Here’s how I’d approach your itinerary.

“Hi Wendy,

What are your suggestions for an around-the-world trip? I would leave from Sydney, Australia, in April 2015 and take most of the year to do it. I’d like to combine flying, cruising, and train travel. Thanks!”

– Ira K., Australia

First of all, Ira, I’m super-jealous: You’re living the dream!  Second, if I were you, here’s how I’d approach your itinerary planning:

  1. Start with the component that will affect your route most: your round-the-world airline ticket.

Round-the-world airfares have rules regarding the direction you travel in (you need to stick with one direction throughout—either eastbound or westbound), the number of stopovers, etc.  You may want to buy a round-the-world fare offered by an international airline alliance. (The Star Alliance, for instance, operates a huge number of routes, which translates to itinerary flexibility.) Here’s more intel about round-the-world airfares. Once you know the parameters of your airline itinerary, you’ll have a better sense of where to pepper in train and ship travel.

  1. Choose transportation suited to each region.

A great place to take trains, for instance, is in Europe, as it has the best rail infrastructure. You’ll find useful rail travel ideas in TripAdvisor’s Train Travel Forum . As for ships, cruises are a great way to see island regions and archipelagos, as these are often logistically difficult, time-consuming, and pricey to explore by air and ground. So consider cruises for, say, French Polynesia, the Greek Islands, and Indonesia.

  1. Chase good weather so you can pack light.

Cut down on heavy clothes by sticking to countries that will have warm weather at the time you’re there. Try to hit places during those months when you’ll get the most hours of daylight as well. You might follow the sun by traveling eastward, starting with Pacific islands in May (thus avoiding their rainy season), North America in June (for long days and spring weather), parts of South America in July (Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador have reasonable weather in July), Africa in August (a good month for wildlife viewing on safari), Europe in September (nice weather and the summer tourist crowds have dissipated), etc.

Who else has round-the-world trip suggestions for Ira?