After much thought and debate, we’ve finally put together a list of countries we’d like to visit during our round-the-world trip. As you would imagine, the list was originally much longer. We had quickly thrown together a hodgepodge of countries we wanted to go to- places we’d always wanted to visit and others we knew little about but thought would be fascinating. And then we counted. Hmm, 40 countries seemed like a lot to cover in 8 months. Oops. It would probably make it impossible for us to travel slowly and really immerse ourselves into places like we had hoped. Certainly not very budget-friendly either.
So began the painstaking process of whittling down the list to a more manageable 13 countries (14 if you include the United States).
In putting together this list, these were some of the things that we kept in mind:
- include a combination of countries that are popular travel destinations and those that are lesser known
- focus primarily on the more inexpensive destinations, but allow for a couple of splurges (we will, of course, have to integrate other money-saving strategies which I will address in a later post)
- eliminate countries that are a bit more remote and would cost a lot to get to (e.g. Madagascar)
- include only countries that will be warm during the time of year that we can be there (the thought of schlepping around bulky, cold-weather gear really isn’t appealing)
While this list shouldn’t change too radically before our departure date, there may be tweaks here and there as we continue with our research. Our approach to planning is to develop a basic framework, and then focus on booking “must, must do” things in advance (again, more on that in a later post), and figure out the rest as we travel. We do want to take advantage of this time to really travel a bit more slowly, organically, and spontaneously, so we expect (hope, even) that along the way we may decide to change things up based on how much we’re enjoying (or not enjoying) a place, or at the recommendation of locals and other travelers.
Click on the image to go to a dynamic route map on the Travellerspoint website. Please note that the cities and dates populated are not yet finalized.
- Hong Kong
End of November- Early December
- Back to NYC for a couple of weeks to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families
- US to see friends/family
I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding the countries on this list, both good and bad. And if you also happen to be a travel blogger, I would love to read any blog posts you’ve written pertaining to these places.
During these early stages of my research, I’m finding the following websites particularly helpful because they all have travel guides (among other resources) for a large number of countries and I can quickly search for basic information about each destination before delving into destination-specific sites.
Lonely Planet- guides for individual countries as well as a large Thorn Tree forum where you can ask questions and share information with fellow travelers.
Let’s Go Travel Guide- guides for individual countries. I especially like that they include “Beyond Tourism” sections for those looking for more immersive experiences.
Travellerspoint- their Wiki Travel Guide is written and maintained by members. They also have travel forums and best of all, a Travel Help section where you can find and interact directly with self-identified destination experts.
iExplore- contains basic information, as well as adventure and experiential travel resources, for each country.
U.S. Department of State- information about necessary travel documents and safety considerations for each country.