I have just sat here for ages reading all the threads on everyone's travel plans, adivce etc and it is so facinating and I have already learnt so much...
My boyfriend and I are planning a trip from next June.. roughly:
S America - 1 month
NZ- 2 months
Oz - 4 months
Thailand/Cambodia - 2/3 months
India - 2/3 months
I have done a small bit of travelling to Autralia for 4 weeks stopping off in Bangkok on the way but that's about it. I planned that trip to the day and am keen to have the above trip a bit more fluid and hopefully have the option to change flights if we need to. To keep this as brief as posible my immediate thougts are as follows and any advice would be so much appreciated:
1. At the moment we have only really planned the Inca Trail for S America. I have looked into the half volunteer half trail trips but they seem a little expensive.. are they worth it or is it just best to do it yourself? I realise that the Inca Trail pretty much has to be part of a group.
2. I am sure we should probably spend more time in S America but where to go?? Where is best to go to overland if we could stay for up to 2 months?
3. We are currently hoping to take around £18 - £20k including flights. I feel confident this is more than enough would everyone agree?
4. Not being the most experienced travelling any advice on what would be best to plan before we go would be appreciated.. hostels/ cars.. is it a good idea to pretty much just have the flights in place and see what happens???
5. I think this is not possible from what I have read but IS it possible to go overland from Thailand to India?? Having read previous posts it looks like you go through China & Nepal but is this expensive and how long woudl it take.. would it be simplier to just fly??
5. Also when would people suggest booking flights??? Nearere the time or this year? Does the price vary at all??
I am so excited even though it is a year away but just feel it would be best to try to lay down some ground plans.. I am currently in the situation as I am sure that so many of you have been in before... you have the ideas but now it must become a reality and where do you start!!!
Thanks in advace
Given your itinerary, I'd definitely add more time on to South America. Depending on how much you previously saw in Australia, maybe you could take 2 weeks off Australia and two weeks off India to make up that one month.
I haven't travelled to all of South America, but I thought a trip through the Andes was amazing. The bus trip from Santiago-Buenos Aires or vice versa has some really amazing scenery but be warned you can be in a traffic jam up this steep winding road for over an hour. I haven't been but I have heard that Patagonia is an amazing place so next time I am in South America I plan to travel far down in Argentina and Chile.
For your third question, as long as you don't really go over the top and stay in luxurious hotels every night or every 2nd night, then that budget should be plenty.
On my two RTW trips what I found was of great assistance with the way the trip went was having a round the world ticket with numerous open jaw sections to allow me to go overland. This was especially helpful in Europe and in South East Asia. I planned it in loose details like planned to spend 6 weeks getting from Ukraine-Finland but when in actual fact I'd left days spare so that if I changed my mind as to where I want to go in between I could. So I managed to fit Ukraine Russia, Latvia, Estonia and Finland in to the itinerary when I initially had only expected to get to see Ukraine, Russia, Tallin and Helsinki. So if you plan your time to fit what you think you will do and how many days you wish to spend in each place, then add anything from 1-3 weeks extra in countries where you plan on doing a lot of overland travel, that will allow you a little more flexibility to change plans, stay a little longer etc.
I'm not an expert as far as Asia goes, but I'm pretty certain that it isn't possible to go overland to India as you can only fly in to Myanmar at this stage with no land border crossings open to foreigners. So without going through China and Nepal that'd be the only way you could possibly go overland. Given the fact China has so many nice things to see and do it could take months to get across that way if you would even be allowed to go through Tibet. You could probably go through central Asian/Middle East countries to get overland in to India, but that'd take many months. It would definitely be a lot more simple to fly. If you had a oneworld round the world ticket, you can get a flight from either Bangkok or Hong Kong to Mumbai or Delhi, but after that you are pretty much restricted in to flying to London although it might be a possibility to fly to Dubai and then to London (not 100% sure on that though as Dubai is considered as Europe when it comes to oneworld rtw ticket itineraries).
For round the world tickets the prices don't usually change if you book 10 months in advance to if you book a few weeks before departure. They do however have higher fares depending on the date of which you commence your ticket. So if you commence in the peak season it'd be more expensive than travelling when it was shoulder or low season. The later you leave booking the more chance you have of having to rearrange your itinerary a bit or change dates due to flights being fully booked out.
Have a great trip.
