My “Round the World” Plan

I’ve been telling my family and friends for a while now that I want to backpack the ENTIRE world FOREVER ok well some of the world for a year. At first I was planning on quitting my job and backpacking Europe for 3 months, but then it turned into 6 months. So I planned away made an itinerary and did more research. As I was doing this research I found that tons of people go on these “Gap year / RTW trips” (RTW = Round the World) not just Europe but all over the world (obviously) and well as I kept reading about them I thought wow why can’t I do that.

So now here I am planning away for my year RTW trip!!! I plan on leaving a year from now in the beginning of August 2011. That will give me enough time to get everything together for my RTW trip. Since I’ve known for a while that I want to do this here is my tentative itinerary.

Brochures, Guidebooks & Books

Europe – 90 day Schengen Zone (this is 80 out of 90 days planned)

  • Paris, France – 7 days (Loire Valley/Versailles/Provins)
  • Bruges, Belgium – 3 days ( Brussels )
  • Amsterdam , Netherlands – 5 days* (den Haag/Delft)
  • Berlin , Germany – 5 days
  • Kraków , Poland – 3 days (Auschwitz)
  • Prague , Czech Republic – 3 days
  • Budapest , Hungary – 3 days
  • Vienna, Austria – 2 days
  • Salzburg, Austria – 4 days (Hallstatt/ Innsbruck )
  • Munich , Germany – 4 days
  • Madrid , Spain – 7 days (Toledo/Segovia)
  • Barcelona, Spain – 5 days (Montserrat/Sitges)
  • Nice , France – 2 days (Eze)
  • Florence, Italy – 5 days (Pisa/La Spezia/Cinque Terre)
  • Venice , Italy – 3 days
  • Rome, Italy – 7 days (Vatican City/Ostia Antica/Orvieto)
  • Sorrento, Italy – 5 days (Amalfi Coast/Pompeii/Vesuvius)
  • Athens, Greece – 7 days (Marathon/Schinia/Vouliagmeni/Santorini)

I know you may be thinking wow that is pretty planned out but when I make plans I like to have just about every detail planned out. So because I had already done research on Europe I decided to keep 3 out of the 6 months I had already made an itinerary for. I believe Europe will be an ideal place to start so I could get used to all the things that come along with long term backpacking. Having a detailed itinerary at first will also give me the comfort I’ll need until I can finally let loose and go with the flow. Hopefully that will happen by the time I transition to The Middle East, India and South East Asia because I do not plan on making an itinerary as detailed for them.

The Middle East – 3 months

I plan on travelling through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel & then finally Egypt. I am fascinated by the Egyptian culture and want to spend at least a month (or longer) in Egypt. That will give me about two months to make my way down there from Turkey.

India – 1-2 months

India belongs to the continent of Asia but I don’t believe it. I think India is India and it can’t be placed anywhere. I am as fascinated to the Egyptian culture as I am to the Indian culture. I want to get to India and explore all that it has to offer at a relaxed pace.

South East Asia – 4 months or until the money runs out!!!

I’m going to end my RTW trip where it seems most people start it. While I’m in South East Asia the countries I really want to visit are Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

So there you have it my plan. Nothing written above is set in stone and can change at any time. I may fall in love with a place I didn’t think I would and maybe hate a place I thought I wouldn’t. Along the way I want to visit the major sites and cities of those countries but also go off the beaten path and indulge in what the different cultures have to offer.

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  1. Hey, if you plan to stay in Egypt for a month, we can catch up there and share some tips:) I’m moving there on Sep 1st for 8/9 months and will explore the Middle East area… I’ll be in Cairo!

  2. Congrats on the launch of your site! I look forward to reading more.

  3. Ur Lobster says:

    I love it! Very Interesting, and I cant wait to read more!

  4. JesRight says:

    I’m glad you started the blog so at least I can hear about something new! I hope to meet up with you while you are on this journey. Thank you for always inspiring me to do what I want. xoxo

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thanks for the offer. I don’t think ill be in Egypt until late 2011, but I will most def meet up if we are there at the same time.
      Thank you so much!
      Awww MY LOBSTER, hey Tina thanks for stopping by!!!
      Thank you Brain, hopefully I have stuff to talk about for a whole year before the trip…lol!!! Yes hopefully yall meet up with me somewhere along my journey.

