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A Tentative Itinerary for Backpacking Around the World

Lake Tekapo Map

Alright. I figure it’s about time I released my tentative itinerary for my adventure around the world. It’s all very up in the air, right now, but I want to get something out there and start getting feedback. I’ve already decided I’m not purchasing a RTW ticket but will instead travel overland where possible & get cheap one-way tickets as I move along.

Here’s the schedule, and some of the things I hope to do while in each region/country:

  1. Tentative departure date is set for mid-to-late April-ish (pending when I give my notice at work). I’ll spend the first 3 weeks in Italy. Right now, I’ve got two options:
    • bring along a friend (Jennifer, are you listening?), or
    • volunteer or see about finding temporary work
      Honestly, it seems more likely that I’ll be just spending a crapload of money in Italy if I don’t find a way to offset some of the costs, so that is yet to be determined.
  2. Next stop is Morocco where I’ll meet up with my friend Liz (or at least since last time we spoke).
  3. Ten-ish days in Morocco and then off to Egypt where I’ll spend a minimum of 2 weeks. There’s a lot I want to see and do there, though I know it can get expensive.
  4. From Egypt, I’ll travel through Sinai and overland to Israel to cross through the Taba/Eliat border crossing. This is something I’m really looking forward to.
  5. Once in Israel, I’m hoping to find work on a kibbutz for about 2 months. I’m still working out the details, but if anyone has any advice on whether this should be arranged beforehand, please please please contact me.
  6. This gets me to probably sometime in August. (Yes, I realize I’ll be in Israel during the hottest time of the year.) After Israel, I’ve been considering taking a ferry over to Cyprus. It can be slightly expensive, but my main goal is to get back over to Eastern Europe.
  7. From Cyprus, I’ll fly cheaply to Greece where I hope to spend a short period of time (depending upon cost) and then travel via train to Hungary.
  8. A weekend in Budapest should be pretty exciting and it’s been on my travel list for a while now. From Budapest, I’ll then head onwards to one of my big destinations:
  9. Croatia. I’m not sure I can relate how interested I am to visit this country. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful photos and read a lot on the area, but I’m really just very excited to be able to spend some time here.
  10. After 2 weeks on the beautiful beaches of Croatia, I’ll travel (probably by train) to Istanbul for a short stint there.
  11. From Turkey, I’ll make my way over to Delhi, India. Right now, it seems I could fly there, but I wouldn’t be adverse to traveling overland through the Middle East (though this would take some serious time, and possibly caution).
  12. Originally, I wanted to spend at least a month in India, but I’ve since decided I’d really love to spend a month in Nepal. So after a bit of time in and around Delhi (the Taj Mahal), I’ll make my way to Kathmandu.
  13. There, I’ll do some trekking, relaxation & meditation, and probably a side trip over to Tibet on the Friendship Highway. Still need to read up on Nepalese culture, but I think I could really enjoy my time here.
  14. Sometime in October, I’ll leave from Kathmandu and arrive in Thailand. A few weeks there (3 probably: one on the beaches, one in the forests and one reserved for the unknown) and then onwards in Southeast Asia.
  15. Right now, I’m planning on visiting Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos, spending the majority of my time in Vietnam. I have some extended family who lives there, so hopefully I can meet up for a nice visit.
  16. After that, my plan is to get to Sydney, Australia by early-December. There, I’m planning to get a 1-year travel/work visa and I’ll meet up with some of my connections to try and get a full-time, legitimate job in either Sydney or Melbourne.
  17. Pending a well-paid job in Australia, I’d definitely plan on weekend (or longer, if I can swing it) trips to Singapore, Fiji, Malaysia, Indonesia (specifically: Bali), The Philippines & more.
  18. Then there’s the idea to make sure my tentative backpacking itinerary includes a few party destinations and festivals in backpacking hubs.
  19. This gets me to sometime in the future. I don’t know what to do after that, but definitely a long-term trip to South America (and back to Central America) is in order.

