In a couple of years I hope to do a RTW trip with a friend. It will consist of most/all of the continents (Antarctica I heard you can get tour ships there and walk about on it, would be incredible if anyone knew more about this?).
We plan 6-8 months. Spending upto 3-5 days in each location, we haven't much of an idea exactly where and how we will get to places but most of them are rather backpacker style locations, here is what we are thinking of so far (in no order):
Utah, China, Arizona, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Jordan, Brazil, Ecuador, Nevada, Japan, British Colombia, Egypt, Myanmar, Antarctica, Thailand, Laos, Ontario
We decided a few months ago we wanted to do this, got some ideas together and haven't really thought what should we do next? Who to talk to or how to look about travel arrangements. It's all very new to us, we've both done single countries but not anything as grand scale as this.
Finally, at a very rough idea, what would an estimate price range be for something like this?
Thanks guys, I'm new to all this so would like pointing in the right direction.
You sure are planning early, but I think given your ambitions of all continents including Antarctica (which costs a fortune to even due the cheapest cruise) you'd need more than 6-8 months. I did a similar style of RTW trip last year which lasted for 7 months and I didn't do any of Africa, any of the Middle East or Antarctica plus I didn't explore Australia because I've done it before. About the shortest cruises on Antarctica are about 10 days long and usually costs approx $4000US-$19,000US per person plus extras (at the moment so unless you have more money than you know what to do with, Antarctica might well be out of the question given you are planning so much other expensive travel.
I think if you plan to see so much you should at least set aside a 12 month period (the maximum validity of a round the world ticket). You should also look at a continent based Oneworld RTW fare, but given you are planning so far in advance that ticket may not even be around in two years time because it allows so much mileage (but is very painful to arrange an itinerary that includes Africa and South America on the same ticket.
For Myanmar at this stage you are required to fly there and I am unsure if you even can on a RTW fare, so to get there you might need to get a seperate flight from Bangkok. Maybe by the time you go they may have changed things to open up a land border crossing for foreigners to use, because unless things have recently changed it is even illegal to travel with a mobile phone while there and hotmail is even banned on internet usage! (I think that they are still very much stuck in the 60's or earlier when mobile phones and internet would have been thought as impossible.
It'd be nigh on impossible to give a rough estimate, but if you didn't include Antarctica and stayed in dorms most the time, lived off supermarket food then you may get by on $10,000US if you are lucky per person. Include Antarctica in that and you'd be looking minimum of $15,000US per person but probably more. I don't know about the UK, but in Australia if you do a google search for "free travel brochures" you can find some sites which have Antarctica tours in them. So if the UK has the same sorts of things as Australia with regards to that type of site, maybe you could get a few brochures on Antarctica tours. I have also got 4 or 5 websites that I can send you in a PM so that they aren't breaking any rules on the site.
Have fun planning.
[ Edit: Edited on May 13, 2007, at 5:07 AM by aharrold45 ]
Thanks a lot that's really helpful!
Surprised at the expenses of going to Antarctica but our budget would probably be up to $20,000 for the whole trip (each).
We looked at the RTW tickets you can get but they don't offer enough flexibility, we really want to go to more locations than they offer.
Is it easy to plan on the go? Make changes while your there decide to fly to other countries? Or does it really need all planning/booking in advance?
Again thank-you aharrold, great advice. Thanks for the links too.
The Oneworld Continent based fare allows quite a lot of flexibility if you willing to go a little out of your way for some things. For example on my ticket I went London-Kiev/Ukrain then went overland through Russia, Latvia, Estonia got a ferry to Finland and recommenced my RTW ticket from Helsinki. Another section I also did something similar only departed from the same stop was when I landed in Bangkok got a cheap Air Asia flight to Hanoi then went overland through Vietnam, Cambodia got another cheap Air Asia flight from Phnom Penh-Bangkok and then did a little overland travel in Thailand before recommencing the RTW ticket from Bangkok. If I had of wanted to I could have flown in to Beijing and then departed from Bangkok just doing overland travel in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia Laos (maybe get a return flight to Myanmar as no land border crossings exist at the moment) and then do overland travel in Thailand, Malaysia and thenrecommence my ticket again by flying out of Singapore to Australia 3-4 months later. That would certainly allow a lot of flexibility to do what you want but seeing you know you have to travel all that distance in that amount of time you know when you are within the last month you'd need to start making sure you are moving in the right direction.
