Julie Itinerary, RTW 62 Comments

In 2014 and 2015, we spent 13 months traveling around the world. If you are considering long-term travel and need some inspiration, or just want to find out what we did, here is our around the world itinerary.

An Overview of our Trip


Duration: 13 months, 396 days
Countries visited: 35
Continents: 5
Distance traveled: 87,314 miles

Our Around the World Itinerary Map

Nine of the 13 months were spent in Asia. We had several reasons for doing this. Asia is one of the cheaper places to travel through, so our money could go farther here, helping us stick to our budget. Second, it takes a long time to travel to Asia from the east coast of the USA, so we wanted to explore this region thoroughly while we had the luxury of time. And finally, there is SO MUCH to see in Asia, a continent that was brand new to us before starting this around the world trip.

We spent less time in more expensive countries, such as Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Japan did not even make it on our original itinerary simply because it can be so expensive, but we did end up adding it in, anyway. It was a great decision; Japan is now one of our favorite countries.

We did not visit South America on this itinerary. For one thing, we ran out of time. Plus, it’s fairly easy to fly from the US to South America, so we could visit this continent once we were home again.

Our Around the World Itinerary

New York City – June 29, 2014

From Maryland, we took the Bolt Bus to New York City. In Times Square, we snapped a family photo and then boarded our flight to Europe. Hello world, here we come!

Copenhagen, Denmark – June 30

We landed in Copenhagen and had a six hour layover before our flight to Rome, Italy. This was just enough time for lunch in Nyhavn and before we knew it, we were on our way to Rome.

Our route through Europe

Europe Itinerary Map

Italy and The Vatican – July 1 to July 25

         Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi Coast, Pompeii
         Siena and Tuscany
         Cinque Terre

Since we traveled as a family, we had to adjust to being with each other every moment of the day. We wanted to get into this new groove of traveling in a place that felt somewhat familiar to us. For us, this “familiar” place was Europe. We did not want to deal with culture shock, exotic locales, and a new style of traveling all at once, so Italy made it as our first destination of the trip.


Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein – July 25 to August 6

         Berchtesgaden, Germany
         Salzburg, Austria
         Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
         Innsbruck, Austria
         Rothenburg, Germany
         Munich, Germany

After spending several days in Berchtesgaden, Germany, we made Garmisch-Partenkirchen our home base. From here we explored Liechtenstein (with a very brief visit to the unexciting town of Buchs, Switzerland), Innsbruck, Austria, and Rothenburg, Germany. From Munich we flew to Africa, to a brand new continent for us.


Our route through Southern Africa

Southern Africa Itinerary Map

Southern Africa – August 7 to September 17

         Johannesburg, South Africa
         Francistown, Botswana
         Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
         Chobe National Park, Botswana
         Mlilwane Animal Sanctuary, Swaziland
         Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
         Kruger National Park, South Africa
         St. Lucia and iSimangaliso National Park, South Africa
         Drakensburg, South Africa
         The Sani Pass & Lesotho
         Addo Elephant Park, South Africa
         Garden Route: Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Oudtshoorn, Hermanus
         Cape Town

For six weeks, we toured southern Africa on one epic road trip. We logged thousands of miles, driving through Botswana and a huge portion of South Africa.

Chobe Elephant

United Arab Emirates – September 17 to September 21

        Abu Dhabi

Our flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Kathmandu, Nepal had a layover in Abu Dhabi. We changed this layover into a stopover, spending just three days here, just enough time to climb the world’s tallest building and drink cappuccinos sprinkled with gold, before entering Asia.

Our route through Nepal, Bhutan, and India

Subcontinent Map

Nepal – September 21 to October 17

         Everest Base Camp Trek
         Patan & Bhaktapur

We planned our around the world itinerary so that we would be in Nepal at the end of September, the start of the trekking season to Everest Base Camp. Most people make the trek in early to mid-October. We took our chances, starting a week earlier, to minimize the number of people on the trail. We got lucky that monsoon season did not run late and we had a fabulous experience.

