First RTW Trip
Replies: 33 - Last Post: Sep 25, 2012 4:35 AM Last Post By: 0o0
Sep 10, 2012 9:29 PM
First RTW TripMy husband and I have decided it is now time to start planning our first RWT we are both in or late 30's. We have approx 130k Australian in savings but will need to maintain some (approx 20k) expenses at home for our son who will be at uni but living at home next year. We will be having an income of approx 5600k a month for 4 months in the beginning also. We would like to be as frugal as possible and try and stretch the dollar as far as we can. I understand that half our trip will be in more expensive countries, but I am hoping that we could receive some advice to keep the trip on the cheaper side. Ie Cheap Hotel sites, Car hire site etc. Low budget accommodation is no issue, We would just prefer a private room. This is kind of last minute and are planning taking off by December.
We are looking at the following:
Flying to SE Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Hong Kong Via overland travel. A 21 day tour from Hong Kong Via Shanghai to Beijing. Approx 90-120 days
My question here, how difficult can it be to obtain appropriate Visa's for these countries whilst on the road.
Fly to Japan, travel over land from Osaka to Tokyo. approx 14 - 21 days
Fly to San Francisco, Road trip Via Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, Following the Pacific Coast highway back to San Francisco. We are looking at doing it over 21- 28 days. With appropriate stops along the way.
Fly to Dallas, Road trip Via Houston, New Orleans, Tallahassee, Savannah, Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, St Louis, Kansas City, Omaha then to Chicago. 28 days - 35 days
Fly to New York, 10days including a tour to Niagara falls, Philadelphia via train or bus, Washington via train or bus days will depend on road trip time. Fly to Miami for a few days Rest.
Fly from Miami to either Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires. Not sure on Visa issue again, I think we may have to start Buenos Aires. Unsure on travel mode between destinations yet, Looking at package tours as a possibility. Approx 21 days.
From there fly to London, Not sure again on travel within the Uk. Looking into Bus passes to travel. approx 30- 40days.
From London Fly down to Greece, then travel overland via Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia.
Via Ferry to Italy, then overland travel via Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden. Looking at rail pass and this will be done stretching as far as the $$ and time (90days) allow.
Flight from Stockholm, I know we will need to pass back through another city to reach home.
A few questions I have, Is it better to try and find a RTW flight package, Or looking at our destinations would it be cheaper to buy point to point tickets?
We want to keep as much flexibility in our travels as we can and don't want to book too far in advance for accommodation. How risky can this be?
Is this itinerary doable with the approx funds we have? The US Leg is a must as it is Hubby's dream but I know it will kill our funds. We also need to retain a buffer on our return as we may or may not have Jobs to return too straight away.
Any other tips, Ideas, locations or changes would be fantastic also.
Sep 11, 2012 7:26 AM
1You have enough money to do the trip twice over so i wouldnt worry about that to much. Just because you have enough money doesnt mean you want to throw it away, you will soon get into the groove of what comfort level/price ratio is for you. I do think some area's of your trip are to rushed though.
Sep 11, 2012 7:00 PM
2I'll say this about the time for New York, Niagara, and DC. It isn't enough. You could easily spend 10 days in NYC alone. Niagara is probably 12 hours away by car, if you're flying that us a different story. You'd want 3 days in each of Philadelphia and DC would be my guess.
You don't include Seattle or Portland in your west coast tour, I'd recommend one of them at least. I'd also agree that you could drop San Diego (I've never been to LA so I can't comment on that).
For South America are you just planning on the eastern coast with your 21 days or are you trying to squeeze in a bunch of major sites in that time.
I'll say this, you'll be better travelled in the US than most Americans (including myself). It sounds like a lot of fun.
Edited by: fino534, typo
Sep 11, 2012 8:49 PM
Sep 11, 2012 9:33 PM
4SE Asia is your own backyard if you live in Australia, I don't know that I'd spend a whole lot of time on it - though it's a good intro to independent travel. You don't need visas in advance for any of those countries except Vietnam and China. Most people would get these in the previous capital city. If you enter Thailand overland you will only get 15 days - if you need longer apply for the visa in advance.
Price out a RTW ticket but you may find it easier to buy as you go - check scoot, tiger, air asia for a cheap flight to Asia to start you off and up to HK,/China
I wouldn't go out of my way to see Niagara Falls - it's very, very dull. Go and see Igauszu in Brazil/Argentina instead - awesome.
Your biggest visa issue is likely to be the 90 day limit in Schengen countries of Europe. Otherwise just get the visas as you go.
Consider flying from South America to Spain or Portugal - quite a lot of links with the former colonial powers. Getting around SA is easy - some of the best buses in the world, but it's big, like Australia big!
Except around Xmas, and big festivals and Tet in Vietnam, you probably don't need to book at all for accommodation unless you want a specific hotel.
Sep 12, 2012 7:19 AM
Sep 12, 2012 8:03 AM
Sep 12, 2012 8:07 AM
7Personally with that budget i wouldn't bother planning all your times etc.in advance.
Or buying a RTW ticket.Too restrictive.
Just go to SE Asia and see how you like it.When you want to move on (to China or wherever)just take a flight.You can get the visas as you go...though the China one is a bit of a pain (that one is easier to get before you leave).
