Ive been to STA travel and laid out my travel plans The plan is two months SEA and then a month or two in AUS and a month in NZ. My budget is approximately £8000. It seems flights will set me back around £1500. Leaving me with £6500 for accom and food. I hope to get around most of SEA including Thailand Singapore, Vietnam,Laos, Cambodia and Maybe Idondesia. I'd like to go from scratch to Paddi advanced diver while here.
In Australia I want to see Melbourne Sydney and do quite a bit of surfing and possibly a good beginners course. I'd like to enjoy a few different beaches. Also on my wish list is the GBR and Whitsunday islands.
In New Zealand I want to do as much as I can possibly fit in the month, such as Ice climbing, caving, Mount Doom etc.
Are the trips necessary for the trip such as the intrepid tours. Are they worth the money? Obviously they are a great way to meet others.
The South East Asia ones are quite dear and left me thinking what I could get for that money in SEA.
In my opinion the Intrepid Tours are wonderful, but they aren't cheap. If you are a confident person, I would suggest that you save your money and do the trip independently. The wonderful thing about learning to dive, is that you meet lots of other people on your PADI courses and the dive boats. It's a similar situation with surfing. Asia is also a very cheap place to travel once you arrive - your money will take you further if you spend it independantly rather than through a tour company.
Based on the budget you described, you have the luxury of being able to afford to either take an intrepid tour, or travel independently. Personally if it was me, I'd go independently.
Definitely go independently... especially in the countries you are travelling to where it is easy to travel & make friends. I did an intrepid tour & found it very restrictive & frustrating after travelling on my own for so many months & left the tour after a few days.
Travelling for me is all about not knowing, where I'm going, what I'm doing, where I gonna sleep that night... its exciting & rewarding to do it on your own & your get alot more out of your trip if you do it independently.
Whatever you decide to do have a great trip
I'd take Emily's advice if I were you. SEA-OZ-NZ is such an easy trip by yourself. All of the areas have well established travel routes and it's fun to DIY too. You gain confidence as you travel, and there are plenty of others taking the same route so you won't be alone.
1,500GBP is alot of $, perhaps you can do it for less? Are you aware of the new LCC's on the Australia-SEA route? Jetstar (Qantas) and Air Asia X now provide bargain fares (with advance sale) in the area. Often you can do it for less (piecemeal purchasing) than just by buying one ticket to cover the entire trip with the legacy carriers like BA, NZ, QF or SQ. I don't know if CP's All Asia Pass could save you $ too (or even if it's available in the UK?)
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 31, 2008, at 10:57 AM by Daawgon ]
Do it on your own, definitely. The tours are exorbitant, and you'll meet just the same kind of people if you just do it yourself. Plus you will be able to do a lot more because you'll have double the cash if you do it alone.
I've heard good things about tour companies, but they really do everything for you and you have to go at their pace, so if you decide you really like somewhere and you just want to chill there for a while, you can't do that with tours. I can't see any real benefit of spending all that money on them, when you can just do it all yourself anyway for a lot less and a lot more fun.
It takes some organisation on your part because you've got to look up train and bus times, routes, etc....but, to me, that's all part of the adventure of travelling!
Hope that helps. Have a great trip!