Well, that’s it. Even after typing this all out, I can see a few flaws in my plan. And some obvious areas where I’ll be spending too much money, or rushing my time there. The main idea of my trip, however, has always been to get me a full-time job abroad. Ideally, that’ll happen next December in Australia. And, of course, if I get some freelance design work as I go along, I’ll have to slow down to accommodate.

The big places I want to see, however, remain: Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Croatia, India, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. However, I had to sacrifice the length of time in several of those countries in order to insure an arrival date in Australia just in time for the holidays (when I’m hoping some family & friends will be coming to visit). All in all, though, I’m generally happy with this itinerary as it stands. I’m definitely up for recommendations and suggestions, though, so comment away!

  1. Candice says:

    Sweeeeeet list! What a trip. I'm jealous.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I love reading travel itineraries, it gets me so excited! Your's looks awesome. Perhaps our paths will cross in SE Asia/Australia. That would be neat.

    Croatia is gorgeous, I'm sure you'll love it. My only advice to you is to try to get over to Bosnia while you are there. It's right next door and heartbreakingly cool, my favorite spot I've been. Actually all of the Balkans area is pretty awesome so try and see some more of it if you can. But especially Bosnia.

  3. Monica says:

    I haven't had my RTW trip yet so the only advice I can give you is…

    1.) Takes a lot of pictures (although that shouldn't be a problem judging from your previous post) but don't forget to capture the moment in your heart.

    2.) Plan less, live more. Things always change when I travel and I get frustrated when things don't go according to plan. Chuck the itinerary and just go where ever the wind blows. We're trained to plan at work and school. It's all a part of our institutionalized education. But when you're out in the world, just live it. You'll enjoy going where ever the wind blows.

    3.) Duck tape will save your life.

    4.) If need be, it's okay to wear your underwear inside out. :)

  4. gotpassport says:

    amazing itinerary adam. Looking forward to following your journey! Perhaps you would consider visiting Burma also. Beautiful country!

    Best Wishes.

  5. Suzi says:

    Hi Adam,

    I know you're looking at this from the cost-savings angle, but I can see you're also trying to keep your Bucket List in the fore-front & I think you're doing the right thing! Even if you end up cutting short on something later on, you'll never regret having been where you most wanted to go!

    I'm sure others can offer you cost-cutting ideas on your itinerary but be sure to follow your dreams & have a wonderful time, as I know you will.

    As Candice said, I'm jealous too, but hopefully not for long! :-)

    Happy Trails . . .

  6. Kathy says:

    Hi Adam – looks like it's really coming together. A few points:

    1. Think about stopping off in Tunisia on the way to Egypt. You don't want to overland to Tunisia, but you could overland on from there, stopping off in Alexandria. Or the desert.

    2. Think about visiting Jordan, Lebanon and Syria before Israel. There are some good sights there (I just got back), and you can't visit Lebanon and Syria if your passport shows evidence (NOT just Israeli entrance/exit stamps) of having visited Israel.

    3. From Greece I would go overland to Croatia, visiting Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, and then go on to Hungary, rather than going north and then back south. Or are you planning to do that on the way to Istanbul? I'd take the train from Zagreb to Budapest, and then south through Romania and Bulgaria to Turkey. And don't just do beaches in Croatia – Plitvice National Park is a must-see.

    4. The situation in Nepal is a bit dicey right now, but who knows what it will be like by the time you get there. And you're totally short-changing India if all you see is Delhi and Agra.

    5. Definitely plan on some time in Cambodia and Laos. Luang Prabang (Laos) and Angkor Wat are must-sees, but there are other good places in both countries.

    You have budgeted for the visas, right? Also, have you checked for vaccinations etc? If you're in Boston there's probably a good travel clinic.

  7. Jeremy says:

    We will probably cross paths in South East Asia. Sometime in November I should be in Cambodia or Laos. My plan is to come into Vietnam around October then jump over to Cambodia, go up Laos, and down into Thailand via Chiang Mai. If we happen to be in that region of the world I bet we would meet up somewhere.

  8. brandybell says:

    looks positively amazing! I have to ask though- why are you limiting your time in advance? do you have deadlines?
    If not, I would recommend getting your places together and then taking each country as it comes…

  9. ShannonOD says:

    Nepal is one of my favorite places from my trip! I spent seven weeks three (four of them volunteering teaching english at a monastery) and the other three trekking and meditating just as you plan – it was a real highlight of the trip.