While in Nepal, we also toured Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, and Pokhara.

Durbar Square Kathmandu

EBC Trek with Kids

Bhutan – October 17 to October 23

         Paro and the Tiger’s Nest

With a daily tariff of $250 per person (about half that cost for kids) Bhutan was a budget breaker. We almost did not include this into our around the world itinerary because of the high daily cost. But because we had Nepal and India in our itinerary, we were so close to Bhutan that it seemed a shame to skip over it.

It was an awesome decision to include Bhutan in our around the world itinerary. Bhutan is now one of our favorite spots in the world…it’s exotic, tranquil, incredibly beautiful, and a unique destination that we were very lucky to visit.

We spent just a week here, just long enough to see the highlights and fall in love with Bhutan. I have a feeling we will be back again someday…

Tigers Nest

India – October 23 to November 28

       Agra & the Taj Mahal

Our grand tour of India started in Siliguri on Diwali. Immediately, we were thrust into the amazingly colorful, intriguing culture of this country. After a few days in the cool, misty hill town of Darjeeling, we flew to Mumbai, where we hopped to Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, and Kolkatta.

It was in India that I got sick with dengue fever and Kara dealt with homesickness. It is no secret that we were not big fans of India during our five week visit here. In fact, we considered skipping the last several weeks, shortening our around the world itinerary and traveling to Myanmar or Thailand early. But our time in India changed us in so many ways…how we travel, who we are as a family, and how we think about our place in the world.

Earth Trekkers Taj Mahal

Our route through Southeast Asia

Our Southeast Asia Route

Myanmar – November 28 to December 11


In Myanmar, our first week was spent in Yangon, getting visas for Thailand, doing a little sightseeing, and getting get caught up on things like homeschooling and future trip planning. Then we took a bus north to visit the temples of Bagan. From Mandalay we flew to Bangkok, Thailand.

Overlooking Bagan

Thailand – December 11 to January 11

         Chiang Mai
         Chiang Rai

Bangkok is an amazing city and a great launching point for exploring Southeast Asia. We spent several days here before flying to Krabi, Thailand. We wanted to be somewhere extra special for Christmas, and with beautiful beaches, rock climbing, and snorkeling, Krabi was perfect.

After nine days in Krabi, we flew back to Bangkok, and then hopped to Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai using public transportation. For our most memorable New Year’s Eve yet, we spent the night launching paper lanterns into the sky, a unique and unforgettable Thai experience.

New Years Eve Lanterns

Laos – January 11 to January 18

         Luang Prabang

We spent just one week in Laos and this was not enough time. Laos blew away our expectations, and I wish we spent more time here.

Leaving Thailand behind, we drifted down the Mekong River for two days, our journey ending in Luang Prabang. This small, French city in the Laos jungle was a joy to explore. From Luang Prabang, things kept getting better with a flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Cambodia – January 18 to January 31

         Siem Reap
         Phnom Penh

We spent two weeks in Cambodia. Our first week was spent exploring the temples around Siem Reap. From Siem Reap we spent several days in Phnom Penh, visiting the Killing Fields, and ending in wonderful little Kampot.

Angkor Wat with Kids

Vietnam – January 31 to February 25

         Phu Quoc Island
         Mekong Delta (Can Tho)
         Ho Chi Minh City
         Hoi An & Da Nang
         Halong Bay

We explored Vietnam from bottom to top, starting on Phu Quoc Island and slowly hopping northward, ending in Hanoi. From Hanoi, we traveled overland into China, taking a series of buses to get to Nanning.

Our route through China and Taiwan

China Itinerary Map

China, Hong Kong, & Macau – February 25 to March 25

         Hong Kong

From walking on the Great Wall, visiting the Forbidden City, cycling among the fantastic scenery in Yangshuo, to visiting Zhangjiajie, our time in China was extraordinary. Hong Kong was just as amazing, although our side trip to Macau was a bit of a letdown.

