Sorry if these questions are silly or have all been asked before but...
Having not left the country in 10 years Ive just started planning my first Round the world trip and and need some pointers as to where to begin. I have between £7000 - £8000 pounds to spend in total and up to a year to do it in.
Ive come up with a long list of places id love to go (although im still revising it daily!), spanning africa, south and central america, asia, the Pacific, and the middle east.
i accept that i most likely wont be able to go to all the places i want to, though was wondering how many stops you guys would recomend given my budget?
Ive looked at both the STA travel and Oneworld websites. I didnt really much fancy the STA travel routes they had advertised, However the Oneworld flights seemed more open ended allowing me to plan my own route. I wondering what other peoples opinions were?
How long do people recommend spending in each location?
Sorry for sounding like a total newbie!
The One World Continent based round the world ticket is by far the best ticket with regards to flexibility and making an complicated route (like yours will be). Getting to and from Africa is extremely difficult whilst remaining within the ticket rules. The only options you'd have is if flying from Asia you go from Hong Kong-Johannesburg. Then you could do some overland travel or maybe see what other flight is available from Jo'burg-somewheer else in Africa and then go from there to London (basically the only place outside of Africa where flights from African countries go to).
I'm pretty sure that you can get from Perth/Australia-Johannesburg as well, but unless you were to totally skip Asia out, it'd be very difficult to stick within the rules. If you didn't mind a lot of back tracking and only wanted to see South Africa, you could probably do something like Making stops in Asia (the last one being Hong Kong, then flying Hong Kong-Johannesburg then doing some overland travelling but departing Africa from Johannesburg-Perth/Australia. Then seeing Australia, flying to Honolulu-mainland north America, making your way down to Mexico, Central America then use all your allowed flights in South America and your final flight from either Buenos Aires-London or Rio De Janiero-London
How long you spend in each location would depending on many varying factors ie do you like seeing things in great detail? Are you hoping to get a bit of a taster for the city/country and then if you like what you see then come back and see it more? Are you a slow walker or sight seeing traveller? I personally felt for most capital cities 4 full days was enough to see it good, but then for some big cities like Rome, St Petersburg, London and Barcelona 4 days is hardly enough time to even touch the surface let alone to see it well. So if you plan on seeing some of the country other than just the big cities, you need to add a week or more on at least. For example in America you are allowed a maximum of 6 stops (North America for the sake of a one world RTW ticket is considered to be Canada, USA, Mexico and all of Central America). So seeing you want to see Central and South America, you are in all likelyhood going to have to also add North America in to that mix including at least one stop in USA and maybe 1 in Mexico city so that you'll have no hassels leaving the USA like might be the case if you were to cross the border on a bus.
Another thing you may also need to be aware of is that Egypt and also United Arab Emirates/Dubai are considered to be part of Europe on a Oneworld RTW ticket, so if you are departing from UK/Europe it'll probably mean you'll only be able to include one of those stops and without those stops it'd be extremely difficult to also include the Middle East given that you are departing from Europe so it makes the allowed stops in Europe to a maximum of 2. Also on those tickets if you say land in Rio De Janeiro/Brazil and departed from Santiago/Chile, that would count as one of your allowed flights in South America even though you went overland and didn't fly.
On the Oneworld continent based RTW ticket you'll need to try and get direct flights where ever possible even if they are at more inconvenient times, because the moment you stop at a place even if it is for refueling that'll add another flight on to your ticket meaning less flights in the continent. I think for your sake, if the weather isn't going to play a big part ie travelling in winter everywhere, you should consider an itinerary that involves this order of continent: Europe-South America (that's very limited with your options)- North America-Australasia/pacific-Asia-Africa-Europe. You may be able to get some flight from North America-Asia without going via the Australasia/Pacific continent meaning your ticket would be cheaper. I know that a flight from Los Angeles-Tokyo exists, but then you'd need to be sure not to use Hong Kong as your next arrival city as that is a 100% necessity no matter how much backtracking or inconvenience it may cause to be your last departure city in Asia if you are to go to Africa. If you are to do a trip like this it is a good idea to join your oneworld alliance frequent flyer program. You'll get a load of mileage which will give you at least a return ticket to some overseas country that isn't half the world away. When you are on the continent based ticket and also a frequent flyer member it is good to have all this huge backtracking.
This round the world ticket would cost a small fortune and have a massive tax bill, because you'd most probably have a total of 20 flights on the ticket or very close to.
You should also consider having openjaw sections on your ticket and loosely planning your time for that journey. If you loosely plan it ie say 8 days from point A to point B when you plan on doing it in 5, that will allow for a little flexibility in your plans if you should want to spend a tiny bit more time in a place.
On a trip like yours, you would not have that luxury of being able to have too much time in each place due to the quantity of countries you would be going to. You'll also want to try and arrange as many of the visas you may need to get before you go if it is allowed that far in advance, because some can take a fair chunk of time that you won't have spare on your trip.
My last trip was of a similar nature and size to yours and covered roughly the same sort of route with all the up, down, sideways every which way route that I have put down. I wouldn't have change much at all except borrowed money so that I could have spent 12 months away instead of only 7 months. My next big adventure will be twelve months, so if you have the luxury of getting 12 months off, do your best to do it and stretch your money as far as it will possibly stretch, because this is really a once in a lifetime or twice if you are very fortunate type opportunity you have.
WORK, WORK, AND MORE WORK yourself in to the ground, go without luxuries and only buy things that are neccessities to save every penny you possibly can before you go, because you'll need every bit of it while you are away to have the most wicked time of your life.
If you haven't already done so, you should download the oneworld destination guie off the oneworld site (the pdf file that has all the cities they fly to and from with - signs next to them that you click on to see the cities that they go to from each place. Then download the RTW calculator off the site just putting in any old date to see if the flights are direct because you only want direct flights if at all possible. Sometimes they are direct on certain days of the week and others not. You also want to download the conditions of the oneworld explorer ticket and be sure that the airline codes ie QF for Qantas match up with the airlines you are allowed to use on the continent based ticket. Oneworld has a lot of airlines, but you are not allowed to use all of them on a continent based ticket which is what you'd require, so you need to be sure that the direct flight is with one of the airlines you are allowed to use. It is a serious pain in the backside trying to get the ticket valid without breaking any of the rules, but when your trip begins it'll all be worth it.
If their is something I haven't answered in this huge reply, feel free to send me a message (click on the send message link near my username) with any other questions you may have and hopefully I will know the answer or know where to look.
Have a great trip and happy planning!
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 21, 2007, at 5:02 AM by aharrold45 ]
That has given me much food for thought. Ill no doubt need to bend your ear again when i come to all the actual booking and stuff, but this has definately given me a start!
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 22, 2007, at 8:32 AM by GizmoKid ]