Year-Round Trip Planner: Where to Start Your Gap Year

Dreaming of a round-the-world adventure? While there aren’t many things more exciting than jetting off into the unknown with a backpack, planning your big getaway can be challenging. From figuring out flights, destinations, and dates, our international travel agent Cassie is here to help.

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Planning Your Itinerary

This is often the hardest choice of all! With the whole world at your feet, and the desire to visit everything, it's difficult to narrow down your options.

My best advice is to try and prioritize what’s on your bucket list – whether it be experiencing Holi in India or Songkran in Bangkok, diving the Great Barrier Reef, or visiting Machu Picchu in Peru. Once you can figure out your absolute must-dos, and how long you have to squeeze it all in, it’ll be much easier to plan your itinerary and put together a Round-The-World (RTW) flight package that works for you.

Ballooning over Bagan. Photo credit: Cassie Wilkins

When to Go

This is the second hardest decision to make regarding planning your RTW trip. While we can hope for the best, it’s impossible to plan for perfect weather every step of the way.

Instead, it’s worth focusing on the things you want to do most, and planning around that. If you’ve always wanted to go on a safari in East Africa or trek through the Himalayas, then visit from January–March or October–December.

If you want to visit Machu Picchu or road-trip through New Zealand, the best time to visit is June–August.

To avoid the peak season and make the most of the spring sunshine, check out Europe, North America, and Central Asia from April–May.

Whenever you choose to visit, bear in mind that bad weather is definitely not the end of the world – sightseeing can be done rain, hail, or shine.

There are also a lot of perks to visiting must-see destinations out-of-season, when people are friendlier, prices are lower, the landscapes are lush and green, and there are fewer tourists to get in the way!

On safari in Kenya. Photo credit: Cassie Wilkins

Travel Between January–March

As a general rule, January–March is the perfect time to visit East and West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Central America, southern South America, Australia and New Zealand.

If you’re chasing snow then it’s also a great time to visit Europe, Japan, and North America.

Travel Between April–May

April–May is ideal for visiting Morocco and North Africa, southern Africa, North America, northern South America, Central Asia, East Asia, and Europe.

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Travel Between June–August

June–August is the monsoon in South and Southeast Asia, so now’s the time to visit the US, Europe, Northern South America and the Amazon, Indonesia, and South Africa.

Travel Between October–December

From October–December, you are better off visiting southern South America, Egypt, West Africa, South Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. This is also the perfect time to trek in the Himalayas, with cool temperatures and great visibility.

Pokhara, Nepal. Photo credit: Cassie Wilkins

What to Look for in RTW Flight Packages

A RTW flight is a great way to give your trip structure, helping you to narrow down your destinations, and give you an idea of how long to spend in each place.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to add in some interesting overland sectors, such as that dream road-trip across the United States, the beautiful train journey from Bangkok to Singapore, a motorbike trip through Southeast Asia, or even a ride on the famed Trans-Siberian railway!

Depending on your route, a lot of airlines and airline alliances offer RTW or multi-stop flights that work out considerably cheaper than booking flights individually.

For example, you can find a RTW flight that takes you all the way from London to Bangkok, overland to Singapore, a flight to Sydney, Fiji, and LA, overland to New York, and back to London. Or, a multi-stop flight from London to Nairobi, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Melbourne – for a surprisingly reasonable price!

If you want to get well off-the-beaten-track, or if you’re trying to squeeze it all into a short time frame, it’s also well worth looking at combining your RTW flight with cheap, low-budget airlines like AirAsia, Jetstar, and EasyJet.

We all know plans constantly change, especially when you’re traveling, so the dates on RTW flights are generally flexible for a small fee.

Just bear in mind all flight changes are subject to availability, and the maximum validity of a RTW flight is normally 12 months. It’s also worth noting that if you do happen to miss one sector, the airline will cancel the rest of them. Even if you have to change your dates ten times, make sure you eventually take that flight, or you risk being stranded!

Road-tripping through Iceland. Photo credit: Cassie Wilkins

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