There are only a couple of weeks left until our big round-the-world trip starts and today it is time to share more about our itinerary. I get the most questions about this topic. Which countries are you visiting? Did you already book everything? As for the last question I can give you a very short answer: no. Apart from the first bus ticket and accommodation for the first few nights, we haven’t booked anything. We want to have total freedom to decide whatever feels right. In this blog post, I will share more about our itinerary, plus I’ll give you some useful tips for planning a round-the-world trip.
It took a while before we had a route in mind. First, we had to think about how long we wanted to travel and how much money we could save up. The budget determines the destinations. It seems like every long-term traveler visits Australia or New Zealand. Sure, these are great destinations, but also expensive, more or less the same culture as in Europe and it attracts loads of tourists. I am more interested in the lesser-known destinations with a completely different culture. And these types of countries don’t have to be far away. Take for instance Eastern Europe: close, but still very much different. My boyfriend is a huge fan of Asia and that is how our plans were formed. We combined my love for Eastern Europe and his passion for Asia and created a long overland trip through Eastern Europe to Asia.
Heading to Bali
In advance, we each prepared a wish list of countries we wanted to visit. On both lists were: Poland, Romania, Georgia, Iran, China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. Next, we connected all these countries in one big overland route. My boyfriend has always had his eye on Bali and coincidentally, we lived on Bali Street in our home town. It almost seems like it was meant to be to finish our trip on Bali. Our goal for the trip was born: traveling from Bali Street to the island of Bali!
Looking forward to these kinds of sunsets!
Nothing is 100% fixed
Good to emphasize – also note to self – nothing is fixed. We have a certain route in mind, but if we learn that a different route is more fun or convenient, then we can always adjust our course. The direction is fixed though: eastwards towards Asia. It is not the plan to get there as soon as possible. The trip and the experiences along the way are more important. We want to spend as much time as possible in the countries that we have put on our list. Quality above quantity! Who knows, maybe our final destination will change. We have set our eyes on Bali for now, but maybe during the trip we decide to end the trip in Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta. It is all fine!
Transportation = bus, train & boat
After announcing our plans, I often got the question if we were going to buy a jeep or a car to drive to Indonesia ourselves. The car is often the vehicle most people think of when talking about an overland journey. No, we are not going to buy a car. Since my boyfriend does not have a driving license, I haven’t driven a car for three years and we both don’t know our ways around cars, this is just not for us. We consciously choose the bus, train, and boat. This is the most fun way to really connect with the locals and actually feel the distance we are going to cover. Moreover, it is cheap and more sustainable way to travel.
Our overland ‘no fly’ itinerary
And then finally the round-the-world itinerary. We are going to spend the first two to three months in Eastern Europe. We want to use our time in Poland to also visit Lithuania and Belarus. After that, we will go to Ukraine and Romania before finishing the Europe part in Bulgaria. We will take the ferry from Bulgaria to Georgia and then travel via Armenia to Iran. After exploring Iran for a few weeks we will take the ferry from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan and cross this gigantic country to China. We will travel through China to the south and enter Southeast Asia. Then we will make our way down to Indonesia.
Round-the-world trip: over land and sea from Europe to Asia
How to design a round-the-world trip itinerary?
Are you also saving up for a round-the-world trip or long-term traveling? Then these tips might be useful to you:
Set your savings goal
Your budget will determine your destination. We deliberately chose Asia and Eastern Europe, because these places are cheaper. In general, traveling in Australia and New Zealand is expensive, followed by North America and Africa. Traveling in Central and South America and Asia is cheaper. Not all countries in Asia have the same price level. Japan and China are more expensive than the Philippines or Thailand. Europe is also expensive, but the eastern part is more wallet-friendly.
Do your own thing
Don’t be afraid to do something else. Maybe you don’t want to travel to Australia, but you want to explore more of Africa? Great, you do you! We don’t all have to do the same things. Also, you don’t always have to go far away! If you are based in Europe, you can also explore your own continent for a few months. Travel the entire coastline, drive from Amsterdam to Tehran or travel from the Baltics to Istanbul. There is more than enough to explore in Europe.
You don’t always have to fly
You are going away for a long time. Why would you take a plane? You have plenty of time! Travel overland and see the journey as an adventure. I get that for some routes you need to take the plane, but if it is not necessary, you can also travel overland.
Read up on the seasons
We are no winter people. That is why we are traveling in spring, summer, and early autumn in Europe and Central Asia and when winter is around the corner, we hope to be in Southeast Asia. We can probably not avoid the rainy season in Asia, but that is alright.
Do a visa check
With my Dutch passport, I am lucky that I can visit many countries visa-free. However, for some countries we have to apply for an e-visa, visa on arrival, or tourist visa through the embassy. Do your research! Please also note the additional costs: prices can vary from 25 to 90 euros per visa.
Plan mini-breaks during your trip
Traveling is fun, but it also means a lot of planning, taking care of stuff and dealing with stress. Plan every once in a while a mini-break to do absolutely nothing. It is important to renew your energy!