You want to quit your job and travel, but after exploring different types of long term travel, you’ve realized that being a digital nomad forever isn’t right for you. Instead, you’re going to take a round-the-world trip! Whether you have big career goals or relationships at home you want to return for, you know your travels are just one chapter in a great life. But how do you decide when to return home? How long should a round-the-world trip be?
The easy-for-me, frustrating-for-you answer is as long as you want it to be! But let’s break this down a little bit more and look at some examples.
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How Long Should a Round-the-World Trip Be at the Minimum?
Suppose you don’t have a lot of money to travel with. What’s the bare minimum amount of time you can spend away from home but still call it a round-the-world trip?
Technically speaking, your travel becomes a round-the-world trip when you make a complete circumnavigation of the globe. Phileas Fogg’s journey in Around the World in 80 Days is the prototypical round-the-world trip. (And hey – did you know that book inspired Nellie Bly to become a solo female traveler and actually complete her own round-the-world trip in the late 19th century?!)
Two to three months is the lowest amount of time I recommend for round-the-world trips. While you could technically travel around the world much more quickly, you want time for meaningful experiences. You also need at least two months of travel to fully break out of “vacation mode” and get the experience of long-term travel.
How Long Should a Round-the-World Trip Be at the Maximum?
Is there a point when you’ve been traveling for so long, it’s no longer a round-the-world trip? I think the line between taking a round-the-world trip and being a digital nomad is less about duration and more about pace, balance, and planning. How quickly are you moving from place to place? How much are you working versus sightseeing? How much do you have planned in advance?
On a round-the-world trip, you’re probably moving to at least one new destination each month. You might work some to offset your costs, but you’re spending as much time traveling as you are working. You have most if not all of your trip planned in advance. (That’s why it’s so good for us Type A gals!)
Travel as a digital nomad is much slower because you need to plan around your work. You are working full-time, even though you have more control over when and where that work takes place. You are probably settling down in one destination for at least a few months at a time and you don’t have a set plan for where you go next.
All that said, I do think there is a limit to how much travel you can plan in advance. I think planning a two-year round-the-world trip would be very ambitious and I wouldn’t dare try to plan an itinerary any longer than that. Too much can change, even on a shorter trip!
What’s the Most Popular Length of Time for a Round-the-World Trip?
A very common plan for round-the-world trips is to travel for a year. This is my personal favorite approach and the itinerary I made for myself.
One year was the right round-the-world trip for me because it was long enough to feel like a commitment and give me some freedom in figuring out what might come after my trip, without feeling like I had abandoned my life at home forever.
How Do You Find the Best Length of Time for a Round-the-World Trip?
Just because one year is the most common time for a round-the-world trip doesn’t mean it’s best for you. So how do you know how long YOUR round-the-world trip should be?
Circumstances at home can be a factor, especially if you’re committed to a career break rather than a more permanent shift to full-time travel. Are there any big occasions you need to home for? Is there a certain time of year it’s easier to get a new lease in your hometown? Are you negotiating a leave of absence at your full-time job and need to return by a certain date?
Your budget is a big deal! How much money will you have in savings? Are you willing to travel cheaply to make that money stretch? Or are you willing to have a shorter, but more comfortable trip?
And finally, your bucket list can be a great guide. What are the main things motivating you to take a round-the-world trip? What are the biggest must-see places and experiences you need to have for this risk to feel worthwhile? Plan to do one or two of those each month for your perfect round-the-world trip itinerary.
Do you need more hands-on help? Click here to book an Explore Call with me. It’s totally free and we can also talk about whether my program Round-the-World Roadmap is right for you.
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