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Best Round the World Itinerary Planner Tips

Best Round the World Itinerary Planner Tips

Are you looking to put together the best round the world itinerary you can? The tips in this round the world itinerary planner are sure to help. And trust me I know, as we used all of these when we put together the itinerary for our rtw trip.

Once we got back from our round the world trip, the most common question we got was how did you plan it? And the answer is that is took some time. Planning a round the world trip isn’t like planning a one or two week vacation, it takes time and thought and no rtw itinerary will look the same. 

In this guide we will guide you the thought process for planning a rtw trip, so whether you are planning a round the world itinerary from the UK, Australia, US or elsewhere, this guide will help to put together your stops. 

Round the World Trip itinerary planner tips


The first thing you need to plan when putting together your itinerary is how long you are planning to go for and what your dates of travel are. When we planned our family gap year we had some very clear dates in mind. 

Once you have these you can start planning flights around budget, timings and locations.

The next most important thing to plan is

The Destinations

Woman and child at Fushimi Inari Temple in Japan

Round the World Itinerary planner – japan was top of our list

The places are the most important part of any rtw trip itinerary. When we started planning our trip we decide to put together the ultimate family travel bucket list. This included places, people and sites that it was important for us to incorporate onto our trip. 

Each person then got to pick their most important place and we used that as the backbone of our itinerary. 

Decide where you don’t want to visit

Burj Al Arab - best Dubai Instagram Captions and Quotes

I have lived and worked extensively in Europe and the Middle East having called UK, Amsterdam, Qatar and UAE home. Therefore we decided that we didn’t want to cover either of these regions in depth in our rtw trip. 

It is worth having a discussion about places you feel you have already covered as well as places you don’t want to visit for interest, socio-political reasons etc and that will help narrow down your possible route. 

Seasons and Time Specific Items

Once we had those places we all had a chat about what it was that we wanted to do at each of these locations and whether we had to be there at a certain time. For instance if seeing the sakura (cherry blossoms) in Kyoto or the tulips in Amsterdam you will need to be there in Springtime. 

While if you want to visit Lapland or spot the Northern lights in Iceland then you are going to be there in Winter. Once you have these time specific events planned you will have more of an idea of where you need to be when. 

Local Holidays and Festivals

Qatar Ramadan Guide - Doha During Ramadan

Qatar Ramadan Guide – Doha During Ramadan

Now you know times you want to be in places, you may also want to plan holidays and festivals to avoid. Now I love experiencing local culture when we travel, and it is one of the reasons we travel as a family. However local holidays and festivities can also greatly increase the cost of accommodation, tickets and travel. 

Therefore depending on the budget oyu have for your Round the World trip you may want to decide which local and holidays and fesitivals you want to experience and those you want to avoid. For instance, we lived in the Middle East for a long time, and although we loved joining in with the festivities during Ramadan in Qatar and Dubai, many places were closed during the day which would definitely affect how much of your bucket list you could tick off. 

Also cherry blossoms in Japan and Chinese New Year in China, both see an influx of domestic and international travel so can be a very expensive and crowded time to travel. For this reason we avoid both Japan and China during Spring. 

What Seasons you Want to Experience

tulip field - Best Time to Visit Keukenhof Gardens

Best Time to Visit Keukenhof Gardens

Our Round the World Trip included both stops in the Southern and Northern Hemisphere and everything from beautiful beaches in Bora Bora to hiking on glaciers in Iceland. As such we experienced pretty much every weather condition you could imagine. This did definitely make it more difficult for us when we were creating our round the world packing list.

If you want to make your rtw packing easier, you could try and chase summer for the whole trip. You can do this be staying in the Northern Hemisphere between April and October, and sticking to the Southern Hemisphere between the months of November and March. 

For us this wasn’t possible as I wanted to see the Northern Lights and beaches in the south Pacific so we didn’t really use this to define our route but it is certainly a valid method. 

Decide on your direction of travel

This one is an important one once you know any key places you need to be a specific time. By traveling in one direction you will both save yourself time and jetlag but also reduce costs by reducing the travel time and length of flight. 

When we devised our round the world itinerary we decided to travel east from the UK. That was because we wanted to be in Iceland for Winter. 

For most people flying east is usually more difficult in terms of jet lag., However if you have a longer length trip and not doing lots of long flights it isn’t too difficult. W did one big flight fro Helsinki east but every other flight and journey was small. In fact we only every really had our clock jump forward an hour or two at the point which was never too difficult to survive. 

Your Round the World Trip Itinerary Budget

Cherry Blossom near Tower Bridge - what to wear in London in May

Now comes the sticky subject, travel budget. It is really important to create and stick to your travel budget. One of the ways in which you can do this is being realistic about how much money you ahve set aside and how much things cost at your desired destination. 

So if you have a more limited budget I would advise you to limit the time you spend in Europe for instance. Although Paris and London are beautiful they are also expensive. So we recommend limiting the time you spend in Europe if you budget is tight or trying visiting them in the off peak season (which is Winter in London, Paris and most of Europe). 