    And then I second Stephanie – I was absolutley blown away by the Balkans and Bosnia was a surprising highlight of the region – I'd go back there for a visit in a heartbeat!

    The rest looks great though – how many months does this encompass? Australia for this Christmas or the following?

  10. lizkoch says:

    Yep, we'll meet up for Morocco and Egypt. And I'll probably catch up with you for a bit in Nepal, too. And i couldn't agree more with gotpassport, make sure you see Burma!

  11. Chris says:

    Awesome itinerary mate, given me some more ideas for europe also I need to get my ideas sorted out too. Hope to cross paths with you over there come june.

  12. Dave says:

    Adam –

    Looks like you've got a great itinerary, and you're hitting a lot of places I didn't go. :)

    I agree with Kathy that you're shortchanging India if you only spend a little time around Delhi and Agra (Taj Mahal). Buses run from India to Nepal from more than one spot. I think you can take a bus to either Pokhara, or Kathamndu, but I'm not 100% sure.

    I'm not sure of the current security situation, but I was there while they had their first free elections, and even though the Maoists came to power, there was no sense of danger. And I doubt for tourists, there'd be any concern now either.

    “There, I’ll do some trekking, relaxation & meditation, and probably a side trip over to Tibet on the Friendship Highway.”

    Based on my research in 2007, you can't enter Nepal via India as an independent traveler. You can join a tour group, and then try to escape it, but I decided that sounded too dicey. That's why I decided to go into Tibet via train from China, because I had a better shot at going independently, and even then, it felt/was sketchy because you need to get a Tibet Travel Permit from the gov't.

    I found Lonely Planet Thorntree was better than Bootsnall when it came to researching travel in/into Tibet.

    I'm excited for you!

  13. Adam says:

    It would be great if our paths crossed. I actually might be making a trip down to DC in the next month to see my sister there, so who knows!

    Bosnia's a good idea. I'd read it was a little dicey security-wise, but that info may be outdated. I'll look into it!

  14. Adam says:

    I'm down with all these guidelines! And you're right about “plan less, live more.” I'd totally be willing to throw out my itinerary pending life.

  15. Adam says:

    My only deadlines are Morocco & Egypt in May (set dates to meet up with my friend Liz) and then to arrive in Sydney before Christmas Day 2010 (though, I suppose in a pinch this could be adjusted). A big part of this plan is definitely based on flexibility around those dates, so I'm open to just about anything.

  16. Adam says:

    Australia for this Christmas so I can spend their summer there, then some more travels for the next summer (2011) in South America… unless someone hires me for lots of cash in some exotic, foreign place!

  17. Adam says:

    Thanks Kathy!

    Tunisia does sound like a place I'd be interested in. I'd love to overland in Africa so I'll look into going to Alexandria first considering that's a place I definitely want to see in Egypt.

    I love this idea of overland travel from Greece to Croatia. I'm definitely going to consider it because it did seem a little strange going out-of-my-way to skip Bosnia.

    And everyone seems to be agreeing about my skipping major sections of India. I'll be spending a month and a half between India & Nepal, but if I'm loving India I'll definitely be spending more time there.

    Thanks for the other tips! I've already found a good travel clinic in Boston and have already been working on my necessary vaccinations!

  18. Adam says:

    It'd be awesome to meet up! I'll be following you on your blog & twitter, so I'll be on the lookout…

  19. Adam says:

    ok ok ok! Burma is on the “list.”

  20. Adam says:

    Excellent! Let me know when you've got a “tentative” itinerary. It'd be awesome to meet up somewhere.

  21. Adam says:

    Alright it seems I've got 2 people who've suggested Burma & also 2 others who've suggested Bosnia. Definitely looking into both now!

  22. Adam says:

    Thanks Candice. I forget, are you planning a trip involving some sort of long-term travel? Or are you just an awesome, free-spirited travel blogger?

  23. Adam says:

    Thanks Suzi!