Sep 12, 2012 8:14 AM
Sep 12, 2012 8:39 AM
9Thanks for everyone's replies :)
GigiGriffis thanks so much for you advice and links, it all has been very helpful. Reaching out to locals is a fantastic idea, A plan I will follow through with. Airbnb looks fantastic, will use that site for sure especially in New York. When it comes to heat and high Temps that will not be an issue for us, We live in country South Australia, our summer temps can be extreme and it is something we are used to. (Summer temps here can reach 45 c 113f for days on end.) I understand about trying to slow things down, haha while you are planning something like this you really start to see how beautiful our world really is and it's so easy to keep adding places you must see. I guess when we start to get a more accurate estimation of costs we can extend out stays in places and try and slow things down.
JimBurns My biggest concern is being able to penny pinch while travelling, one thing I want to make sure we don't do is throw it away. It took us 8 years to save for this. In what places would you advise us to slow down in. At the moment we are in the process of listing must see's and do's. Of course we know we wont be able to do it all and will have to remove places,change and tweek as we move along. I am really after ideas and tips so my ears are open if you have suggestions.
Bohemiana the Western part of the trip is my husbands plan, It is something he has always wanted to do. I forgot to add the Grand Canyon in above, not sure how we will work it in but was looking at Tours out of Vegas. As for Dallas, We are starting there as that is where my Dad lives and it will be the first time I have seen him in 16 years and I will be meeting my brothers in person for the first time. Otherwise Texas would not have made the list. I would have started from New Orleans. So far what I have seen with accommodation it is very similar to us here in Australia. Though your star ratings are a little different.
fino534 I can see I didn't word my eastern plans very well. The plan is for 10 days in New York, with a flight out to Niagara. Then move onto Philadelphia and DC by train or bus. How much time we have in these cities will depend on how long we spend on the road and how much longer we can remain in the country. I plan to book this part of the trip while on the road. The last 4 days in the US (Miami) will booked in for a little rest before we take off for South America. We plan on sticking to Eastern South America, Buenos Aires moving through to Rio. Still in the research stage here.
midlifetravel Whilst SE Asia is in our backyard to us it is still so far away. As travellers we have never left Australia. I have seen a few friends take the trip overland and It is an adventure I am really looking forward to taking. It is inexpensive hence why we can travel through out. You are correct with the Visa's I found out that info today. As long as we are prepared we should be ok. Igauszu in Brazil/Argentina is on the list, from what I have seen in pictures it looks spectacular. Still looking at Tickets, So far we have been advised to go Bare Bone RTW and then budget flights when we need them. Still weighing up options....I think we may be better off Booking as we go. I too believe it will be the Schengen Visa that will force us to move on before we are ready. Hubby suggested to change plans and maybe spend 90 days through Schengen countries, cross over to non Schengen Countries and then back when we are permitted.
Sep 12, 2012 8:43 AM
Sep 12, 2012 8:50 AM
11lucapal We have been penny pinchers our whole life, Our trip/adventure will be no different. We plan to do it as simply and as budget minded as we can. When we have travelled here we stay 1 - 3 star hotels/motels. Only gone by Air three times in my Adult life. Road trips we love, hence why part or several parts of our trip our by road. I want to try and keep it not 100% planned out, But a guide on where we are going and our spending limits on the road etc. South America is where I am currently researching into. If it is possible we could and would explore further :)
Sep 12, 2012 8:52 AM
Sep 12, 2012 9:18 AM
Sep 12, 2012 11:21 AM
14The "RTW ticket" v. "Pay as you go" debate is a real pot-stirrer on this board, so I'll just repeat what I've said before.
RTW tickets can provide an affordable "backbone" for a trip that involves a lot of "spur" or "loop" supplemental trips. By their nature, RTW tickets have limitations - 16 total segments, for example, due to the airline industry's e-tickting limitations - but they can really add value if some of your destinations are off the beaten (tourist) path. With a Oneworld ticket, for example, you could include Easter Island, or Alaska, or Siberia as a destination; paying out-of-pocket for flights to these places would cost much more than 1/16th of an RTW ticket per flight.
On the other hand, you don't want to "waste" any of the 16 tickets on trips where a car or a bus or a train - or a flight on a low-cost airline - will be cheaper and more convenient.
With your route, you really couldn't (and IMO shouldn't) use an RTW ticket to bounce around SE Asia - there are too many alternatives that are cheaper. But there are no trains between Hokkaido and Hong Kong, or buses between Bangkok and Colombo, so an RTW might make sense for the "long haul" parts of travels within Asia or South America.
So use an RTW ticket - if you use one at all - as a means of paying for the long flights, or as we say, "long, thin routes" (those with great distances and little demand) but then use walk-up fares (or buses etc.) for the side trips and local "loops" or where a car makes more sense (e.g. your tour of the SE USA.)
One thing I'd definitely suggest in looking at your route is to integrate weather conditions with your destinations. I like the idea of starting in SE Asia during the local "winter" (ha ha) then progressing through Japan in the spring. However I would then consider doing the southeast, east coast and west coast of the USA in that order, so that you can avoid the heat and humidity of the southeast, while meanwhile waiting for "June gloom" on the Pacific coast to have a chance to pass.
That would then put you into South America at the beginning of the local winter (if my counting is correct) which is fine for most areas but obviously problematic if you want to visit places in the Andes or Patagonia.
Point being, think about local conditions as you plot and scheme.
One final thought on the RTW ticket front: Tickets sold by the alliances (Oneworld, Star Alliance etc.) are priced differently depending on where you start and end. For the time being, RTWs sold and started in New Zealand are running ~AUD1000 cheaper than the same ticket sold in Oz. It might behoove you to hop a cheap flight across the Tasman and start there instead of Australia - it might be cheaper overall despite the inconvenience.
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$99.00 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$89.00 per night
(2 star Hotel)
From US$27.26 per night