My husband and I are currently planning our year out before we settle down! We're UK citizens and live in London, so will be starting and ending our journey there. We're aiming to go in Feb 2009, and hopefully come back in April 2010 - 14 or 15 months.
We have a few queries and would love to pick your collective brains!
- Is the amount of time that we have allocated in each place enough?
- Are we trying to cram too much into our time? 23 countries in 14 or 15 months
- As we are going over the 12 month max RTW ticket time, would we be better of buying a RTW from London and then forfeiting after Thailand and getting a single flight back from Bangkok to London, or instead, getting a single from London to Denver, Colorado, and starting our RTW in Florida?
- Where do you recommend travelling solo and where do you recommend joining overland tours?
- Can we get visas easily on the way with this route?
- Does the following route (below, in chronological order) make sense?
No days / Location
28 Snowboarding North America (possibly around Bozeman, Montana)
21 Route 66/Highway 1 (Hire car: to see Yellowstone NP (if open), Oregon, then driving down the south coast of California, through the southern states and ending up in Florida)
21 Belize diving
14 Mexico (Aztecs)
5 Colombia (Cartagena only)
14 Peru (Nazca lines, Macchu Pichu)
14 Bolivia (salt flats, Inca trails, Lake Titicaca)
14 Argentina (snowboarding)
14 Chile (snowboarding)
5 Easter Island
21 Tahiti / Polynesian islands
35 Australia: Cairns for barrier reef, diving on a liveaboard for 2 weeks (poss around Mission Beach). Poss Fraser Island. Def spend time in Melbourne for Philip Island. Poss stopover in Uluru. Then to Perth
5 Must see orang-utans, possibly at Penang, Malaysia.
28 China. Must see areas are Hong Kong/Shanghai/Beijing/Xian/Yangtzee/Chengdu (to see the pandas). Also really want to do the Chengdu to Lhasa train and be in Tibet for a few days. Could fly back to Chengdu to get to India, or overland via Nepal
35 India. Areas that we want to visit are Delhi/Agra/Jaipur golden triangle, Rajasthan for lake palace, Bombay, Pune, Goa, Hyderabad, then ending up in Kerala. Seeing relatives so won't need a tour.
21 Thailand (to Bangkok. Perhaps we then forfeit our RTW ticket from Bangkok to London and then make our own way back from Laos when we're ready)
Huge thanks for any help/advice you can offer!
It is nigh on impossible for anyone to answer your question/call for help dierctly as travel is such an individual/personal undertaking.
We faced a similar dilemma during the planning for our RTW trip departing Oct 08, this is how we filled in the blanks:
1. decide destinations
2. purchase ticket, rough out the dates at this stage, ensuring that changes made before departure are free, provided there are seats of course. (we booked with travel nation)
3. as you start reading up about your destinations, making bookings etc it will quickly become obvious where flight dates may need to be changed to acommodate your travel wish list
4. we started with bottle neck destinations like booking tickets for the Inca trail (limited to 500 per day)
hope this helps
there are no orangutans in Penang in Malaysia. To see them in Malaysia you need to fly to states of Sabah or Sarawak in Borneo. You can also see them in Indonesia (Borneo and Sumatra)
When you are in Australia DO GO to Uluru. it is really unique place, nothing you will see anywhere else
USA skiing - Bozeman. Bridger is a bit small of a resort if your a snowboarder. It's great for off-piste with a little hiking and earning your turns. Better suited for tele skiers. Big Sky is a great resort, but the season is really hit or miss. Some years there isn't much coverage. Personally, for that length of time I'd head over and split time between Grand Targhee (deep deep powder but lacks in the double black terrain) or Jackson Hole. Or, if you have a car you can tie the whole thing together. I did that one winter (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming) sleeping in my car for most of it Warren Miller style
Route 66 / Highway 1. I think 21 days would probably be too fast and you'd spend most of your time driving. I've only done the Highway 1 part of the route and I'd probably spend at least 10 days minimum on it.
Belize - 21 days of diving I'd recommend spending a few days sailing the cayes and heading over to the ATM cave as well while you're there. Sneak over to Tikal while you're over at the ATM cave
Ecuador/Peru/Bolivia - If you're overlanding this you need more time unless you want to spend half your time on transport. Alternatively, you can probably find a tour that might just do all of that in that time frame. They'll probably have a few flights in there. There is a lot of good stuff in between the sites in these countries. Kind of a shame to blow by them all. Have to book your Inca trail many, many months in advance.
Easter Island - I don't know what the weather is like there in the winter. In the summer 5 days wouldn't be so bad because you can relax in the sun. In the winter 5 days might drive you nuts. We were there about 3 days. Enough for me.
Australia - way to short unless you're booking a bunch of flights.
Japan - in 14 days you'll be able to do a lot. Highly recommend getting yourself to a festival, sumo tournament, or baseball if your there in the right seasons/time frames.
China - way to short unless you want to spend half your time in transport. Also no way you're getting to do China to India via Nepal with the time frame you have allocated. I haven't done that stretch, but I imagine Chengdu to Delhi could easily take you two weeks alone and that would be mostly transport.
India - again too short of a period of time unless your going to fly around the country.
Great - thank you so much for all of your ideas and recommendations. We're going to be altering the amount of time that we spend in countries, following your feedback (we don't want to arrange a series of 20 or so holidays that leave us exhausted at the end of it all!).
We now have a couple more questions:
- Has anyone spent a chunk of time boarding at Whitefish/Big Mountain resort in Montana?
- Has anyone travelled from Chengdu to Lhasa on the train? Has anyone travelled from Lhasa to Delhi overland through Tibet? Can you recommend any tours that do this (preferably with the Chengdu-Lhasa train portion as part of it)?
Would be grateful for your advice again!