RTW planned---but am I budgeting this right?

Travel Forums Round the World Travel RTW planned---but am I budgeting this right?

1. Posted by lecorbeau (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,
I'm a 20 year old college student (with an ISIC card) who is taking a year off to do an RTW trip. I would REALLY like to be gone for 10-11 months but I have a limited budget. I also would like this to be more or less a veritable "world" tour but I am not going to Australia (or Antarctica, for that matter). Ideally I'd be leaving the beginning of October and coming back mid July or maybe even later, depending on my residual funds.

I'd like to finalize these plans before OneWorld reduces their maximum segment number from 20 to 16 on June 1.

Additionally, I have many contacts abroad, including college friends who will be studying overseas and close friends/family who live in Europe. I will put destinations in CAPS where I know someone with whom I can stay for a period of time. I will also try to be using Couchsurfing.com a lot....something my parents aren't too thrilled about but I have assured them it is entirely legitimate and safe when you know what you're doing.

This is my planned itinerary:

LA -> Cuzco, Peru (I really want to trek the Inca Trail and see Machu Picchu, so I envision around a week or so total in Peru)

Cuzco -> BUENOS AIRES (2 weeks? I also know that I'll have to connect in Lima to get to BA, which will count as a segment)

BUENOS AIRES -> Rio de Janeiro (1.5 weeks?)

Then, a continent change.

Rio de Janeiro -> Lisbon

I will be overlanding in Europe for 3 months with my Eurail pass but will have to pay for transportation into Prague--the CZ Repub isn't covered by Eurail. I'd also like to take a ferry into Morocco to spend close to a week there.

I will have free housing in the following cities (in no particular order):

TRONDHEIM, NORWAY (though this seems a bit out of my way---may not get to it)

From ISTANBUL -> Cairo then train to ALEXANDRIA and meet up with a close friend of mine there (maybe a little over a month with him as he and I plan to do some traveling in and around the immediate area: Jordan, Syria, Israel)

Cairo -> Dubai (a weekish)

Dubai -> Mumbai then train to Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) on to VARANASI (I'd like to spend around a month or maybe even longer total in India, and if it becomes safer, a trip into Kathmandu)

Kathmandu -> Bangkok (4 nights perhaps?)

Overland to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (2 weeks?)

Singapore -> Hong Kong (3 nights)

Overland to Shanghai, Beijing (a long train ride, I know! Maybe a couple weeks to do all of this, I'm not really sure)

Beijing to Tokyo (3 or 4 nights---I'm just saying that because by then it'll probably be all I can afford)

Tokyo -> back to LA
Here is the problem: under OneWorld, for the above plan I will have to buy another Asian segment for $150 or cut out an Asian country entirely (due to bizarre routing obligations that count as additional segments). For me, this cutting out a country means a showdown between Thailand/Malaysia/Singapore, China and Japan. The first trio have really low cost of living and seem to be quite popular among backpackers, China has an expensive visa, but the cost of living is less expensive than Japan and I'd probably see more for less. Decisions, decisions...

My total budget is $12,000 for the entire trip (transportation and living expenses). My parents have generously given me a $3,000 buffer (therefore it could become $15,000 but only in DIRE circumstances) and they are already incredibly generous for doing this so I'd really like to please them and do the entire thing for 12 or less. Trust me, I will by no means be living like a king.

OneWorld has quoted me $4100 with their OneWorld Explorer 4-continent plan (crazy how Egypt and the Middle East count as part of Europe!). I have quoted SkyTeam and Star Alliance but I have been more impressed with OneWorld's policies and customer service. Please also note the $1400 Eurail Global 3 month pass that I will be buying. In addition, I'd like to throw in the occasional budget "tour" here and there (Machu Picchu, Nile Tour, some others maybe?). So theoretically that gives me:

minus 4,100
minus 1, 359
$6,541 for 10 months? Is that even possible given my circumstances?

Please recommend cuts or ways to make this happen. If you must recommend a cut, this is a list of prioritized regions:

1. Europe
2. Middle East (this includes my ferry ride to Morocco and EGYPT in this)
3. Asia
4. South America (just because it's last doesn't mean I'm wholly willing to cut it---I'm pretty keen on Machu Picchu, BUENOS AIRES, and Rio!)

Let me know as soon as you can! Any help will be appreciated!

2. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

With the current visa regulations China is likely to be a problem, so that would be one place I would try and cut out. A way you might be able to avoid paying that extra $150 in Asia would be in the area where you plan on going overland from Bangkok-Singapore, look at getting a cheap budget flight to Bangkok. This would most likely work out cheaper than $150 if you book it in advance and would basically just be booked to connect up with a Bangkok-Hong Kong flight that could be part of your RTW ticket.

You are aware about needing to book a long way in advance for Machu Pichu due to only a limited number of permits being released? World Expeditions needs to turn back thousands of people every year because the permits that get issued are so limited and are only good for the time specified on the permit.

You are completely skipping out most of the cheaper places in South East Asia and are instead sticking with the more expensive places. With a budget like yours is after airfares, you will be lucky to get by your time in Europe let alone the rest without working in Europe.

3. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

From ISTANBUL -> Cairo then train to ALEXANDRIA and meet up with a close friend of mine there (maybe a little over a month with him as he and I plan to do some traveling in and around the immediate area: Jordan, Syria, Israel)

You might as well do the classic overland trip here - Istanbul to Cairo via Syria, Jordan, Israel. Your friend could easily come to meet you in Jordan or Israel.

As for Syrian visa: According to recent reports all you need to do is show up on the Syrian border in order to get a visa, even if you are a US citizen. Come on a working day early in the morning and be prepared for a very long wait. The border guards need to get permission from the higher ups in Damascus before they let you in, that can take a while. But it is cheaper, 15 USD compared to 100 USD and with a sucess rate that is a lot higher.

I will be overlanding in Europe for 3 months with my Eurail pass

Say goodbye to the idea of Western Europe and the Eurail pass. That alone is going to eat approx. 7200 USD (incl. cost of Eurail pass) even if you have free accomodation.

And no, as a US citizen you cannot work in Europe as so many Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians do. Otherwise you might have been able to make it work somehow, but as it is...

You would be better off spending about 1 month in Eastern Europe (it is cheaper) and use the remaing time for the Istanbul-Cairo overland escapade. Note that you'll need about 60 USD per day in Eastern Europe - plan accordingly.

You say that you have 6541 USD for 10 months. Using simple math this works out to 21 USD per day. This is already what you'll need in low-cost countries like Egypt and India. So if there is no way that you'll be able to make it without compromise. Without the Eurail pass your budget works out to 26 USD per day. So if you want to spent one month in Eastern Europe you can go for only 7 1/2 months, since the 60 USD per day in Eastern Europe eat up the money so fast. Does this answer your question?

You should really look into the recommended daily budgets for the countries you are interested in. Tokyo for example is going to set you back around 100 USD per day.

I'm also wondering whether you could cut off any money from your rtw ticket if you went from Europe (Austria, Italy or Germany) to Cairo overland. I'm not familar with the rules of your ticket. The route would be certainly doable without flying on the RTW

[ Edit: Edited on May 15, 2008, at 9:56 PM by t_maia ]

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5. Posted by pax_corpus (Budding Member 4 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Some questions about the route.
I am going to Bangkok from Norway. (transiberian, vietnam and cambodia), and I am planing to get back to Europe without flying. (By train and buss or Freight Ship from Singapore.)

How are you going to get from Kathmandu to Bangkok? Via Bangladesh and Burma?
And from Cairo to Dubai? Through Saudi Arabia?

What about safety?

I really want to travel through Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but safety first...

6. Posted by pau_p1 (Respected Member 216 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

wow.. I find you blessed that at the age of 20 you have the budget to fly around the globe... boy I hope I have that same budget.. :D

I hope you consider adding the Philippines in your route...

7. Posted by darcyb (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

hey man,
I'm planning a similar trip in March 2010 and have exactly what you've budgeted, but for 6 months of travel. I knew I wouldn't be able to raise double for 12 months and it can get very tiresome traveling on such a tight budget (rice and beans only go so far). Have you thought about cutting your trip in half? I know it's a sacrifice, but the compromise my friend and I came up with was to budget US $15,000 for EVERYTHING for 6 months and apply for a work visa in NZ, so we'd be able to still experience a new place, but also gain a small income. It seems like the best idea to me. keep in mind that you always want to have spare money available for those surprise emergencies! I hope this helps!

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