Replies: 11 - Last Post: Nov 1, 2012 9:23 AM Last Post By: travelinstyle46
Oct 29, 2012 9:01 AM
RTW ItineraryHello all! My name is Mariana, I'm a 35 yo brazilian and I'm planning my first RTW :-) My departure date, which is Dec. 26th, is almost here! What I have so far is a one way ticket from Brasília (capital of Brazil) to Sydney, Australia, about 75000 Brazilian Reais in the bank (which amounts to about US$37000 right now, but can fluctuate as the exchange rate varies), and a rough itinerary. I don't have a time limit for this trip (well, I do, but it's three years, which I think is more time than I'll need), my only constraint is how long the money will last :-)
Australia - Ringing in the new year, I'm thinking about a month in Australia, I'd love to dive at the barrier reef and I have friends I can stay with in Sydney and Melbourne
New Zealand - about 2-3 weeks
Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand - 4-5 weeks
China - a month
Japan - I'd love to spend a month, but it might be too expensive, I'll see when I get there.
Russia - trans-siberian, stopping at Lake Baikal, I'd say about 2-3 weeks in Russia total.
Ukraine - might actually skip this, I wanted to take pictures of Chernobyl, but it's more of a hassle than I expected It to be... If I do go, I probably wouldn't stay much more than a week.
Turkey - 2 weeks, mostly on the Asian side (I've done the tourist route of Turkey already)
Israel and Jordan - 2-3 weeks
Egypt - a month
Tanzania - safari! My mom's coming and buying, so that's really a no-brainer :-) Probably around 2 weeks
South Africa - 2 weeks, just to stop for a while, enjoy the beach
West Africa (Nigeria/Benin/Senegal) - this is actually work related (research for a documentary), so I'll probably stay longer than people would normally. I'd say about a month, maybe a month and a half, but this one's up in the air.
Morocco - 2 weeks, and I'd fly home from here. If there's any money left, I might hop on to Spain and see some of Europe, but I'm not counting on it.
So by my (rough) calculations, this would be a little over a year of traveling. So my question is, is this doable? Is my budget enough? Am I cramming in too much, and if so, what would you take away? There's actually stuff I'd like to add, like India/Nepal, Lithuania/Latvia/Estonia, more of the middle east (considering it's safe)...
Also, am I crazy to go without much of a plan? I mean, I guess for some this would very much be a plan, but I'm usually more of a "book all transportation and lodging 6 months in advance" kind of girl, and just having a rough itinerary and no dates whatsoever is very much a new thing for me...
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thanks :-)
Oct 29, 2012 1:09 PM
Oct 29, 2012 2:13 PM
2A couple thoughts.
Firstly - you have a great budget, and all the time in the world. Why are you rushing everywhere? I'd say, as a rule of thumb, plan on doubling the amount of time spent in each place listed. Remember on long-term trips you need some down-time as well, stop in a place for a week where you just rest up and relax every now and then.
Secondly - you have a great budget and all the time in the world. Why are you planning so much? Go with the flow, see where the wind takes you as you meet people and travel with them for a while, hear about new places and new experiences, stop for a while in a place you like or move on rapidly in one you don't.
Thirdly - You're missing some great places from your list along the way and as you have a great budget and all the time in the world why not visit places like Indonesia, Laos, Ghana, Mongolia......etc. (which really goes back to don't plan so much - just go with the flow).
Finally regarding TravellinAndi's comment. Given your budget, sure put some aside but definitely keep more than US$1000 a month - that's about $30 a day, fine in some countries not close to enough in others (certainly not in Australia these days). Plus if you have a budget of $2,000 a month (or $3,000)... it doesn't mean you have to spend it but at the same time it means you can enjoy yourself a bit more. Maybe get a private room rather than stay in a 10-bed dorm, maybe have a couple more beers, maybe go for that dive.... I understand that people want to travel and sometimes have limited budgets (I've certainly been there) but I think travelling on a small budget just for the sake of is stupid. If you can afford more, great.
Oct 30, 2012 1:10 AM
3I do agree with Toad that extreme budget is not that much fun, but I was trying to imply she should leave some at home!! (leave 10, leave 15...just make sure you can come back to a nice nest egg) As a 1st time traveler, its going to seem cheap in many ways. Given you have a 3 year time frame, that's about 1000 a month which is the other way I looked at it. Otherwise, her timings seem to be a bit off...Slow down!!!!