Cycling Li River Valley

Taiwan – March 25 to April 8

        Keelung & Teapot Mountain
        Haulien & Taroko National Park
        Kenting National Park

With two weeks, we toured the most popular spots of Taiwan, the highlights being the city of Taipei, hiking Teapot Mountain, exploring Taroko National Park, and eating at the night markets.

Taiwan Bridge

Fiji – April 9 to April 17

        Mamanuca Islands

Again, we turned a layover into a stopover. Our flight from Taiwan to New Zealand flew through Fiji, so we plopped ourselves down in paradise for one wonderful week.


New Zealand – April 17 to May 11

         Te Anau & the Milford Sound
         Mt Cook/Aoraki NP
         Motueka & Abel Tasman NP
         Blenheim & Marlborough Wine Region
         Turangi & the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
         Hamilton, Matamata, & Hobbiton

New Zealand was our favorite country on our around the world itinerary. It’s gorgeous, it’s adventurous, it’s clean and quiet, and it’s a joy to explore.

Key Summit Hike

Australia – May 11 to June 11

         Hobart, Tasmania
         Adelaide and the wine regions
         Great Ocean Road
         Town of 1770, Great Barrier Reef

Australia was one of our most expensive countries on the list, but that’s OK, we thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Tasmania was our favorite spot, but Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef, and Uluru were also pretty awesome.

Kings Canyon

Bali – June 11 to June 23


For some much needed chill time, we relaxed in the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud, followed by surfing and beach time in Seminyak.

Ubud Bali

Singapore – June 23 to June 28

As the end of our trip loomed out in the distance, we began hopping from country to country, trying to see as much as possible before this amazing adventure came to an end. For a quick five days, we toured the highlights of Singapore, then hopped over to Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore Gardens

Kuala Lumpur – June 28 to July 1

Tim found a series of cheap flights linking Singapore to Japan, and Kuala Lumpur was on the list. We were here just long enough to see the Petronas Towers and to learn that Kuala Lumpur was much more interesting than we expected it to be.

South Korea – July 1 to July 7

        Jeju Island

We were in South Korea during the MERS epidemic. Unfortunately, because of MERS, the DMZ was “closed,” so we missed seeing it, a huge bummer. With just a week, we spent a few days in Seoul and then spent a little time exploring Jeju Island.


Japan – July 7 to July 23


Japan is amazing. It’s also extremely hot and uncomfortable during the mid-summer months. The food, the culture, the temples, the history…Japan is a place we cannot wait to explore again…just not during the summer.

In Nara Japan

USA – July 23 to July 29

         Los Angeles
         New York City
         Bus to Maryland

From Tokyo, we flew to Los Angeles. How strange it felt to back in the good ole USA. By this point in our travels, we were exhausted and actually looking forward to being “home.” The thing is, we had no house, since we sold it to take this trip, but still it felt wonderful to be heading back to our hometown.

We spent a few days in the stupor of jet lag, touring LA, before flying to New York City. It felt great to connect the dots on the map, getting back to the starting point of our trip around the globe. From NYC, it was one final 4 hour bus ride back to Maryland.

Life After a Trip Around the World

Just because our trip around the world came to an end, our travels did not have to end, also. Now we are home owners, work full time jobs, and have two kids in public school. Still, we find the time to travel. In fact, we make it a priority.

For us, an around the world trip did not extinguish our wanderlust. It’s still there, burning as brightly as before that first flight to Copenhagen. Now, we travel every chance we get, traveling to new countries, and exploring parts of the US that are still brand new to us.

Who knows, maybe someday, we will circle the globe again…

Are you Considering a Trip Around the World?

Visit our Around the World page, where we offer information about all phases of long-term travel, including the planning phase, what it’s really like to be on the road, and what it is like to come home.

How to Travel Around the World

If you have any questions about planning your around the world itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.

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All of the maps of this around the world itinerary were made on Travellerspoint.com. It is a free service offered on their website. They also provide other travel planning advice.

