My boyfriend and I are planning a 16-22 month round the world trip to India, China, Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand) and Australia and are looking for some advice. We're planning to leave mid Sept. and visit the destinations in the above order, starting with India. We will have a total budget of around £20,000 and will also try to find jobs on a Working Holiday visa in Oz. We've already done some research re visas, jabs, cost of flights, and other travel costs. We're planning to stay in hostels (double rooms if our budget permits) and also use CouchSurfing. We've decided to pack light; we're going for the Osprey Exos 46 rucksacks.
We have Lonely Planet guides to each of the regions (India, China, Southeast Asia on a Shoestring and Australia) and Lonely Planet's The Big Trip (although this seems to be more geared towards high school/university graduates, we are in our mid-late twenties and will be quitting full-time employment).
This is the approximate amount of time we intend to spend in each of the regions:
India - 4 months - mid Sept. 2013 - January 2014
China - 2 months - February, March
Southeast Asia - 4 months - April, May, June, July
Australia - 6-12 months - August, Sept., October, November, December, January 2015...
In order to stay flexible, we don't want to create an exact itinerary for each destination, but instead compile a list of places we'd like to visit and an approximate route with entry and exit points, with connecting flights between the different regions.
The route could look something like this:
UK - India (Manchester - New Delhi)
India - China (Kolkata - HK/Shanghai?)
China - Vietnam (Beijing - Hanoi)
Thailand - Australia (Bangkok - Darwin?)
Australia - UK (Sydney - London)
I'm planning to create individual threads for each of the regions, for more specific information and advice, but we are also looking for some more general advice too, regarding the following topics:
- Long-term storage (in the Manchester area)
- Travel insurance/medical insurance
- Visa bureaucracy (would it be best to try and sort out most of the visas before we leave the UK?)
- Budget (is £20,000 a realistic budget for 4 months in India, 2 months in China, 4 months in SE Asia and getting started in Oz for 2 people?)
- Money management (how best to manage our budget? Cash, credit cards, traveller's cheques?)
- Which gadgets to take, and Internet access (we're planning to take 1x unlocked phone - to use with local Sim cards -, 1x iPad mini with keyboard - for WiFi Internet and Skype -, 1x Nikon 1 J2 compact system camera, 1x Kindle e-reader, 1x X-mini portable speaker)
- Required/recommended equipment (including first aid and medical kit)
Any further tips & advice would be very much appreciated (we've travelled together before on several occasions, but are completely new to independent backpacking).
Thanks in advance
Nicole & Stu
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Apr-2013, at 13:19 by Suleika ]
On a side note,
I've worked out the total cost of flights (excluding internal flights, as we're thinking about doing most of our travel by road) will be around £3,000 for both of us (based on actual flights found on www.skyscanner.net and www.momondo.co.uk).
I've used www.budgetyourtrip.com to find average daily costs and used these to work out the totals for each country (the total figure for 4 months India, 6 months China & SE Asia and 6 months Australia, plus flights and visas actually comes to £26,200 for budget travel, for both of us - this is supposed to include Accommodation, Food, Water, Local Transportation, Entertainment, Communication, Tips and Handouts, Intercity Transportation, Souvenirs, Alcohol).
We're planning to stay in Oz between 6 - 12 months (maximum time on Working Holiday visa), depending on how we get on and how long our money lasts.
I think you are going to be struggling with a budget at £20,000 for 20 months for both of you. Working in OZ is a must in my opinium and don't forget the working Visa, you can apply for this on-line.
You cannot apply for all your Visas before you leave the UK and will need to get them on route, as some will be from date of issue.
It's easy enough, just find out where you can apply for the countries you are visiting, e.g. for China you can apply in Vietnam, you'll get some on borders, but do the research this is important.
This is a good site to check out
I guess China will be your most challenging but it's a wonderful place to visit.
We came in from Vietnam and traveled along the southern coastline up to Shanghai, did all the tourist things. There are some amazing places and area to visit. Do your research.
When you book accommodation get the address of your next accommodation in Chinese from reception you can use this to show to train bus and taxi drivers as there is little English spoken in the non tourist areas. Young people are your best bet for getting information, we found the Chinese people very friendly and helpful.
We used the chain hotel Home Inn if you want a recommendation.
It's a challenge when you go to eat as the menu will be in Chinese I would take a phrase book with you, we didn't have anything and we had some pretty funny experiences with ordering food.
We took the train from Shanghai to Hong Kong it takes about 24 hours you get a sleeper beautiful linen sheets carpet on the floor carpet slippers can you believe and a flask of hot water, there is a catering carriage. There was three of us and we shared a 4 berth and it was very reasonable at £24 each but that was 6 years ago.
I have a contact in China if you want to stay with someone write to be privately.
The rest of your trip is pretty must tourist trail and you should have any problems.
One thing about India if you travel by train which everyone does book 1st class if you can but always aircon for any of the classes because 3rd class non AC is not good.
Oh and always book your tickets from the railway station the agents add a huge amount on to the ticket price if you book from them.
Accommodation, we found using hostels could work out more expensive when booking a double private room because you pay per person rather than per room. Just something to watch out for.
I'll just add a couple more independent traveler website
For meeting local people and free accommodation
Trains website this is a great website
Best of luck and keep safe