    There's definitely a delicate mix between money & seeing everything I want to see. I'll be keeping things relatively open and flexible despite having a planned itinerary like this one. This'll keep my parents at bay & provide some semblance of responsibility! But of course I'm going to go wherever the road takes me.

  24. Adam says:

    Thanks Dave for the advice! Definitely some things to look into here. I'll check the forums on more Nepal/Tibet info. I've also essentially allotted a month and a half for India/Nepal/Tibet and I'll mix up the dates depending upon how I'm enjoying my time wherever I am. If India turns out to be absolutely amazing (which is a high possibility, I'm sure), I'll cut some time out of Nepal, or even push back my December deadline for arriving in Australia.

    Definitely the big take-away I've gotten from everyone's comments today is to of course be flexible. Part of my reason for publishing this is so I can now go back and change it all up again!

    Thanks again for the feedback!

  25. Kathy says:

    India is a very big place and Delhi, and especially Agra, aren't a great introduction. If you're headed up to Nepal (where the Maoists left the government and there is currently a general strike – but you have lots of time), maybe you could manage should-not-be-missed Varanasi on the way. And south India is quite different to the north. For my 10 weeks round India by train see – do take the train!

  26. Adam says:

    Thanks for coming by Anna!

    I hadn't looked into the weekend trips out of Australia yet, so that's good info to have. I kinda figured some of those would be long flights but didn't think past it. You're right to suggest visiting more of SEA after I leave Australia, which I'll definitely update in my itinerary.

    Oh, and I'd love all the help I can get to get a job in Sydney once I get nearer. That would be amazing! :)

  27. Cornelius Aesop says:

    I love that you have a good plan but it's all very flexible, adding “ish” to tentative dates. Who knows maybe by the time you find your way to South America I'll be on the first leg of my trip which would be living/working in Lima, Peru.

  28. Kathy says:

    I'm pretty sure you shouldn't overland through Algeria, so you'd have to fly Morocco to Tunisia, but Libya should be fine.

  29. Adam says:

    Awesome! I hope you get there quick! South America is the one region I really hated leaving off this list. In fact, when I started planning a RTW trip last year, I was hoping to already be on my trip and in South America by this time. But, I'll still make it there, just at the end of my travels, I suppose…

  30. Chris says:

    I started work on it last night. I want to try and get it posted up maybe next week then we can cross reference where we might be.

  31. @AnnaJura says:

    This looks like an incredible trip Adam!
    Although I know it's a very tentative plan I just thought I'd chime in with a comment on #17
    Weekend trips from Australia to anywhere overseas aren't really worth it. The flight from Sydney to Singapore/Malaysia/Phillippines is around 9 hours, to Fiji is 4.5 hours and they aren't really that cheap (around $500 – $800 AUD return). It might be better to do the south-east asia countries all at once, say in Feb/March after your Australian visa runs out (also, school holidays here finish at the end of January so flights are cheaper).
    I just thought I'd let you know so that, if any of those countries are on your 'must-see' list, you don't miss them!
    I live in Sydney so if you need a hand with recommendations for getting a job/where to live/what to see I'd be happy to help :)
    Have fun planning!

  32. lizkoch says:

    Overland in Africa from Morocco to Egypt sounds AWESOME. Let's find out more!

  33. ShannonOD says:

    Sounds like a great plan (if a bit rushed) I look forward to seeing how this
    shapes up as you get closer! :-)

  34. craigzabransky says:

    Yes an incredible experience awaits. I would not worry so much about your plans – they will change as you meet people in the places you go. Adventure awaits that is what counts. My only advice have FUN and don't worry about where you don't see, but enjoy what you do.

    Stay Adventurous,

  35. Susan says:

    I am so jealous. We are strongly considering Croatia for our honeymoon in September.

  36. Monica is too right on the duct tape. My ex made a wallet in Thailand that lasted him 6 months during and after the trip. The whole itinerary sounds exciting! Love Istanbul and Vietnam was by far my fave country out of the SE Asia corridor. Yay!