Our Around the World Itinerary Pin


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Comments 62

  1. Hey, I am considering doing a similar trip to yours. I just had some questions if you didn’t mind answering. I am young and will be going alone. Did it ever get boring? I know you went as a family but I would like to spend a while in places and am not sure what I would do there yet haha. I also am curious if not knowing the languages of the places you went was an issue?

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      Hello Ryan. That’s an easy one to answer…no, it never got boring. However, we did move from place to place rather quickly, so we always felt very busy, if not overwhelmed at times. I have not done any long term solo travel. I have heard that it can get lonely, especially if you are not the type of person who is very outgoing and will strike up conversations with others. Stay in hostels…you will be surrounded with other young travelers, and hostels are very economical. I bet you will make some great friends along the way. As far as language barriers, in over 90% of the places we visited, we were able to find locals who were fluent in English. The only place we had difficulty was in southern China but Tyler and I spent 1 year learning Mandarin before and during the trip. But for the most part, you will be able to get by with English unless you go somewhere that is very remote. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi. My husband and I are planning a round the world trip next year – covid permitting! We plan ti be aeay fur about a year. We live in the UK so our route will be different to yours. What would you say ate your top 10 must see places? Also, what kind of luggage did you take? (Daft question I know!) Also, did you book every flight before you left? Thank you

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      Hello Vicky. This is very exciting! If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the link to our Around the World Page, where we have articles on how to plan your itinerary, what to pack, and so much more. Check out the packing list for answers about our luggage. For some travel inspiration, take a look at these two posts: 10 Countries We Would Travel to Again and Our Top 10 Bucket List Destinations. We did not book every flight before we left. We had about half of the year prebooked with flights and hotels and worked on the second half while traveling. The How to Design an RTW Itinerary would be a big help for you right now. Once you go through these articles, if you still have questions, feel free to write back in again. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hello Earth Trekkers,
    My name is Kyle Dulaney, im planning a year long trip around the world and i’m putting everything together for myself and i just have a couple questions for you.
    After United Kingdom, should i go north or south?
    I would definitely love to hid sweden and norway but i don’t know if flights would be more or less to go from north to south or south to north.
    Thank you so much for your time!

    1. Post

      Hello Kyle. For flight prices, you can check Kayak.com or Skyscanner.com. Norway and Sweden are amazing! They are also relatively expensive so you might want to consider that when choosing where to go next. I think flights and travel expenses would be cheaper if you headed south vs north. Cheers, Julie

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  4. Very informative with lots of great tips and amazing pictures. Hoping to do my world tour in 2023.. or as soon as covid is under control!

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      That’s very exciting! Good luck with your travel planning…I am very hopeful that things will be back to normal in 2023. Cheers, Julie

  5. I have travelled for years, mostly western & Eastern Europe now that I have more time I wanted to go to South America, whole of Asia, New Zealand & Australia. In Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia. South Africa are my only interests. I have been to Dubai several times.

  6. I have just started looking for articles about travelling the world but this is the best yet, thank you for sharing! As a Canadian, I am relatively close to Maryland. I am trying to plan a long trip but am overwhelmed on where to start… there’s so much to see but I don’t want to miss a thing… any advice on where to start¿

    1. Post

      Hello Lindsey. The first thing to know is that you won’t get to everything. 😊 There is so much to see in the world and it would take several lifetimes to see it all. However, you should pick a few key things on your bucket list and use this as a starting point for planning your trip. All four of us had a “must-see country” plus a few must-do activities, like Everest Base Camp and an African Safari. Then, we planned our route so that it was almost always summer, or at least warm, so that we would not have to pack much cold weather gear. Now, five years later, I think our to-do list is longer than it was before the RTW trip, partly because we now want to revisit some of our favorite spots. That’s the great thing about travel…you will never run out things to do. Good luck in your planning and feel free to write back in as your plan your big trip. Cheers, Julie

  7. One of my bucket lists is to do this. Straight traveling around the world. After reading your blog here, to be honest I feel more inspired to do it. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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