The trip will force Obama to suspend temporarily the early political positioning made necessary by the Republican seizure of the House of Representatives in Tuesday's elections.
The result shattered the Democratic stranglehold on power in Washington and cast doubts over Obama's hopes for a successful reelection campaign in 2012.
On the tour Obama will visit India, his boyhood home of Indonesia, South Korea for the G20 summit and then Japan for APEC meetings, seeking to broaden US geopolitical influence and win new markets for American products in the dynamic region.
With an eye on US voters back home, who used mid-term elections to send a cry of distress over the sluggish recovery, Obama will stress the commercial opportunities offered by Asia, as he seeks to boost exports to create jobs.
"The primary purpose (of the India trip) is to take a bunch of US companies and open up markets so that we can sell in Asia and some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and we can create jobs here in the United States of America," Obama told reporters on Thursday.
"My hope is that we've got some specific announcements that show the connection between what we're doing overseas and what happens here at home when it comes to job growth and economic growth."
Obama, who has dubbed himself America's "First Pacific president," has made no secret that he sees Asia, with its fast-emerging economies and rising strategic clout, as the most vital global region to America's future.
In India, Obama will stay overnight Saturday at the Taj Palace hotel in Mumbai, which was targeted by Islamic extremists in a bloody siege in November 2008, and make remarks to honor victims.
He will also give a speech to the business community and participate in roundtable events with entrepreneurs before heading on to New Delhi, where he will meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and address parliament.
The president will be in the unusual position of visiting a country where his predecessor George W. Bush, who pushed a landmark civilian nuclear deal, is more popular than he is.
Obama, who hosted Singh at the White House in his debut state dinner, is expected to tell Indians that he views the relationship between the United States and the world's largest democracy as vital, despite seeking to improve ties with its rivals China and Pakistan.
The president has already made clear he has no plans on this trip to visit Pakistan, with which Washington has an uneasy anti-terror alliance, but plans to travel to Islamabad next year.
Security in India is extraordinarily tight ahead of Obama's arrival, given that he is the highest-profile visitor since the deadly Mumbai attacks.
Next up is Indonesia, Obama's home for four years as a boy, where the highlight will be a tour of the largest mosque in Jakarta and a major speech, likely to build on his address to Muslims in Egypt last year.
Obama will stress that Indonesia is at the intersection of US efforts to reach out to the Muslim world and to connect with dynamic, fast-growing Southeast Asian economies.
The president arrives in Indonesia Tuesday and will have talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
After a night in Indonesia, Obama will head to the G20 summit in Seoul and his latest bilateral meeting with President Hu Jintao at a time of flaring tensions between Washington and Beijing over China's currency and trade.
Both leaders may seek to defuse recent rhetorical spats, as they prepare for Hu's important visit to the United States in January, and will also likely seek to find new understanding on the North Korean nuclear crisis.
After the G20, Obama will make a last stop in Japan, where he will argue that US-Japan ties are healthy after a rocky first year marked by domestic political upheaval in Tokyo, and attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
Obama's tour is the latest in a flurry of diplomatic missions to Asia by administration heavy hitters, reinvigorating a regional policy aides say was neglected by Bush.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Thursday dismissed the idea that the timing of the Asia trip was unfortunate, given the turmoil in Washington.
Source: AFP Global Edition