On another RTW trip where I think I had 14 stops on the tiocket, I went to 27 countries. On my last RTW trip which has 20 stops on the RTW ticket I went to 28 countries but some of them were the same countries I'd already been to.
As for if it is easy to plan on the go, well if you do something like I did between Ukraine and Finland then it is, because originally I didn't think I'd be able to get to Latvia as well as Estonia but I made time to do that. When you allow large gaps of land in between departure points and fairly large amounts of time it allows you a lot of freedom especially in Europe where you have got so many countries close together and also got very cheap airfares.
I did a very similar itinerary to yours on the Oneworld continent based fare. If it weren't for the fact I ran out of time (like you will do if you leave it at 6-8 months), well I could have fit all those other places in as well. Like I could have gone overland from Egypt to get to Jordan (being sure to try and escape getting an Israel stamp in my passport). I could easily have also fit Myanmar in with a seperate flight from Bangkok but I just simply didn't have enough time to fit those added places in. Don't forget South America is an enormous continent, China is a huge country and America is a huge country which take many months in if you truly want to spend more than a couple of days in each place. Antarctica alone will take at least the 10 days for the cruise, but it may weel takes weeks on end hanging around for a tour to have a vacancy after a cancellation unless you book in advance about 1 year.
With that continent based fare it allows a lot of flexibility but will still only be valid for a maximum of 12 months from date of first use. To do something like yours, you would definitely require a very large amount of backtracking and going all over the place to be able to get the right flights. Like for me to get to see mainland South America and Easter Island, I had to fly Rio De Janeiro-Easter Island (via Santiago) and backtrack a huge way to Santiago because you can't stay in a place other than to change planes more than once and you couldn't go west after Easter Island on a continent based fare. To get to Ukraine instead of being able to go from my previous destination Mumbai/India, I had to fly Mumbai-London-Ukraine. So you do require a lot of very out of the way flights to fit a difficult itinerary such as yours in and may well also require huge overland distances or seperate flights especially to get to Myanmar and anywhere remotedly close to a cruise to Antarctica.
Goodluck with your planning. It'd definitely pay dow go to the oneworld site and download the destination guide to see which places have direct flights. The rules say you are allowed 20 flights, but if you do an overland section that will count as a flight and also if you stop to change planes that will also count as a flight. You also are not allowed to backtrack between continents but you can backtrack within continents (the only acception I know of is you can't backtrack between mainland america and Hawaii).
Have fun planning, but be prepared to be frustrated seeing how out of the way you are going to have to do.
Thanks once again!
I looked at the oneworld, it looks a great option. At the maps shown the 39,000 mile one looks like it will cover the majority of places I specified (except Africa & central Asia?).
With oneworld do they give you fixed times for the flights or can you sort of specify you want to spend 1 month here, 2 weeks there and so on, so it gives you that time to explore neighbouring countries?
[ Edit: Edited on May 14, 2007, at 9:58 AM by nicksource ]
I am pretty certain that the 39,000 mile fare would not be good enough for what you want due to the amount of miles, because the miles you cover by land also count towards your mileage ie if you landed in Cairns and departed from Melbourne those miles you travelled would be added to the flights as well as that being classed as one of your allowed flights. The continent based fare allows a lot more flexibility and has lesss rules and will let you include Africa and central Asia (although it is a bit difficult for the Africa bit). Basically for Africa you have no option other than to fly in and out of Johannesburg or possibly Cairo,unless it was your last flights before heading to London. Most cities only have flights to and from London, but you could say land in Johannesburg see South Africa and work your way up to Nairobi over months and then fly from Nairobi-London (as an example). The only way to really include Africa is on a continent based ticket by flying from Hong Kong-Johannesburg or London-somewhere else in Africa-Johannesburg-Hong Kong-(other Asian places).
