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Help i'm a first timer

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Help i'm a first timer

1. Posted by Andy B (Full Member 34 posts) 12y

Hi everyone.

Myself and my girlfriend are planning to go RTW in January and to be honest, don't really know much Our itinery is

Singapore 5 days
Thailand 1 month
Sydney 1 month
Queenstown (NZ) 3 weeks
Auckland 3 weeks
Cook Islands 2 weeks
Fiji 2 weeks
LA 1 month
New York 2 weeks
Total 6 months

Firstly how much money do you think we'll need. Hoping to save around £5000 each (excluding money for tickets, insurance etc)

Secondly I was wondering what is the best type of backpack to get. Are the ones with a zip off day pack better better than normal backpacks. What is the recommended capacity?

Lastly if anyone has any tips/advice on things to do/places to stay etc, i'd be very grateful.

Sorry for all the questions but i need all the advice i can get.

Thanks:)

2. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 12y

Hi Andy,

Welcome to TP. Sounds like a great trip, and good luck to you both with it. I'm not even vaguely an expert on RTW travel, but my 2 cents worth:

1. 5000 sounds reasonable and along similar lines to other travellers, although be aware that if you planning on doing allot of the major activities in NZ/OZ in particular (gt Barrier reef, bungie jumping, skydiving etc), they can eat a large hole in your budget very quickly. Have a feeling Island hopping in the Cook Isles isn't cheap either.

2. Without knowing you at all, from an itinerary point of view i'd say that maybe 2 weeks on Fiji followed by 2 in the Cook Isles may be too much in one go, even if it is the "holiday" section of your trip. Personally i would probably also add an extra week or 2 in Oz (in place of maybe 1 in NZ and 1 from the islands) to try and see some parts away from the East Coast trek. You may have already planned it, but i'd also suggest going overland from Singapore to Thailand. - Spending some time in Malaysia and then Thailand before ending in Bangkok and flying out of there

3. I personally tend to find that whilst a good idea, the zip off back packs don't tend to be so good themselves. Great for attaching to main bag for travelling (but you may want to have it as a carry on anyway), but as you'll probably be carrying a day sack significantly more than the actual main bag, it's often worth buying them seperately - or at least checking the zip off day sack properly and making sure it's good.
I've said many times before, but the worst thing you can do is buy a rucksack without testing it properly.

As for size, unless you are carrying large amounts of specialised gear (i.e. if your a mountainer/whatever) or doing extended amounts of camping which require stoves and all the extra bits etc, a 65l rucksack is the absolute largest you should go (and probably 55 for your girlfriend). That 65 should allow maybe 15% free space it in for things you will pick up along the way et, and not stuffed to bursting. If you can do a 55 or 60 (or smaller) that's even better. Generally, the larer the sack, the more carp you take with you that isn't needed, just because you have the space. You don't actually need much stuff, and especially if your going as a couple who are planning on doing it all together, there's several things you can share to cut down on stuff as well ((side note - it's a good idea for you to each carry a full set of the others clothes plus photocopies of their documents etc, so if one rucksack is stolen/lost/destroyed in transit, you aren't completely screwed)).

Ideall, you want to buy it early and you want one that you can return and swap for a different model if needbe. Do the straps work for YOU personally? Are the pickets big enough for what you want to put in them etc?
Pack it up (completely) with a cross between what you think you want to take and a few extra heavier items, so you've essentially got a full load of the worst that it will ever be (including tying a sleeping bag/tenbt etc on if you may take one). The same with your daysack, and possibly carry a carrier bag with a couple of bottles of water or whatever in as well. Wear it for a week or two. Walk around you home city (as you may be doing when looking for a hostel, for example). get on and off buses (and trams, trains, metro etc if you can) - can you get on/move around without getting stuck in the entrance railings or hitting passengers? Perhaps more importantly - does it fit in lugage spaces, overhead racks etc. Try and get on a crowded bus and stand with it on or sit with it on your lap, to see if you can do so. Walk around a supermarket when shopping. Climb several sets of staircases (if the rooms on the 8th floor and the lift is dead or non existant, you will have to).
If you struggle and want to destroy the rucksack after a week of carrying it in a known environment, where everybody speaks your language and you know what your doing, you sure as heck won't be impressed doing it in a strange country etc. So try and change the bag and see if a different design is better for you.

