Mark JohnstonHOW WE PLANNED A ROUND-THE-WORLD TRIP Britnee Johnston March 8 Planning, Round the World Trip, Travel 5 Comments Wondering where to start when planning a round-the-world (RTW) trip? We used many online resources to help us find cheap flights, good hostels, itinerary ideas and visa information. We also read some informational travel books, but the internet usually had the most up-to-date information. Here are our favorite travel planning websites, which we used to plan our RTW trip: HOSTELS Booking.com – This website has endless lists of hotels and hostels from around the world. What’s great about Booking.com is that most bookings do NOT require any deposits and have free cancellation up to a just few days prior to your arrival. It also has great photo galleries of the hotels so you feel more confident with what you’re reserving. Hostelworld.com– This website is solely focused on hostels, making search results more focused. For this reason I usually check HostelWorld first to find a specific hostel before making a second search for it on Booking.com. I prefer to book through Booking.com since they don’t require deposits, but when HostelWorld offers better rates I happily book with them. TRANSPORTATION Skyscanner.net – This is a great search engine for finding cheap flights anywhere. They also have a fun function where you can pick your location and then pick “Everywhere” in your search. Skyscanner will then create a list of destinations along with prices of the flights departing from your city. Just note that it doesn’t always list the cheap European airlines like EasyJet or RyanAir. Trip Advisor Flights – I’ve had great success finding cheap flights through Trip Advisor’s flight search engine. Trip Advisor sometimes offers lower prices on the same flights listed at a higher cost on Skyscanner. Be sure to check several search engines, (Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline, Kayak, Cheap-O-Air, etc), as you’ll find various prices for the same flights on many websites. In my experience Trip Advisor tends to beat the competition most of the time. Rome2rio.com – This simple search engine lets you enter two cities and then shows you the costs and various modes of transportation between them. This includes trains, buses, ferries, planes and automobiles. For the traveler on a budget, it’s great to know what your cheapest option for transportation will be to get to your next city. ITINERARY IDEAS Viator.com – What if you have only one or two days there and still want to visit all the sites on your must-see list? Viator’s website provides a variety of day trip and multi-day tours in most of the major tourist destinations around the world with detailed itineraries and reasonable prices. Using their website one can also decide whether certain tourist sites are close enough for one to visit on their own in a limited time frame. For example, if I wanted to visit both Stonehenge and the city of Bath in one day, Viator’s tour itineraries gave me a better understanding of time requirements if I chose to go by myself. Trip Advisor Forums – Nothing is more helpful than a real person’s experience at a tourist destination. Whenever I’m considering a visit to certain spots or landmarks, forums on Trip Advisor helps me decide if it’s worth it or not. The forums also have answers to random questions like, “Is a ferry available at Lake Como if I arrive at 7 pm?” or “Can I get from Kyoto to Koyasan by train?” I usually just Google my question and include the keyword “Trip Advisor” and it will pull up the forums automatically. Chances are that someone else already asked the same question and others have posted the answers I’m looking for. VISAS FOR U.S. CITIZENS U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs – Make sure you have all the requirements met for your visa before you go. This website makes it easy to search for the country you’re visiting and the requirements for entry and exit. This is helpful with a round-the-world trip , to see what you need in order to obtain a visa well ahead of time, (eg. extra passport photos for visas, immunization records, two full pages in passport, etc). Wikipedia’s Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens – Wikipedia isn’t anything near official, but if you’re planning a round-the-world trip like we are, having the information laid out as Wikipedia does is super helpful. It displays a color-coded map showing which countries are visa free, visa upon arrival, or visa required before arrival. With a quick glance at this website we realized we had to visit China and Russia early in our trip because they both required visas before arrival, visas which would be easier to obtain when applying in our home country. Just be sure to double check Wikipedia’s information with the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs most up-to-date requirements. 5 Responses Lana March 31 When you get to Europe, you might consider camping – since you like camping. Camping is cheap in europe, and way fun. Christina April 27 Good for you guys! I’m looking forward to following your adventures and learning from your insights on travel, various cultures, and life in general that you gain along the way. I’m curious to know how you have planned for immunizations and healthcare expenses while you are abroad. I know that some immunization shots require a series, so I’m sure this had to be planned in advance. I’d love to hear your process for this. Britnee Johnston April 29 Thanks for following along Christina! Luckily, we traveled overseas a few years ago and took care of many of our immunizations then such as Typhoid and Hepatitis shots. We decided not to get the Japanese Encephalitis or Rabies shots since they were so expensive. For Malaria, we plan on getting pills in Europe before we head to Southeast Asia. We also plan on using World Nomads Travel Insurance to take care of medical expenses, trip delays, car rental collisions and emergencies while on our trip. Dennis March 4 I wonder whether you did Couchsurfing? If you didn’t then you should definitely do for your next trip! Fun and cheap!