If you've got a spare minute, can you give me an opinion on the following,
I'll be graduating university in about six months (hopefully), and have always wanted to go backpacking on a big oe before i get a real job. I would like to leave New Zealand in april or may 2009 (I'll be 22 by then), and want to be away for 6-12 months. I think a realistic budget (from years of saving) will be around NZ$20 000 (approx US$15000). I've never really been traveling, just around New Zealand, and for no longer than a week at a time.
For the past year, i had been planning to travel with two friends. But they have both bailed on our plans (one joined the air force, the other decided not to). While I don't really want to go by myself, it's looking fairly likely that i don't know anyone with the means to join me... What do you guys think of this? I really don't want to go by myself, but don't want to miss out just because no one else wants to join in.
Where to go?
I have talked to many many people on this one, the general consensus seems to be that any type of extended travel around europe would be far too expensive for my budget.. although, i am willing to work while on holiday, and have a lot of experience in bar work. My father has been bugging me for ages to go on a trip to Thailand/south east asia with him, i'm told this is a relatively cheap thing to do, so am thinking this might be a good first stop on an adventure. Finally, I have been told that if i'm in the area, I should spend some time in england/london at the end of my trip trying to find a job... which makes sense i guess... The main places i really want to visit at some stage are italy, greece, germany, perhaps the UK (more so scotland & ireland than anywhere else), cuba.. I have no real desire to visit the americas.
What would you guys do? Any suggestions as to where i should go/ how long i should go for? This is such a baffling concept for me and any help would be greatly appreciated.
So first off I'd say don't worry about traveling alone. In my mind it's the best kind of travel If you stay in hostels and such you're going to meet other people you can hang out with, but you also have the freedom to do whatever it is that you want to do. Also you can post something on the Travel Companions Forum and see if you can find anyone who might be interested in traveling with you for part of your journey.
As far as budgeting and where to go is concerned I'm a little less helpful, but here's my thoughts on that. From what you said you were interested in I'd go ahead and first hit up Southeast Asia. I've never been there, but it sounds amazing and everyone I've ever heard talk of it says it's cheap. Also if your dad wants to go then it would give you a chance to start off your trip with a travel buddy, before branching off on your own. From there go on to Europe, because it sounds like you really want to. I don't know that your budget will last 12 months, but it sounds like what you want to do. Generally Eastern Europe will be a little cheaper than Western Europe so be sure to spend some time there. Do realize that from the time you enter your first Schengen country you will have 90 days on your Visitor Visa before you need to be out of all of them. Luckily the British Isles and most of Eastern Europe are not included in these countries. But it's just something to remember when you're planning you route. At your age you'll be able to get a student price on a Eurail pass, which will help with your costs. Also think about traveling over night when doing longer journeys as then you don't also have to pay for a place to stay.
Of course generally how far your money goes is all down to how much you spend. Buying food from the grocery as opposed to dining out will help you to cut costs, as will staying in hotels. I used LP's Europe on a Shoestring which was a great help with cutting down on costs. It may not be fancy or as in depth as more individual books, but it has all the info that you really need to know when going to a place.
On a side note, I'm not sure, but you might want to check about Work Visas for the UK and whether or not it's something you need to get before you leave home.
Best of luck!
Thanks for your help.. I've decided to backpack around southeast asia for a few months in april, then head to either Spain, France or Great Britain (I know GB is very expensive, but I'm planning to get a working holiday visa and do some bar work or something while there)... then work my way around western europe from there