Your dream is finally about to come true: you’re going on a trip around the world! But before heading off, you should do some planning. Marie has already completed her yearlong journey around the world. In our blog, she gives advice on how to plan your trip around the world.
At first, I had not even thought of travelling by myself. However, it was not easy to find someone who could take a break for such a long time. Many of my friends were tied to their work, couldn’t or didn’t want to quit their jobs, or had other responsibilities. I worked as a nurse. For me, quitting my job was easy. I knew I would quickly find work again after my return.
So I left for my trip alone. Some of my friends visited me along the way. During the first two weeks, I was travelling with my brother through Cambodia. After that, I visited my friend Pauline in New Caledonia. Together we did a road trip through both Australia and New Zealand. I moved on with Elsa and Samuel to French Polynesia. And even though I was then by myself, I never really felt alone. In hostels, on buses, and on tours, I met great people again and again.
Plan the route for your gap year
Before I left, my itinerary was changing constantly. First of all, I recommend that you make a list of “Must Dos” – write down the countries and places you really want to see. On my list were Australia, Brazil and Cambodia. I wanted to travel to countries bordering the “Must Dos” on my list. Because of their proximity to Cambodia, I decided to visit Laos and Thailand. In addition, I selected the countries according to whether they are safe to travel. That’s why I left out Mexico as a single woman.
In the end, I chose the following countries: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia, Tahiti, Bolivia and Brazil. 10 countries – 10 months.
Then I thought about how I could keep the costs as low as possible. I knew I have to try to fly as little as possible. Furthermore, I stayed as often as possible with friends who were living abroad. This also had the advantage that they showed me around and took me to places you can’t find in Lonely Planet.
Booking flights around the world
I compared a few airlines and researched whether or not it would be cheaper to buy flights individually. Ultimately, I decided to book the tickets through an agency. Not all agencies offer New Caledonia and Tahiti, so I decided to go with ZipWorld. Together we worked out the route. The staff was very friendly, flexible, and responded to my requests. It was possible to change the route at any time. This way I could adjust my itinerary according to the advice of other backpackers. You simply cannot always plan everything 100% when travelling for that long. For example, I stayed in Cambodia and Laos shorter than expected. I had no concrete plans and was not allowed to stay in Thailand, so I decided to book a separate flight to Indonesia. In South America, I ended up going to Cuba instead of Bolivia.
How much does a trip around the world cost?
Before heading off, I read a few blogs to find out how much money I’d have to budget for my world trip. Most people plan about 12,000 to 15,000 € per person. Of Obviously, the costs also depend on the countries you want to travel to. The longer you stay in Asian countries, the less money you need. I calculated 15,000 EUR, because I wanted to visit more expensive countries as well and also planned to do activities that backpackers with a smaller budget can’t afford.
To keep track of my expenses, I set a daily budget and accurately tracked everything.
Working during a world tour
I had planned to not work during my gap year. Thinking this was the adventure of a lifetime, I shouldn’t waste my valuable time working. In Australia, however, I decided to take a job through HelpX. I was working as an Au Pair for a family – in the middle of Sydney. I took care of the children and in return got free accommodation and food. During this time, I could work in the middle of the city centre of one of my favourite cities.
Australia during a world trip
Many people dream of travelling in Australia once in their lives. So did I. Since the country is huge, I wanted to spend 2 months in Australia. For the first month, I was travelling with a friend. We decided to take a campervan from Cairns to Sydney. In 30 days, that’s quite possible. We saw a lot and didn’t have too much time pressure. Many backpackers travel by camper through Australia. There are many free campsites that can be found on apps like WikiCamps or Campermate.
Of course, 30 days are too little to travel all over Australia. It was a pity that I didn’t make it to the Great Ocean Road or the centre of Australia. But there is always a second time …
My most important advice: Don’t make too many plans in advance. You will constantly meet new people who tell you about great places that you would love to see. Get involved and don’t try too hard to cling to your original plans! The unexpected makes a world trip so unique.
Updated on the 15/01/2020. Initially published on the 22/01/2019.