I am going with my future wife (getting married in July 2007) on a 1yr + trip. Actually, she is making me go and as usual, I do what she tells me
We would love to have you advice on our plan. (reassure some insecurities and helps us avoid some costly mistakes).
We are leaving on Jan 1st 2008 on a 1 year or more RTW trip. Our itinerary, as we see it so far, is this;
Mexico-LA-New Zealand-Thailand-Cambodia-India-Turkey-Greece-Italy-Spain-Morocco-Home (BC Canada).
Laos, Portugal, Amsterdam are a few other possibilities if the budget permits.
I sold my house, car, furniture, and all of the little comforts that life has to offer to go find myself. I know, that's a lot of travelling to find one's self, I am right here, why go anywhere?
My fiancee will be finishing school and working for a few months and then we are off.
I have read much on this forum and found the information and mutual help wonderful.
Since we will be going for possibly more than a year and since we want to be able to skip some destinations while spending more time at other, I believe (let me know if you agree) that a RTW ticket is impossible.
We hope to travel for as long as we can with a max of 2 years. Keeping that in mind, we know that we have to make the money last.
We will probable work in some countries and certainly do hostels and cheap accommodations most of the time.
Given out itinerary, do you think we should bring a tent, sleeping bags and sleeping mats with us? Is camping a viable option on a trip like this or will it wear us out too soon?
Are we better off keeping it light or having the backup that camping offers just in case we can't find cheap accommodations.
In case we do choose the camping equipment, what should we bring?
Do we need a water filter?
Any other wise things to remind us of?
We will spend most of our time in Asia (Thailand, Cambodia and India). Does it make sense to bring a laptop with us? Are there enough wireless spots out there?
What do you think is the best insurance option we have (no extreme sports, I like my body parts exactly where they are)?
Any help is appreciated and who know we may meet up somewhere along the way.
Shay and Alicia
I can't answer all your questions, but I'll try with a few.
If you are staying for more than a year, then yes, a RTW ticket is generally not the best option. However, it might still be one of the better options in combination with one way flights. You will probably find that a RTW ticket will be your cheapest option for the first part of your journey, maybe right up until you get to Europe. Once in Europe, a return ticket home to Canada can be found for pretty cheap. So even if you don't end up using the last couple lags of your RTW ticket because your year has run out, it still might be the cheapest way.
A tent and camping gear - This will depend more on how you see yourself travelling around, particularly in NZ and Europe. If you will have a car, then a tent is a great way to save money. If however, you will be relying on public transport the whole way, then camping really isn't a practicle option, since camp sites are usually well outside the town of interest. But if you find yourself driving around in Nz or Europe and wanting a tent, then buying a cheap Walmart tent works just as well. Then you can ditch it when you leave for places where you won't need one. If you plan on doing some hiking in NZ, then most of the major trails have lodges to stay in, so you still don't really need a tent.
In hostels in NZ, a sleeping bag can come in handy. But you don't need an expensive all season hiking bag or anything, just something cheap and light that you can use while in hostels. Though I got along fine for 6 months hitchiking, treking, and staying in hostels in NZ without ever needed a sleeping bag. There was one night that I remember that I was cold enough that I really wished I had one, but for me that wasn't worth lugging it around for the whole time. I just used a sleep sheet and it worked fine. If it's the winter that you'll be in NZ, then you might want a sleeping bag.
In Southeast Asia and India, camping is rarely an option. Bringing camping gear would be a waste of space. If you end up doing some hikes in the himalayas where you will need gear, it's easy and cheap just to rent what you need. But camping in camp grounds instead of a hotel is not something you'll ever have to do. Hotels are dirt cheap and there is just no need for it. And I can't imagine youll ever be in a situation where you can't find accomidation and need to pitch a tent. So its definelty not worth carrying your own the whole time. Some people claim that a sleeping bag is useful for India and Southeast Asia, but it probably depends on what time of year you are going. If it's the warmer seasons then the temp never goes below about 30 degrees even at night and so I can't image ever wanting a sleeping bag. A sarong is about all you'll ever need. In all the time Ive spent in Asia I've met few who carry sleeping bags, and almost noone who carries a tent.
Water filter - If you are hiking alot, then maybe you could use one, but in Asia at least, bottled water is cheap and also available. I rarely meet people that bother to carry one. I can't really comment on Morrocco or Mexico.
Lap Top - If you are planning on doing work on your computer that requires specific software on your laptop, then bring it along. If however, you are planning on using a computer for email, updating blogs, uploading pics etc.. then there are always internet cafes with computers available for use. It can be expensive to use the internet on a regular basis in developed countries, but in Asia it's very inexpensive ($.50 - $2 and hour) to use computers and you will literally never be more than 200 meters from an internet cafe. So the hassle of carrying a laptop doesn't really seem worth it. There is also always places to burn digital pictures onto CDs.
Hope this answers some of your questions
Thank you for your reply, it answered exactly what we were in doubt about. Your experience with this is clear and I appreciate you sharing it with us. I really did not want to bring a tent and water filter along unless I had to.
The laptop: I wonder which option is better for security reasons. To do some online banking and file my taxes while out there as well as email and photos?
Any computer specialists out there? - I will post this question in the laptop thread, just in case others are interested.
I will look into the RTW ticket combination with extension tickets. Good idea, It may come out cheaper.
I wish that we had a specific plan and timetable sometimes for the tickets and timing but the spontaneous nature of travel makes it so unmanageable, i guess that's he fun in it. We need the flexibility i believe. I will think of how to minimize the possibly unused part of the RTW ticket. That should minimize the cost and maximize the flexibility a RTW ticket can offer.
Thank you for your time, I am sure it will save us a lot of back pain along the way.
I've always done my banking online in internet cafes while abroad and have never had a problem. Of course its always a security risk and I'm aware that I will not have any problem until the day that I suddenly do. But I just can't be bothered worrying about stuff like that, and I think that taking that risk outweighs the incredible hassle of lugging around a laptop for a year or two. And besides, there's probalby a higher risk of your laptop getting stolen on the road than there is for your bank password to get copied on a public computer.