Which way RTW?

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1. Posted by Irish eyes (Budding Member 14 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Just wondering if anybody had any advice on the best route to begin a RTW trip. I would think West to East as USA, OZ will be english speaking and that would ease me into the whole travelling alone thing if I can speak the same langauage. Then as I become more relaxed I will be used to travelling by the time i reach Asia.

Anyone who has first time solo experience of either ways I would be very grateful for some feedback!!


2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 824 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Unless you are starting out with India or China, I dont think it will really matters which you do first. If Bangkok is your first stop, well, its not really much more challenging than Australia.
Your biggest, and maybe only consideration should be weather. Figure out which places are the best at what time of year and try to get there when it's good. For example, you might want to get to the US between June-Sept if you are heading to the North, and you might what to be in Australia between Nov-March if you are heading to the South (where it gets surprisingly cold in winter). Southeast Asia can get wet during the monsoon, and though its still fine for travelling, if you can get there at a different time then you might be better off.

3. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

If you are planning on making India as your first stop and plan on being there for a prelonged period of time, then it'd probably be best to go the opposite way and leave India until the last bit (depending on time of year). India is a culture shock and a half and nothing in the world will prepare you for the horrifically malnourished people you'll see by the millions on the streets. I thought I had prepeared myself by spending 2 months in the poorer regions of South East Asia, but nothing could have prepared me. Just because you don't speak the language shouldn't keep you from going there early. The first country I ever went outside of Australia was China. When I got there hardly a single person spoke a word of English and seeing hardly any word of English sounds remotedly similar to the Chinese version of the word, then you couldn't even do dot points like you can in Spanish speaking countries like in South American countries, where it is hard to find anyone outside of a hostel that speaks any major english.

What Degolasse says about the weather is an accurate point. In Australia it can get pretty chilly in the southern regions of Australia in winter. I guess when you consider that places like Tasmania are about at the same distance from the equator as the southern regions of Chile and Argentina are which are very cold indead during the winter months, well it shouldn't be that much of a surprise that in winter in the southern areas of Australia it can get rather cold. Compared to Ireland in the winter, even the coldest regions of Australia at the coldest days of winter aren't that cold (not too far off it though). Like in Tasmania during winter very rarely is a daily maximum below 10C in winter.

Travelling in a East-West direction is meant to reduce jetlag (probably explains why in two RTW trips I have never experienced jetlag).

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 15, 2007, at 12:11 AM by aharrold45 ]

4. Posted by Irish eyes (Budding Member 14 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for this! Another thinking of going west was go to the more expensive countries first leaving the less expensive last.

Also I was thinking about doing the trans siberian railway as well & think I might be more ok being on my own about this towards the end of my trip rather than the beginning. Does that sound logical


5. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Hi Irish eyes :)

I went west after intially having planned to go the other way. A few reasons:

India was on my list of places to go and I would have started there if I went East. As everyone else has mentioned, India doesnt seem like the "easiest" of travel destinations.

Travelling east is harder on the body than travelling west.

Like you said, get the more expensive travel destinations out of the way first, and you wont be so strapped by the time you come to do the second half of your trip.

More experience by the time I reach Asia, China, India, etc. :)

I have to say Im glad so far with the decision. :) I been in NYC, then South America for 7 months, NZ for one year, off to Oz and South East Asia next for 4 months.

if you've any questions let me know. :)


6. Posted by Irish eyes (Budding Member 14 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Hi Sam:)

Thanks for your help! I have a few more questions sorry! How did you find travelling on your own. I guess there was the obvious pre-trip nerves of going on you own. That's one of my biggest fears!


[ Edit: Edited on Feb 21, 2007, at 5:12 AM by Irish eyes ]

7. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

I had travelled before on my own but only short trips of a few weeks in Europe and the States. I STILL had plenty of pre-trip nerves i can tell you. (My blog is a testament to that ) I think it's just when you consider the length of the trip and allow yourself to indulge in all the "what-ifs" that you start to feel nervous.

I was lucky in that I had Christmas and the NY to distract me coming up to The Big Day. I left on 03 Jan and it was upon me before I knew it. The morning I was going to the airport I wasnt so much nervous as I was upset about leaving my family, but as soon as I had checked in, my mind just switched over to travel mode and I was off. Sitting on the plane on the way to New York a huge big grin jsut broke out on my face as I realised that instead of being back at work after Christmas I was heading away on the biggest adventure of my life.

That nervousness that you feel before you leave never comes back quite as intensely once you're travelling because you're with people, organising tours, whatever...basically, you just dont really have the time to think about what could go wrong. And few things usually do anyway. :)

Travelling on my own has become a bit of an addicition now ;) It has been one of the best decisions of my life to just cut the ties and do this. Maybe it's not for everyone, but most travellers I have met agree that it's the only way to go.

If you think about it, it's just not natural to spend all your time travellign with one or more people that you know (not for a trip longer than a few weeks anyway). As much as you might like someone else for comfort or security at the beginning of your trip, you will most likely want to be rid of them 2/3 weeks in.
There;s nothing quite like the exhiliration of putting your pack on back and heading off into the unknown by yourself.;)

8. Posted by Irish eyes (Budding Member 14 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Yea, that’s another thing I was thinking of.

Should I make this a really big trip 6months USA,Fiji,Nz,Oz,Asia? As it would be my first one alone I was thinking if I just maybe do Oz & Nz 3months but then im thinking if I get out there and think why didn’t I just bite the bullet & do it all at once!?
I think once I got out there I would be fine. I know I will get all the usual freaking out thinking what am I doing but as you said once your on that first flight you think I have so much to look forward to for the next 6 months!
Im a pretty socialable person & get along with most kinds so that should help!

9. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Do it! Once you get going, your going to hear about where other travellers have been and you'll want to go. You'll just be sorry that you dont have more time.

Go for 6 months! :) You wont regret it. You sound like you really want to travel. Believe me, the first day you might be a bit nervous. After that, you'll be just fine.

And dont worry about homesickness! All you have to do is pick up the phone and hear how absolutely NOTHING has changed at home sicne you left and you'll forget about wanting to go home. :)

Go and book your ticket. After that, you'll really feel like its going to happen and you'll start getting really excited. ;)
Talk to the people in Trailfinders in Dublin and they will help you work out a route that you feel comfortable with. :)