I have decided, after wanting to do this for years, to take a gap year off school and travel the world (or parts of it). First thing first though, whats my route? I have come up with a few but am interested in your opinions.
The places I would like to go are:
Spain, Southern France*, Italy (Mainly Venice and Rome area), Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Egypt*, Poland*, Russia (parts of, it is a big place! , China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal*, Madagascar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zaire, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa*, Brazil*, Peru*.
- These places are not nessessary, but i would like to visit if possible; or, like france and poland, just for a few days.
This is not my 100% set list, so if you have any suggestions on must see places than I would love to hear them. I would prefer to avoid Western Europe (other than spain and italy) and Australia due to high costs. I do not go for the tourist attractions, but rather to immerse myself in another culture, and to be able to see exotic animals in their natural habitat. Thanx in advance.
p.s. I live in canada and could start from either the west (Eastern Asia) or the East (Western Europe)
That's really cool that you're thinking about doing a gap year! I'm a Canadian student too, and I leave in 2 weeks on a somewhat RTW trip for my gap year. Your list of places sounds great, and I think we have similar interests too, off the beaten path and away from touristy areas.
I'm planning to check out the UK a little bit then move on to France where I have close friends and then head to Eastern Europe, through the Middle East and the into West Africa. I got a couple of guide books and I have a rough idea of where I want to be when and that's about it.
So when do you plan on leaving?
Hey dream.girl, you'll have to let me know how your travels go. I am going into grade 12 come September, and thus will be starting my RTW trip in July/ August 2011. If you don't mind me asking, how much money do you have to spend on this, and how long are you going for?
So I actually have no clear idea how much money I'll need, but I'm planning on going w/ about $15,000. I have friends that have done the same for less, but I also don't want to come home broke... saving for school the year after etc. and I'm planning on staying a little longer than I'd like in Western Europe because I have friends there. I'm planning on going from Sept. to the start of June, then come home and work for the summer. I was going to do a volunteer placement for a couple of months while I'm gone, but that's currently in limbo, so I'll wait and see.
It's great that you're planning already. Believe me, if this is your first big trip, you will need all the time, plus deferring school while planning a trip is pretty fun and a little exhausting. If it's possible, defer school, don't just wait to apply because it will save you a lot of stress while you're travelling half way around the world.
If you have questions about stuff just msg me, I'll try to help you as best I can, since there are so many things to consider about an RTW trip. If you want to follow what I'm up to then check out my blog. I've just started it, and hopefully I'll keep posting regularly while I'm abroad!
[ Edit: Sorry, no personal details please. ]
I will not have that much money for my travels, but since i will be spending little time in west europe (if any) and may even skip europe all together and just go to the places on my list past china, while adding a few more in africa, it will be much cheaper. Thing is though, I will be going to see the wildlife, along with the the cukture, but mainly the wildlife. I can't just walk into a jungle by myself though, I will need a guide, if not a team, which in itself costs money. I don't believe you said you are going to Africa, Cass, but if anyone else reads this, are there cheaper ways to explore the jungles and savannah in these countries than paying a tour company. The cheapest tour I could find was roughly $1100 CAD and that was 20 days with no much else but food and accomadation, and the tour. It is relatively good i guess, but I can't afford that even, if i plan on going for 10 months to a year. Plus, I like to make my own plans and choose where I want to go, instead of booking a set tour. Would it be wiser (and cheaper) to just talk to the locals and pay them some money to take me to these places?
I am actually going to Africa. Possibly Kenya, but definitely West Africa. I won't be interested in any safaris but I would definitely say talk to the locals, locals always know best but I would be weary when it comes to parks and safaris since going guide-less doesn't seem like such a great idea as you said. Once you get on the ground you will probably be able to find an guide that doesn't charge package rates etc. But I'm not an expert at all, maybe try posting a question like this in the Africa/Middle East Forum? I've always gotten great answers from the TP forums
As for my budget, like I said I'm planning on keeping a chunk for school the next year, but it could also be emergency money if necessary. If you're seriously considering China, definitely get your papers/visas in order BEFORE you go. I've heard it's pretty tricky to get into, especially if you're backpacking as part of an RTW, the same goes for Russia, but I'm sure there are ways to get around it, just do your homework first. (here's where all the extra time between now and when you want to leave comes in handy). If you can't find the answers you're looking for here I would recommend checking out the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum, it has more African/Middle East/Asia info.
Hey Cass, thanx for all the help. I will check into those forums. I will probably skip China and Russia and just start in Vietnam...when the time comes. I have decided to go my my travels after university now as I know what I want to study, zoology and animal biology. If my plans regarding finance work out the way I imagine them (which they hardly do :p) I will have more money to spend on my travels. I will have a vast expanse of knowledge at my disposal due to my studies, and I will have more time to prepare (such as learning languages), and more time to slowly be introduced into the world of independence versus being thrown out there all of a sudden. If I decide to change my mind again, then there is no harm done, I will just use the money saved up for school (or part of it) for travels instead. We'll see. Regardless, I will follow your blog (it is already favourited . I look forward to seeing how your adventure goes. Good luck, and have fun!
A great looking trip - with quite a few places not normally mentioned on RTW schedules.
I can help you with any questions you may have about both Africa and Eastern Europe.
Others will be able to assist you on the more common RTW destinations like Laos, Cambodia etc.