This trip I think is going to be so much fun. I sometimes daydream about the feeling that i’ll have on the first day.
Traveling for a year will be full with a lot of fun experiences. I like traveling a lot so this is a perfect opportunity to travel a lot. I think it will be very cool because the more places we go, the more things we’ll see, the more things we will know, and I like to know things.
Bonus – it was all my idea.
I’m still deciding if I want to go…
I am excited to literally “See the world through our children’s eyes.” It will also be super cool to see who actually meets up with us along the way. Being the extroverted socialite, I am really looking forward to all the new friends we will make.
When the girls first came to me with the idea, it sounded like a great adventure. We could choose to continue along with our comfortable lifestyle and daily routine, or select a different path. Being one who is always up for doing things a little differently, the idea of the trip appealed to me from the start.
The more we discussed the possibility, the more excited we became. Whether we make it a full year on the road, or come home after nine months, we’ll make family memories that can never be taken away.
On the business side of things, we find more and more people searching for unique, memorable family travel experiences. The popularity of extended or “gap year” travel is increasing. How better can we prepare to assist others with their long term travel plans than first do it ourselves?
Planning our around-the-world itinerary was a fun family activity. We gathered around a map with colored pins and we each placed the pins on the countries we wanted to visit. It was basically a brainstorming session. When a country had pins, it was added to the list.
Once our initial wish list was formed, we looked at potential routes we could take that would touch as many of the countries on the wish list as possible. A year sounds like a long time and is far longer in duration than any family trip we’ve taken to date. However, while reviewing our initial wish list, we realized we would need much longer than one year to accomplish all that we’d like to do.
As we visit the various stops along the way, we want unpack and settle in for a couple weeks at a time. Have enough down time to walk local markets, visit parks where the kids can meet other kids, keep up with work. We’d rather visit fewer countries and stay in each for a longer time.
We realized quickly that there was no way we’d get to everywhere we wanted to on this trip. Understood how those who have taken similar adventures often begin with a year in mind and sometimes end up on the road for two, three, or more. Some travel for a few years, return home for a short time and then go again. There are just too many amazing places in the world to visit. We could easily spend a year in some of the countries on our list and not get to everything we’d like to in that country.
The Virtuoso meeting in Australia is what got our trip around-the-world conversation started in the first place. Had it not been for Australia, we may not be planning to go anywhere right now. However, if we were starting from scratch, we’d opt to begin in a country where it was spring so that we’d have a slightly easier path to chase the warm weather.
Once we felt good about the list of countries we hoped to visit, we began to explore our options for airline tickets. Being in the travel industry, we checked first with our regular airline partners. Unfortunately, most specialize in point to point, or round-trip tickets rather than long term, extended travel. A few of the airlines and airline alliances have options for around the world fares, and if an itinerary fit within the airlines rules & parameters, the around-the-world tickets could be a good option for some. We found the airline alliance restrictions too limited. We didn’t want to always fly in the same direction, or put a limit on how many flights we could take. Through speaking with others who had taken similar trips and after reading countless stories of other travelers, we found AirTreks, an airline consolidator who specializes in the around the world tickets.
With the AirTreks Trip Planner, we were able to create our own itinerary with as many or as few flights as we needed. It is a fun tool to play with and was very helpful in finalizing our itinerary. The more flight segments we included, the more money we saved. The only challenge we had was that we were a little nervous to commit to flights ten months from now when we weren’t sure exactly what our itinerary would be.
We ultimately decided to split the trip in half, and reserve the long haul tickets to take us through the first six months of the trip. With the long flights in place, we had more dates set and were able to fine tune our plans within each country.
The AirTreks process was an easy one. First you type in the cities you want to fly between, and the computer returns an approximate price. After submitting our contact information, we received an email from one of the agents. We shared the dates we had in mind for travel. The agent returned an overview summary listing the cities we were including, the airlines they found the best fares with, and an approximate price range per person.
When we saw that the flights would fit within the budget we had in mind, we scheduled a booking call to finalize specific flights, airlines and seats. Some of the flights we chose to upgrade to premium economy class, others we selected coach. AirTreks provides the option to upgrade to business class; we chose to keep the flights to the coach and premium economy. If we didn’t like the initial flight or airline option offered, we switched it out with another. By the end of the call, we had purchased our family airline tickets for Jacksonville – Hawaii – Australia – New Zealand – Asia – Europe.