First time RTW-er's!
Replies: 53 - Last Post: Dec 5, 2011 3:44 PM Last Post By: 3oh3Traveler
Nov 25, 2011 4:57 PM
First time RTW-er's!Hi Everyone,
Just wanting some advice please or for you to point out anything that I've missed (weather, visas, etc) on my first ever RTW itinerary!
My partner (30 year old Mechanic) and I (24 year old Receptionist) are planning a (minimum) 6-7 month RTW leaving from Melbourne in March 2013. We will have approximately $50,000 AUD for the trip but some of that may be used for bills back home as we will have two properties rented out while we are gone. So here it is... don't be too mean... =D
**March 2013 - Fly Melbourne to Hong Kong**
Spend roughly 3 weeks making our way from Hong Kong to Beijing
- We will have organised our visas for China from Aus.
- Neither of us have a great passion for China so this will be mainly commercial tourism (to the disgust of many of you I'm sure). We would like to see the Terracotta Warriors, Great Wall, The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square but we are also open to suggestion.
- Once in Beijing, we will be organising Mongolian & Russian Visas and purchasing a ticket on the Trans-Mongolian Railway to Ulan Baatar, Mongolia. Correct me if I'm wrong but from what I can gather, if we are wanting to jump-on-jump-off on the journey from Beijing to St Petersburg this is the only leg of the journey that we can buy from Beijing.
- From Ulan Baatar we will hopefully stop in Irkutsk, Tyumen, Moscow (Suzdal) and terminate in St Petersburg.
- Once in St Petersburg we have absolutely no plans but from the comfort of our couches at home we are thinking that 3 months around Europe sounds good. I am aware of the Shengen Agreement (??) but don't think this will be an issue... if we decide to stay longer I will cross that bridge when we get there.
**August 2013 - Fly London to New York**
- No real plans once we touch down in NYC besides that we will be travelling overland to LA through Texas, New Orleans, etc.
- Visas on Arrival???
**November 2013 - Fly Los Angeles to Melbourne**
So please tell me.... have we bitten off more than we can chew??? I have tried not to include too much and really had to hold myself back from including Africa, South America, India, New Zealand and pretty much everywhere else but is it still too much?!? I don't want to plan too much but have I planned too little??? Are we going about this in a logical way???
Also, I'm thinking that rather than purchasing RTW tickets I will just buy each ticket separately... any opinions?
Please don't shoot me down too much and thanks for any advice!
Nov 26, 2011 8:45 PM
My name is Brett and Karelis is my girlfriend. It's always a pleasure to talk to the "Oh so rare" RTW-ers! We will be going on our 6 month RTW excursion beginning Christmas day. I just wanted to tell you about couchsurfers.com if you have not. How I describe it, it is a social network like FB for crashing on people's "couches". Everyone gets vouched and verfied, which makes it very safe. Even more so because you're traveling as 2. Are you doing more hotels or hostels? Backpack or suitecase? I am taking a 50 liter and she has a 40 liter, and still can fit more then me, haha! We are taking about 7 shirts, 7 pants/shorts/ pants that zip to shorts/ 7 underwear/ 1 jacket/ 1 jean/ 1 waterproof hiking boots, 1 flipflop, 1 quick dry dress pants, basic toiletries, 7 QD socks, 1 longs sleeve hoodie. Electronics was hard for me to part with. We have 1 camera, 1 20+ battery extender, 1 phone with many "no data usage" apps, 1 power converter, 1 camera, and 3 microsd cards. How are you backing up pictures? I could really use help with this. I plan on filling up a microsd card, trying to backup on a cafe computer (just so I have them somewhere if I lose it, but hope not!). Although, the connection must be great in order to upload pictures, plus you lose quality. Additionally, once I filled it up, I wanted to ship it back. Thoughts on this? As far as visas, make sure you have enough pages (2 stamps per page). I got 3 visas and now have to get pages added in a short period of time. Anyways, we will be back in time when you are in the US. We live in South Jersey. We would host you possibly. Unfortunately, we will not make it to Australia or Africa (the only 2 places pretty much!). I just wanted to say good luck on your trip and I hope you have a safe and great trip!!!
Nov 26, 2011 10:49 PM
2Wow you must be so excited.... wish we were leaving at Christmas but so much to organise before heading off! I have certainly heard of couchsurfers.com but haven't yet signed up. At this stage we are planning on just going with the flow re: accommodation and will definately be looking into this concept. :)
At this stage we are planning on taking one 70 litre bag between us and 1 day pack each... good in theory but we'll see what happens in the practice pack!!! I've read a lot on travelling light and am hoping that keeping it (very) minimal will be liberating and not just boring. haha. We will be taking basic toiletries, 4x underwear each, 1 x jeans each, 1 x trackies each, 1 x shorts each, 1 x black dress (for me), 2x long sleeve tees each, 2x short sleeve tees each, 2 x singlets each, 1x jumper each, 1 x waterproof jacket each, 4 x socks each, thermals for layering, bathers plus sneakers and thongs. Hopefully we can fit all of that into one bag!!!
The electronics part is hard for me too... more in regards to my beloved camera... do I take my basic point and shoot or my beautiful DSLR?!?!?! arghh... it's killing me! At this stage planning on uploading where possible then sending the SD card home registered post every time I fill one. Just worried about lost mail... not sure what the safest option is! Taking our ipods and thinking about the possibility of an e-reader.... Not taking a computer or phones though.
