I began planning our round the world (RTW) with kids when I was a travel agent. It was way back in 2015 (before I was pregnant with number 3). There were two possible itineraries, one going through Asia, and the other across South America. I had a rough plan, but no set way we had to do things. This became a good thing because our trip got hijacked by COVID, and we were forced to throw all our RTW travel plans in the bin.
Our Original RTW with Kids Plan
This section I wrote before departing, maybe in January or early February 2020.
We have some flights (and a ferry) booked.
RTW with Kids - 1st Stop: New Zealand
We are travelling around the world with our kids and we have no idea when we will return to New Zealand. This is where most of our friends and family live so New Zealand is going to be our first stop for our adventure.
Sydney to Queenstown is sorted, that's 11th February and we spend a couple of nights in one of my favourite parts of the country. We will stay at Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park (we booked with Booking.com).
On the 13th we start our road trip, heading through the beautiful lakes, stopping for lots of photos along the way and calling in at a cute farmstay I found on AirBnB. Check it out below (as an Airbnb Associate, I earn when you book through my link or booking widget).
On the 14th we do a car swap in Christchurch (I'll update a link here soon about our car hack - we hired three cars over 8 days for a total of $53 NZD). We then travel to Hanmer Springs, check in to Forest Peak Motel motel and have a romantic spa for V-day (sorry lovey couples for the three kids invading!).
February 15th we will head to Kaiteriteri where my cousin lives and spend two nights with her. I'm excited because it's been a really long time since I saw her last!
We drop off our car and catch the Picton to Wellington ferry on the 17th February . In Wellington we pick up another car and drive up to Turangi. It's a speedy mission for us in this section because I used to live in Wellington and Kapiti, and both me and hubby have seen the sights before... The big kids just want to get up to Rotorua to spend some time with their biological dad (I'll talk more about this another time, but he's excited to spend some quality time with the kids before we go too).
On the 18th/19th we will be in Rotorua and then head up to Auckland to drop off our car. We plan to see my mum and sister in law and my mum and step dad.
After this we'll have a car to use for the rest of our time in NZ and our plan is to road trip a little bit. We will travel down to Tauranga to see more family, take a walk around the beautiful Mt Maunganui (maybe even go up) and enjoy some time on a beach!
The next section of our plan is not set in stone yet. We haven't decided on our fly out date (or exact destination)...
RTW with Kids - 2nd Stop: Asia
We decided the second major round the world with kids stop will be Asia. Sometime between 29th February and the first week of March we will fly out of New Zealand. We are considering Singapore/Bangkok/Malaysia as our starting point.
Assuming we fly into Bangkok, which is what I'm planning for at the moment, we will enjoy a couple of days, then head to Laos for a week or so, then back to Bangkok.
Then we will overland to Cambodia for another week or so, followed by the remaining time in Vietnam. It's a loose plan. We may skip and just do Cambodia and Vietnam. I don't really know, nor am I worried, because I know this area needs a lot more time than the five weeks we have allocated. This wasn't part of any plan because we booked the next section back in October 2019...
RTW with Kids - 3rd Stop: Turkey
This section of our plan was created purely because we could tick off a bucket list item (actually, a few items), and we would get most out of our air points.
Since 2016 we have been collecting air points (travel hacking). We had this idea that we would fly free. Instead, we are flying business class with Singapore Airlines for $800 AUD (yes, that is five seats too). And to lock this in, I had to book it really early.
We knew we'd like to enjoy Anzac Day at Gallipoli, so I knew our arrival date needed to be before the 20th April. When I checked out availability there was the 12th/13th April or we had to go in March. So I aimed for the April dates and waited for one date to book out. When the 12th was no longer available, hubby and I were ready to commit. Our flight from Singapore departs on the 13th of April.
We didn't make it to Istanbul - so we hung out on An Bang Beach instead - 13 April 2020.
We spend 5 nights in Istanbul then fly down to Izmir for three nights. Next we will pick up a rental car and drive up to Gallipoli, with a couple nights in between. In Gallipoli, we will stay three nights. One of those will be spent at Anzac Cove (I've learned you have to arrive 10pm the evening before, and they play movies/documentaries all night until the dawn service!).
After this once in a lifetime experience, we will head down to Pamukkale for three nights (with one or two nights along the way). We will enjoy the baths that look so much like the Pink and White Terraces that used to be near Lake Tarawera (an area close to our hometown of Rotorua). Following this, we drive toward the coast and stay South of Izmir 2/3 nights.
We then return our car and catch a flight to the amazing Cappadocia. I added this to my bucket list after seeing my friends photos at Sultan Cave Suites. After some research, we decided against staying at Sultan Caves because we didn't want to line up with the Instafamous to get a great photo. We opted a smaller residence called Tulip Suites and I'm sure our photos will still be amazing (and the memories even more so).
Not Cappadocia as planned. Instead, Marble Mountain, Vietnam - with our friends from Kiwi Family Adventures.
After three nights with Tulip Suites, we head back to Istanbul for one night, this time on the Asian side, and the next flight we have booked to Germany.
RTW with Kids - 4th Stop: Europe
Europe is next on our round the world with kids itinerary. We fly into Dusseldorf on the 8th May (from memory). Then either drive or train to my friend who lives in a town I won't try to spell by memory.
We are there two nights, maybe three before making our way to Saint Jean Pied De Port... The beginning of our Camino.
El Camino De Santiago
This is where I'm fuzzy. Our main plan is to begin walking this mid May (assuming they don't have an insane summer like what we've just experienced here in Australia). We either walk the full stretch... Or we don't walk until September.
Half of me just wants to get it done, because LIFE LONG GOAL, HELLO!!! But the other half of me thinks, 'it's summer, wouldn't it be better spent at a beach?'
So watch this space, you never know when or what I'll change. I'm the spontaneous type, learning to plant spontaneous seeds in my hubby's brain. We will see where the road leads us. I have a feeling Portugal will be next to our Camino, lots of surfing for Rimaha... And lots of sand for me!
Not on the Camino. VinPearlLand, Hoi An instead (and no other tourists). Spain was closed, the Camino was closed and we weren't even close.
We have no idea where else our RTW with kids will take us. The world is huge, with so many sites to see. It's exciting to think we are making the most of our life with our kids.
Our COVID-19 Updated Round the World with Kids Plan
In mid to late March we had to wildly change our plan. Everything was basically put in the bin. Turkey was off the cards because ANZAC day commemorations had been cancelled. Spain was looking like possibly one of the worst countries we could travel to.
We made the call to stay and wait in Vietnam. We had entered on a one month e-visa. Usually these are not extendable. Initially we extended our Vietnam visas by one month. Naively I thought perhaps in a month or so, things would change. They didn't. We had to extend again for an extra two months, and we are now facing a third extension, which we will go for three months.
It turned out to be a pricey mistake. I highly recommend getting the longest visa possible for any country you enter. Our friends had entered on three month tourist visas (which are no longer available from 1 July 2020 - always check this information in case it is no longer current for you or your country of residence).
As of June 2020, our plan is to remain in Asia until March or April of 2020. We still have our air points for business class flights for Singapore to Istanbul. We can take this flight any time before December 2021.
We plan to extend our Vietnam visa out to October 2020. I don't think we'll be able to extend again after this. I'm pretty sure we would have deeply covered the entire country at that point too.
For now, this means our round the world with kids plan is more like an all over Asia with kids travel plan. We are excited to do some of these incredible countries during this strange and crazy time. We will record it all to share with you! The RTW thing is going to be a lifelong plan, I wonder how long my kids will stay with us, I wonder if we will visit all the places we would like to go.
We will enjoy every moment along the way.