I’ve had a lot of people ask me for advice in planning a route for them to travel around the world. I’m not sure why, but most of my friends start to map out a route going east… Maybe it’s because it’s the direction we read: left to right, west to east (–>)… I’m not sure, but that would be my guess…
My first suggestion to the future-traveler(s) is to think about going EAST TO WEST (<–) instead. At first, this throws a lot of people off and they get stuck in thinking that their route is how it should be… Some people don’t see any difference as to how a direction matters if the same locations are visited… but there are a few differences that can make a huge difference in your overall travel experience… I’ll compare both:
Going WEST TO EAST (–>)
Gain A Day, Lose Hours. When crossing over the International Date Line going west to east, you gain one extra travel day. The trade off, however, is that you LOSE HOURS… Crossing over time-zones from west to east pushes the time AHEAD which means your will LOSE hours of your day every time you travel [ugh].
Going EAST TO WEST (<–)
Gain Hours, Lose A Day. Crossing over time-zones from east to west pushes the time BACK which means you will GAIN hours of your day every time you travel. I found having an extra hour of sleep is great. Or for big journeys [like across the ocean], if you normally wake up around noon, then you’ll wake up naturally at 6am!
So, for me, I try to plan my travels from EAST TO WEST. I think gaining hours slowly each night makes traveling a lot more enjoyable. Traveling for a year, planning, coordinating, etc. is tiring enough [it’s not a vacation like most people think]… so why add to the exhaustion? Use jetlag to your advantage and have more hours in a day! It’s well worth the cost of “one day” if you plan on traveling for about 300!
Of course, there is no “right” or “wrong”… it’s just a small matter of preference and more to do with season, flights, hotels, schedules, and other plans to make your trip work best for you.