  5. Looking good, glad to see that you got it launched.

    Wow, your plan is much more thought out then mine. I have some work to do …

  6. I’m so excited for you can’t wait to read more!!! Good Luck!

  7. Wow… I would slow down. Long-term travel isn’t about hitting every spot and spending a few days in each. You’ll be exhausted always being on the move, packing and repacking, and always in a rush to check things off your itinerary and move on. You’ll miss a big part of long-term travel, really absorbing and getting to know a place. It might be okay to travel fast for a few months, but for a year? You’ll definitely need a breather. You’ll always need more time than you think you will and you’ll need some time to take a break and relax in a place you adore along the way. Just my advice.

    • Jamie, I have to respectfully dissagree with Jenny. You will hear many people tell you you should slow down and not rush your trip, but it all depends on you personally and what your travel goals are. My wife and I hit 76 cities in 22 countries in 5 continents over 4 months and had an absolute blast.

      First of all, we only had the $$ for 4 months and we wanted to truly go around the world so we considered it our “sampler tour” – a little taste of each place to see if we want to go back in the future for a deeper dive. The shortest we were in a city was 1 day, the longest 3 weeks.

      Second, if you are the type of traveler who doesn’t need to see every single tourist monument in a city, but rather prefers to soak up the local culture & flavor by sitting in a cafe and watching the locals go about their biz, or strolling the cobblestone streets and observing or, if you’re lucky, having an adventure with a local (ie being invited into their house for tea) then you only need a few days to accomplish that. while 1 day is arguably too short in any city, I find that 2-4 days is enough time to hit the true “must sees” in most cities and after that you are just filling up your itinery with “fluff” that you read in guidebooks, but that after you go there you think “huh…I didn’t really have to see that.” But you do it to trick yourself into thinking you’ve spent enough time in a city to make it worthwhile. One of our favorite memories of our trip was the 1 day we spent in Budapest cycling around the city. We were exhausted at the end, but it was oh so memorable.

      Ultimately, it comes down to what your personality is. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t mind switching hotels/accommodations every couple of days and constantly being on the move (as we are) then your itinerary is fine. If you don’t like moving around so much then i would take Jenny’s suggestion.
      Dan recently posted..Back to the Beginning

    • I would definitely agree with Jenny on this one. For my first trip, I did exactly what you did and budgeted out every day in advance. And you know what? It didn’t work!

      Unexpected things happen. Weather comes up. Buses break down. And often, you’ll just love a place so much that you want to stay longer. I once had to turn down an invitation to a homestay because I was stuck on this regimented schedule and couldn’t “afford” any time and I still kick myself for that.

      For me, travel is much less about seeing the sites than about soaking up local culture. It’s about being flexible and going places that other travelers suggest to me. Guidebooks are all well and good and they’re excellent for planning, but I tend to create a broad overview of what I’d like to do. Once I set off, a variety of factors weight in that influence my decisions, and on my last trip, I changed that overview about 4 times after I had started. Did I see every tourist site? Not even close! But do I have any regrets? Not at all…
      Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..My New Backpack is 1-3 the Size of My Old One Am I Crazy

  8. I’m really excited for you. I know you still have a year, but have fun and be careful!

  9. Webiste looks good!

    Looks like an awesome trip you have planned there!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      @nick thanks! Whats your plan so far?
      @yvette thanks. I gotta get used to writing often.
      @jenny yes after the 1st 3 months Im really going to slow down & take my time. I just have to have some type of direction. I will also be taking breaks along the way. Im going to email you cus your website shows you are in Houston.
      @cecy awwww I almost cried after reading your comment. Thanks for stopping by, I thought you never would. I love you.
      @Poi thanks. Cant wait to read about yalls adventures. Yalls RTWsoon is gonna be RTWnow in a few days.

  10. Jorge Lara says:

    I hope everything goes to plan! Good luck, I hope your time comes fast!

  11. Great start to your blog… I’ll be interested to follow along as I am planning to hopefully be heading off on an RTW at around the same time. It will be my second one so I want to take it a bit slow. It looks like your trip will be awesome. I like the planning part too and already have a map with stops planned out stuck on the wall. Look forwarded to reading more about your plans 🙂

  12. Wow!!! 🙂 Sounds all planed… and great.

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy the RTW a lot… and remember that I’ll be here, waiting 4 u.

