Having made the decision to travel around the world we were soon hit with two very big questions. How on earth do we plan this? And then perhaps the most daunting question of all, how much is it going to cost?
There is by no means a simple answer to this and it will all very much depend on where you want to go, what type of activities you want to do, the budget, amongst a multitude of other factors. We just want to share with your our experience of planning such a trip and pass on some helpful tips to get you started!
Mapping the route
As a first step we sat down with a large paper map and came up with a wish list of countries we wanted to see. The map was actually really helpful and I would recommend it as it helps you to scan the globe really easily and identify countries you might not have otherwise thought of.
So we picked our favourites and ordered them into a rough route which formed the basis of our flight searches. This is still very tentative and where we decide to go will ultimately depend on the political/health situation of the country at the time we travel. Like with the zika virus for example, unless things change dramatically we don’t plan to visit South America.
The map also doubles up as a fantastic notice board!
Carry out searches (flights, accommodation, visa’s etc.)
We found it very helpful to do a basic search for flights and accommodation, as we were able to see very quickly which countries were cheap to stay in, which were expensive and which ones were very pricey. In Singapore and Hawaii for example, it’s been hard to find cheap accommodation. Ultimately this will dictate how much time we can realistically spend in these countries and force us to decide which countries we want to see more of. So for us, maybe less time in Singapore and a lot more time in Hawaii.
For comparing flights we found these website really useful. It’s worth playing around with different dates if you have that flexibility.
Use local/budget airlines wherever possible
We tried to limit long haul flights as much as possible as these are undoubtedly the biggest cost of the trip. In Asia for example we found that using local, affordable airlines such as Air Asia are significantly cheaper and used this to see what places we could travel to in this region. One tip I would say is play around with different routes, you might find you save a lot of money. For example, it was significantly cheaper for us to fly from Bangladesh to Nepal and then into New Delhi, than to fly from Bangladesh to India and then up to Nepal, by changing the route we saved as much as 50%.
Organise your information in one document
One of the things we have found very helpful is to create a spreadsheet to record all of the vital information we needed and its also great because you can do fancy things like calculations. This is includes all the costs from flights, vaccinations to things that we need to buy.
Here is a list of the information we are recording in this document:-
- Costs of flights
- Visa’s costs and restrictions
- Weather at the time of travel
- Travel insurance
- Spending money
- Things to buy for trip
There are many other things we can include in this spreadsheet, but with just this basic information alone it has helped us immensely to determine, as a ball park figure, how much this adventure is going to cost overall.
Save money on accommodation
As expected two of the biggest costs are flights and accommodation. Now with flights, it’s hard to influence this massively, but you can with accommodation. If you stay in hostels, no doubt it is cheaper. But for us, travelling as a family, our needs are very different. We want a space that can be home for a short time, somewhere we can cook and where there’s space for Ava to run around and play. So for us, apartments are the really the ideal accommodation and also a great way to save money as we don’t want to be eating out for every meal.
Here are the best websites we found for great accommodation at a good price.
Airbnb – https://www.airbnb.co.uk
This is a fantastic website, especially for families who want the convenience of home and more space for little ones. You can book entire apartments or even rent a room in someone’s house. There are often good discounts if you stay for a week and a slightly better discount if you book for a month, so it’s perfect for long holidays.
Booking.com – www.booking.com
Here you can look for all kinds of accommodation from hostels to 5 star hotels. There is also a choice to select apartments, but this is often very limited.
Things to do before you go
Aside from planning the trip itself which is the fun stuff, there is the small matter of wrapping up our lives, i.e. the boring stuff. Here is a list of things on our to-do list.
- Inform employer
- Rent out house
- Inform mortgage provider
- Change home insurance
- Stop utilities
- Inform banks
- Stop direct debits
- Cancel gym and swim memberships
- Pack and store our belongings
- Sell stuff
- Sell car and cancel insurance
- Travel insurance
This is not an exhaustive planning guide but hopefully it will give you a good idea of how to start planning for such a trip and things to do before leaving.