How to Plan World Travel

For many of us, world travel is a dream. We’ve fantasized about it, pinned it on Pinterest, talked about it with friends and family. The first step is to decide you’re ready to make it happen. Then you need to plan it, which takes a little work. If you’re planning an around-the-world trip, start by making a list of all the destinations you want to see and figure out how long you can stay in each place. It’s also a good idea to hang a map of the world and use pins or stickers to mark locations on it. This process helps coalesce your vision and sharpens geography skills.

Next, pick a few airlines that offer around-the-world tickets. Then go through the fine print, which varies among airline alliances but usually includes restrictions like no backtracking; a maximum number of stops (usually six or less); keeping to one global direction — east or west (the latter is better for your circadian rhythm) — and no more than two continents in a row.

Once you know the limits of your RTW ticket, begin putting together an itinerary by adding cities to the list. It’s best to add large airport hubs — the likes of London, Istanbul, Dubai, Bangkok and Singapore — to your itinerary to maximize flight options. Once you’ve selected your major destinations, add in a few more obscure spots for variety.

Another consideration is how you’re going to fund the trip. Round-the-world airfare can be expensive, so set a budget. And don’t forget to add in other costs, such as accommodations, food and transportation.

Aim to visit places that will give you a true taste of the culture and people. Avoid tourist traps. Embrace the different lifestyles, opinions and religions you encounter.

You might also discover that you have more in common with other people than you thought. People everywhere love to laugh, cry and care about their families. And the more you learn about other cultures, the more you realize that no matter how different they seem, they are truly human.

Seeing the world gives you an education that’s impossible to get in a classroom. It teaches you about the economy, politics, history and geography in a hands-on way that no textbook can. And it builds your confidence and independence as you navigate a foreign language, customs and culture. That’s why a well-planned trip can be so rewarding.