Quite seriously, a bad rucksack can ruin (or at least seriously affect) a trip, and you end up dreading putting it on, instead of the excitement you wantbecause it means your moving onto somewhere new. etc I know several peopelk that have eneded up junking their bags on route and buying a different one (or a suitcase on occassions), sometimes more than once, because they didn't test it properly first.

I doubt any of that is helpful, or i've even answered all (any??) of your queries, but i'm rambled aimlessly on lonbg enough for now, so am going to stop.

Good luck and happy travelling.

3. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 12y

Hi Andy,

Welcome to TP. Sounds like a great trip, and good luck to you both with it. I'm not even vaguely an expert on RTW travel, but my 2 cents worth:

1. 5000 sounds reasonable and along similar lines to other travellers, although be aware that if you planning on doing allot of the major activities in NZ/OZ in particular (gt Barrier reef, bungie jumping, skydiving etc), they can eat a large hole in your budget very quickly. Have a feeling Island hopping in the Cook Isles isn't cheap either.

2. Without knowing you at all, from an itinerary point of view i'd say that maybe 2 weeks on Fiji followed by 2 in the Cook Isles may be too much in one go, even if it is the "holiday" section of your trip. Personally i would probably also add an extra week or 2 in Oz (in place of maybe 1 in NZ and 1 from the islands) to try and see some parts away from the East Coast trek. You may have already planned it, but i'd also suggest going overland from Singapore to Thailand. - Spending some time in Malaysia and then Thailand before ending in Bangkok and flying out of there

3. I personally tend to find that whilst a good idea, the zip off back packs don't tend to be so good themselves. Great for attaching to main bag for travelling (but you may want to have it as a carry on anyway), but as you'll probably be carrying a day sack significantly more than the actual main bag, it's often worth buying them seperately - or at least checking the zip off day sack properly and making sure it's good.
I've said many times before, but the worst thing you can do is buy a rucksack without testing it properly.

As for size, unless you are carrying large amounts of specialised gear (i.e. if your a mountainer/whatever) or doing extended amounts of camping which require stoves and all the extra bits etc, a 65l rucksack is the absolute largest you should go (and probably 55 for your girlfriend). That 65 should allow maybe 15% free space it in for things you will pick up along the way et, and not stuffed to bursting. If you can do a 55 or 60 (or smaller) that's even better. Generally, the larer the sack, the more carp you take with you that isn't needed, just because you have the space. You don't actually need much stuff, and especially if your going as a couple who are planning on doing it all together, there's several things you can share to cut down on stuff as well ((side note - it's a good idea for you to each carry a full set of the others clothes plus photocopies of their documents etc, so if one rucksack is stolen/lost/destroyed in transit, you aren't completely screwed)).

Ideall, you want to buy it early and you want one that you can return and swap for a different model if needbe. Do the straps work for YOU personally? Are the pickets big enough for what you want to put in them etc?
Pack it up (completely) with a cross between what you think you want to take and a few extra heavier items, so you've essentially got a full load of the worst that it will ever be (including tying a sleeping bag/tenbt etc on if you may take one). The same with your daysack, and possibly carry a carrier bag with a couple of bottles of water or whatever in as well. Wear it for a week or two. Walk around you home city (as you may be doing when looking for a hostel, for example). get on and off buses (and trams, trains, metro etc if you can) - can you get on/move around without getting stuck in the entrance railings or hitting passengers? Perhaps more importantly - does it fit in lugage spaces, overhead racks etc. Try and get on a crowded bus and stand with it on or sit with it on your lap, to see if you can do so. Walk around a supermarket when shopping. Climb several sets of staircases (if the rooms on the 8th floor and the lift is dead or non existant, you will have to).
If you struggle and want to destroy the rucksack after a week of carrying it in a known environment, where everybody speaks your language and you know what your doing, you sure as heck won't be impressed doing it in a strange country etc. So try and change the bag and see if a different design is better for you.

Quite seriously, a bad rucksack can ruin (or at least seriously affect) a trip, and you end up dreading putting it on, instead of the excitement you wantbecause it means your moving onto somewhere new. etc I know several peopelk that have eneded up junking their bags on route and buying a different one (or a suitcase on occassions), sometimes more than once, because they didn't test it properly first.

I doubt any of that is helpful, or i've even answered all (any??) of your queries, but i'm rambled aimlessly on lonbg enough for now, so am going to stop.

Good luck and happy travelling.