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The world is a big place. If one had a year to explore the world, how much of it could one reasonably see in that time? Once one starts traveling around the world, one will release just how large the world is. Traveling around the world for a year is very common in places like Germany or Australia. In most places, it's called a "gap year," in New Zealand people talk about doing their "Big OE" or "Overseas Experience."

A year is long enough to see much of the world's fantastic diversity - and to experience a fair amount of cultural shock along the way. If one is planning to travel for an extended period of time, it may actually be better to solo travel (unless one has a partner willing to do it as well).

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Why The World Is Too Big To See In One Year?

There are a total of 195 UN Member countries in the world (including the observer states Palestine and Vatican City). Then there are even more countries that are not UN Member states - like Greenland, the Isle of Man, Aruba, and the Cook Islands. This means that there are well over 200 countries in the world (there's no exact number that everyone would agree on).

  • 193: Full UN Member States
  • 195: UN Member States Including Observer States
  • Less Than Two Days: In Each Country If Visiting All In One Year

To see every country in the world, one would need to visit each country for an average of fewer than two days. That is not realistically defeasible or desirable.

A year may seem like a long time, but in the context of seeing the whole world, it is not much at all.

Related: See Hostelworld's New Group Itineraries For Solo Travelers

One Can Travel Around The World In One Year

While it is not possible to see the whole world in one year, it is possible to meaningfully travel all the way around the world in one year.

A year is plenty of time to travel around the world and sample countries on every continent. One could spend 2 months in Europe, a month in Africa (maybe Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa), a month in the Middle East (perhaps Egypt and Jordan), a month in India, and two months in Southeast Asia (perhaps Bali and Thailand), a month in Australia and New Zealand, a month in East Asia (perhaps Japan and Korea), couple months in South America, and a month in Mexico.

  • Visit: All The World's Continents

This trip would mean one can visit every continent in the world (except Antarctica). It would be enough to have a much deeper understanding of the countries in the world and just how different they are.

A trip like that would show many of the more touristic places in the world - but it would still leave the vast majority of the world unexplored.

Related: Can You Really Travel Around The World In 88 Days?

How To Fund A Year-Long Trip?

There are lots of ways to fund a year-long trip around the world. One is (naturally) to save up before leaving. Another way is to become a digital nomad and work online and so have a steady stream of income. If one has the right type of work, one can even work while on the bus or while waiting at the airport.

  • Round The World Trip: Doable In A Year

It is also possible to travel on a shoestring budget - if one stays in hostels and cooks one's own food, one can live on a very low budget in many of the world's countries.

  • Tip: Volunteer At Hostels For Bed And Board
  • Volunteer Websites: Workaway, WWOOF

Another way is to work or volunteer - one can often volunteer in hostels around the world or find volunteer work (for bed and board) on Workaway and other websites.

If one would like to work (or volunteer) more, it typically also means to travel much slower and to see far fewer places overall - that's normally the dilemma facing travelers. More travel also means buying more flights and these costs can quickly add up.

While many would like to have a big round-the-world trip for one year, many others choose to choose a particular region and spend the whole year there to get to know it much better. It also reduces travel fatigue that comes with constantly moving.