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Advise on route

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Advise on route

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1. Posted by LandJ2016 (Budding Member 4 posts) 1y

My boyfriend and I are set to leave for our round the world trip in September 2016 so currently we are in the process of planning our destinations/route and length of stay in each place. Obviously we are doing all of this planning knowing that as we travel our routes and destinations may change due to people we meet and recommendations but we would appreciate some feedback on our plan so far. Please feel free to make recommendations based in your experiences.

United Kingdon --> Brazil --> Bolivia --> Peru --> Chile --> NZ and Fiji (however since researching Fiji, we are concerned about costing) --> Bali --> Singapore --> Kuala Lumpur --> Burma --> North Thailand --> Laos --> Vietnam --> Cambodia --> Bangkok --> Sri Lanka --> India --> Africa

Thanks 😀

2. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 653 posts) 1y

Sounds a good list of interesting destinations. You're leaving some more difficult places (India, Africa) till later, starting with an adventure in South America followed by nice easy travelling in new Zealand, which is all good.

Have you thought about what month you reach each country? Avoiding monsoons, typhoon season, that sort of thing.

For me, a lot of the places in south east asia and south asia have similarities - that's not to say they're all the same, but I get templed out easily for instance. It may be interesting to slot in an east asian destination - Taipei or Hong Kong maybe. (Japan's crazy expensive, and Korea maybe has less to see than those other two. I don't know about deeper into China.)

NZ looks small but my first 4-week trip there wasn't nearly enough, allow a couple of months if you don't want to feel under pressure.

Sri Lanka has two sides - after touring the interior it was a culture shock hitting westerners and tourist stuff on the west coast. But that was a few years ago so maybe the interior is more travelled now since the civil war ended. A lovely country. Climb Sigiriya.

Singapore go up to the top of the Skypark hotel, if you're feeling extravagant stay there as residents get to use the rooftop spa.

KL - if you've a spare day and want a weird day out in the Highlands to cool off, take a bus from kl sentral to Genting Highlands and ride roller coasters in the rainforest.

3. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 1y

Your itinerary is OK, with a tweak here and there. It would be helpful if you familiarized yourself with the major airline routes. Skyscanner and Kayak are two useful Web sites that can help you do that, as is google.com/flights. Also get acquainted with the routes of airlines such as AirAsia, Emirates, Qatar, Jet, Malaysia, etc. You'll find, for example, that AirAsia has cheap flights from Kuala Lumpur to India as well as Myanmar, etc. I recently flew from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar (Bali) on AirAsia for $106; and that wasn't the lowest fare. AirAsia flies to Yangon from Kuala Lumpur, as well as Yangon and Mandalay from Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport.

Within Africa, the two biggest airlines are Ethiopian and South African. But if you want to travel to West Africa, a major carrier in the region is Royal Air Maroc (I recently bought a ticket on the airline from Bissau to Lisbon). Turkish Airlines also is a major carrier.

The Middle East airlines, such as Emirates and Qatar, offer relatively inexpensive fares to many of the places that you want to go, including South America. Check them out.

The gateway from South America to Australia and New Zealand is Santiago, Chile.

Flights between countries in South America can be expensive. But flights within countries, such as Brazil, are relatively inexpensive. From Brazil, I suggest looking at traveling through Argentina and perhaps Paraguay to Bolivia, then continuing to Peru and over to Chile. If you want to fly to save time, consider Sky Airlines as a cheaper alternative to LAN.

Finally, adventure tours in Africa are a good introduction to that continent. They are not expensive, particularly tours offered by companies based in South Africa. Hope this helps.

P.S. A laptop or tablet will make it easier for you to book flights and accommodations as you go.

4. Posted by LandJ2016 (Budding Member 4 posts) 1y

Thank you both. What tweaks would you recommend? 😀

5. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 653 posts) 1y

You set out in September; how long are you travelling for? When should you reach each country?

Have you an airline alliance rtw ticket in mind? That may give more scope to make your schedule flexible (date changes) than buying individual tickets.

Have you each travelled much before? Together? (It puts a strain on the relationship, 24-7 for so long.)

How's the budget? Can you afford some luxury and treats along the way?

Basically tell us a bit more about you guys, what you hope to see and do, and it may prompt some ideas and suggestions.

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Jul-2015, at 14:05 by Andyf ]

6. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 1y

I suggested one tweak with regard to your itinerary in South America.

Since you're traveling around the world; and you plan to make changes to your itinerary as you go, simply check Skyscanner and Kayak in advance of when you want to fly to your next destination. Don't wait to book at the last minute or you're likely to pay a substantially higher fare.

I don't recommend that you buy an around-the-world ticket with one of the airline alliances, such as Star, OneWorld and SkyTeam. You won't save much money, if any. And you will severely limit your flexibility. I fly a lot and can report that many flights these days are full, or nearly full. And airlines, such as Air France and Delta (SkyTeam members), recently announced plans to cut capacity on some international routes. It's in the airlines' best interest to keep their flights full; and if they have to cut capacity, they'll do it. Fewer flights mean you'll have to book ahead -- sometimes far ahead -- with one of the alliance members. Better to buy tickets as you go with any airline offering the best flight at the least cost. I do it all the time.

Take a look at my travel maps and you'll see that I log thousands of miles each year across the globe. I leave Friday for Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, followed by Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Portugal and Spain. I'm using planes, boats, trains, minibuses, cars, 4-wheel-drive vehicles, canoes, horse-and donkey carts and my feet to get around. When you travel around the world, you'll do that, too.

