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Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific lost already...

1. Posted by paigeok (Budding Member 2 posts) 29w

Hi all

I have been considering going travelling for the past year, but haven't gotten anywhere with it other than keep talking about how much I want to go... I am finally pulling my finger out and my mission is to get something booked - even if only an initial flight! I am going to be going it alone as most of my friends have settled down, are at uni or have some other type of commitment.

Initial thoughts are Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Aus, NZ & Fiji - has anyone planned a similar route & if so can you give any advise on how to get started? A few people I know have used companies such as STA travel to get an outline of where they will be going - others I have spoken to have said that they would have found that too restrictive as plans often change when you arrive. I am looking at an initial 6 months of being away - an idea of budget would be good?

Basically an idiot's guide or feedback on where to start with it all would be good... there is so much information out there, I am trying to narrow down and filter the useful stuff..... Lost before I have started

2. Posted by Hayleyredhead (Budding Member 3 posts) 29w

Hi Paige,

I have been travelling also. My friend and I went for 6 months and went to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, California, Vegas and Canada and were away for 6 and a half months. We booked with STA, our ticket cost us £1700, at the time you got a ticket for a year however you can choose to use it for 6months if you wish. The benefit of your ticket is that you pick your flight dates and then don't need to plan anything in between, so it was flexible for us. There can be admin charges to change flights but you shouldn't need to do this too often if you work out roughly how long you want to be away for in each place. In terms of budget Singapore is quite expensive for non essentials (alcohol and food) however the further north you get.. Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia the cheaper it gets and living and food become extremely cheap! Happy to help with any more info you need to know? X

3. Posted by paigeok (Budding Member 2 posts) 29w

Thank you for replying to me Hayley! That information alone is a massive help - I think I'm going to get in touch with them as another girl I've spoken with this evening has said that she told them when and where she wanted to go and they basically helped to map it out. Did they also provide you with info on what visas etc are required where?

4. Posted by Samson Green (Budding Member 10 posts) 28w

Hey

My girlfriend and I are doing Beijing - Xian - Hong kong - Vietnam (north to south) - Singapore - Bali - New zealand.

What we've done is gone on websites like intrepid travel.com followed their itineraries and picked what we want to do and made our own itinerary.

As for Flights it sounds silly but dont do multi stop options. Book everything individually using comparison websites such as momondo.com etc... and you will save yourself loads! literally hundreds of pounds because if you do mutlistop option they add on hidden admin and booking fees per flight.

If you book a flight from Vietnam to Oz and it stops in Singapore book a flight from Vietnam - Singapore then Vietnam - Oz you could save money. Plus you can add singpore to your travels and do a few nights there too!

Give it a go it might not always work but it has for us!

Good luck

5. Posted by elliots (Budding Member 57 posts) 24w

Hi Paige. All great stops. SE Asia is wonderful & good for budget - $US25 per day all up. My favourite places are in order or pref, Mynmar (Yangon, Pagan, Inle Lakes,Pyin Lu Win, Hsipaw, Mandalay, Mrauk U, beaches like Thandwe area, Laos (Gibbon sanctuary, Luang Prabang, Muang Sing, Vang Viang, Pakse & 4,000 islands), Vietnam (Saigon, Mekong delta, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Sapa, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Ninh Bin), Thailand (Chiang Mai, Bangkok (but takes 48 hours to adjust), Kanchanaburi), Cambodia.
NZ is the perfect tourist destination in the warmer season for a few weeks - unbelievably varied scenery, nice people but not SE Asian prices.
Fiji is devastated by recent cyclone unless you stay in up=market resorts.
Oz is very expensive in major cities but who wants them for long anyway. The east coast is great, well-traveled but not cheap (barrier reef, beaches, waterfalls, surf, Whitsunday Isles yachting, Fraser Isle 4-wheel driving.
The pick though is the western half of Oz but you need a vehicle-share with others - car+tent, station wagon or campervan. Free camp all the way in the world's safest vast wilderness so cost is minimal -Karijini, Ningaloo reef (snorkel with whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, sharks, coral), Bungles, Uluru/Olgas, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Katherine Gorge, Mataranka, Kakadu, Litchfield, endless perfect beaches, surf, exotic wildlife, nice people (travellers & locals), Baird Bay (snorkel with dolphins & sea lions), The Kimberley). Hope this helps rather than overawes. The world is your oyster so enjoy it. Steve

6. Posted by OldPro (Respected Member 212 posts) 24w

"others I have spoken to have said that they would have found that too restrictive as plans often change when you arrive."

Therein lies the dilemma of the first time, long term, traveller. While companies like STA can help you plan a tour, they cannot anticipate the unknown opportunities that may come up as you go along.

When someone is going on a 2 week beach vacation, there isn't much likelihood of much going 'off-plan' during that time. But when you travel longer term for months, it is a whole different thing. I have never seen anyone post in a travel forum that after having done a 6 month 'planned' trip, they intend to do even more planning the next time. I have seen plenty of people post the opposite however. That next time they would plan less.

We are conditioned to live to schedules and when we think about travel, it is only natural that we immediately think about planning our travel. To me that is totally contrary to what is probably the biggest appeal of travel. Travel gives you freedom from your everyday life. People may talk about wanting to see now places, people and culture, etc. and while they may all be true, the biggest attraction in my opinion is none of those. It is the FREEDOM travel gives you for however it lasts.

You are free to get up each morning and say, 'so what do I want to do today? Stay here and do X or move on to see what's over the next hill?' Why then would anyone want to start out their travels by throwing away that freedom and SELF-IMPOSING a schedule? Makes no sense to me at all.

I plan how I will get to A and then I wing it from there. I may have a list of places I think I would like to visit. I may enjoy endless hours of research beforehand on those places and what there is in them that might interest me. Winging it does not preclude doing research. Research in advance is part of the fun of travel. But research also does not mean I have to plan anything beyond A.

I go to A and stay until I am ready to leave. I then decide where to go next. Rinse and repeat until either the time or the money runs out. Go home. Travel can be as simple or as complicated as we choose to make it. I prefer simple.

I never have any question about budget. I spend as much as I need to spend to see/do what interests me (without throwing my money away). If the money runs out, it's time to go home. I never have any questions about itineraries or which hotel to pre-book etc. I never waste a day staying too long in a place or stay too few days in a place and wish I had 'planned' for more time.

I get maximum 'value' out of each day I have. I may get to 5 places or 10 or 14, it doesn't matter. What matters is each day was used the way I wanted to use that day.