Planning a world trip in 10 steps (2024)

Deciding to drop everything and travel around the world can seem like an impossible dream. We know the feeling, we’ve been dreaming of it for years but didn’t know where to start. It is easy to put together a bucket list, but selling your home, storing all of your belongings, quitting your job, and saying goodbye to your loved ones isn’t. And what about your budget, visas, and vaccinations? Luckily for you, we made a comprehensive list of the steps you’ll need to take in order to make your dreams of traveling around the world a reality. We have compiled our own experience into 10 steps for planning a world trip. If we can do it, so can you!

Planning a world trip in 10 steps

1. Make a bucket list of destinations, activities, and experiences
2. Determine the budget and duration of your world trip
3. Create a savings plan
4. Map out your itinerary
5. Start preparing your world trip
6. Start booking your world trip
7. Last preparations
8. Say goodbye to your loved ones
9. Start packing for your world trip
10. Enjoy!

1. Make a bucket list of destinations, activities, and experiences

There are undoubtedly countries and activities you have been dreaming of for years. Whether it’s hiking to Machu Picchu or visiting an idyllic island like Bora Bora, Hawaii, or the Cook Islands, everyone has some bucket list destinations. During this first phase, it is important to make a list of destinations you absolutely want to see. Don’t let practical concerns like budget, location, duration,… stop you. These are concerns for later. Right now, the sky is the limit! This list of destinations should represent your “perfect world trip”.

2. Determine the budget and duration of your world trip

Now that you’ve mapped out your biggest dreams, it’s time for some practical matters. How long do you want to be on the road? What is your budget? Are you looking for the “backpacker experience”, or is it more luxury that you desire?

Look up daily budgets for each destination

To get a good idea of how much your dream trip would cost you, we recommend looking up the average daily budget for each destination that you created in step 1. A great website for this is Budget Your Trip. Here you can select your own travel style, like budget, mid-range, or luxury. Based on what style you pick, an average daily budget is determined for your destination.

The way we did it was: We looked at day budgets for the budget and mid-range categories, and then picked a budget in between those two numbers. Our final day budgets per location are somewhere between these two travel styles. Another thing to keep in mind is that we’re traveling with two, so our daily budget will be lower than if traveling alone. This is because we will share a room, share most of our meals, taxi’s are cheaper for 2 people than alone,…

The two main areas we plan to save on are transportation and restaurants. If you read our budget breakdowns, you will know that we usually heavily rely on cabs. This time, we are going to get around mainly by bus and train, because it is a looot cheaper. And instead of going to restaurants every day we are going to opt for street food more often. In terms of accommodations, we are going to alternate between “nice” and “affordable”. We are not going to sleep in a hostel every day just to save money, but neither are we going to look for luxurious accommodations all the time. As long as it has a separate room we’re happy! The one thing we don’t want to save on are activities and experiences. Most of our budget is going to be spent on these!

Determine the duration of your world trip

Another really important thing is: How long can you travel? If you can travel indefinitely, you have nothing to consider or even worry about. However, maybe you’re only able to travel for a year (or less) because you are taking unpaid leave? Then it’s important to think about your destinations. Do you want to see as much as possible in a short time? Or do you really want to experience a country, not worrying so much about the “total amount of destinations”?

A common mistake is wanting to see too many countries in too little time. If you visit a new country every 2 weeks, you’ll probably miss a lot of things! Not to mention all the hassles surrounding your travel, like changing rooms every few days, looking for bus/train/plane tickets every few days, … It’s better to stretch out a little more time per destination and skip some destinations, than to do 20 countries in six months. It won’t feel like a trip, but more like a chore!

A good estimate is one month per country. Don’t worry, there will undoubtedly be places where you will decide to stay longer or where you will want to move on just after 2 weeks. However, it’s better to calculate enough time so there are no surprises afterwards!

If we take our own case as example: we’re planning on visiting 15 countries in one year. This includes 2 city trips to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, where we’ll spend just a couple of days. This means that for the remaining 13 countries we have just under a month per country, this gives us enough time to explore everything!

Calculate your total budget

Now that you know how long your world trip will take, it’s time to calculate your total budget. Calculate how much each destination would cost you if you stayed there for a month, and then make the total of all the destinations. Add to this total an additional 15% for other costs such as plane tickets between destinations, visas, vaccinations, and unexpected expenses during your world trip.