  37. Bec says:

    your picture is a map of NZ and you're not even going?!?!?! talk about a bait and switch!

    i agree about weekend trips from Aus. stick to the country while you are there. there is loads to see within and the nearest place, esp from SYD and MEL is like 3-7 hours (3 being NZ, 7 being anywhere in Asia).

    can't wait to read/hear more!

  38. Adam says:

    Everyone's been talking about Croatia. It's supposed to be amazing & I've seen it on a few people's 2010 travel lists.

  39. Adam says:

    haha! Kudos to you for realizing that, thanks! It was all I had and it works in a pinch!

  40. Adam says:

    How long were you in Istanbul for? I've heard pretty good things about getting out of the city and exploring more of Turkey, but I'm not sure how much time I'll actually have. Then again, maybe I am rushing too much so may cut back as well….

  41. Kathy says:

    Easyjet is pretty cheap too, and has a better rep for how it treats customers better.

    Sure, Italy can be expensive. Almost any country can be expensive if you choose. Some areas of Italy are cheaper than others. Some kinds of trips are cheaper than others – in increasing cost: couchsurfing, hostels, monasteries, B&Bs, pensions. Markets and paninis are cheap ways to eat.

  42. Adam says:

    I've actually flown RyanAir before… from London to Dublin. It was an okay experience.

    I'm with you, Kathy. Any country can be expensive. It's just a matter of finding the cheaper way of doing everyday things.

  43. Chris says:

    Italy is very expansive, if I can suggest, you can fly from Rome or Venice everywhere in Europe; there is an airline company called Rayanair; If you planning to travel around Europe, I strongly suggest to book your ticket now as you can fly for free!! I am not kidding,you pay just taxes! I always fly with this company and I pay no more then 60 pounds (maybe 100 American dollars) to fly from london to Venice.
    I think that planning is an important part if you want to save money, I am telling you..

  44. I was in Istanbul about a week, but seriously wanted more time. Who knows, I might be goin' back. Turkey itself is really the apex of history, hopefully you can devote more time to it.

  45. Adam says:

    Yeah, I'm already realizing I could spend a lot more time in Turkey. Pulling out the red pen yet again!

  46. CamelsAndChocolate says:

    Great plan! Just found your site through Kristabella, and am always happy to “meet” fellow travelers/travel bloggers. Best of luck!

  47. Sasha says:

    WOW this looks like it's going to be an amazing trip!!! I'm totally jealous you going to so many places i want to go!!! I love that you want to travel overland as much as possible i think that's such a great way to travel!!! One thing i would definitely recommend is travelling overland from Croatia to Greece through Albania, i did this and it was pretty amazing. Albania is such a weird and wonderful place although the boarders are a bit sketchy bribing to get through is not uncommon.

    Can't wait to read all you stories!!! We should totally catch up when your in Aus!!!

  48. Hi Adam, I have to disagree with you; not all country are expansive; depends the currency they use.
    Thailand and Malaysia are cheap, Australia and New Zealand are quite cheap and Europe is expansive.
    And booking your flight well before the date you travel will save you lots of money.

  49. Dave says:

    Nice itinerary, Adam. I haven't got much to add beyond what others have already said, except to say that if you're anything like me your time in SE Asia won't be enough no matter how long you spend there, and that while December is a fantastic time to be in Australia, you may find that it's not the greatest time to get a job. Everyone seems to shut down and stop thinking about work (and hiring) from early December through to mid Jan.

    Still, it's a great excuse to sit on the beach, eat too much BBQ food and drink too much beer. I've just taken voluntary redundancy from my job in Melbourne, and I've been doing exactly that! :-)

  50. Adam says:

    Thanks for the comment Dave.

    I'm quickly realizing that I may be rushing too much to get to Australia by December. I'll keep those dates in mind for finding a job – after Australia Day may be a better time to start applying which would give me plenty of time to fully enjoy the summer.

    Also, after watching Anthony Bourdian's show just now about Bali, Indonesia made me realize I could very well end up staying there forever. That could very well affect my itinerary!

  51. Adam says:

    Yeah, I've already reconsidered skipping Italy (saving that for a different trip) and including Bosnia & Herzegovina into this trip. Probably some more time in Turkey as well.

