Planning, hmmm, now this is the fun bit! My best advice to anyone planning a trip like this would be to really enjoy the planning. It is part of the adventure, the fun and the chaos of trying to complete a trip like this. Use every resource you can find, friends, internet, libraries EVERYTHING!
I guarantee you'll be suprised the amount of friends/co-workers who have actually done this sort of thing before and you never knew that they had. They will all impart on you their favourite route, town or activity but remember to make this YOUR trip. Think of some things you have always wanted to do or see and try to include them. That might be living with a tribe for a week or watching a Thai boxing match live or bungee from the tallest bridge, but make sure its something YOU want to do and not just because someone told you it was the best thing since sliced bread. That way you will truly make the memories unique and hopefully not bore the tits off of everyone you talk to about it when you get back as they say 'oh yeah, I did that once!'.
So, how did we plan it?....
Well, Round The World Experts were the best company in terms of prices and informative/helpful staff. They helped us plan the trip in terms of which countries to visit and in which order to make the tickets as cheap as possible. They also helped with advice on where and when to go. We ended up reversing the order of countries so that we were following the good weather across the globe instead of following the bad. So the order was going to be as follows:-
UK fly to LA (flight change only)
LA fly to Fiji
Fiji fly to North New Zealand. Make our own way to…
South NZ fly to Sidney (South Eastern AUS) travel overland up east coast to…
Cairns (North Eastern AUS) fly to Singapore
This would take us approx 3-4 months, then it gets a bit vague as we will spend 3-5 months in South East Asia booking our own local flights between Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bali, Borneo to then have our return home flight from Bangkok to UK.
So now we knew a route and a rough travel plan the urgent problem became sorting out the house ready to rent and getting tenants in. Upad was an invaluable website that helped advertise my house on over 900 websites and really made a difference to getting tenants in. We then became consumed in what seemed like a never ending task of cleaning/repairing and 3 months and a lot of blood, sweat, tears and boxes up the loft later we moved out of our house and into my parent’s.
Finally we would now have our chance to plan some more of the route and earmark some places we would like to see on our way round. We knew the countries we were going to so began reading books, exploring websites and asking people who had been to the countries for some advice on the most unmissable places and ones to avoid. Sticking large maps of each country to my mothers wardrobes (sorry mum) we began scribbling notes and sticking post-its on them to give us more of a plan of places to see and activities to enjoy.
The main idea was to have 1-2 things per week that we really wanted to do. This would hopefully give us the space to enjoy the journey, meet interesting people and the flexibility to go 'off piste' as much as possible and really explore the local areas.