Every time I told somebody about our family gap year, their first question always had to do with our trip around the world itinerary. The route is a HUGE factor in the planning stages of an around the world trip, as it affects budget, required vaccinations, visas, etc. It’a also the most fun part of planning (in my opinion anyways!!).

There’s no right or wrong itinerary, and it’s completely okay to know that it’ll likely morph and change as the year progresses. It’s best to come up with an outline, rather than a specific itinerary. Of course there may be certain things you want to or have to do at a certain time. That’s okay! Write those ones down and work the rest of the trip around it. Everyone’s RTW trip itinerary is going to look different, and they should.

When we initially started talking about our trip, we came up with country criteria; no English and no Western countries. We had a number of reasons for this. Ultimately, they’re the least expensive, allowing us to stretch our dollar the furthest (especially since our Canadian dollar was worth so little!), and it exposed us to cultures very different from our own.

The other, possibly most important reason, is that we wanted to chase the summer! I figured if I was leaving Northern Canada for a year I wanted to leave the snow behind too. There are some great winter activities, that we love and fully embrace when we’re at home, but if we were on the road I only wanted to pack for one season.

the route for our rtw

Over the three years leading up to the trip our route plan morphed drastically! We added, changed, removed countries and added some more. Initially I had about 30 countries on the list, then I cut it down to 20, and then we ended up at 31 (it should’ve been 32 but political unrest in Nicaragua forced us to skip it…sad face!). Ultimately, we wanted to be flexible and be able to go wherever the wind decided to take us! That would’ve been the idea, but we had a number of people joining us for parts of the year, so we did have a few destinations where we had to be in a specific place at a specific time.

An Overview Of Our Trip:

Timing: July 2017 – August 2018
Days on the Road: 382
Kilometers Traveled: 120,500km (3 X around the world!)
Countries Visited: 31 (plus 2 more that we weren’t stamped into)

So…here’s our initial around the world trip itinerary!

July 22 – Grande Prairie -> Vancouver -> Guangzhou, China.
July 27 – Guangzhou, China –> Tashkent, Uzbekistan
August – Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan
September – China (I’ll be leaving Randy and the girls in Beijing while I spend a few days in Las Vegas from Sept 9-14 for a meeting!)
October 6 – My mom flies into Kathmandu!!
October –  Nepal, Bhutan & Bali.
November – Bali & Myanmar
December – Thailand & Laos
January – Vietnam
February – Egypt & Israel
March – Jordan & Ethiopia
April – Kenya & Mexico
April 22-29 – I have another meeting in Mexico, this time the whole family is coming!!
May – Overland through Central America (Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama)
June – Central America & Ecuador
July – Peru & Bolivia

Initially Randy was worried I was trying to cram too much in, and I was worried that if I stayed still for too long I’d get bored!!

Our Actual Around The World Trip Itinerary

Some aspects of our itinerary remained nearly identical to the initial outline, whereas others changed completely (like skipping out on East Africa and spending 5 weeks in India instead!). The changes are bold, and the teal colour links to blog posts about each country or city!

July 22 – Grande Prairie -> Vancouver -> Guangzhou, China.

July 27 – Guangzhou, China –> Tashkent, Uzbekistan

August – Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan

September – China (I’ll be leaving Randy and the girls in Beijing while I spend a few days in Las Vegas from Sept 9-14 for a meeting!), then to Kathmandu September 26.

October 6 – My mom flies into Kathmandu!!

October –  Nepal, Bhutan & Bali Koh Lipe, Thailand.

November – Bali & Myanmar

December – Thailand & Laos Indonesia (Raja Ampat Liveaboard Diveboat and Bali for Christmas)

January – Vietnam & Laos

February – Egypt & Israel Laos, Thailand (briefly) & India

March – Jordan & Ethiopia India & Jordan

April – Kenya Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt & Mexico

April 22-29 – I have another meeting in Mexico, this time the whole family is coming!!

May – Overland through Central America: Belize, Honduras, Guatemala

June – Nicaragua (too much political unrest) Costa Rica, Panama, Canada (for my cousin’s wedding) & Ecuador

July – Peru & Bolivia

There are so many different ways you can go around the world!! It’s a big place after all!! If you’re interested, you might want to check out another family’s rtw itinerary, to get an idea of just how different itineraries can be!

Overall I think the itinerary was good for us. We saw SO many things it’s hard to completely wrap my head around it. I suffered from a small amount of travel tiredness at about the 8-month point. Thankfully, it was almost immediately followed by a week on the beach in Mexico, and then another week on the beach in Belize! This little bit of R&R completely rejuvenated me, and I was careful to slow down a tiny bit afterwards in an attempt to minimize the potential of it happening again. I think the political unrest in Nicaragua was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. It allowed us to travel a bit slower through Guatemala and El Salvador, and skip the many (many) hour bus ride from San Salvador to Managua and then onto San Jose, Costa Rica. Everything happens for a reason!

Planning a Trip Around the World is SO much fun! The itinerary can be overwhelming to plan, but just know that plans can change and be ready to just roll with it. A year seems like a long time, but the world is a BIG place. The most common problem with traveling a lot is the realization that there’s more to see than you could’ve ever imagined. I think it’s a good problem to have!