I have been reading many posts over the last year as I am planning a round the world trip starting in September. It seems there is a wealth of knowledge on this sight and I would like some help with regards to flights...
I am in England and plan on traveling overland with my boyfriend from here to Singapore - taking about 5months, journeying through Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia.
From Singapore I would like to fly to Bali and then to Perth. Then spend approx 3months in Oz and make way overland to Sydney.
From Sydney plan to fly to Christchurch then spend about a month in NZ and fly out from Auckland to Fiji.
Spending about a week in Fiji then fly to L.A. and travel overland (via Canada) to New York where if possible would like to end with trans-atlantic ferry.
The problem is that I am not a great flyer.. and will only fly with airlines I feel safe with - eg Qantas, Air New Zealand British Airways (ignoring the minor crash recently.....!) I would like to know the best and cheapest ways to buy these tickets - should I get them before I leave UK? Can I get into countries without an onward ticket and so buy them en route? Are there any deals similar to round the world tickets that do not have to start in the UK??
I expect as the time nears I will be asking many further questions, but at the moment any help with this problem would be greatly appreciated!!!!
Thanks very much
The problem is that I am not a great flyer.. and will only fly with airlines I feel safe with - eg Qantas, Air New Zealand British Airways
Funny about those airlines, one of the small aircraft operated by an Air New Zealand owned company today had a woman hijack one of their planes on the way to Christchurch and stab the pilot and co-pilot. I mean you expect their to be a chance of som deranged man like Osama Bin Ladens friends to do something so rediculous, but a woman! Chances are almost nil of it happening but their is a slight chance like a fraction of 1%. Qantas has had many recent issues with regards to passenger safety not being taken seriously by taking shortcuts on repairing major parts of the aircraft and then British Airways had that recent minor crash you mentioned. As you can see with those so called "safe" or safer airlines, mishaps do happen from time to time just the same as flying on Garuda, Phillipine Airlines, Ryan Air, Easy Jet, Aeroflot Russian Airways etc will have the occasional mishap but chances are you wouldn't be on that plane when it happens.
With regards to getting in to countries without onward travel, in some places you wouldn't have any hassels (although all places I know have that as a part of the visa requirements). For places like Russia, without having proof of onward travel (even if it were a small flight just after you tell them you plan on leaving Russia) you will most likely not get a visa. They are amongst the fussiest and slowest in the world before they may or may not give you a visa. It is not a country you want to apply for the visa on the go for because unless you spend a fortune, the visa takes ages to be issued. Mine took close to 4 weeks between the date I posted my passport in and the date I received it back with the visa in, but I did go for the cheapest option for processing instead of paying the $400AUD for priority processing! You also need to try and make you visa start a day or so before you plan on arriving overland and end a few days after you plan on leaving. This covers you incase you end up turning up too early and wouldn't be allowed in and also covers you incase your train was delayed leaving Russia or you didn't get stamped out befor midnight on the date your visa said is when you are leaving. They are very very strict on the visa rules when in Russia and you need to watch out for the police in the distance to try and cross to the other side away from them. I found this was the way to avoid getting them to ask to check your passport and then tell you a whole load of garbage and force you to pay them a bribe or go to the police station with them.
China is also pretty fussy with visas and you definitely need to make sure you don't apply for the visa to China too early because if you have applied for it too early and turn up, you will get denied entry. Just make sure you read the conditions of applying for a Chinese visa properly before you apply.
Vietnam was another place that you need to apply for the visa prior to arrival and they ask to see proof of onward travel (mine consisted of a plane ticket departing Cambodia as I was going overland).
In the USA if you hold a UK passport (or any other one that is part of the visa waiver program) they treat you like a terrorist with all the photo taking, fingerprinting and in some cases Iris scanning when entering the country and you will get asked all about your travel plans, exactly where you are going, what places you are staying at etc and possibly asked to see proof of onward travel by way of an airticket outside of North America. You would also need to be careful with the amount of time you spend getting between LA and NY via Canada because your first entry in to the US is when your visa waiver period begins and it doesn't stop just because you cross over in to Canada early on.
Thanks very much for your indepth reply!! I know how unlikely it is to be caught up in any serious incident on any airline - safest way to tavel and all that, I think i'll have to see how I go! I expect what we'll do is buy our first ticket from Singapore before leaving UK - would that be enough for all the countries inbetween, like Russia and China?? Are visa's prrof of onward travel - ie if we have bought a visa for Vietnam would we be able to show this as proof of onward travel on entering China?
I expect what we'll do is buy our first ticket from Singapore before leaving UK - would that be enough for all the countries inbetween, like Russia and China?? Are visa's prrof of onward travel - ie if we have bought a visa for Vietnam would we be able to show this as proof of onward travel on entering China?
I am not totally certain about if they would consider visa's as proof of onward travel, because in normal situations to get a visa you need airline tickets, train tickets, bus tickets or some proof you plan on leaving and arriving when you say you do. You need to apply for the visa to China before you arrive and not just when you turn up at the border. I doubt most countries would have a problem, but Russia and China are two places I wouldn't be surprised if you were denied a visa becuase of it. Maybe China will ease the visa restrictions a bit with the olympics happening, but I can't see that in my lifetime the Russian government is going to become more like the majority of the civilized world instead of having their own rediculously controlling way of doing things. It is also the fact that you need specific dates that are not meant to be flexible that makes your visa situation for Russia more tricky. By law you are meant to have all accommodation and travel prebooked and are meant to register where ever you are staying if you are there for more than 3 business days.
I would be a bit concerned with regards to a Russian visa if your first planned flight i.e. actual proof of onward travel wouldn't be until a couple of months after you tell them you plan on leaving Russia. It was a bit of a gamble for me and I had proof of arriving in Ukraine just before the dates I gave as my entry dates to Russia and I also had proof of departure from Helsinki a few days after I told them I planned to leave Russia. All you can really do is try your luck, provide a detailed itinerary with dates in each place a week prior to, whilst in Russia and a week after you plan to leave. It'd probably be a good idea to space your itinerary out a bit for the reasons I explained in my initial post. You also need to make sure that on your visa application that you fill it in with the same information that is on the visa invitation letter that you get (costs about 25-30USD on a few places online). You need this invitation letter to be able to apply for a visa without being on one of those very expensive tours. Normally the accommodation on those letters in not where you really plan on staying, but you need to be certain when filling in the application form that you put the same places on your visa application form as are mentioned on the invitation letter otherwise you will in all likelyhood get denied the visa.
Thanks very much for all this information. I will research further and may ask more questions at a later date!!