We are both renewing our passports so should hopefully have plenty of space. Your trip sounds amazing... where are you going????
Edited by: ldean5
Nov 26, 2011 11:58 PM
3From what I see, the Russian visa could be a problem. They are extremely difficult to get outside your country of residence. You may bet one in Hong Kong but not in China.
Nov 27, 2011 12:10 AM
Nov 27, 2011 12:14 AM
5Westwood - thankyou for your response.. I will have to look into the process of obtaining a Russian Visa a bit more thoroughly by the looks... thanks for the heads up!! :)
Frugaldugal (haha cool name) - I KNOW!!! arghhh.... I really want to go EVERYWHERE.... I am telling myself that it's ok because I will dedicate a WHOLE holiday to those places rather than just stopping by on my RTW... it's not working. :-/
Nov 27, 2011 12:52 AM
7its a bit like dipping your little toe in the ocean and saying you went for a swim... innit ?
oh well, since you say you'll keep those places for special attention later on, I'll slip the safety latch on and give you the benefit of any doubt, for now.
FYI, I'm muchly jealous that your doing the trans Siberian thingy.. well done mate.
Nov 27, 2011 1:53 AM
Nov 27, 2011 6:10 AM
bag: take a rucksack each rather than one of you having to carry the huge bag. And a day pack each.
do not take jeans or trackies; take ages to dry and not suitable for any climate; you want the quick-dry travel trousers, either convertible to shorts or not as per preference. (People say 'but I'll look like a tourist' - you ARE a tourist) Do not take a dress - take a skirt which goes with your tops. Take a week's worth of underwear and socks. Three pairs of shoes each; your proper walking shoes, trainers for flights/travel, and thongs. The jumpers need to be fleeces. You also want warm hat and gloves, and a sunhat each. Make sure everything is in the same colour range so it can all be washed together; no black (fades and dyes everything else) and no white (turns grey). Apart from that, all good stuff.
Nov 27, 2011 1:27 PM
Nov 27, 2011 2:52 PM
11Definitely get your Russian visa before leaving AUs - as you're only travelling in China for 3 weeks there won't be any problems. If you can also get your Mongolian visa before hand so much the better, though that one you can get in Beijing.
Indeed you're correct that in Beijing you can only get a ticket for your next stop - UB in this case - as there is no hop-on hop-off on the Trans-sib you just have to buy tix as you go along.
Give yourself time to do a tour in Mongolia - you can organise this once in UB but make sure you go and explore more of the country than just UB.
When on the trans-sob bring some snacks with you, also pot-noodles are a good option as you ahve access to hot water (tea and/or coffee is also good to have with you), you'll be able to supplement your food at stations and on the train. bring a few small gifts from home - I found the Russians liked to give gifts and a similar gesture was always well recieved - it's the symbol more than the object.
3 months in Europe is a good amount of time - of course you won't see/do everything but you can have a good trip.
For the US you don't need a visa (I don't think) being Australian but you do need to register before hand on the ESTA website (watch out for fakes) I believe this now costs $15.
neverwinter gives some good suggestions though I'd like to add a proviso - how much hiking do you plan to do? If not really that much I wouldn't lug around hiking boots around but just trainers. Also I don't think you'll need hats and gloves to keep warm, but certainly a fleece is a good idea.
All in all a very doable itinerary - though certainly heavy on developed countries - not that there's anything wrong with that, just personally I find less developed countries more interesting but it's a personal choice.
Morocco is definitely worth a visit but Africa in geography only, not culture.
Nov 27, 2011 5:16 PM
12Toadoftoadhall... are you really a toad?? haha. I will definately organise my first three visas from home now that I know the perils of waiting. Thank you so much for your (much needed) advice. The trans-mongolian took me ages to figure out... I trawled through hundreds of different articles to figure that out re: UB ticket!! Thanks for the heads up re: snacks and gifts. Good to know the trade secrets.
I will start to do some research into Monglolia and see what we will be interested in there... I think it sounds amazing so far so a tour will definately be on the cards. I imagine that in my whole life I will never see/do everything in Europe but I'm excited to knock a few things off the bucket list.
I thought the same thing re: the hiking shoes... thinking I will just pack some sturdy runners and if I really need the hiking shoes will just buy some?!?!
Regarding the developed countries.... I have a far more intrepid spirit than my lovely partner... we're starting off easy and then I will spring the less developed countries on him!!! Do you think my plan will work?? haha. :)
Thanks again to everyone who has replied... I am blown away by the great advice!! :)
Nov 28, 2011 8:34 AM
13How do you plan to travel in the USA? This is always a problem.
Public transport is fairly limited between towns/cities and non-existant to many of the 'must see' sites. Hostels are few and far between as well.
The best way to travel around is by rental car and staying in motels or buying some camping gear on arrival.
Nov 28, 2011 12:06 PM
14rucksack sizes that worked for me and him: 35 litre pack for walks (with an 'airmesh' back) - never full. 50 litre (I think) for all our clothes, shoes; this was full.... Small day pack as cabin luggage. We also had thermal tops, polypro tops as well as a few t-shirts. Could have taken less but this worked for us. Everything got used - to destruction.
this was for a variety of climates, warm places only need less.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$255.15 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$89.00 per night
San FranciscoBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$19.40 per night