Best Travel Routes In The World – In 2014 and 2015, we traveled around the world for 13 months. If you’re planning an extended trip and need some inspiration, or just want to know what we’ve been up to, here’s our round-the-world tour.
Nine of the 13 months were spent in Asia. We have several reasons for doing this. Asia is one of the cheaper places to travel, so our money can go a long way here, helping us stay within our budget. Second, it takes a long time to get from the East Coast of the US to Asia, so we want to explore this area thoroughly when we have time. And finally, there is a lot to see in Asia, a country that is completely new to us before starting this international trip.
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We spend less time in more expensive countries such as Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Japan didn’t even make it out of our first initiative because it might have been too expensive, but we ended up adding it anyway. It was a good decision; Japan is now one of our favorite countries.
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We did not visit South America on this trip. First, time ran out. Also, it is very easy to fly from the US to South America, so we can visit this country when we return home.
From Maryland we took the Bolt bus to New York. We took family photos in Times Square and then boarded a flight to Europe. Hello world, here we come!
We landed in Copenhagen and had a six hour layover before our flight to Rome, Italy. This was just enough for lunch in Nyhavn and before we knew it, we were on our way to Rome.
Since we travel as a family, we have to adjust to being with each other at all hours of the day. We want to enter this new tourist area in a place where we have little experience. For us, this “known” place is Europe. We don’t want to deal with culture shock, exotic places and new travel trends all the time, so Italy made it our first travel destination.
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After spending a few days in Berchtesgaden, Germany, we made Garmisch-Partenkirchen our headquarters. From here we explore Liechtenstein (with a short visit to the incredible town of Buchs in Switzerland), Innsbruck in Austria and Rothenburg in Germany. From Munich we flew to Africa, a new country for us.
For six weeks we traveled around South Africa on a road trip. We logged thousands of kilometers driving across Botswana and much of South Africa.
Our flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Kathmandu, Nepal departed from Abu Dhabi. We turned this stopover into a layover and spent three days here, just enough time to climb the world’s tallest building and drink gold-infused cappuccinos before arriving in Asia.
We have planned our round-the-world trip so that we are in Nepal at the end of September, when the trekking season begins for Everest Base Camp. Most people do the trek in early to mid October. We used our methods a week ago to reduce the number of people on the road. We were lucky that the monsoon was not late and we had a great experience.
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With a daily tax of $250 per person (about half the price for children), Bhutan is an economic disaster. We almost didn’t include this in our world tour because of the high daily rate. But with Nepal and India on our way, we are so close to Bhutan that it seems a pity to cross it.
It was a great decision to include Bhutan in our world travel itinerary. Bhutan is now one of our favorite places in the world… it is a strange, quiet, incredibly beautiful and special place that we are so lucky to visit.
We only stayed here for a week, just long enough to see the highlights and fall in love with Bhutan. I think we will be back one day…
Our Grand India Tour starts from Siliguri on Diwali. Suddenly we stepped into the colorful beauty, charm of this land. After a few days in the cold, foggy city of Darjeeling, we flew to Mumbai, where we hopped on to Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho and Kolkata.
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In India I got dengue fever and Kara suffered from homesickness. It’s no secret that we weren’t big fans of India during our five week stay. In fact, we decided to skip a few weeks ago, cut our round-the-world trip short and travel to Myanmar or Thailand in time. But our time in India has changed us in many ways…how we travel, who we are as a family, and how we feel about our place in the world.
In Myanmar, we spent the first week in Yangon, applying for a visa to Thailand, doing a bit of sightseeing and getting things done like school and planning for the future. Then we took a bus north to visit the temples of Bagan. From Mandalay we flew to Bangkok, Thailand.
Bangkok is an amazing city and a great starting point for exploring Southeast Asia. We spent a few days here before flying to Krabi, Thailand. We wanted to do something special for Christmas and with beautiful beaches, rock climbing and snorkelling, Krabi is perfect.
After nine days in Krabi, we flew back to Bangkok and then hopped on public transport to Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. To celebrate the most memorable new year, we spent the night putting paper lanterns in the sky, a unique and unforgettable experience in Thailand.
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We only spend time in Laos and this time is not enough. Laos exceeded our expectations and I wish we could spend more time here.
After returning from Thailand, we went down the Mekong River for two days, ending our trip in Luang Prabang. This small French town in Los Angeles is a joy to explore. From Luang Prabang, everything gets better with a flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
We spent two weeks in Cambodia. Our first week was spent exploring the temples around Siem Reap. From Siem Reap we spent a few days in Phnom Penh, visited the Killing Fields and ended up in small Kampot.
We explore Vietnam from the bottom up, starting from the island of Phu Quoc and gradually moving north, ending up in Hanoi. From Hanoi we travel to China, by bus to Nanning.
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From walking the Great Wall, visiting the Forbidden City, cycling through the beautiful scenery of Yangshuo and visiting Zhangjiajie, our time in China was exceptional. Hong Kong looks great, although our side trip to Macau is a bit lost.
In two weeks, we traveled to the most popular places in Taiwan, the most important of which is Taipei City, hiking Teapot Mountain, exploring Taroko National Park and having dinner at the market.
Again we turn to the stopover station. Our flight from Taiwan to New Zealand took off from Fiji, so we stopped in paradise for a good week.
New Zealand is our favorite country in our travel world. It’s beautiful, adventurous, clean and quiet, and fun to explore.
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Australia is one of the three most expensive countries on the list, but that’s ok, we enjoyed our time here. Tasmania is our favourite, but Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru are also beautiful.
We relax in the cultural heart of Bali in Ubud for some much needed relaxation time, then go boating and beaching in Seminyak.
Since the end of our trip was far away, we started hopping from country to country, trying to see as much as possible before this amazing adventure ended. For five quick days we toured the highlights of Singapore and then headed to Kuala Lumpur.
Tim found cheap flights from Singapore to Japan, and Kuala Lumpur was on the list. We stayed here long enough to see the Petronas Towers and learn that Kuala Lumpur is much more interesting than we expected.
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We were in South Korea during the MERS outbreak. Unfortunately due to MERS the DMZ was “closed” so we didn’t get to see it, very disappointing. In just one week, we spent a few days in Seoul and then spent some time exploring Jeju Island.
Japan is amazing. It’s still very hot and uncomfortable in the middle of summer. The food, the culture, the temples, the history… Japan is a place we can’t wait to explore again… just not in the summer.
From Tokyo we flew to Los Angeles. How strange it feels to be back in the good ol’ USA. At this point in our journey we were exhausted and looking forward to “home”. The thing is, we don’t have a house because we sold it to take it overseas, but still