Planning a trip can be stressful.
Planning a trip with multiple stops can be overwhelming.
Planning a trip around the world is just terrifying.
We hope this article will make it a little less so by answering some of the questions relating to how to plan a travel itinerary, how to plan a trip on a budget and how to plan travel around the world.
A year of travel takes a lot of research, patience, and most of all, guts. When we first decided we wanted to realize this dream of ours, we didn’t know how we were going to plan for it all. It is quite a big task but we have loved every second of it. For us planning our travels was a way of fighting the impatience that comes with being excited for a big trip. We spread it out over months, took our time and made sure we could enjoy it.
Now we want to share what we have learned about planning a trip around the world.
1.Planning a trip itinerary
The first big decision about any trip is the destinations and itinerary. For us, the most important aspect of this decision was the weather. We decided we wanted to chase summer for a year. We first decided that our top destinations would be Europe, Australia and south east asia, and that we would be leaving in the middle of Canadian summer. That lead us to the conclusion that we would be starting with Europe so we could enjoy European summer. We then used my favorite flight search website Skyscanner.com, to determine that the cheapest flight from montreal to Europe would land us in Paris. Next we picked our destinations in Europe and chose the most logical itinerary for us, which was West to East.
After mapping out a timeline for our European adventure, we determined we would be leaving Europe in early October. The smartest move for us was to head to Australia next. We knew we would be working in Australia, and arriving there in October would put us just over a month ahead of the beginning of their peak tourism season and in prime job hunting period. Australian summer is December 1st to March 1st, so we would still be continuing our summer chase. This part of the year is particularly busy in Australia as it is not only summer time, but it is also their longest school holiday of the year. So on top of the foreign tourists, there are also many Australians traveling through the country. If you are planning on doing a working holiday visa like us, we recommend getting to Australia a few weeks before December to have the best chances of finding a job quickly. Most hospitality and retail positions will be fulfilled by mid- November in preparation for the peak tourism madness.
After our Australian adventure, the time will come to discover south east Asia. While SEA does not have the typical summer and winter months, most countries have dry and wet seasons. That is the number 1 deciding factor for our Asia travels. We will reveal more about our Asia itinerary and plans in later blog posts, but if you are planning a trip to Asia and are worried about the seasons, I highly recommend checking out the Selective Asia website . They have very detailed posts about every country and awesome advice to help you plan your trip!
2.Planning a Budget
Planning a budget for an entire year of travel, across multiple destinations is challenging. Every destination has a different cost of living and different currencies can affect your budget a lot. The only way to plan your budget is to do a lot of research. We have a detailed post about our budget for spending 3 months in western Europe that you can check out here. We can only give advice for the destinations that we have done but I highly recommend researching on Pinterest for any other destinations since there are hundreds of travel blogs with very helpful advice from people who have already done the trip you want to plan.
Another major thing to consider in your budget is how you plan to travel throughout the year. When we were in Europe, we just traveled and explored; but in Australia, we worked before continuing our travels to Asia. We knew that without the opportunity to work halfway through our trip, we would not have the means to fund an entire year on the road. Other great options include websites like Workaway where you can work a few hours a week without monetary compensation in exchange for accommodation and sometimes even food. Many hostels around the world also offer a similar option where you can work for them part time in exchange for a free bed in one of their dorms.
3.Planning for travel insurance
Travel insurance is incredibly important when traveling for any period of time. Although it can take quite a chunk out of your bank account, the peace of mind it provides is priceless. You never want to end up in a bad situation and have it only made worse by the fact that it will cost you a s**tload of money to get treatment. As a Quebec resident, our travel insurance options are incredibly limited. We therefore pay way more than any other province or American state. While that is unfortunate, it was still nonnegotiable for us. We ended up going with Blue Cross because they have good reviews and great coverage and we wanted a company we could feel confident about. If you go on their website, it is very easy to get an estimate of how much it will cost you. They will ask you about your destinations and the duration of your travel and will come up with a price immediately.
4.Planning Vaccines and medications
Vaccines can be very important depending on the part of the world you are planning on travelling. Because Asia was a big part of our itinerary, we got multiple vaccines before leaving. There is no need to give specifics on which vaccines we got because it is best to go see a travel agency who will be able to tell you exactly what you need based on when, where and how long you will be travelling.
On top of vaccines, we also planned ahead and got some prescription antibiotics in case of infections. They turned out to be very useful when I got a sinus infection in Singapore and felt horrible. It is just extra peace of mind to know that you might not have to go see a doctor just for a bacteria that could easily be treated with general antibiotics.
Last but not least we also packed with us some advils, motion sickness pills, an antibiotic ointment and some first aid equipment.
5.Planning accommodation and travel arrangements
When it comes to planning a long trip, there is a spectrum of planners ranging from underplanners to overplanners. We tend to be somewhere in the middle. Both sides of the spectrum can be completely fine depending on your style of travel and your expectations.
If you are a backpacker travelling solo or with one other person, and are happy sleeping in dorm rooms, you can probably be okay planning your sleeping arrangements only a few days in advance. Considering that we are a couple and wanted to avoid dorms as much as possible, we planned more in advance in order to have more options. We also took into consideration that Europe gets more and more expensive in the summer the longer you wait to book. If you are traveling during the European summer and want to save money, I strongly recommend booking a few weeks in advance. The other factor to consider is that the nicer accommodations will always sell out first. If you know your itinerary and want to have the largest amount of options to pick from, then you should look to book at least 6 weeks in advance if you are traveling during peak season.
Asia is known to be the best place to travel without planning too much ahead. Accommodation is cheaper so it is not as important to book early in terms of budgeting. It is still true though that out of all the 15$/night accommodations, the nicest ones will always sell out first. So once again, it all comes down to how important your accommodation is to you. We like being able to pick from many options and getting the most out of our budget so we will be planning our Asia accommodations a few weeks in advance.
Favorite websites for booking accommodations:
Agoda.com (Asia accomodation)
When it comes to travel arrangements like flights, buses and trains, we recommend booking the longer more important transports first. From my research, flights are usually at their best price 6-8 weeks before departure. For all other transports you can get away with booking a week or two and even just days before departure. The only arrangements we booked more in advance were the crucial ones that were only available every few days such as our overnight ferry from Italy to Croatia, and our overnight bus from Portugal to spain. The rest of our buses and trains were booked a few days in advance.
Favorite websites for planning travel arrangements:
Rome2Rio (overall great website for transportation in many countries)
Flixbus (buses through some European countries, mostly used in Italy)
Busbud (buses we used through spain and Portugal)
12go (asia travel)
We hope this helped diminish some of the stress that comes with planning a trip around the world or any trip that overwhelms you! If you have any questions at all, let us know in the comments below or don’t hesitate to send us a personal message on Instagram.
Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca