I want to plan a yearlong, around-the-world trip, but have no idea how. Do you have any ideas on how to get started? I'm definitely on a budget.
Aside from getting an idea on where you want to go, when, and what you want to see, the first big step is to check out airfares. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to score an around-the-world ticket is through a consolidator like Air Brokers International (airbrokers.com) or Airtreks (airtreks.com). Both companies allow you to book a string of round-the-world fares at a discounted rate mostly without a change-fee penalty by having specially negotiated contracts with the airlines and other ticketing vendors. They also offer customer support before and during your trip, should obstacles arise.
If you want to stretch your dollar even further, then make sure you fly in only one direction (west or east), plan your itinerary around big cities (New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Sydney, Bangkok), and try to travel during the off- or shoulder season. Also keep in mind that you don't have to fly into or leave from the same city. Before you hand over your credit card, though, check your passport. If it expires within six months after your planned return date, you need to have it renewed before you go.
Send your questions to Hillary Geronemus, travel editor at Body + Soul magazine, at firstname.lastname@example.org.