Instead if you are budget conscious you may want to look at spending more time in Southeast Asia where it is easier to stretch your budget. 

Are you buying flights separately or doing a RTW ticket

Family running towards the sea on a desert beach

Round the World Itinerary Planner

This  is a big decision you need to make when planning your itinerary and both have pros and cons.

A Round the World airline ticket is a ticket that is offered by one airline group i.e. OneWorld or Star Alliance. This is very often the cheaper way, if you plan on only traveling by air between places and will hop you from one place to the next.

However RTW tickets do have their downsides too. For instance they are definitely not as flexible as booking each trip separately and there are often constraints in relation to time and direction of travel (you can’t backtrack on yourself without penalties). 

Whereas one way tickets are definitely the most flexible and puts you most in the drivers seat. However it will likely be more expensive.  

When we did our round the world trip we opted not to by the airlines round the world ticket. We knew that we didn’t want to just travel by air and wanted to do more overground travel. This was a great way to explore countries in depth, meet local people and explore culture and was in many instances a cost saving. 

Also for one of our big journeys from New Zealand to Hawaii we opted to take a cruise on Holland America. This did eat into our time, but with a year to play with this didn’t bother us. Also it gave us a good chance to recharge our batteries and let our toddler be in the same place for awhile. 

It was also a very cheap way to cross the Pacific while also stopping at places we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to visit such as Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea, Tonga, and the Cook Islands to name a few. 

Remove Some Destinations

Pins on a map

Round the World Itinerary Planner (tips, Ideas and inspiration)

In reality when it came to planning our round the world itinerary we found ourselves with more destinations that it would be possible to comfortably fit in. For this reason it is important to trim your stops until you come up with something that is physically practical. I would recommend spending at least a week in most places so you aren’t packing up your things constantly. 

For our budget and dates the one place we could not shoe horn into our itinerary was Singapore and it is still a place that eludes us. One day we will get there. 

Reduce Risks

What to wear gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

When we came up with our unfiltered bucket list we had lots of destinations in Africa on our list. However we decided to remove this section from final itinerary. We had visited Uganda previously before we had kids and love it. But the reason we removed Africa from our list was because we were traveling the world with a toddler who couldn’t take anti-malarial tablets. 

We therefore decided this was a risk we didn’t want to take so plan on covering this geographic region once they are older. 

Plan Rest Days 

Couple and toddler in a pool fully clothed

Bali was on our round the world itinerary for some rest and beach days

This one is also especially important for those on longer trips i.e. a year versus 3 months rtw trip. But you shouldn’t plan for every day to be filled. There is such a thing as travel burn out. Be sure to have days where you can chill on a beach, veg and watch TV or even get some life admin and laundry done. 

Our Round the World Itinerary

So now you know what we considered when putting together our itinerary, we will show you what our itinerary looked like:

  • UK – Finland 
  • Finland (Helsinki as a stopover) 
  • Japan –  2 weeks in Tokyo, 1 week in Kyoto and onto the Northern island of Hokkaido
  • South Korea, 
  • China – Beijing
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia – Bali
  • Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania/ 
  • New Zealand – North and South Island. 
  • Tonga, 
  • Cook Islands, 
  • French Polynesia, 
  • Hawaii
  • Las Vegas
  • California – Los Angeles, Monterey and Coast, San Francisco
  • Southern USA – Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virgina, Washington DC
  • Iceland. 

Do you have any questions about planning your own rtw trip itinerary? Drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer. 

Erin Gustafson

Friday 20th of January 2017

Amazing! We have day dreamed about a round the world trip back to the States at some point. Go east and keep going til we make it back to Oregon would be the goal. Can't wait to see when the itinerary gets flushed out! Good luck - enjoy the planning! #FarawayFiles

Wandermust Mummy

Saturday 21st of January 2017

How exciting - hope you get to do it too!

Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)

Friday 20th of January 2017

How thrilling to have already booked some flights! I loved Bali so glad that's on your list. I think New Zealand would be on mine too. Great to read this on #FarawayFiles

Wandermust Mummy

Friday 20th of January 2017

Let us know if you have any Bali tips


Friday 20th of January 2017

Sounds exciting. I've never done an around the world trip.. but it's definitely "on the list"! Thanks for joining us on #farawayfiles

Wandermust Mummy

Friday 20th of January 2017

We can't wait. Might be slightly mad doing it with a toddler lol

Trish @ Mum's Gone To

Thursday 19th of January 2017

Oh how exciting! It must have been scary pressing the button for that first flight booking. You will love Iceland so that's a great pick. Have fin the next few months adding to your itinerary. #farawayfiles

Wandermust Mummy

Thursday 19th of January 2017

Thank you. Yes can't wait for Iceland - it was both scary and exciting getting the first one done

Tanja (the Red phone box travels)

Sunday 15th of January 2017

oh wow!good luck!

Wandermust Mummy

Sunday 15th of January 2017

Thanks feels more real now we have things booked. Planning has bee really fun

Wandermust Mummy

Sunday 15th of January 2017

Thank you - it feels a lot more real now we have things booked! We are very excited about it. Can't wait to do some of our destination reveals soon!