Our world trip comes to about € 20 000 per person for a year. This means that on top of that we have to add another € 3 000 in additional costs, so in total it comes to € 23 000 per person.

3. Create a savings plan

Now that you have an idea of how much your world trip will cost you, it’s time to see how you can save this amount together. You have to consider how many months you can save for your world trip, and how much you can save per month.

For example: you want to leave within exactly 1 year (12 months). The total budget of your world trip comes to € 30 000, you have already saved € 18 000. So you still need € 12 000. This means you need to save € 1 000 every month for the next 12 months. This sounds almost impossible, but fortunately there are many smart ways to save money or earn extra money to help you reach your goals faster. From selling clothes, canceling your subscriptions like Netflix and gym, and saving on groceries and restaurant visits, there are countless ways to save money. This money can be set aside for your world trip!

Some things we did to save money: sell clothes (on Vinted), sell games (on tweedehands), sell digital art (on Redbubble), sell our stuff at the flea market, cancel gym membership, cancel Spotify subscription,… Also: “beg” our parents for some donations. 😉

If you still find that the monthly amount to be saved is too high, you can eliminate some destinations in the next step and adjust the duration for each destination.

4. Map out your itinerary

It’s time to revise your bucket list. In this step, you are going to create a logical world trip itinerary. This also means that you’ll have to drop a few destinations off your list! Remember that the fewer destinations you visit, the less money you’ll have to spend on transportation to each destination. It is cheaper to spend 2 months in the same place than to visit a different country every 2 weeks. Also, the longer you stay in a country, the better you’ll experience it: win-win! The sooner we realized this, the better. At first, it felt so weird to remove destinations from our bucket list, but making choices is part of the process. 😉

We pinned all the countries we wanted to visit on Google Maps. Then we looked at the best travel times by country. These were mainly based on the weather, but also on the cultural activities that will happen in the country. Since we were leaving at the end of January, we looked at which countries had the months January and February as the best travel time. This allowed us to determine our first destination, and then it’s a matter of finding a logical order in your destinations. It is easier (and cheaper) to travel to neighboring countries, than it is to travel all over the world and back.

This is also how we came to the decision that we are going to limit our world trip to 3 continents: Asia, Oceania, and Latin America. We would have loved to do Africa as well, but in terms of budget and itinerary this was impossible. For us, it is important to really experience a country, and not to see as much as possible in as short a time as possible. We also wanted to limit the number of destinations so that we don’t have to provide too much money for transportation to different destinations.

We (well Thysia, mostly) then looked at all the things we had to do in each country. This was our starting point for deciding how many days we should spend in each country. Once we made a list of the things we wanted to visit, Kelvin then picked the most “logical” route to take from and to each location.

5. Start preparing your world trip

Now that you know which destinations you’ll visit, it’s time to prepare your world trip… For real! From visas and vaccinations to figuring out travel insurance, this step covers everything!

Research visa and entry requirements

Check the visa and entry requirements for each country on your itinerary. Some countries offer visa-free entry, while others require application in advance. Some countries even offer a limited number of visa-free days. This means that if you want to stay longer, you still need to arrange a visa, or you have to extend the (free) visa when you’re already in the country. Be sure to compile this information for all your destinations!

Pro tip
We used Belgium’s official government website to look up the necessary travel documents for each destination. There is also the website iVisa that will give you an indication of what’s needed for each destination.

Vaccinations and health preparations

Besides checking the visa and entry requirements, you should also check whether certain vaccinations are required to enter a country. You should check which vaccinations or medications are mandatory and which vaccinations are recommended for each country. Be sure to check with your doctor as well. They (usually) have your file on record with previous vaccinations, and they also know if you should take an anti-malarial treatment for instance. Discuss your itinerary with your doctor, based on this he/she can give advice!

Start your research at least six months in advance, since some vaccinations require multiple shots, with several weeks in between. Last but not least: don’t forget to take your vaccination booklet with you on your world trip!

Pro tip
A great website to look up health advice by country is Wanda.

Passport validity

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your planned return date. So be sure to check the validity of your passport and, if necessary, renew your current passport!

