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Around the world - First timer - Questions

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1. Posted by Yag (Budding Member, 7 posts) 11 Nov '03 07:25

Hello everyone,

I just discovered this website after a long Google'ing session. Congratulation for such a worderful site!

Here goes my case: I have been thinking for a good while to leave all behind, empty my bank account dry and travel around the world. I have been reading a lot, looking at dozens on maps on the net, etc. Basically fueling my own dessire to travel. However, I have a bunch of questions so here I am shooting them out:

1. Budget: My budget is somewhat tight. I have moreless 6000 Euros/Dollars (let's assume they're worth equal). That's all I got. I plan to travel on the ole good backpacking style. So, considering I'll be travelling on a budget, how long do you think I will be able to travel for? how many flight stops will I be able to take? I wont mind to work very ocassionally somewhere in the middle of the trip for an extra cash, but to be honest I dont feel like working my butt off. Im travelling for pleassure, not as a way of living. So for the sake of accuracy, let's assume I will only have those 6000 US dollars at my dispossal from the beginning to the end.

2. Schedule: Im spanish, and I plan to leave after Xmass, probably mid january 2004. Im planning to travel towards east and I calculated the trip to take around 8 months. How do you guys see my schedule planning? Im asking because since Im totally unexperienced in travelling, I wouldnt want to get into the monzons or rain seassons or something like that.

3. Flight tickets: What is best: to get a one-year-round-the-world pre-set ticket package, or book them as I go? I assume booking them as I travel will be more expensive but more flexible? How much can I expect paying for a, let's say, 10 stops RTW ticket? Is it worth taking a fewer stops RTW ticket package and travelling more over land via train/bus considering I travel on a budget?

4. Visas: How do you deal with the country Visas when you travel around the world? Simply visiting the embassy of your next destination country and fill in the paper work?

5. Health: Any special thing we euros should get vax'ed against before leaving home?

6. Discount Cards: I am 27 and I am not a student anymore (thanks god!). Is there any kind of youth discount card I could get in order to help me reducing costs? I know about the student card and the pre-26 card, but I dont fit in either case :(

Im travelling most likely alone BTW.

Finally, any good tip you could give me would be gladly apreciated. I know I'm asking too much, but like I said this will be my first "adventure" far away from home, so any feedback will be a God sent.

Thank you very much indeed, and safe travels to all!

-Hector-

2. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member, 368 posts) 11 Nov '03 11:11

Hello Hector,

Well I am planning on going RTW late next year. I too have all sorts of worries, ideas, etc. in my head.

First of all, I recommend you definitely take out decent insurance before you travel. Also I recommend taking two or three types of money. Cash, travellers cheques (and if you have one, a credit card). I am thinking of taking a mix of two or three because it would not be wise to carry so much cash around. As for the budget, I am not sure myself, however a good idea would be to work out approximately how much you need each night/week for accommodation and then add on an amount for food/personal expenses. This will vary depending on whether you choose to dine out in restaurants/cafe's or do self catering and of course it is up to you personally on how much you spend. Multiply this amount by the amount of time that you choose to spend altogether on your trip.

I also would say that vaccinations should be taken if you are visiting places such as Africa, certain parts of Asia and South America. Brazil will not let you in without a yellow fever vaccination and a certificate proving you have had this. However, your doctor or nurse should be able to provide you with information on which countries you should have these vaccinations.

RTW tickets, I am not sure, I personally am going to book mine before I go so that I do not have to worry about flight expenses whilst I am out there. A few websites that may also be of use to you are as follows: -

www.roundtheworldflights.com
www.travelbag.co.uk
www.sta-travel.co.uk

Best of luck and happy travels!!

Rachael

3. Posted by IMonaghan (Respected Member, 431 posts) 11 Nov '03 23:11

1. Budget: A tough one. It really depends on where you go and how long you stay. For example. Spending time in South East Asia will be WAY WAY cheaper than spending time in California. If you want to message me with some places I can help you some more here though.