Travel need not be expensive. It helps if you make a budget for your trip; and keep track of your expenses. I do it on my laptop. It provides useful information for future travel. Plus, the details augment the observations that I make in my journal.

Traveling with others means that you'll have to make tradeoffs or compromises. I've known people who started out traveling together as friends, but wound up not being friends. Some couples became stronger. You meet all kinds of people on the road. Most are friendly and helpful. Some are not. I try my best to be respectful of all the people I meet, because I truly believe that "travel is a voyage of discovery, about yourself; about others. It's caring, sharing."

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Jul-2015, at 18:09 by berner256 ]

7. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 1y

One more thing. Travel in some countries, such as Singapore, will be more expensive than others. But there's no need to avoid them, as the higher costs there are likely to be offset by the lower costs of countries such as Indonesia. Lodging and transportation will consume the largest parts of your budget.

Many of the countries you plan to visit, including Indonesia and Brazil, are now even more affordable, since their currencies have dropped in value, particularly against the U.S. dollar. In some cases, the declines are substantial, the most in years. Go online to check it out. One useful Web site is Xe.com.

This is a great time to travel. Happy trails!

8. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 653 posts) 1y

I disagree on the flights advice, but maybe I just don't like risk.

Booking flights as you go sounds expensive to me. Flight prices rise nearer the time, so you aren't giving yourself flexibility, you're giving yourself constant stress and worry that the next flight you need is going to be full or so expensive it zaps your budget. One way flights can be as costly as returns too, which is what rtw tickets were invented to address.

You risk running out of money and being stuck. Far better to have peace of mind that the big expense is taken care of up front. Also no issues with immigration by not being able to show evidence of onward travel - which perhaps is not a consideration for an American retiree like Berner.

In particular you have two flights which are tricky. Across the Pacific you have few choices, you'll end up going Santiago to Auckland, so there's limited capacity. And starting from the UK a one way flight to Brazil is expensive. Paying as you go is not going to help these.

Berner is right that capacity can be a problem. To me that's an argument in favour of rtw tickets as you begin with a schedule of flight bookings, so you're ultimately safe, and then you can try to swap if you need to; some deals may allow free swaps or a small fee.

Anyway price it up and see what you think. Berner listed the three airline alliances, see which works best for your route (s America being the logjam). They all have online configurators, or get Trailfinders or Travelbag to do it for you. And price up separates using Skyscanner, maybe assuming travel in a few days time if following Berner's idea of being flexible enough to move on when you've had enough.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jul-2015, at 00:14 by Andyf ]

9. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 1y

There is no right way or wrong way to do around-the-world travel. But technology helps to make it easier and more transparent. Suggest you look at www.kayakcom/explore. Kayak is owned by Priceline.com, a publicly held company that also owns booking.com and agoda.com. Kayak.com/explore allows you to view the lowest airfares from airports around the world. You'll discover, for example, that it costs less to fly from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Sao Paulo, Brazil, than it is from London to Sao Paolo. That knowledge can help you formulate an itinerary.

With an around-the-world ticket you're confined to the flights of alliance members and their partners. So immediately you write off the ability to use discount carriers such as AirAsia, unless you employ a "hub and spoke" strategy that the airlines also use. For example, if you elect to use SkyTeam, you would fly with SkyTeam members Air France or KLM into Bangkok, then use Air Asia to get around to other parts of Asia cheaply, then return to Bangkok to use the SkyTeam carrier to your next 'round-the-world destination. Remember there are rules and restrictions with 'round-the-world tickets. Doubling-back is a no-no.

One-way fares aren't necessarily more expensive. Many carriers, not only the discounters, offer relatively inexpensive one-way fares. Competition on routes is the key. Why are El Al flights from Budapest to Tel Aviv so reasonable? Because Air Serbia, Wizz Air and other carriers compete on the route. Why are one-way flights to Honolulu from Australia and New Zealand relatively inexpensive for the distance flown? Competition from the likes of Jetstar, Fiji Airways, Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines. There's another factor. Both the Australian and New Zealand dollars have dropped significantly in value against the U.S. dollar; and fares are based at the point of origin. So earlier this month, I considered flying from Auckland to Honolulu in September on a nonstop Air New Zealand flight for the equivalent of US$295 one way.

Sometimes it's cheaper to book flights from within certain countries, such as Vietnam.

Yes, I'm retired. While I have money, I don't like to waste money; and never have. Travel can be expensive; it doesn't have to be. So look at the routes. Look at the options. Shop around. Decide for yourself. There is no right way, or wrong way.

P.S. You'll encounter no problems with immigration officials if you can show that you have a means of exiting the country. That can be a one-way ticket to your next destination. You just have to keep one step ahead.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jul-2015, at 02:47 by berner256 ]

10. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4833 posts) 1y

When I flew on a Oneworld RTW ticket back when, I opted not to do Santiago to Auckland direct, but instead made my way via Easter Island and Tahiti, which stops I basically got "for free" on the RTW ticket I was using. I'm not certain if those connections are still possible, but worth looking into, since those are two destinations that otherwise tend to be quite expensive to reach. I personally didn't get as much out of Easter Island as most people seem to (I had very much an "it's exactly the same as on the photos" feeling, while usually I manage to feel like I'm having unique experiences when travelling), but all the same it's one of the more alluring destinations this world has to offer.

For the South America part of your trip, try to do Peru relatively early, since Machu Picchu and surroundings "suffer" from a wet season which last from November through March. Meanwhile if you go south down to Patagonia in Chile (which I can highly recommend if you're a hiker), December through March is the perfect time to be there.

New Zealand is one of my favorite countries in this world, and I can only recommend that you give it at least twice as much time as you already think it deserves.