Kelvin’s passport is valid until May 2026. Since we’ll leave at the end of January 2024 and travel for a year, we will be back around February 2025. Kelvin’s passport will still be valid for more than a year by then, so his passport does not need to be renewed.

However, Thysia’s passport will expire in January 2024, so she had to apply for a new passport. Renewing her passport came to € 96 (French passport). The price for a Belgian passport depends on the municipality you live in. On average, you should count between € 70 and € 100 for a Belgian passport.

Whilst doing our due diligence, we found out that passport prices for most Western countries (EU and North-America) vary between € 30 – € 150.

Buy an international driver’s license

Are you planning to rent a car or scooter on a world trip? Then make sure you have an international driver’s license! An international driver’s license serves as a translation of your current driver’s license. It makes it easier for law enforcement officials to understand your driving qualifications and experience. It’s important to note that an international driver’s license doesn’t replace your current driver’s license. It’s an additional document that validates your right to drive in a foreign country. Additionally, having an international driver’s license ensures that you are covered by car insurance and can rent a vehicle. Some rental companies may even require it.

We had already purchased an international driver’s license for our US road trip, which is valid for 3 years. For this we paid € 25 each in Belgium. Prices vary from country to country, so be sure to look up the price for your country. Even if you currently have no plans to rent a car, we highly recommend purchasing an international driver’s license. That way you will always have the option of renting a car!

Notify your bank about your travel plans

Inform your banks and credit card companies about your travel plans to avoid any issues with accessing your account while abroad. This prevents them from flagging your transactions as suspicious.

Before you leave, be sure to check your (credit) card settings as well. It is often that the use of your (credit) card is limited to a certain region. Our credit cards defaults to Europe, meaning that for our world trip we still need to open our credit cards to Asia, Oceania, and Latin America. Most banks even have the option to open your cards in advance, i.e. open your cards for Asia from February – May 2024. That way you can already set and forget your card settings, and you don’t leave them open indefinitely which is much safer.

One last helpful tip we want to share is to make sure you have multiple cards available. You never know when a card will be blocked or stolen! We both have a regular bank card and credit card available, but wanted an additional card for our world trip.

We did some research on travel credit cards, which allow you to earn Miles with every purchase. These Miles can be converted to flights, hotel rooms, experiences or even cashed out afterwards. Win-win! We hold a Premium Flying Blue World Mastercard. For every euro we spend with this card, we receive 1,25 Miles (or more if you’re spending them inside the partner program). These Miles are transferred to our Flying Blue account every month, where we can convert them into flights or other benefits. After the first purchase with this card, we also received a welcome bonus of 5 000 Miles.

Arrange travel insurance

You should definitely consider getting travel insurance when planning a world trip. Travel insurance provides coverage for unforeseen events that may occur during your travels. This can be an accident, illness, lost baggage, car rental problems, and trip cancellations. Medical emergencies can quickly become financially overwhelming, especially for international travelers. That’s why having travel insurance can provide peace of mind and protect you from unexpected expenses! You should also check if your trip abroad isn’t already (partially) covered by your “local” or national insurance. Also, check what’s included in your credit card insurance as well!

Pro tip
Need help finding good travel insurance? Be sure to check out Safetywing and World Nomad.

Decide what to do with your home and work

An important decision you’ll have to make is what to do with your home and work. Are you going to sell or rent your home? Are you going to quit your job? Or will you take unpaid leave? Below we discuss some options concerning your home and work.

Have you thought about what you want to do with your home while traveling? Do you want to travel for a period of time and then return to your home? Is your dream to leave everything behind and sell your home? Or are you currently renting a house or apartment for a limited time? These are all different options that affect your budget. Let’s dive into what we did.

Since we are renting an apartment, we don’t have to make a decision in terms of renting or selling our home before or whilst we’re gone. Our rental agreement stated that we had to live in our appartment for (at least) 3 years, otherwise we’d get a penalty. At the time we want to leave on our world trip, we’ll be renting our apartment for 3 years. This means we can terminate our rental contract and get back our rental deposit, without having to pay any penalties. This also means that during the year we travel, we don’t have to pay any bills for rent, gas, electricity, or even groceries. This was an important choice for our world trip budget!

