First Long haul trip - advice needed?

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1. Posted by Derek28 (Budding Member 3 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Hi everyone, I am planning to take some time off work and finally force myself to do a really good long trip travelling a good section of the world. I've saved up quite a bit of money for myself and would like to do around 3-4 months maybe longer of seeing different places of the world.

My plan of action is to start from the UK and then go to a place in the Middle East, work my way eastwards to New Zealand and my main destination to Perth in Australia to see my relatives there, then gradually make my way back to the UK. I have been experimenting with some itineraries on different websites and seeing what benefits me. A RTW ticket seems good, but forces me to keep going east to make a full itinerary so doesn't seem ideal. After some research my plan was this -

Manchester
Dubai
Hong Kong
Seoul
Tokyo
Fiji
Auckland
Perth
Singapore
Manchester

Do you think this route is suitable? Financially I am doing well, and have worked out the average cost of the flights is around £3000. After flights, I feel I would have around £4000 to spend, but I also have a savings fund which I don't want to dip into, but in case of an emergency that would leave me with about £10000 in total.

2. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 516 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo are expensive...
I believe Seoul and HK aren't particularly cheap (unless you go 'real budget' style), although I haven't been to Seoul and HK was a long long time ago (it wasn't run by China then ).
I wouldn't expect that budget to last you long at all without dipping into your savings.

Why not swap a couple of those places with a couple from India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia or Indonesia?
These places are generally much cheaper with more to see and do at a reasonable price.
It would certainly make your budget look a lot more realistic.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Nov-2018, at 16:30 by Andrew Mack ]

3. Posted by Derek28 (Budding Member 3 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I was thinking about south east Asia, especially Thailand and Vietnam they seem very interesting. I wouldn't mind being flexible and changing where to go, but I would like to make Japan on my stop list, seems like an interesting country. My main plan was to try and get to Australia/New Zealand and then loop back home again. Do you think that's possible or would I be better to go east from New Zealand, over Canada/US and then back to the UK?

4. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 516 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Derek28

I would like to make Japan on my stop list, seems like an interesting country. My main plan was to try and get to Australia/New Zealand and then loop back home again. Do you think that's possible or would I be better to go east from New Zealand, over Canada/US and then back to the UK?

Everyone finds Japan interesting, but expensive.
Do lots of research (I'd suggest a backpackers guide book like Lonely Planet or rough guide), blogs and YouTube Vlogs to make your money go as far as possible there.This may also help ; https://www.travellerspoint.com/guide/
Really that holds true for everywhere else as well...

Which direction you go is up to you but Canada/USA are more expensive, so don't expect to stay there anywhere near as long as you would in S.E. Asia.

RTW tickets aren't the great deal they were 10+ years ago. Flights around asia can be very cheap, and a long haul LHR to somewhere like KL or BKK isn't particularly expensive now.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Nov-2018, at 17:07 by Andrew Mack ]

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1287 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I agree with Andrew's advice, RTW tickets used to be more compelling. And I think you're making a good choice in doing out-and-back without adding north America.

£3k sounds a lot for the flights; perhaps it's all the different legs. Or maybe you haven't found some of the budget carriers in s.e.asia like AirAsia. Skycanner is a great tool for flight searches, if you haven't already found it.

I'd suggest a simpler itinerary. Out-and-back to Australia or New Zealand with one stop in S.E.Asia is the routing with the most competition and thus good prices. From there you could go more local within each region with the likes of AirAsia, Jetstar or Virgin Australia. I think this could be closer to £1k than £3k as long as you aren't heading out in peak season December.

Return tickets are often much cheaper, and a UK to NZ return ticket changing at HK may be the same price as just UK - HK return. See if you can do a round trip return to Australia or New Zealand with an extended layover in the middle hub (HK, BKK, SIN or KL) and then use budget carrier flights to hop about in region. Between Auckland and Perth try Jetstar or Virgin Australia. With SEAsia AirAsia's main hub is KL.

Equally I've had some good deals flying via Seoul with Asiana and Korean Air to Australia and New Zealand, and that means Seoul becomes your hub for SEA. You just need to find an airline with an extended layover policy.

Equally I've based trips around SEA around AirAsia's route map, such as visiting Singapore, Siem Reap and HK from their KL hub. That was when they were doing long haul no frills from Gatwick to KL for £250, sadly I think that's gone.

Taipei is also fascinating in the same way as Japan, and is cheaper.

6. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1134 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Don't except to get to New Zealand on an Air Asia flight after 10 February 2019 - Air Asia have pulled the plug on New Zealand.

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1071 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I travel at least six months of the year crisscrossing the globe. No need to buy a 'round the world ticket, which carries with it certain restrictions. You'll save money if you do some advance planning and buy tickets as you go, particularly with low-cost carriers. Familiarize yourself with "fifth freedom" flights that also can save you money. Go online to find out what these are.

A good resource besides Skyscanner is Google.com/flights as well as flightconnections.com. Also, check airline Web sites. Know that it may be cheaper to buy tickets overseas than in your home country. For example, I returned yesterday from a 58-day trip to China/Tibet, Nepal and India. Before leaving on that trip, I went on the Singapore Airlines Web site, chose India instead of the U.S. as the location, and paid for the ticket in Indian rupees with my U.S. credit card. Cost of the ticket from New Delhi to Singapore (stopping there for three days) and onward to Bangkok (for two days) was equivalent to US$261.71. The ticket would have cost more if I had selected the U.S. as the location on the Singapore Airlines Web site.