  13. Just go with the flow and make it work! It’ll be amazing! I’m super jealous. 😀

    Maybe I’ll meet you somewhere along the way for kicks, like in India or Egypt.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      @Jorge Thanks buddy. I too hope the year flies by!!!
      @Verity thanks & wow you are going on your 2nd RTW trip thats cool & your right the planning part is alot of fun.
      @Ram pues ojala cuando regrese ya no stes en Monterrey ja ja.
      @Lisa ill be sure to go with the flow & trust ill “make it work”!!! Oh & hell yeah you will most def have to. I plan on being in Egypt & India the longest. So that will be awesome!!!

  14. Looks like a good plan! I’m like you, I’d probably plan out that much detail too. Just make sure to leave yourself open to changing it as you’re traveling. And make sure you research the middle east countries and do them in the right order, b/c some countries won’t let you in with an Israel stamp and vice versa.

  15. Guess what…

    Ya no estoy en Mty… ja ja. 😛 remember what I told u?

    Pues IT HAPPENED. LOL. IDK what’s next…

    So, donde quieres que esté ciando regreses?

  16. not to be a complete ass but i get paid to travel the world lol jk but just becareful its a dangreous world here on the news all the tome and who know maybe well be at the same place at the same time

  17. go to philippines jaime… go to banaue, palawan and boracay! 🙂

  18. Nice site! I’m traveling long term and I’m five months of 14, or whenever the money runs out.

    If I were you I’d put more time in the first three months as you may burn out quickly. You need down days and it doesn’t look like you have any here.

    But everyone is different and in the beginning we think the excitement alone will carry us along. Just don’t commit to any flights in advance and you can adjust as needed.

    Good luck!
    ayngelina recently posted..Window shopping in Cuenca- Ecuador

  19. Jamie,

    My only concern about your itinerary is how much time you are spending in Europe. Europe is very expensive and even though the exchange rate has improved a bit since we were there, you’ll likely find that you burn through your budget so quickly in Europe. We foudn we went through 1/3 of our budget in our first 6 weeks in Europe and we still had Middle East, Africa and SE Asia to go. And while we weren’t staying in hostels, we were definitely on a budget (our entire trip budget was $10,000 – although between the flights and gear we purchased before we left (not counted in the $10k) and the amount we went over (sold some stocks!) we probably spent around $20-25,000. Anyway, just a thought.
    Dan recently posted..Back to the Beginning

    • Thank you for both comments! I agree with the both of you. I really have no clue what type of backpacker I am going to be, its just to soon to tell. I have eruope out like that so fast because I know it is expensive and I just wanna do a city blitz. As to being there to long I have thought about and am thinking of just being in Europe for 2 months in stead of the original 4 then 3…lol!!! Yes I want to stretch my trip to well over a year and I think by cutting a month of in Europe I can achieve that. I think once I am out of Europe I will move slower because I know it is cheaper to move slow and I want to make my trip as long as possible!!!

      Thanks for the advice~

  20. Jaime,

    Liz and I spent a month in Egypt and we absolutely LOVED it. We’re currently making our way around SE Asia and we still think back to our days traveling through Egypt on a daily basis. We met so many incredible people there as well and we’re looking forward to getting back there at some point next year. One thing I would highly recommend is to get in touch with the CS community in Cairo. Not to get hosted but to join in on the meetings, events, etc. They are a great big group of people all of which are truly genuine and caring. I can’t say enough about the CS community in Cairo.

    Also one more tip for Egypt. Get off the beaten path a bit! Package tours whip tourists around on air conditioned buses to the pyramids and back to the Hilton or Ramada on the Nile and sadly they never get to see the REAL Egypt. Get out on the streets, try getting lost in the city (it’s fairly easy), take the metro (1 EGP = $0.17 cents). Don’t listen to anyone that tells you not to take the metro in Cairo. We took the metro on a daily basis and yes we were literally the only foreigners on it each and every day. Learn how to haggle with the black taxi’s (the ones people tell you to avoid) and you’ll get to your destination for a good price). Basically, without trying to be “rebel” don’t listen to what most people tell you when they talk about Egypt. It’s an amazing country that is just waiting for you to explore it. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Also, be sure to check out my Top 15 Tips for a Successful Trip to Egypt below:


    If you have any questions, feel free to email me!
    Ryan recently posted..28 Grueling Hours from Vientiane to Hanoi- Vietnam

    • Ahhh I am so glad to hear someone talk good about Egypt. You are the 3d person to tell me good stuff about this country. It seems like EVERYONE else had just a horrible time there. Even though that seems like the case I was not going to let it deter me from going. I have been dreaming of going to Egypt since I was a lil kid. I am so excited and can not wait. I actually am planning to find a job and maybe live there for a few months if i can. Im going to do everything you said. I am so excited!!!

