How to backpack round the world in 12 months

1 year trip inc flights, tours and some accommodation: £9,649

One incredible year - backpack round the world in 12 months! This itinerary takes you through the the USA in 4 weeks, spends 6 weeks in New Zealand and gives you 4 months to work and explore in Australia, before the included tours through Vietnam, Thailand and Laos with more free time to explore. Your trip will wind up in South Africa for a camping safari before finishing in Cape Town where you can celebrate with drinks on top of Table Mountain!

Once you depart, you can use our free date change service to move your flights if you decide to stay longer along the way.

How to book this trip

To book this trip, a similar trip or any other trip - just call one of our friendly round the world specialists on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.

Las Vegas to Los Angeles overland

Experience the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas!
Where better to start your trip of a lifetime than Sin City? Home to the famous 'strip', Vegas has countless casinos, bars, hotels and some of the worlds best entertainment - you'll never be bored in this exciting and vibrant city. We've included 3 nights hotel accommodation and airport transfers to deliver you right into the action!

You'll have 4 weeks in the USA which kicks off with the included 9 day Sin, Surf and Sierras Las Vegas to LA tour. With the help of a guide and in the company of like-minded travellers you'll visit Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco and wind up in Hollywood! Accommodation (camping and hostels), transport and some meals included.

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

You're guaranteed a friendly welcome!
From LA you'll fly to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Get ready for some island-time relaxation - incredible white sand beaches, swaying palms and crystal clear lagoons - a total paradise! We've included 7 nights accommodation with airport transfers so the 'holiday' begins the minute you touch down. It's easy to rent a scooter and ride around the island and many people stretch the extra money for a flight to visit the incredible Aitutaki Lagoon. This isn't included, but we can easily arrange this trip for you.

Auckland to Christchurch overland

Are you brave enough to experience the AJ Hackett Bungy in Queenstown?
There's so much to discover in New Zealand that we've allowed for around 6 weeks on this itinerary. We've included the Kiwi Experience Bus Pass 'Whole Kit & Caboodle' which takes you all over the North and South islands. You can spend more time in destinations en route if you want and just jump on the next bus passing through. This trip takes a minimum of 30 days to complete but we suggest extending it to 6 weeks to see everything. Meals and accommodation are not included with the pass but you will have a driver/guide on board who will help you with accommodation recommendations, booking and anything else you need - including booking extreme sports in Queenstown!


Take the tram from Melbourne's iconic Flinders Street station
Your Australia adventure begins in Melbourne with a Base Melbourne: 7 night work and holiday package. This package provides 7 nights accommodation in Base Hostel St. Kilda as well as giving you access to Job Search Australia, a specialist employment agency who place travellers in jobs and who will help you be fully work-ready. Job placements are in IT, accountancy, office work, marketing, construction, mining, hospitality, PR, tourism, farm and fruit picking and more. This will help you on your way to working and exploring - we've provisionally allowed 4 months before you fly out of Brisbane.

*4 months in Australia: Melbourne to Brisbane overland*

The following 3 tours (Fraser Island, the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef) can be booked as 'open dated' which means you can budget for them in advance but choose the dates you begin each tour to suit your timescales in Australia. Easy!

Fraser Island*

Join a 4WD tour and discover Fraser Island
Just off the Queensland coast from Hervey Bay, you'll find the world's largest sand island! Get ready to explore with this 3 day Fraser Island tour with 2 nights on the island itself. Staying in comfy timber lodges you'll have an expert guide and all transport, accommodation, transfers and meals are included. The tour includes a rainforest boardwalk, a dip in freshwater Lake Mackenzie, a visit to the Maheno shipwreck on the beach, a natural Jacuzzi at the Champagne Pools, a trek through the dunes and more, including your return ferry to Hervey Bay. (*Open dated tour)


Whitsunday Islands*

Sunbathe on the perfect white sands of Whitehaven Beach
Departing from Airlie Beach on the Queensland coast, we've included a 2 day Whitsundays sailing trip. Board a yacht and laze on the huge decks as you sail out to these magnificent island sailing around 100km in 2 days. You'll visit the Whitehaven Beach and head out to the northern islands where you'll find the best fringing coral reefs. There are 2 snorkelling stops included and an opportunity for introductory or certified scuba dives. You'll come away with a greater appreciation of this stunning region and you can even turn your hand to steering or hoisting the sails if you like! (*Open dated tour)

Cairns & the Great Barrier Reef*

Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef
Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. We've included a 4-night stay at Gilligans Hostel where you can meet other travellers and make your base for exploring the reef and nearby coral cays. We've also included a 1 day trip to Michelmas Cay & the Great Barrier Reef where you'll take a fast catamaran out to the reef with onboard guides and snorkel and dive equipment - everything you need to experience this ecosystem first hand! Take a guided dive, or solo dive if you're PADI- qualified. You'll see an amazing array of coral, Nemo fish and marine life like nowhere else on the planet! (*Open dated tour)


View of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
You'll need to make your own way to Brisbane for your next flight to Singapore. We can suggest and book places to stay or you can do your own thing. Check out the Base Hostel Brisbane Central for a great value backpacker stay (not included).


Marina Bay Sands light show, Singapore
Flying in to cosmopolitan Singapore we've included 3 nights in a hotel plus airport transfers. Enjoy a little city break here - visiting Singapore's impressive zoo during the day or opt for the Night Safari instead; treat yourself to a cocktail at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel (famously the home of the Singapore Sling), wander along Clarke Quay or take a river cruise down towards the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Merlion.

Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi overland

Wander the streets of Hanoi
In Vietnam you'll arrive in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh. You could stay a few days before starting your Dong Stray Asia hop-on/hop-off bus pass to Hanoi. This bus stops throughout Vietnam (min 12 days to Hanoi) but you can hop off anywhere. Guides on the buses will help find budget stays along the way so it's super flexible. Get off the tourist trail, enjoy the beaches, the tailors in traditional Hoi An and the old colonial capital in Hue passing through incredible limestone scenery on your way to Hanoi.

Hanoi to Bangkok overland

Luang Prabang is a highlight for any visitor
Your bus pass brings you as far as Hanoi, Vietnam's northern capital. Spend some time exploring this traditional city before joining the 12-day Laos & Thailand on a shoestring small group tour we've included. From Hanoi you will travel overland into Laos by train, local bus, air-conditioned bus and plane! Float down the Mekong River by slow boat and venture into Chiang Mai in northern Thailand before reaching Bangkok with temple visits and streetfood crawls along the way! You will need to make your way down to the Thai islands for your flight out of Phuket. We can help arrange a bus or train or another tour to get you there - just ask.

3 months to explore South East Asia

Having sampled Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, we've left you with some free time to enjoy this region. You could stay a while in Thailand or travel overland down the Thai peninsula in to Malaysia and on to Singapore. From there you can hop into Indonesia and visit Bali, Lombok, Java or Sumatra or you could travel north and head into Myanmar. If you need help we can arrange some transport, accommodation and further tours.

Johannesburg to Cape Town

A lion in the bush, South Africa
You'll fly into Johannesburg, South Africa to start your Camping adventure which takes you all over the country with options to visit Swaziland and Lesotho too (extra cost). Spot whales from Knysa Heads, take a game drive, take a guided hike in Drakensville and visit Kruger National Park before finishing in Cape Town. Why not round off your year of travels with a sun downer on top of Table Mountain with panoramic views of the city and the ocean below? We've allowed an extra fortnight before your flight out of Cape Town - so ask us if you'd like to do some further exploration of this fascinating country.

12 month itinerary summary

Duration Destination Included
  Fly: London* to Las Vegas *(Or other European departures Flight
Allow 4 weeks 4 nights in Las Vegas + arrival transfer Hotel and transfer
  Sin, Surf & Sierras Group Tour
  Fly: Los Angeles to Rarotonga (Cook Islands) Flight
1 week 7 nights in Rarotonga + shared transfers Hotel & transfer
  Fly: Rarotonga to Auckland Flight
Allow 6 weeks Kiwi Experience Bus Pass - Auckland to Christchurch Bus Pass
  Fly: Christchurch to Melbourne Flight
Allow 4 months 7 nights in a Melbourne Hostel + Work package Hostel
  30 night Nomads hostel hopping pass Hostel Pass
  Cool Dingo 3 day/2 night Fraser Island Tour Group Tour
  Fraser Island Group Tour
  Whitsundays sailing Group Tour
  4 night stay in a Cairns Hostel Hostel
  Great Barrier Reef Tour Group Tour
  Cape Tribulation Tour Group Tour
  Fly: Brisbane to Singapore Flight
4 nights 4 nights in Singapore + shared transfers Hotel & transfer
  Fly: Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) Flight
1 month 17 day Stray Pass -  Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi overland Bus Pass
  14 day tour Hanoi, through Laos to Bangkok overland Group Tour
Allow 3 months 3 months free time in SE Asia- make your own way to Phuket Free time
  Fly: Phuket to Johannesburg Flight
2 weeks South Africa Camping Adventure Group Tour
Allow 2 weeks 2 weeks free time in Cape Town after the tour ends Free time
  Fly: Cape Town to London Flight
  TOTAL DURATION 12 months



  • Budget hotel accommodation in Las Vegas, Cook Islands & Singapore
  • Hostel accommodation in Melbourne (shared dorm)
  • Group tours (inc your transport, accommodation and some meals) in Fraser Island, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Laos & Thailand and South Africa
  • Kiwi Experience hop-on/hop-off bus pass around New Zealand from Auckland to Christchurch
  • Stray hop-on/hop-off bus pass in Vietnam = Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi
  • Working Holiday visa assistance (in Melbourne)

Not included

  • Working Holiday Visa in Australia (if required - visas can be bought online here >)
  • Meals other than those mentioned as included in group tours
  • Airport transfers in destinations other than those mentioned (although we can arrange these if required)
  • Transport or accommodation between Melbourne and east coast Australia (independent travel)
  • Accommodation outside of tours in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi or anywhere in Thailand or South Africa
  • Suggested Garden Route self-drive from Cape Town
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance - 12 months cover available from £398.21 pp here >
  • Any tips for your tour guides

Advice on extra money expenditure

Australia, New Zealand & USA are more expensive than South East Asia where you could budget around £10 a day (average) for 3 local-style meals, local beers come in at around £1. In Australia you would probably want to set aside around £30/£50 a day, beers are much more expensive (between $8-$12 dollars) When travelling the east coast, the best option is to buy food from supermarkets and cook in the hostel kitchens, a real money saving exercise: leaving more funds for fun activities and nights out! Make sure to save plenty of cash for all of your activities/excursions in New Zealand, you won't want to miss out when you see what's on offer!