1. There are two problems in doing the Inca Trail that I will bring to your attention. First, it's bloody expensive, around $350-400. As far as I'm concerned that's just way too much money to spend on a 4 day hike. There are many alternative hikes that will cost much less. I did the Salkantay Trek which costed $165 for 5 days, including all food, accomidations, Machu Picchu entry, and the train/bus back to Cusco. The trail ends at Machu Picchu almost the same as the Inca Trail does, and its still a fantastic hike. Secondly, you have to book the Inca Trail months in advance in order to get a spot. This means that once you've booked, the dates of your travel plans are finalized, or at least for that part of your trip. If you are the kind of traveller that is happy knowning exactly when you need to be places, then maybe that's fine for you, but I was much happier showing up and booking the Salkantay trek 2 days before I did it.
2. So much to see in South America. I did a two month trip last year that took in Peru, Bolivia, and a tiny bit of Chile. Its a trip that I would highly recommend, and it can include the Inca Trail. If it helps you, feel free to check out my blog from South America which has details about everywhere I visited in two months. I also have all my my photos here if that helps you.
3. 20,000 pounds? Wow, thats more than I spent on my 3 1/2 year trip. Is that for both of your together? Assuming that it is, and that you'll spend 2000 of it on flights for the two of you, you have 18,000 pounds left for a year. Assuming you are relatively budget travellers (I dont mean skimping on everything and sleeping on the streets, but being conscious of what you spend and opting for cheaper means of doing things), then a rough budget (for two) could look like this:
South America (Peru & Bolivia, other countries are far more) - 25pnd/day X 30days = 750 pounds
NZ and Australia: 50-70 pnd/day X 180 days = 9000-12,600 pounds
Southeast Asia: 20pnd/day X 2.5 months (75 days) =1500 pounds
India: 15 pnds/day X 75 days = 1125
So with that you have a budget of somewhere between 13,000 and 16,000 pounds. I never figured out a daily budget in Australia when I was there so I wasn't sure on exactly what to spend. But Australia obviously will be a large chunck of your budget and it's by far the most expensive place you'll visit. If you choose to cut a month or two off Oz/Nz and add it to South America or Asia, then you could easily knock a thousand pounds or more off your budget. The more time you spend in India, the cheaper things will be, since you could easily spend your whole year there for 4500 pounds. If you chose to work in Australia (which you are elegable to do) for a couple months then you could make some of that money back. But if all you are doing is travelling, then personally I think 4 months in Oz is more than enough. If you just want to see the highlights of the East coast and the center, then 2-3 should do you fine. And also consider buying or renting a car, because for 3-4 months, you'll probably find it the cheapest option, especially since you can camp and carry your own food. Ditto with Nz, except for the fact that you'll be arriving in NZ in the dead of winter, and so camping, hiking or doing many activities in the South may not always be a possibiltiy.
4. For me, the only way to go is to book flights and leave the rest for when I arrive. I've booked two hostels/hotels in advance in all my travels - My first night in Delhi, and my first night in Lima (both because I wanted the airport pickup). On a couple occasions I've phoned hostels in NZ the night before I arrived to see if there is space, but in Asia and South America, just show up and see what's available.
5. India to Thailand indeed requires going through Nepal and Tibet/China. Whether or not its worth doing it this way is completely up to you. If you have no interest in Nepal and China than obviously it's not worth it since it will take at least a few weeks to do, and in the end will probably cost as much as a flight. But the route is a well trodden and popular path with lots to see, and if you have an interst in those countries, then of course it's worth it. It would make for a great adventure. While you could do it in a few weeks, travelling constantly, that would be silly I think. Give yourself 3-4 weeks in Nepal, a couple weeks in Tibet, and a month in Southwest China along the way.
6. If you aren't going until next June, I wouldn't book tickets before Christmas. Actually, the way I do things, I wouldn't book until April. You are no where near ready to book. You have figure out exactly where you want to go, and believe me, that will change over the next year. But do start going into travel agents (at least 3) and start asking questions about flight possibilities, prices etc...This will give you an idea of what desitinations are realistic, and which ones are better saved for another trip.
Thank you both so much for your replies, the advice you have given is great and gives us lots more to think about. Oh in reply our budget is £18 - 20k for the 2 of us, if we had it each we would definately be going for longer!!
I think the general consensus is now to spend more time in S America and less in Oz.. both for budget and also because S America is really growing on us by the day!
My boyfriend is now also keen to go to tibet and nepal so I think we will look into this a bit furhter and see what happens!
at the moment it just all seems so daunting and so much to plan and think about but I'm sure it willl all come together slowly!
I'm sure you will see more of me on here in the coming year!!