The RTW ticket will allow you to say that I want to spend 2 months here, 3 months here etc to allow you to explore surrounding countries, because I did exactly that. Like I stopped in Bangkok and saw Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
If you've downloaded the destination guide, when trying to include Africa, click on Johannesburg and then see the destinations that it flies to and from and then that is when you can't start tryin to add Africa in.
I think I understand now,
So it would be a much better option to book flights to Africa from London, then Africa to Hong-Kong and start the cross-continent from there?
It looks really good, in the download it says upto 12 months, and since it stops at only about 5-6 places it acts as a sort of skeleton, where you can add a lot more places in between?
It's hard to pick the right one to work off, as where one might go to Canada, it won't go to South America and vice versa and what about the smaller islands such as Fiji, is it a case of finding flights to these places while on the cross-continent route?
Yes it definitely would, but if you did that, you'd have to be fully awar that you'd most likely require many thousands of kilometers overland, because most destinations in Africa until you get down towards South Africa only have flight to and from London. Johannesburg by far has the most variation of destinations and is the only place on a oneworld ticket that at the moment you'd get any flight anywhere outside of the African continent or London. So you'll definitely have to end your African adventure with a flight out of Johannesburg. Once there, you could either fly to Perth then see some of Australia and New Zealand and then head up to Asia, or you could get that flight from Johannesburg-Hong Kong and do the Asian bit before going to Australia if you are planning on seeing any of Australia (which if you haven't already you should).
If you did that their would definitely be no option other than a continent based RTW ticket because your mileage would be so enormous seeing the overland sections count towards your flights and mileage. Be prepared though that when you get to Asia you will require a lot of mucking around to do the sort of thing you want. Like to fit India in on the RTW ticket after flying in to Hong Kong you'd basically have no option other than to fly to either Mumbai or Delhi and then make your way to Central, South East Asia etc, because flights to India are few and far between and if you flew Hong Kong-Bangkok and then Bangkok-India which is the other option, you wouldn't be able to get back on flight as you couldn't fly back to Hong Kong or Bangkok which are the only two options heading in the direction you'd need to be travelling. I'd definitely be applying for a frequent flyer card before booking your ticket!
Another thing to be aware of with the RTW ticket is that although Egypt is officially part of the African continent for the purposes of the RTW conditions both Egypt and Dubai/United Arab Emirates are considered as a Europe stop so you'd basically have to do a London-Cairo flight and then when you made your final flight you'd have to land in London and no other place in Europe because you'd be going over your allowed stops in Europe seeing that'd be your departure continent.
Creating a ticket covering most continents is a nightmarish experience. When I was trying to make my ticket, I downloaded the destination guide off the oneworld site. That has a list of all places they fly to and from. So if say you want to fly to Argentina, you'll look for cities such as Buenos Aires and see where that has connections with that are either where you ideally would like to fly or are relatively close. To get to the islands it is extremely difficult and in some cases impossible on a continent based RTW ticket. Like on a mileage based oneworld ticket you can fly from Auckland-Papeete-Easter Island-Santiago. On a continent based ticket that isn't possible and it is almost impossible to get the flight to Easter Island on the ticket whilst staying within the rules of the ticket.
