The Best Long-Term Travel Itinerary in the World?

Posted By Jeremy in Planning


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The answer to the teaser on our Facebook Page
Keeping our upcoming RTW trip a secret for the last 2 1/2 years has been one of the most difficult things that we have ever done.  There were many days where we just wanted to announce it to the world but kept it secret for this very moment. Planning for it?  Well, that’s the easy part!  Since we couldn’t talk about our itinerary until now we had to put our energy elsewhere, and researching the world’s best destinations has been it.   But now that our intentions are out, lets get into the fun stuff.

After many hours of research into where we want to go and the logistical issues of making it happen, we have put together an amazing list of destinations we’d like to visit over the next year and a half.  We’re not buying a RTW plane ticket or booking many guided tours as of yet, so our itinerary could be open for change at any time.  But what we do have in mind is a great target to start with!

So let us take you into our plan; the RTW itinerary to end all RTW itineraries!

The Itinerary: World Tour 2013-2014+

That'll do

From the food cultures of Europe, the mountains of the Himalayas, all the way to an (almost all) overland journey from Antarctica to home, we have a pretty amazing adventure in mind for the next year and a half.

The following is our rough itinerary based on our current savings targets.  We have some fixed dates that we will outline below that helped craft this route and must be met, and everything after that is up for changing at any moment, for any reason.

Our Firm Dates for the Trip

While we are big fans of going with the flow and changing our route on a whim, we have a few dates fully booked for the first part of our adventure. Some are booked to keep our costs in check, while others are planned for weather sensitive activities and for friends coming to visit! Since these dates are firm and bookings have been made, we will try our best to not have to change them:

  • June/July: Our first month of the trip is booked completely, as are a few hotel and train reservations for the second month.  Doing this was for a few reasons:
    • We purchased a Eurail pass to cover our long-haul rides in France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy and have made reservations in advance to ensure having seats during peak summer travel.  Necessary? Probably not, but that brings us to point #2.
    • By having a fully booked itinerary for Western Europe we are locking ourselves out of the urge to stay longer and therefore spend more money in the most expensive countries on our itinerary.  No extra nights in our $110 room in Geneva, thank you very much.
    • Our first two months itinerary includes Paris, Bordeaux, Avignon, and Nice in France; Geneva, Lauterbrunnen, Zermatt, and Zurich in Switzerland; Mayrhofen, Austria; Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence, and Rome in Italy.  After that we’ll be flying either to Turkey or the islands of Greece on July 30th and be a bit more open to slowing down and route changes!
  • End of August:  A friend of ours may be flying into Egypt at the end of August to travel with us for two weeks in Cairo, Aswan, and Luxor with many day trips.  If things work out correctly we’ll have to commit to our dates sooner rather than later.
  • End of September: We have an apartment booked in Munich at the end of September for Oktoberfest.  We did this in order to lock in a good price as Oktoberfest is known for incredibly high rates (read: gouging) as the good deals like the one we got go fast.

The remaining dates are all tentative goals to reach destinations before seasonal weather patterns shut them down. Nothing has been booked for these as of yet and are open for change depending on if we decide to slow down elsewhere:

  • Mid-November: We would like to be in Nepal by mid-November to tackle the Everest Base Camp trek before it gets too cold.
  • January 2014: We have two to three weeks set aside for a Mystery Destination to coincide with our completing India before heading to South America. We’ll be taking your ideas on where to go in an upcoming post as we have 200,000 airline miles to use and no plans on where to go.  So put your thinking caps on and start coming up with ideas!
  • January or February 2014 (tentative):  Depending on our finances we will need to be in Ushuaia, Argentina before the end of February to catch an Antarctic cruise during peak season. Even if we do not take a cruise we’d like to make it down to Patagonia at this time to avoid it getting too cold.

Other than that, we have nothing. We couldn’t be happier.

The Highlights

Although we have some fixed dates on our trip, most of our destinations are still open depending on our mood.  But while our itinerary could change entirely over the course of 14-18 months, we have a few highlights that we are incredibly excited for if we can fit it in:

  • Visiting the Lavender Fields of Avignon, France
  • Riding the Panorama Trains in Switzerland
  • Mountain Sports in Tyrol, Austria
  • Renting a Car in Florence and Exploring Tuscany for 5 Days
  • Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey (and the Perseid Meteor Shower)
  • Returning to Abu Simbel in Egypt
  • Exploring Small Villages and Coastal Towns in Eastern Europe
  • Oktoberfest in Munich
  • Hiking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal
  • Renting a House Boat in Kerala, India
  • A Two+ Week Mystery Destination!
  • Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro
  • Visiting the Antarctic Circle and the Polar Plunge in Antarctica
  • Perspective Photos in the Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia
  • Scuba Diving in the Galapagos
  • Exploring the Amazon Rainforest in Iquitos, Peru
  • Trekking to Angel Falls in Venezuela
  • Snorkeling with Whale Sharks in Central America
  • …and that is just a handful of the plans we have!

As you can see, the next 14 to 18 months are going to be quite the adventure! Just think of all of the other awesome things we are going to do that we haven’t mentioned.  It is going to be a wild ride.

What, No South East Asia? Blasphemy!

Do Not Pass Ko Tao, Do Not Collect $200 of Sticky Rice

Since my first trip was Asia-centric, featuring Japan to Singapore and everything in between, there is not much pull to go back to South East Asia on this trip.  Even though Angie did not visit all the destinations I did, and I’d love to show them all to her one day, we’re definitely looking at hitting new destinations for both of us on this itinerary.

While our plans have us hitting a few cities I’ve been to before (10 to be precise), they will be new to Angie. I can hardly say no to a chance for more orange duck in Paris, Swiss Mountains in Lauterbrunnen, or gelato in Venice, Florence, and Rome, making her travel goals really easy to agree to.  But repeating another whole region for the RTW trip is pushing it, so new destinations it is!

