1. Posted by coldstr (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


I am planning my RTW trip for 2008-2009 route and I would just like feedback to see if I am doing anything wrong or if there is a better route I could do.

Australia -> Hong Kong
Overland to Shanghai, Beijing, Moscow, St Peters (Trans Siberian)
St Peters -> Stockholm
Stockholm -> Copenhagen
Copenhagen -> London
Overland to Athens
Athens -> New York
New York -> Miami
Miami -> Los Angeles
Los Angeles -> Honolulu
Honolulu -> Australia

I am estimating this would take 12 months+ and my budget is somewhere around AUD$15,000 / USD$13,000 (not including flights), any comments would be nice.

2. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

It would probably be far cheaper for you to do it within 12 months at the longest mainly due to a RTW ticket only being valid for a maximum of 12 months from the date of departure.

If you felt like being very adventurous and going a bit off the beaten path you could look at doing the silk route instead of the Trans-Siberian. The visas for this are a hell of a lot, so that may make it a bit out of the question ie about $1,000 just for the visas (at least it is on an Australian passport). You may be aware of it already, but for China you need to make sure you use the visa within 30 days of the date it is issued. If you go to catch a flight 31 days after the visa was issued, you will be denied boarding (despite the fact I noticed when I went to Beijing it had a little area just near passport control where you could go to get a visa issued if you turned up without one).

If you are just following the Trans Siberian in the standard thing like the Vodka Train or something like that, you should definitely consider adding a couple of days on to Moscow and 3-4 days more on to St Petersburg. Getting the visa for Russia is a pain in the bum and expensive, so you may as well make the most out of it especially in two of the greatest cities in the world. I tend to only spend 2-3 days in a city and have seen all the main things, but Moscow deserves 5 days and St Petersburg 7 days. If possible you should aim to be there in June/July time frame because it is great then. Also with the visa for Russia make sure you apply for this before you leave Australia (assuming you are an Australian resident and Australian passport holder). You can apply for the Russian visa up to 6 months prior to your arrival in Russia if you apply in Sydney everywhere else in the world that I have heard about is a maximum of 3 months prior. It took about 4 weeks for mine to be issued and still cost me $85AUD just for the visa and $30USD for the visa support documents. You will need to get an invitation letter/visa support and state the dates you are planning to be there. It is a good idea to add at least a few days on either end of your planned dates because they are not forgiving if you are early arriving or late departing. They don't care if you arrive later than the date specified as your arrival date on the visa and also don't care if you depart before the specified departure date, but you will be denied entry if you arrive before and will be in deep crap if you go to depart after the dates on your visa (and this even means if you depart by train on the departure day but don't cross the Russian border until 12:01am).

Your estimate of money should be fine as long as you are careful with your money and don't go getting drunk or doing expensive activities often.

Have a great trip.

3. Posted by coldstr (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Firstly, thank you for your reply!

I will take note of what you said about adding a few days onto Moscow and St Petersburg in regards to the Visa.


I am constantly reading blogs about travelers in Japan on various sites and every time I do it just makes me want to go more and more but I know that it costs a lot more there but if I am ever going to go, why not go on this trip? (Make the most of it while I am there I guess..)

The problem is though, where would I fit it in? I know there are ferries from Japan to Shanghai but would this be most economical way?

Or I guess I could start in Japan and then fly to Hong Kong and start the trip.. Anyway whatever I decide to do thank you for your reply. ;)

BTW, just some general questions if you don't mind:

1) Did you book your hostels in advance or walk in?
2) Did you ever take a laptop, would you recommend doing so?

Regards, James

4. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting coldstr

1) Did you book your hostels in advance or walk in?
2) Did you ever take a laptop, would you recommend doing so?

On my first round the world trip, I never booked in advance and only once found myself in a bit of trouble. On my second trip I change it a fair bit and would normally book at least one night prior to arrival (especially if I was arriving in the late afternoon/evening. Also in places like Moscow, St Petersburg, Reykjavik etc where it is very pricey for accommodation and limited with any budget options, I would always book in advance or start looking for some nice person who would let me stay at their house a fair while in advance. In your itinerary (at least the ones where you have mentioned place names), you should book all of those in advance for at least a day but in Moscow and St Petersburg book your whole stay in advance. It is a legal requirement to do that for the visa to be issued, but it can be got around quite easily. In London you should look at staying in Piccadilly Backpackers (I've stayed there on 4 seperate visits to London). In St Petersburg Nord Hostel was good and in the most magnificent location only a stones throw away from the main square with the Hermitage in, but it was the most expensive hostel in St Petersburg. In New York it is definitely a case of you get what you pay for. If you have a late flight out, make sure the hostel has baggage storage because the last one I stayed at didn't and that meant lugging 20+kg around the city for 12 hours (Not fun!!!).

As for your laptop question, I didn't take a laptop. Instead I just used the computers at internet cafes or hostels. I did see some people who took them along, but it is a bit risky especially when staying in hostels. It doesn't take long for your precious laptop to be knocked off by some thief. I've only had my belt of all things stolen in a hostel but have been pretty careful. You don't want to make your luggage look a nice target by putting some large padlock on it. With a large padlock or one of those net lock things it is just asking for some determined thief to go snooping. If you only have a small lock securing the zipper parts of your backpack, it will show that you are using some common sense and are not as worried about your belongings. This will mean a thief is less likely to think you are hiding something of high value in your bag. I knew one person who did a round the world trip with a laptop and he told me that most places (everywhere that didn't have lockers) he would go to sleep with his laptop under his matress under the bit where his body was on! I personally would have thought that was a very good way to totally destroy your laptop unless you were an anorexic person but that's what he found was the safest way to avoid it being stolen. If you did take it when you travel, you would need to make sure your travel insurance policy had enough coverage to cover that added expense. A lot of policies don't cover for personal effects over about $500 per item unless you pay extra and specify when buying the policy.

Have a great trip.

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