If going to certain islands is one of the musts on your trip, perhaps what you could do is in the destination guide, click on the airport where you would like to fly in to and then see where you can fly to from that airport. If you did that, then you could see which place is close to where you'd hope to fly from to get to the island if you get what I mean. So for example if you wanted to fly to Oahu (Hawaii) but you had no idea which places you could fly from to get there, you'd click on Honolulu (the airport in Oahu) and then see where you can fly to from Honolulu. Then you'll see Sydney listed as a place you can fly to from Honolulu and hence you can fly the other way. Then you'll be able to also see that from Honolulu you can fly to Los Angeles so you'd know that you could make your itinerary have Sydney-Honolulu-Los Angeles or it could have been Los Angeles-Honolulu-Sydney. Once you figured that bit out around the islandyou can try and work the remainder of your itinerary around that. This is what I had to do with Jamaica, Hawaii and Easter Island which were three of my must see Islands if I had to miss other stuff to get to them. In some cases like in Asia you may be able to get to islands relatively cheaply by boat or flight, but in other cases it'd be extremely expensive (especially for any South American islands).
In Canada what you could do (I did on another RTW ticket) is fly in to Toronto then go in to USA and get a flight to Vancouver (probably from New York) then do some travel around Canada before getting another flight in to the USA to maybe Los Angeles. In your case it'd probably be better in the opposite direction, but if you are going to be going to America visa free you need to be wary of the visa regulations. If you enter the US for 4 weeks, go to Canada for 6 weeks and come back to America, even though you get a 90 day visa free thing in the US, your 6 weeks between the first entry and the 2nd entry is taken off that 90 days, so you wouldn't have an extra 90 days you'd only have about 20 days left (if my math is correct). So if it is possible it'd probably be best to reach Canada without transitting through the USA, but given the time you have allocated for the trip you wouldn't have 90 days to spend in total between the USA and Canada. Any surrounding place has the same thing with regards to time coming off the American visa it doesn't matter if it is Jamaica, Mexico or where ever.
I think you may have downloaded the wrong file if I understand what you wrote above correctly. You may have downloaded the RTW calculator which is pretty difficult to use. That is handy, but the thing I am talking about is a .pdf file that lists every single destination they fly in to or out of and you click on the +button that is next to the city and that will open up more cities which is where you can fly to from the city you clicked on. This pdf file is just desinged to show you everywhere without having to put in a place and not knowing if a flight even exists. The RTW calculator is good to check times etc, but when I used it, the dates weren't more than about 2 months in advance at best, but it is also handy to see if the flights fly via somewhere because you should try to avoid flying via anywhere to allow you more flights towards the maximum 20 stops. You are allowed a maximum of 4 flights in all continents except the one you depart from where I think it is 2 and in North America I'm pretty sure it was a maximum of 6. Even with that, you can still only have a maximum of 20 flights so if you chose 6 in North America, 4 in South America, 3 in Africa, 4 in Asia that'd only leave you 1 in Australasia/Pacific as you'd need the flights to and from Europe. So you need to decide what is most benefitial for you and where you could buy cheap extra flights (like South East Asia). Anything in Africa or South America are very expensive so use the maximum in South America and as many as 4 in Africa if you somehow can find an itinerary to fit 4 in (you'd be doing good!). Also download the conditions of the tickets, because the continent based fare allows you to fly on less airlines than the mileage based fare so you need to be sure you are choosing flights that you can fly on with a continent based ticket. Anyway you have ages to plan!
Hope this has helped. Have fun trying to plan, because I know I sure had a nightmare of a time trying to get a valid itinerary!
[ Edit: Edited on May 15, 2007, at 6:24 AM by aharrold45 ]
That's very useful.
I can't seem to find this file you are talking about, I didn't even find the calculator it was the information about the type of plan.
[ Edit: Edited on May 15, 2007, at 10:39 AM by nicksource ]
Go to the oneworld site then where it has the button that mentions timetables click on that. After that opens up you can see a few options for downlaodable files. I think if you click on the link saying desktop version and also the icon further down the page for Schedules: PDF and also Schedules & Trip Planner Desktop.
It will be one of those and the other two will be of use in showing the fare rules and putting in to the calculator accurate information rather than having to play experiment.
[ Edit: Edited on May 15, 2007, at 1:51 PM by aharrold45 ]