Sure she will probably convert at first (oh its only 6 bucks, or 10, or 20...but this is not the best way to do it. ) The best way is to look at costs in the local currency. When looking at the countries she's thinking of, some are quite cheap. Oz and Japan will kill her budget, but atleast by making a budget, she will be able to pace herself and then she can splurge if she wants or balance it against some of the cheaper countries. Hotels in Asia, (Thailand as an example) there really is not much difference between a 500 baht bungalow and a 1500 baht bungalow, its only in the perception so by working within a budget, hopefully she'd learn the value of things as quickly as possible. .... . . ...My reasoning behind my comments were so she realized how much she could spend. IF she works with 2 grand a month, she's going to waste ALOT in some countries.
Given the time and budget you have, I'd go to Asia first, if only to learn the value of Asia...Have no time constraints, but plan on minimum 6-9 months. Then hit Oz, an then move on.
3 years is a LONG time to be out there..I wish you all the luck...OH yeah, don't tell people on the road how much you have saved....You'd be surprised how many will latch on
Oct 30, 2012 1:38 AM
Oct 31, 2012 8:42 AM
5Thank you so much for your replies, TravellinAndi and ToadofToadHall! I've never travelled long-term before, so it's hard to plan things out and figure out how long to stay in each place. I made this itinerary mostly so that I wouldn't go crazy with anxiety from not planning anything, but in reality the idea is to just go with the flow. Like I said, all I have is a one-way ticket to Sydney, and I'll figure things out from there. TravellinAndi, I'm starting with Australia and New Zealand because my mom will be with me for those two countries, after that I'll head to SE Asia by myself.
As for saving some money, I have some put away (aside from the money I mentioned), and I'm renting my apartment to a friend and putting that money aside, so yes, I will have a nice nest to come back to (and yes, I'm aware of how fortunate I am in this aspect :-) ). I can take up to three years of leave from my work, but I do have plans for the last 18 months or so, so I might push the trip to 18 months but not much more than that, which would mean I could spend more time in some places and maybe even add some new countries to the list :-)
So here are a couple more questions, in regards to open-end travel:
1) I know there are countries that have issues with people entering the country with only a one-way ticket. How do you usually get around this? Do you just get a ticket to your next destination and change the dates if you want to stay longer than you originally planned? Or is there another way to go about this? And what countries are the most problematic? Should I worry about Australia already?
2) How easy is it to get visas on the road? I have the Australian visa, and I'm planning on getting at least the Vietnam one before I go, but I know that I need one for Japan and China, and others further into the trip (Egypt, for instance). How hard is it to get these, say, in Bangkok? Or should I try and get as many as possible before I go?
Thanks again for your replies, I'd love to get some more information before I head out... :-)
Oct 31, 2012 10:14 AM
6Travel is easy if you want it to be. Here is how I deal with budget and itinerary questions when on a long term trip.
Buy a ticket to somewhere you are interested in visiting (in your case Australia). Spend as much money each day as you need to spend to enjoy your time without throwing your money away. When you are ready to move on and not before, decide where you would like to go next. Repeat this process until either funds or the time available runs out. Go home. It really is that simple if you choose to make it so.
I have seen a lot of 'travellers' who spend so much time looking for the cheapest everything to stay within a budget that they have no time to enjoy where they are. There is little point in visiting Rome but not paying for a ticket to go into the Collisseum for example. Spend what you need to spend. That doesn't mean you can't spend wisely or that you should spend money getting drunk every night. Use simple common sense.
Time in a place is the same. If you want to stay longer in a place why would you leave? The answer to that usually is because someone is following an itinerary. Itineraries put blinders on you to opportunities. I tell the story of the guy in a bar in southern France I once heard.
This is a true story. A guy in a bar said to a group of other travellers that he was taking his VW campervan to Pamlona for the 'running of the bulls' and wanted someone to share fuel costs and go with him. It meant a free bed, cooking facilities and a chance to enjoy the event. Another guy spoke up and said something like. 'Wow, I would so love to do that but I have a hostel booked in Rome for Monday and a flight to catch to Istanbul on the Friday. I can't go.'
