Now that you have narrowed your dreams to a more realistic list of countries, begin to look at how long you plan to stay in each country. Depending how you travel you may have more or less flexibility on this issue. Since we are traveling on an AA oneworld award, we choose our destinations and then we are able to move around our flight dates and times free of charge as many times as we want. This is one reason we liked the idea of the oneworld ticket because if we could choose to stay in a country longer or leave early and move on quickly.
At this stage a bit more research is necessary. You want to start considering what you plan to do in each country, especially if you have any big excursions that may take a week or two to complete. For example, visiting Peru to hike the Inca Trail will consist of 1-2 days of getting accustomed to the elevation, 4-5 days minimum of the actual Inca Trail hike and an extra 3-4 days to experience Cusco, hike other trails in the area and slow down from the schedule of a tour. Some countries you will plan to stay longer in and simply relax, some you will plan to splurge and upgrade your living arrangements and some you will be in and out of after seeing one or two sights on your way to somewhere else. Begin your travels with an idea, but keep your minds open to new opportunities that come up through people you meet and what locals suggest checking out during your travel.
1. Check the climate in each country for the time you will arrive
Knowing the climate will help not only your packing list but it will help you plan your activiites. Different times of year will be better for different activities. I have never let rain, heat or snow deter me from my traveling plans but I will go in with different expectations. This might also affect how long you plan to stay, or what accommodation you choose to stay in.
2. Research the main tourist attractions that you may want to see or avoid depending on your trip plans
Not everyone wants to climb the Eiffel tower, some travelers consider crowds an inconvenience and tourist attractions overpriced and not a true cultural experience. We enjoy things both on and off the beaten path. So we will usually check out the wonders in each country, but will make a point to eat in local pubs and keep our hostels or bed and breakfast outside of the city hubs. Your list might keep you in Thailand for 2 months but through Singapore or Hong Kong in a few days. Everyone’s RTW trip will be different.
3. Figure out regional transportaion
In Part 1 of planning an RTW trip, you had a basic idea of how you would get around whether it be train, plane or bus. Now you want to start getting a little more specific. If by taking a train overnight to Vietnam from Bangkok will save you $200, then start considering overland transit. Not only will you save money on the flight, but you wont spend money on a hotel for that night. Your budget could be killed with one $900 per person flight to Tanzania if you aren’t planning ahead for that large cost. You might consider changing your itinerary if you know that one flight is more expensive than others. You may even decide to take the more expensive flight due to safety, convenience, or time constraints. It is all about deciding what is worth it to you.
4. Check visas
While you are researching the countries check the entry requirements for each country on your itinerary. Start noting down the costs of each visa, vaccinations needed and any other passport photos or page requirements. This knowledge will help your long term planning and itinerary building.
So you have your list of countries and planned itinerary. Now, how do you go about getting your ticket? Stay tuned to find out!