How To Plan A Trip Around The WorldThe Planning Process
Niger River, Mali
Everyone has their own strategy to plan out their trip, but this approach has
worked for us many times.
- Find the cheapest flight into the region. This involves looking at the online flight booking websites for a variety of major hub cities
over a range of dates. Look at the capitals and largest cities of the more developed countries in the region. This might be time consuming,
but flights tend to be the most expensive part of a long trip. Once you have a "starting city" set by your flight, you'll know where to
- Pick an "ending city" to the region. Again, this will likely be determined by your flights (or it could be determined by ferries or
other land transportation). It may be the same as your starting city, and that's ok because you could just do a big loop through the region.
Once you have a beginning and an end, you should also have a set amount of time in between. This may be determined by the dates of your
flights or other factors. If you're looking at a large region encompassing multiple countries, then hopefully you have several
months or more.
- Pick some major cities and/or sights in the region, and draw some logical lines on the map. Connect the dots, as they say. In your
guidebook, check out the transportation section for each of these places and find out if you can take buses or trains to each of the
other places. You should also see if you can get transportation to smaller places in between. The amount of time you have in your
schedule will dictate the number of places to visit and the length of time you stay there.
- Make a rough schedule on paper of the approximate dates in each place and the method of transportation to get from town to town.
Remember rule number one: stay flexible. Do not commit to anything, and do not make reservations anywhere, perhaps with the exception of a
hotel the first few nights after you land in your starting city.
And that's it. It sounds easy, because it is. However, linking cities by buses or trains can sometimes be difficult. Sometimes the quality
and thoroughness of your guidebook can determine this. It's often easier to learn about transportation once you get there. (Remember the
rule about being flexible!)