If you want to return to work at your current employer after your world trip, you should discuss your options with your employer. You may be able to take unpaid leave, or save up vacation days. Are you planning to quit your job? If so, be sure to calculate how long your notice period is. Make sure to check with your employer to see if you can take some vacation days. If you are self-employed, you need to make the choice of whether you plan to work while on the road, although this might add extra “working visa” headaches. There are plenty of things to take care of before you leave and the sooner you start, the less stressful it will be.

Optional: buy a backpack

If you plan to travel with a suitcase, chances are you already have one. Are you planning to backpack and is it the first time you’ll travel with a backpack? Then it’s time to compare different backpacks and choose the right one!

We also had to buy new backpacks, because we usually travel with a suitcase rather than with a backpack. Our hunt for the best backpack wasn’t something we took lightly. The things we were looking for in a backpack were: the size and capacity, the comfort and fit, the ventilation, and also the price.

For Thysia, it was important that the backpack was big enough, but not too big since she otherwise won’t be able to carry it all day long. That’s why we looked for backpacks in the 50L – 60L range, with enough compartments to store everything (even the smallest things). For Kelvin we decided that 60L – 70L was sufficient. That way we have the option to store a little more if needed, again with a main focus on all the different compartments for optimal storage. After trying on a lot of backpacks, checking for comfort and ventilation, and looking in the mirror 😂, we decided on two backpacks: the Forclaz MT900 SYMBIUM 50+10 L (Thysia), and the Forclaz MT900 SYMBIUM 70+10 L (Kelvin). Both backpacks combined set us back € 300.

6. Start booking your world trip

In our US road trip preparation guide, we mentioned how important it is to book some things in advance. From popular attractions to peak season accommodations and even airline tickets, it’s important to book certain things in advance!

Book your first flight

Obviously, you don’t want to arrange your first flight to start your world trip only 2 days before departure. Therefore, start monitoring flight prices around six months in advance, and determine a price at which you would book immediately. Make sure to factor in luggage cost as well, even if you’re traveling with a (large) backpack! Most flight aggregator websites only show the price without any luggage. A cool website that has the feature to search for tickets with luggage included is You can also set a price alert over there, so we definitely recommend it! Also make sure you have a flexible departure date, leaving a day earlier or later can easily save you € 50 or more!

Monitor flight prices of your other destinations

We’re certainly not saying you should book everything in advance, but monitoring prices never hurts! Especially if you’re also going to visit popular destinations in high season. For example, if Japan and Australia are on your schedule, it’s advisable to keep an eye on flight prices for these countries as well. Even if you’re unsure what your departure airport will be for your trip to Japan or Australia, it never hurts to look! You can set multiple airports or even countries (eg. Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia) as departure location, and the price alerts will keep track of ticket prices for all of them!

Book accommodation(s) for your first week

At the beginning of your your world trip, you don’t want to be stressing about finding accommodations. Make sure to book accommodation(s) for the first week in advance, that way you have enough time to get used to your destination. Having to look for a place to stay on your first night is definitely not advisable.

Buy tickets for popular attractions and sightseeing tours

It’s incredible how quickly tickets sell out for popular attractions and sightseeing tours these days. On top of that, most places started working with time slots since the pandemic. This means that even if you DO get a ticket, you’ll have to be lucky to be able to choose your preferred time (think sunset, sunrise, …). Therefore, we recommend booking attractions and tours that have been on your bucket list for years well in advance. That way you don’t have to arrange anything on the spot, and you can be sure to tick things off your bucket list!

7. Last preparations

You are almost there, just a few small steps to go! In this part, we want to make sure you’ve thought about everything. We don’t want to have that “did I leave the oven on?” feeling, if you know what we mean. 😂

Cancel all your subscriptions

Make sure you have an overview of all your current subscriptions. Think about your gym membership, phone subscription, Spotify, Netflix,… It’s probably best to cancel your gym and phone subscriptions, especially if you’re planning on buying a sim in every country you’ll visit. But what about Netflix and Spotify? If you’re traveling alone, you might want to keep the option to watch Netflix on the go. The same goes with Spotify, unless you’re on a “family plan” where the monthly cost is negligible. Since we’re traveling as a couple, we’re going to cancel our subscriptions to have some extra budget for our world trip! If you plan to cancel certain subscriptions, do so at least one month in advance, better maybe two. Often you have another month’s notice period, you don’t want your first month of your world trip to be filled with unnecessary expenses!

