One of the most fun parts in the preparations for our trip around the world is obviously preparing the itinerary! Once the decision to leave is taken, the idea of traveling the world motivates enormously and makes us want to leave as soon as possible.
Setting the itinerary of our trip around the world
At first it was quite nice to prepare but we gradually realized that it was not that easy and there were a lot of criteria to be taken into account, as well as concessions to be made. Here’s the process that was followed to determine the route of our world trip.
First step: the wish list
After finally having decided to leave, we more or less estimated our departure date. We are leaving early October 2016, after the tourist season of summer, especially to avoid the masses of tourists and enjoy cheaper prices! (Yes, at the same time we escape the northern winter and it is not too bad either ;-)).
Once the date of departure had been decided, Alberto made his wish list of countries and Anaïs made hers. This is the coolest moment as there is (for the time being) no restrictions. We let our imagination fly and noted down all the dreams we’d always had. The wonders of the world, paradise islands, the craziest experiences… Everything was allowed! In this list, we highlighted the countries you would absolutely like to visit.
Second step : choosing the countries
Then we tried to cross the two lists (which is not easy because each of us had different countries). But we decided to leave only countries that we really wanted to visit in our trip around the world, in order to shorten the list a little. We finally agreed on an itinerary with some countries on all continents. We started then to look for information and advice on the blogosphere and we greatly thank all the bloggers without whom we would have struggled so much more! The choice of countries also includes the length of stay and the number of countries to visit. It would be useless to try to visit 20 countries in 6 months, so we decided to visit 9 countries and spend between 3 and 5 weeks at each location in order to make the most out of every moment.
Third step : setting the order
Once we had determined the countries we wanted to visit, we went to the site A-Contresens which is just THE site where you must go to plan your itinerary! It is just great, it will help you a lot in your choice! We put in the route the countries we wanted to visit in order (to avoid zigzagging in the air) and there the worries began… Choosing the right order to visit so many places (turn around the world in only one direction), taking into account each country’s seasons (yes, choosing the rainy season would be a shame!), holidays in every country, the standard of living in each place (because we have to follow a budget) the time we want to stay in each area, etc…
It took us more than a month to eventually set a final itinerary! Lots to consider, concessions for some countries which were too expensive or shorten our stay in some cities… In short, it took us some time but in the end we made it!
The final itinerary includes 9 countries, 4 continents, 12 flights , and all that in 6 months of travelling!
Once the itinerary done, what’s the best way to buy the plane tickets for a trip around the world?
Airline tickets for a trip around the world
Several options are available to us:
- By the tickets on your own and one by one: We did not choose this option because it takes too long, plus the final cost is higher. On the contrary, there is certainly more flexibility in terms of airline choice, timetables and routes.
|Cheap flights in Asia (especially with low cost airlines like Air Asia)||The time it takes to do all the price comparisons and choosing companies|
|Great flexibility||It becomes more expensive in the end|
|This option allows come back to France for a short time whenever it’s necessary|
- Flight Alliance: There are three major alliances: Star Alliance, One World and Skyteam. The principle is to buy all the flights with the alliance. You provide your dates and destinations and the agency takes care of everything, plus the dates are modifiable.
|It ‘s cheaper than buying plane tickets separately||Limited flexibility because the destinations are modifiable only if you pay extra|
|The dates can be changed at will and for free||If your destinations are not popular, they might not be included in the company’s round-the-world itinerary|
|The use of tickets is limited to one year from your departure date|
|No individualised help for your itinerary|
- Specialized world trip agency: The two best known are Travel Nation and Zipworld. They offer packages at specified prices, completely free budgets and they’ll provide individualized advice.
|Personalized advice (on telephone and/or email)||It has some restrictions and conditions on the itinerary to respect the predetermined fees|
|Responsiveness of the staff||Due to these restrictions, the stops are sometimes bizarre (e.g., if going from La Paz to Iguazu, you must make a stopover in Lima).|
|Possibility of changing the dates easily through their platform and for free|
We compared all the options and finally choose the formula of a world-trip specialized agency, so we asked for budgets in both agencies and chose Zipworld because their price was much more interesting than Travel Nation’s.
We are reassured because they are very responsive, we have been well advised (by mail or telephone) and dates can be changed for free. It was important for us to take our flights (at least international flights) in advance to minimize our budget. Then we’ll probably take a few low cost flights in Asia if we feel like it!
What about you? What was your best travel itinerary and how did you choose your airline tickets?