My girlfriend and best mate are planning a 6 month experience starting Nov 2009 – May 2010.
Sad but true, I’m not going! Alas that’s how it goes, and I’m helping them out as they seem to be completely lost in getting flights sorted.
Here’s the plan:
London/Brussels – Hanoi
Bangkok – Rangoon and back
Bangkok – Sydney
Sydney – Auckland
Auckland – Singapore
Singapore – London/Brussels
I called Trailfinders today and got a fare of 1200 GBP ex London, including the Rangoon sector, with a charge of 70 GBP per change.
They are both 25, so I also asked for a fare from STA but they haven’t got back to me yet.
From everyone’s experience, how does this sound?
Is there another ‘plan’ that would be better suited to them, maybe without penalties for changing the dates while travelling?
The gf keeps talking about SKYTEAM, but from what I've read, penalties still apply for changes.
I’ve looked at the One world planner but, as they are ‘back tracking’, so I think that’s not a good option for them.
Any advice welcome, would make my life easier!
Is the £1,200 per person, and does this include all taxes?
Penalties would still apply as it can be a pain in the neck and quite time consuming as a travel consultant to change dates for passengers when they can't be bothered planning a bit in advance. Also the penalties that they tell you would be the charges that the travel agency charges on top of the airline. They could not possibly get the same airline for all those flights so therefore the change fees would not be the same for all airlines. Also depending on the availability to change the dates it may require a resissue and upgrade to another level of economy class (economy class is represented by many different letters all being different prices) and if that happens the change can be rediculously expensive.
I'm not too sure about the costs based from Europe, but if you booked the same stuff from Australia that would be a very cheap price.
Your friends should definitely look at doing a tour in Myanmar as it is not easy to get yourself around and also you will not have any problems changing money illegally on the black market, where as doing it alone you won't come across many places that openly do it. Changing the money the illegal way means getting approximately 1000 Kiets for every $1USD as apposed to the proper rate of 7 Kiets for every $1USD. This means if you change money on arrival at the airport you will spend an absolute fortune to get the equivalent of an orange juice. One Orange juice usually cost 1500 Kiets so at the government rate that's over $200USD per orange juice!!! or if you change the money the illegal way it is approximately $1.50USD!!! How corrupt and wrong is that?!!! I met a really great person when I was there who arranged all my travel there. It all works way different to anywhere else you are likely to go in the world but is so worth the trouble. When I turned up I had what looked like a gun put to my head and I'm thinking wtf!!!! They were testing people for swine flu and just not leting them know! A bit scary to begin with but something to tell people about. They should really allow at least 10 days but preferably a bit longer for Myanmar as it has heaps to see and do but best done on a pre arranged organised tour (very hard to get in a regular travel agency or online).
Thanks for your replies.
Mojorob : yes, that does include taxes
Aharrold45: Cheers, for the feedback. I figured what you mention regarding penalties would be the norm. Most of the girls flights are with Qantas except for BA on the last leg. So if they need to change and can get the class of fare, they will just get charged the 70GPB I imagine.
Interesting read about the currency exchange and your exepriences! I will be sure to pass it on!
Does the last leg need to be Auckland-Singapore-London?
It seems that the only reason they are backtracking is to visit Singapore, which could be included in the first South-East Asia leg. They could then actually fly around the world, which, I think, always works out cheaper. All it would add would be a stop in the States, probably LA/NY, and if they're not really interested in those destinations, they could simply just change planes and continue straight to Europe.
I think the standard route of SE Asia-OZ-NZ-US is the most common and therefore cheapest- they might be able to save a few hundred by concidering a route of, say, London-Bangkok(then touring around Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar)- Singapore- Sydney-Auckland-LA-London.
Just an idea! There are usually good deals for such routes.
Thanks to everyone for their valuable input!
In the end the decision was made to buy the Bangkok – Rangoon sectors themselves, along with the OZ internals and the Bali - Singapore one way. Jetstar and Virgin Blue have great prices if bought way in advance.
Trailfinders gave the best price and great service so the tickets were bought with them.
I'm sorry, but I have to ask. Would your girlfriend let you go on a six month trip with her best mate?
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Sep-2009, at 15:22 by fabyomama ]