Pre-departure check-up

Be sure to visit the dentist, doctor, pharmacist, and optician before your departure.

It’s always a good idea to go on a yearly dental check-up, even if you don’t have any problems right now. Your dentist might fix issues that you don’t even know were there. Also, it’s better to make one last visit to a dentist you know, than having to look for an emergency dentist thousands of miles away!

Make sure to visit your doctor for necessary prescriptions. If you are taking certain medications or contraception, you should have enough medication for the time you’re traveling (and some extra). Make sure to stop by the pharmacy as well for useful things like sunscreen, mosquito repellent, aquatabs, Dafalgan, Enterrol,… We also recommend carrying a basic first aid kit.

If you wear glasses or lenses, it is recommended to get an eye measurement before departure. That way you can purchase glasses and a supply of lenses at the correct prescription.

Go to the hairdresser

If you plan to be away for a long time, it’s not a bad idea to get a haircut just before you leave. This way you’re sure to have a nice haircut, for the first few weeks of your world trip at least. 😂

Make copies of important travel documents

Make sure to have copies of your most important travel documents. We both have all our travel documents on our iPhone and laptop. We also have a copy of important travel documents such as our passport and visas in our backpack, this in case our iPhone was stolen.

Inform your municipality about your travel plans

A week before departure, you’ll have to inform your municipality about your travel plans. Inform them about the duration of your travels. Keep in mind that you must be registered at an address in Belgium. If you plan to sell your home, be sure to see if you can register at an address of family or friends!

This advice is only applicable to people that are living in Belgium. So be sure to look up the procedures for the country you live in.

Carry some passport photos

For your visas you’ll need passport photos. It can’t hurt to have some extra passport photos with you on your trip! You’ll never know when you might need them.

Download useful apps

You won’t have WiFi or coverage everywhere, so it is recommended to download the maps of your destination offline. You can do this both with Google Maps and! If you plan on withdrawing cash from ATMs, the app ATM Fee Saver will come in super handy. Based on your location, it will show you the ATMs around you with the lowest fees. Don’t forget to also always decline the conversion!

In addition, it is also convenient to download apps such as, Airbnb, Get Your Guide, Skyscanner, Google Translate, Uber,… in advance. For apps like Uber or Lyft, it’s also useful to check if you can still login into your account, and that your payment details are up to date. If you do use Spotify and/or Netflix, be sure to download music, movies, and series offline as well!

8. Say goodbye to your loved ones

And what better way to say goodbye than with a farewell party? Invite your family and friends to say goodbye before you leave. After all, you’ll have to miss each other for a long period of time, so it’s nice to say goodbye extensively! Choose the right moment. In your final week before departure, you’ll likely have other priorities besides organizing (and hosting) a party. We recommend planning your party 2-3 weeks in advance, that way you have plenty of time for other preparations. That’s what we did!

9. Start packing for your world trip

It’s almost time to leave! Of course, you can’t leave without packing. Whether you choose to leave with a backpack or a suitcase, we have 1 golden rule: don’t overpack! You really don’t need 5 sweaters, and those 5 pairs of shoes can stay at home, too. Two pairs of shoes (one for hiking, one “casual”) is more than sufficient. Make sure you bring things that are easy to combine. Choose neutral tones such as white, black, and beige. These colors go with everything! Last but not least: no worries if you forgot something, you can buy just about anything in the world. 😉

Some other things that you may or may not find useful are: an extra charger for your phone/tablet/laptop, zip lock bags to protect from water, travel pillow, ear plugs, a powerbank, a pen,…

Pro tip
Use packing cubes to keep your clothes sorted.

10. Enjoy!

Last but not least: enjoy! It is finally time to leave, and you have prepared everything you could. Now is the time to fully enjoy, and not to worry too much. There will be times where things go wrong, like stuff that gets stolen or a plane that you miss. Don’t let that define your trip, not everything has to be perfect! Focus on the unforgettable moments and memories you made along the way.

  1. Marcoclaratravels says:

    This is such a comprehensive post! We are planning our world trip and you have helped to unpack everything so clearly 💕 all the best for ur world trip!

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