      Oh and the link you place I have it saved too…lol!!! Y’all write some good stuff~

  21. if ya go to the philippines, holler will cheers a bottle of san miguel beer with you. awesome plan!

  22. Been laughing at your tweets for a while, but just read the itinerary. Similiar itinerary to mine… but I’m going the other way around – SEA first then India, Middle East, Southern Europe… and I’m also going for two years. Good Luck and safe travels!
    Darren recently posted..The Journey Begins- My 50th Birthday In NYC

    • Darren, Im glad someone is reading my random tweets. Oh yes we are on the same route just the other way, well I hope we meet up at some point. That would be nice. Let me find ya on twitter and start following you incase I am not.

  23. Wow-great trip! If this is your first round the world, then you may want to slow it down as Jenny and Dan have said. You may find that you’re allocating too many or not enough time in each place and it is better to be flexible. Just looking quickly, for example, I reckon three days in Bruges is way too much time and it is pretty out of the way to go there. Europe is expensive to travel by train and even bus and you are covering some pretty long distances from the looks of it. You may find you get pretty tired. Or you may meet some cool people and want to change your plans. Bruges is very pretty but, I don’t know, there are more interesting places. That said, I can totally understand wanting to hit so many places, especially if it is going to be awhile before you travel again and this is your Big Trip, so to speak. You’ll probably look at our plans for next year and say, what is this woman talking about? You guys are hopping all over. This is probably the first time John and I are squeezing so many places into one trip, but we’ve been spending a lot of time in each different place we travel to for over a decade now and we have a little list of places we want to see because of some other personal goals somthere is a reason for it. Anyway, just giving you some food for thought.

    I think it is fantastic that you are going to the Middle East and India! You are going to have such a good time!
    Andrea recently posted..Happy Feet- One Gal’s Tennis World Tour

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh wow Andrea I am just now seeing this comment… over a year later. So sorry… Im just now seeing it, but lol you were right on the dot… because 9 months into my trip I have slowed it down big time… and oh have these plans changed a lot! I am traveling way slower and loving it so much more.

  24. I love ur plan, and I just DM you.
    Sarah Wu recently posted..My Thanksgiving Dinner at Corner 28

  25. Hi Jaime
    When you are in Krakow in Poland try to go to Zakopane. It’s a popular town in the the Tatra Mountains. The town itself is a tourist trap, but there are some amazing day hikes in the mountains around. Try Dolina Pieciu Stawow (The Valley of Five Lakes)!
    I hope you will enjoy my home country!

    And when you are in South East Asia tray to go to Myanmar and the Philippines. The former is the most authentic and friendly nation in the region, and the Philippines have got amazing diving and snorkeling. Much better than Thailand and with 1/3 of the tourists.
    magda recently posted..Inle Lake

    • Jaime Davila says:

      About a year to late on reading this and wow… yeah I never made it to Poland… and well all my plans have changed so much!

  26. I just stumbled across your blog, nice stuff.
    Out of interest, why no England in there? I would have thought an American visiting England would be quite insightful, and it’s only a couple of hours from much of Europe!

    Nadia Notarpippo recently posted..I Believe I Can Fly

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thanks Nadia, I didn’t put England because it is more expensive but also because I ddin’t want to just visit London and say Ive been… Instead I will leave london at some other point in my life and com back and explore more of the UK!

  27. We have been reading your blog, and let me tell you are a great story teller! We to are planning a RTW trip departing in under 8 months! Would love any feedback about our route http://www.gettingstamped.com/our-trip/our-rout/ and any other advice you may have! Would love to meetup in the future!


    Getting Stamped

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Hannah, thanks so much for the nice comment!!! Glad you enjoy it… & so excited for you to be doing a trip of your own & that you will be leaving soon. Oh you are going to love it. I’ll check it out & give ya any feedback & if you have any questions or comments please email me. I’m always willing to help any one out!!!

  28. I love your blog! I think I have read every post since I stumbled upon it… I’m trying to plan an RTW trip… Where did you get/what travel guides did you buy, and how did you chose your destinations? I’m feeling very overwhelmed trying to plan this!

  29. Please can you share with us how much you spend on your RTW-trip including everything?

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Bo, I have written a few post about how much it cost me and also another post with several statistics. You can find them on the side in my popular post section!

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