    Thanks for stopping by my site!

  52. Mike says:

    Since you are unsure about Croatia, I've heard that the coast is the place to go and you should definitely go to Bosnia & Herzegovina while you are there. Really great site though, I like it a lot. Also, be careful with (2 weeks) in Italy – the Euro in Italy will burn a hole through your wallet almost to the point of making it not enjoyable at times.

  53. Heather says:

    Have Fun Adam

    I organized my own round-the-world trip a few years ago, except that it turned into an around-asia tour instead. In India, the Taj Mahal is nice, but the Golden Temple is amazing. It is in Amritsrar (2 hr trainride NW of Delhi near Pakistan border). The Golden Temple is amazing and in my opinion outshone the Taj Mahal (less tourists as well).

    Don't skimp out on your time in Laos and Cambodia, they are amazing countries. And you will love Thailand. In Australia, camp out in King's Canyon (near Ayes Rock)

    I'm planning my next trip now, but for the time being I will enjoy hearing about you travels.

  54. Adam says:

    Thanks for the tips! It's still very likely at this point that my RTW trip could take a drastic turn and end up just focusing on a single reason. One thing I've learned is to keep things FLEXIBLE.

  55. Hey Adam,

    Small world! We're a couple from the South Shore of MA and we're taking off on our own RTW trip starting in June. Our first stop is Cairo, Egypt!

    About Croatia… I traveled Europe during the summer of 2008 and my girlfriend met me over in Dubrovnik, Croatia. We spent a week there and we had the most incredible time! After traveling to 14 countries across Europe, Croatia was hands down my favorite! Check out my blog and you'll see some of my entries from Dubrovnik. We rented an apartment on the foothills outside of Old Town and the views were amazing. I couldn't recommend Dubrovnik enough. We visited the island of Lokrum, kayaked in the Adriatic sea, and we also did a day trip to Montenegro. Saw the Bay of Kotor and other sights.

    Anyways, get in touch with us… who knows maybe we'll cross paths on our RTW trip!

    -Ryan & Liz

  56. […] Which destinations do you hope to visit? This changes just about every day. Seriously. I’ve decided to simply my itinerary by basically picking regions and general months. I first wrote about my itinerary here. […]

  57. lillian says:

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  58. lillian says:

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  59. lilliana says:

    Hello, How are you? hope you are okè,My name is miss lillian I drop at your profile a / / and i love what i saw i believe we can get an aquintance, Please write me back to my private email address to enable me send you my is my email address ([email protected] Remeber distance or colour does not matter but matters alot is life ([email protected])

  60. lilliana says:

    Hello, How are you? hope you are okè,My name is miss lillian I drop at your profile a / / and i love what i saw i believe we can get an aquintance, Please write me back to my private email address to enable me send you my is my email address ([email protected] Remeber distance or colour does not matter but matters alot is life ([email protected])

  61. lillian says:

    Hello, How are you? hope you are okè,My name is miss lillian I drop at your profile a / / and i love what i saw i believe we can get an aquintance, Please write me back to my private email address to enable me send you my is my email address ([email protected] Remeber distance or colour does not matter but matters alot is life ([email protected])

  62. Monika your second option is also very related to life.Nothing of the world have hard plane.What do u mean by duck tape?

  63. alisha says:

    Jealous! I really would love to see India! But I'm saving it as my last stop on my travel bucket list. Your Jerusalem tweets/posts have sounded like a great time, hope it continues. I'll have to bug you about Latin America too!

  64. […] I’ve been out of the country for over six months now. I figured I should take a look at the original “tentative itinerary” I set up before I left and see how I’m doing. Here’s the […]

  65. […] I’d last for this long. And, actually, I was never really meant to (kind of). According to my original itinerary, I was supposed to be living & working in Australia by this point. Instead, I’m on the […]

  66. 5 European hotspots I've never seen | Travels of Adam - Hipster travel around the world says:

    […] I first wrote a tentative itinerary for my RTW trip, Italy was going to be the first country I visited. At the last minute, I changed […]

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