I'm going to be traveling for 12 months and I'm worried about visa's expiring before I arrive. My route is Dallas,TX-Mexico-Peru-Brazil-Argentina-Madrid-South Africa-Kenya-Egypt-Russia-Japan-China-Thailand-Vietnam & other SE Asia-India-Austrailia-NZ-Home. I have no idea where to even start. I'd really appreciate any advice/comments.
I would start here - http://travel.state.gov/travel/warnings_consular.html. Every country is listed with entry and exit criteria. This will give you an idea on what is required to enter (i.e. whether you need to get a visa ahead of time).
For the countries that you need visas for ahead of time, I would contact the embassy directly and ask them how far in advance you can get the visa. If you can get the visa now, then you can do that. Otherwise, find out where they have embassies along your route, and see about getting the visa when you are there: for example, get the visa for Thailand when you are in Japan.
Enjoy your trip!
If your route, and more importantly your schedule, is fixed, then it's just a matter of working out when you can apply, doing as much as possible before you go, and remembering to do the rest as you travel.
If your schedule could vary significantly, you will have to work out whether this could 'knock-on' and end up meaning one of your later visas ends up expiring before you get there! In this case, you need to work out how to get the visas as you travel. This itself can require a lot of flexibility, as embassies will not always be open when you want them to be, or process things as fast as you'd like!
So either structure well and do it all in advance, or be laid back and do it as and when you can !
Either way, you have a lot of fact-finding to do. In the UK, I would use www.fco.gov.uk, but there is no doubt a USA equvalent of that.
First thing to do would be to suss out which countries you DONT need a visa for! That will lift your spirits a little before you start the hard work!
Thank you very much for your input. I'll try to call the embassies, that is a great idea.