RTW Location Planning
RTW location planning is one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire process. Whether you use a fold out map or something a little more high-tech, picking out locations can be a lot of fun.
I've pulled a list of countries from Wikipedia which are separated into continents and regions. For now, we're not going to worry about our route. We can figure that out after we've picked our locations. Oh, and get a word document open or grab a piece of paper. You'll need it for this.
Click on the box next to the region and start looking at countries. As you see one that tickles your fancy, go ahead and write it down. Some people find it easier just to copy/paste all of the countries into a word file and then delete what they don't want.
Remember that we're not worried yet about how we're going to get there or what city you'll be visiting in that country. If the country looks cool, go ahead and put it on your list.
Central African Republic
Congo, Democratic Republic of (Congo-Kinshasa)
Congo, Republic of (Congo-Brazzaville)
Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Sao Tome and Principe
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
British Indian Ocean Territory
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Timor-Leste (East Timor)
United Arab Emirates
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Isle of Man
Antigua and Barbuda
St. Barts Island
Saint Kitts Island
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
United States Virgin Islands
Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Coral Sea Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
Papua New Guinea
Wallis and Futuna
Here's an example of what I had for one region at the end of this step.
Pretty simple, eh?
Once you've got a decent list of countries on your list, it's time to get a little more specific. The Internet is great for this sort of work and you can find a lot of useful RTW location planning information this way. Head over to websites like Wikipedia, Lonely Planet, and TripAdvisor. Each country will have its own page or forum. These sites are treasure troves of information about specific things to see and do. The only downside is that a lot of them are geared more for the tourist than traveler, but you will find some diamonds in the rough.
As a follow up to the above, you may want to Google each country name plus the words "Travel blog" (For example: Mexico Travel Blog) You'll need to sift through the results a bit, but you'll find plenty of great blogs to pull ideas for RTW location planning.
RTW location planning isn't something you'll knock out in an hour. This will take you days if not weeks. Take your time and have fun with it. As you read up on the locations and come across an interesting place to visit, be sure to write it down under that country! By the end of this step, you should have a pretty formidable list of countries and cities/attractions.
I keep all my notes in Evernote, but I copied a few over to Word as an example of what yours may look like at the end of Step 2.
You'll notice some countries didn't make the cut. Upon further research, you may change your mind about visiting a country. That's perfectly fine. We're still in the planning stages anyway.
By the end of our RTW location planning, we should have a rough idea of where we want to go. Now we're going to look at when to go there.