If you absolutely must need your South East Asia fix, may we recommend one of our other 600+ articles on this site as can be found on our navigation menu by region or country?  We had a lot of fun writing them and can assure you that the next 600 will be completely S.E Asia free.   Although, with our Mystery Destination we can never truly say never, now can we?

So What is Left After This Trip?

Blue = Where We're Going, Red = Where We've Been

When it comes down to it we’re still just scratching the surface of the world’s amazing destinations.  Our itinerary has us hitting just over 40 countries during the course of our year and a half abroad, hardly anywhere near any records. By the end, both Angie and I will be at around 70 countries visited on six continents.  Where will our future travels take us after that?  We’re already talking about Scandinavia, New Zealand, Africa, and the South Pacific; but that is a long way away, and we have a year and a half of constant travel to think about now!  If there is one thing worth saying, it is this – Living the Dream will be around for a very long time after this trip is in the history books.  But for now, lets talk about an amazing long-term trip!

The countdown is on.  We depart on June 10th, 2013. 

First stop: Paris, France

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17 Comments

  1. Dear Angie and Jeremy,

    you truly are living my dream:).I am an Indian doctor who loves traveling and visiting new places.I am having a fun time taking notes from your travels.Esp the pattern of keeping a track of countries,states,trains,buses,ferry etc traveled is amazing(Had I known this before I would have kept a track of all of it.but rest assured i am going to keep a track hence forth) .I just got back from Australia and it was amazing.
    The monthly review of places and expenditure was very helpful.keep writing these wonderful articles.
    like we say in India ‘SHUBH YATRA'(Happy Journey)
    regards
    Dr Aditi Kamat

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  2. Seeing your travel plans makes me feel much better about my own rtw trip that I’m planning. I was nervous that I wasn’t devoting enough time per country but your itinerary looks quite a bit like mine!

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  3. Hi Aryn, glad to hear our itinerary is similar! I think it is all relative on what you want to get out of a country. There is no “right” way to see a country. Where we think our 4-6 weeks in India is a lot of time, we’re still bouncing between cities and others may think its nothing at all. Even if you only visit one city in a country and move on (like ours in Dubai, UAE), its still better than not going!

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  4. Great post guys! I’m doing the same thing (I leave for my 3 year trip in 3 weeks!!) It is looks like we are going to some of the same places. Like Munich! Oktoberfest? We will have to meet up.

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  5. That’s awesome Stephen! A three year trip sounds amazing! Would be awesome to meet up if any of our dates matchup. We’ll be in Munich the last 3 days of September and already have our place booked. I’d highly recommend checking out booking early if you can, the prices are outrageous and good deals are going fast.

    If you have a route post let me know! I just tried looking over your site but didn’t see it. Would love to see what you’re planning. I am very jealous on the Mongol Rally. May have to do that in 2015.

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  6. Haha @Mike – I love the concept of your blog. We’re going to tally our number of fights when we’re on the road and will be sharing the best ones for sure. Hope we’re not at 1,000…

    @Ele – Touche. I spent a few weeks at -30C this past winter for work and wont do that again. Just thought I’d ask. 🙂 We’ll get there one day.

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  7. I’m so excited that you’re doing South America. Whilst we are still a few years away from early/mini retirement (we’re just hitting our 50’s when we get rid of the kids!) your updates will give us fab ideas on what to do when our time arrives. Looking forward to following your travels.

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  8. Baltics in January? You ARE suicidal 🙂 But if you need more insight, you can always email me.

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  9. I am tired just reading this post! You guys are going to have a blast. What a great year you will have. We want to hear about the fights!

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  10. @Brenda – Thanks so much! We’re torn on sharing our exact number in a full post until we’re finished, but we’re anticipating it being over $75k but under $100k. But that also includes money to return on, loan payments, taxes, etc which would account for well over $15k.

    @Kathy – Haven’t been to Australia and New Zealand yet. Its going to be on our later destination list, but we are taking votes for our Mystery Destination. Perhaps you can sway us 🙂

    @Rochat – Thanks so much! We’ll be happy to give you advice once we get there in early 2014. Will be crossing off most of the countries and popular spots down there in a massive segment of the trip.

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  11. Ouch, no Spain! If you end up here, do get in touch! Sounds like an epic plan.

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  12. Awesome plan ….sounds just wonderful to me ! Soooo , when are you travelling Down Under? (or have you already visited ?) Look forward to reading about all your adventures 🙂

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  13. Impressive!! I’m so jealous!! Do you plan to share your budget? I’ve been pondering cashing out my 401K for a life of travel and am wondering what’s a realistic amount.

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  14. @Cat – We actually honeymooned in Spain last year purely so we could cut it out from this itinerary. We’re going to be pushing our 90 day Schengen stay pretty hard and doing Spain last year helped us out. 🙂 We loved it a lot and want to go back for sure.

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  15. @Hannah – Yea! We’re definitely going to give you tons of info for Oktoberfest. I’m going to TBEX in June but Angie is staying at home since its 1 week before we leave. Can’t wait to meet you!

    @Ele – We are planning a mystery destination :). Would love to hear what you think of the Baltic countries for 2-3 weeks in January timeframe. I’ve always wanted to go to them.

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  16. Pity no Baltic states (I come from Lithuania) on your list. We have great stuff to show and we are not as expensive as Western Europe (read: Geneva).

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  17. Your going to have an amazing time!! Cant wait to her about Oktoberfest, might steal your housing infomation! We plan on going Sept 2014!! Are you going to TBEX in June? If so, see you there! Have fun with the rest of planning! We have 78 days until we leave,ahhhhhhh

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