4. Visas: Again it depends on the places you wish to go, but if at all possible get these from your home country. Most embassies I have dealt with... being an American, will be hesitant to issue you a visa while you are in a foreign country, although it can usually be done.

6. Discount Cards: Unfortunately, at 27 you no longer qualify for any of the youth programs I am familiar with.

I reccomend south east asia very much for one of your prime destinations. Malaysia and Thailand and other countries in that area have a ton of stuff to see and do, and they are very inexpensive without being ratty or anything. Costa Rica I have found to be this way too.

4. Posted by Yag (Budding Member, 7 posts) 12 Nov '03 02:42

Oh yes, South East Asia is one of my primary destinations, along with South Pacific Islands like Cook Is. More less, my planning is:

1. Spain (starting point)
2. Near Middle East (mostly the east-end of the Mediterranean: Turky, Eqypt and the Red Sea area)
3. I would love to drop down in Tanzania if I can to see the African wild animals in their natural enviroment (even tho I heard those safari trips are pricy)
4. Fly stright into South East Asia (India, Thailand, Cambodya, Malasya, etc)
5. Down to Australia and the South Pacific Island
6. And then a lil'bit of US (not much because I guess by then my budget will be wearing very thin indeed).
7. And finally a last month in Center America (Mexico, Costa Rica, etc).
8. Fly back to Spain.

I dont think I will have the chance to visit the northern half of Asia (China, Japan, Mongolia or Rusia), and neither South America or Africa. Like I said, with my tight budget I gotta be selective and I want to spend most of the time in South East Asia and South Pacific.

Hehe anyway, that's my wish list. Now Im going on an email frenzy contacting all the RTW agencies to see if they can provide such destination lists for me at a ressonable price.

-Hector-

5. Posted by ToAfrica (Full Member, 32 posts) 13 Nov '03 12:58

Hector - The Oct. 2003 issue of Conde Nast Traveler has a wonderful article by a writer who tried out one of the RTW airfare deals and reviews a variety of the RTW options. He paid $5,300 USD and managed 65,000 miles, 46 cities and six continents. Very cool.
Good luck to you..and I definitely recommend Tanzania and Kenya. The most extraordinary wildlife in the world.

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin, 5577 posts) 14 Nov '03 08:30

Hi Hector,

Firstly welcome to Travellerspoint! Great to see round the world planners coming here and sharing their thoughts.

I think for pre travel costs you are looking at approximately 2500 - 3000 euro for the kind of ticket you are after and insurance and other costs. Budgetting is hard as Ian mentioned because it is so different depending on where you are off to! I would scrap the US from the list of destinations in favor of more time in Central america, asia, africa (if possible) with that kind of budget and because the US is generally a lot cheaper to fly to for a three week vacation (ticket price wise) at some later stage.

Re tickets. STA are very good but so are the other sites Rach-a mentions. And of course, don't forget Travellerspoint even offers options regarding round the world tickets :) It is done through an overseas partner and some of the deals look quite good. As the prices are in USD and the way things are looking that is dropping nicely, you might be able to get a great deal when paying in EUR! The link is http://www.travellerspoint.com/round-the-world-tickets.cfm and they also allow you to do one of these create your own deals which can be useful to get an idea of pricing.

A lot of the really popular countries have easy ways to quickly get a visa for short stays. Longer stays and certain countries will require some researching and planning.

One tip is that I have always found my trips for long periods to be more expensive than I thought (hoped) they would be, so build in room for error and an 'escape plan' if all else fails. I think you should probably consider working a job or two while travelling to stick it out for this amount of time otherwise the money won't go that far. I believe Spain is in negotiations with Australia about signing the working holiday agreement but this isn't finalized yet (it was for Italy recently and for Belgium).

The main thing though; ENJOY every minute of it!!!!!!!

