on, especially if you have kids in tow.
Don’t give up all your options to save a few quid.
Don’t be too stingy with yourself. For example, say you’d love to go to San Francisco on your RTW flight path, but it’s going to cost you an extra £50/$50, ask yourself ‘Am I ever going to be in that area of the world again?’. No? Pay the extra £50!
Alternatively, it was going to cost us just short of £1000 extra to go on a quick visit to Niagara Falls from New York. We realised it wouldn’t be much dearer and less rushed to wait for a deal when we got home, from Manchester to Toronto, and turn it into a city break.
You might only do this once. Figure out what’s worth it to you.
Not quite happy? Don’t book it.
Sometimes you just need to go with your gut. As the header says, if you’re not happy, don’t book it.
See our post about our flight bookings.
Use the internet to your advantage.
When I went around the world on my own back in the nineties, it was planned by word of mouth and Lonely Planet books. These days, the internet is a wealth of information. One of the main sites is TripAdvisor, whether it be for restaurant, hotel or attraction reviews. Use it – and its great forum – to get a good idea of where you want to head and where you want to book.
*TIP: I mentioned I used Lonely Planet books back in the nineties, and they are still just as relevant today. We bought a few before our 2016 trip, and the best thing these days is that you can get ebooks. Yay, no carrying chunky books in your luggage! Find out Lonely Planet’s latest offers here.
Make note of all your ideas.
You’ll be amazed at how many things you forget while hunting the internet constantly for ideas. Take screenshots on your phone and/or computer so you can refer back to them. You can always pop ideas into your Google Calendar too, then move them around as you need to.
If you’re old school, write everything that pops into your head down in a simple notebook. Plenty here on Amazon.
Don’t forget travel insurance.
Buy it as soon as you’ve booked your flights, and get DECENT cover for your needs. That is all!
*TIP: Think about what you, personally, need. We chose LV recently. It’s defaqto 5 star rated and it was one of the only ones which included a decent amount of cancellation cover. We paid for most of the accommodation before we travelled, so good cancellation cover was a massive ‘must’. LV also didn’t charge extra for our existing medical conditions – a prior broken leg and a bulging disc – yet still provided full cover. It was by far one of the cheapest we looked at – bonus!
*TIP: You may also find you can’t get ‘Gap Year’ cover with an under 18 travelling with you, so opt for ‘Long Stay’ instead.
Just enjoy yourself! 😉