Airfare costs are likely to be more reasonable on heavily trafficked routes with competition. But even in some places, such as Africa and South America, there are ways to get a better fare. You just have to play around with the flight search engines. A high-cost one-way fare might be more reasonable if you tacked on a flight or two on the same ticket lowering the average cost of the flights. Do the math.

Your biggest cost will be accommodations, followed by transportation. Food is likely to be a relatively minor expense (I keep track of all my expenses on each trip, so I have a detailed record). My friend Barbara and I ate at the fifth floor hawker food court in Bangkok's Terminal 21 shopping center (next to the Asok BTS/Sukhumvit MTR station. Price of dinner for the two of us on Nov. 13: 180 Thai baht, or the equivalent of $5.48. We both had a green papaya salad; I had chicken w/cashews and rice and two scoops of coconut ice cream. Barbara had pork with morning glory leaves and rice. In Singapore, our Japanese dinner for two (chicken katsu with rice, miso soup, chawanmushi and salmon sushi (we shared the latter) cost 22.9 Singapore dollars, or about US$16.66.

There are a lot of changes in the travel world; and a lot of information you see online is outdated. Always ask questions to see if what people are telling you still stand. Never rule out anything. Flexibility is key.

The same goes for destinations. Yes, it will cost more to visit Japan than Thailand. But the lower cost of Thailand will help offset the higher cost of Japan. And Japan needn't be expensive. For example, you can eat at reasonable cost throughout Japan. One of my favorites in Kyoto is Global Kitchen near the Kyoto train/bus station where food items, including packages of sushi, are discounted each evening. Other places do it, too.

People forget that, until recent times, Japan has been in a long period of deflation. So prices haven't been climbing as they have in other parts of the world.

Be imaginative with your itinerary. As mentioned before, don't rule anything out.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Nov-2018, at 20:08 by berner256 ]

9. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 516 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Derek, In your position I'd stop off on the journey out to Auz and on the journey back. It's a long flight in one go and a few days elsewhere can help with both the exhaustion of the flight and with the jet-lag re-time-zoning. even if it's only for a few days.
As others have said, plenty of research using cheap flight search engines.
I like skyscanners but kayak and others aren't much different, but if they say the best deal is say Emirates, then also check the Emirates web site as well... they usually respond to issues/problems directly better than when the tickets are bought via a 3rd party like a search engine,
Then do research on accommodation with sites like agodo (again lots more accommodation search engines) and you could also try Airbnb as well.
good luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Nov-2018, at 03:03 by Andrew Mack ]

10. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1071 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I want to stress that when planning travel, as other things in life, it really pays to get the facts rather than make assumptions. Those assumptions could be wrong.

It's frequently assumed that transiting the United States to get where you want to go globally is expensive. If you take the time to check, you'll find that's not necessarily so. The reason is that the U.S. is a huge market with significant competition. That matters.

Go with the flow. There isn't as much traffic between Australia and New Zealand and South America. But there's a lot more traffic that makes its way from Australia and New Zealand to Hawaii; and also from Asia to Hawaii (a major international tourist destination). So you'll find that airlines compete on the routes to Hawaii. A low-cost U.S. carrier, Southwest Airlines, soon begins service to Hawaii as well, so domestic fares to the Islands have been dropping. I know, because I have family there and I'm always looking at fares. In June, I bought a one-way fare from Honolulu to Atlanta (with a connection in Phoenix) for US$216.90 on American Airlines for travel in January 2019. That's a bargain for the distance covered.

Low-cost carriers, such as AirAsia and Scoot also serve Hawaii from Southeast Asia and Japan (Osaka). Australia's Jetstar Airways also has an extensive network of flights in the Pacific, including to Hawaii. Many assume that domestic flights in Japan are expensive. They'd be wrong. Jetstar serves the domestic Japanese market as does several other low-cost carriers, such as Vanilla Air. The majors, such as ANA and Japan Airlines, also compete on price. So air travel can be more time and cost effective than rail travel.

Know that several major cities are served by more than one airport. Bangkok, for example, has BKK and DMK. The latter is served by low-cost carriers such as AirAsia. Seoul has BKK and GMP. Tokyo has NRT and HND. Osaka has KIX and ITM. Routes and prices can differ. Also consider nearby alternative airports. For example, flights to/from Macau (MFM), a gambling destination like Las Vegas, might be less expensive than Hong Kong (HKG). Fares from London could be better than fares from Manchester.

Bali is a favorite destination of Australians and travelers from around the world. So flights to/from Denpasar (DPS) are reasonably priced. That includes nonstop flights to Perth, which can be had for under US$100 for the flight of 3.5 hours or so. AirAsia serves that route as well as Jetstar.

Be sure to check "fifth freedom" routes. For example, you can fly nonstop from Manchester (MAN) to Houston (IAD), a flight of about 10.5 hours, for $350 one way on Singapore Airlines. There are a lot of possibilities, so do the research to save.