Cheers,

Sam

7. Posted by Yag (Budding Member, 7 posts) 14 Nov '03 12:06

I think you're correct Sam, Im dittiching out North America. I will walk around there next summer or something. US will be easier to visit anytime in the future. Furthermore, I wont be hitting Japan either, even tho I've always wanted to go there. From what I've been told, Japan among the top 5 most expensive countries in the world :(

I have contacted so far Star Alliance for the RTW ticket, and they offered me the following route for 2300 euros (airport taxes not included) with a total of 29000 miles: Madrid - Istambul - Delhi - Bangkok - Sydney - L.A. - Mexico - Madrid. The problem is that I waste tons of miles in non-direct flights. For example, to get to Dehli from Istambul, I gotta fly back to Europe and then off to India. All in all, 2300+ euros (2500+ dollars) for 7 stops seems a bit expensive IMO.

I also tried the other main air companies join venture called OneWorld. As you all probably know, it's not capped on the total miles but rather on how many continents you visit. I preffer this formula because you wont suffer from non-direct flights, but the woman at the information counterdesk was so horribly un-informed that I couldnt get her to assamble any decent destinations combo for me hehe. I will try again next week and ask in another desk :p

Also, another major bottleneck I'm stuck in is Africa. I REALLY want to see African's wildlife (I always devour TV lions documentaries :P ), but non of these large flying companies alliances offer any stopover in east Africa. Best would be Dar es Sadaar (Tanzania) so I could visit Serengeti and Zanzibar (I've been told it's a paradise) in one single stop. So far I haven't had luck in this matter.

Regarding the budget, I know I'm pretty tight on it, so I might need to borrow an extra 2000 dollars (upping the total to 8000 or 9000 dollars). I've never been very fond of borrowing money from anyone, but I'd rather do that than having to shorten down my trip :p And if at the end of the day I gotta work ocassionally here and there, so be it. No biggie.

I'm getting vaxinated for all due during december, and I have an appointment next week with my private health insurance company to hire a world wide covering package. I will also get the international driving licence next week (I heard it's just a matter of paying a tax fee). All in all, I think this is moving forward and it should be ready for my departure deadline at the end of january. I havent been this excited since... oh man I cannot even remember when was the last time I was this excited about something!

I'm also trying to get enrolled in some schools in order to apply for the Student Card, but that's a rough one. Any ideas anyone?

Like I said, I'm bit by bit pulling all the pieces toghether to leave in two months time. Suggestions regarding the Africa bottleneck highly appreciated!

Thanks everyone :)

-Hector-

8. Posted by ToAfrica (Full Member, 32 posts) 14 Nov '03 17:07

Hector - The writer of the Conde Nast article I referred to used One World Explorer (www.oneworld.com, click on Global Products) and was able to include Kenya in his itinerary. Their base rate is 3,500 USD for three continents; he paid $5307 for six continents. The key limitation was that all travel had to be entirely east-west or west-east, a limitation that is not part of the OneWorld Global Explorer package (starts at $2999 for 26,000 miles).
He also mentioned Star Alliance but said it services slightly fewer countries than One World, as well as the Singapore Air/Virgin Atlantic/Air New Zealand affiliation that has distance-based tickets ($2883 for 29,000 miles) but is limited to those three airlines (800-742-3333 was the phone number listed).
Also interesting: he said there are huge differences in the price of RTW tickets depending where they are bought - due to local market conditions - he suggested a world traveller could save a lot of money by flying to Cairo to buy a RTW ticket. Might be worth checking out.
I'm so excited for you.

9. Posted by Yag (Budding Member, 7 posts) 16 Nov '03 13:42

Hello ToAfrica,

I avidly read the Conde Nast article and I also noticed that RTW ticket price difference statement depending where you buy it. I've been trying to find on the net the price of an OneWorld RTW ticket purchased in Cairo, but without luck so far.

Anyone got an idea how could I find that out? According to the article author, the price gap is indeed senssible!

Thank you :)

-Hector-

10. Posted by katesnape (Full Member, 28 posts) 20 Nov '03 14:16

hey - i think you would be eligible for a VIP Card www.vipbackpackers.com - these are handy for getting money of hostels and many tours - i've only experienced the use of it in NZ and OZ, but i think you can use it around the world.

hope this helps
thanks
kate