That 'I can't go' was the blinders I am referring to. Rome would still be there next month or next year but what are the chances that someone would come along and offer him a chance to go to the running of the bulls again?
When you are on the road for an extended time opportunities can and do occur that you would never have imagined and certainly couldn't plan for. Or you might simply want to stay longer or leave sooner from a place.
I went to Brussels and even had a hotel booked. I stayed about 2 hours and didn't even check in to the hotel. I simply didn't like Brussels and left. Why would I spend my precious time somewhere I didn't want to be? Because I had paid for a hotel? On the other hand I went to a Greek island expecting I would stay about 7 days to see the island and then move on. I stayed for 7 years. I realize not everyone is in a position to do that but they are in a position to stay until they HAVE to leave.
When on that island I would meet tourists and when they found out I had been there some years they would often ask, 'what made you decide to stay on the island'. I would honestly answer, 'I have never decided to stay, I just haven't decided to leave yet.' That's what travel is about.
Here is another true story to illustrate the differnce between a 'tour' (pre-planned) and 'travel' (no plan). I friend of my Brother's came to the island in Greece I was on and I helped him get a place to stay, rent a scooter, etc. His plan was to have a base on the island and take trips of a few days at a time to other islands. He had 6 weeks to spend.
After 5 weeks he came to me and said he had been having a great time on the island. He had met some great locals, socialized with them, done day trips around the island, lay on the beach, etc. but had not yet left the island once. He thought he should at least make the effort to go and see one other island. His question to me was which island. I asked him what it was he thought he would find/do on another island that would be more enjoyable or better use of his time than what he would do if he just stayed where he was. He had no answer and he didn't leave the island.
Now the question is, would he have learned more about Greek culture, enjoyed his time more or in any other way benefitted more if he had visited 10 islands instead of spending his entire 6 weeks on one island. The answer of course is no he would not. It isn't about how many places you go to it is about how much you get out of each day you are in a place.
Oct 31, 2012 11:30 AM
7Thanks for the lovely post, travelinstyle46. I just came back from a trip to Europe with a friend in which we went to 6 cities in 5 different countries in the span of 20 days (and two of those were biggies like London and Barcelona). I would have preferred to have spent this time in one, maybe 2 countries at most, but had to compromise with my friend's wishes. In June I went to Turkey for 20 days (for a friend's wedding), and there I travelled mostly alone. I ended up cutting out one city from my itinerary and staying in Bodrum for two extra days with my friends and didn't regret it one bit. The same goes for my Camino de Santiago trip, where I had a very detailed pilgrimage plan that flew out the window once I got an inflammed knee and then met some great people which were taking a different route. So yeah, I wholeheartedly agree with you that you can't plan for how you'll feel in a specific place, no matter how much you read about it and see pictures of it.
However... I get anxious and nervous not having a plan. I have absolutely no problem with changing and tweeking it as I go along, and sometimes even just throwing it out the window altogether, but I feel ungrounded if I don't have some kind of itinerary. This one has changed so many times in the course of the past year, I can't even recognize it. But we'll see how things go once I hit the road by myself in SE Asia, which is where I consider that my travels will truly begin :-)
Oct 31, 2012 3:32 PM
8There is nothing wrong with researching places that interest you that you MAY get to. There is nothing wrong with starting out with a rough idea of what direction you plan to go in. Anticipation and researching is a big positive part of travel for most people.
All I suggest is throwing the plan away once you get on the first plane and not booking ahead. If you end up in Barcelona and know the name and address of a hostel you want to stay in from your research, fine, stay there. But if you don't get there, no loss. It is the tying yourself down to a budget and itinerary as if they were carved in rock that I am against.
Most people approach travel as if there are two fixed points. Budget and time. But in reality, NEITHER is fixed. Both only have a maximum available, but no minimum. So if you spend more than anticipated but enjoy every penny you spend, who is to say it is wrong you were only away for 3 months instead of six. I would rather enjoy 3 than survive six.
Suppose you start out in Australia and someone you meet says, 'I've got a sailboat and plan to sail it around Micronesia for the next 2 years. If you want to join me it will cost about Y amount for your share of expenses for that time.' You may well decide to blow your whole budget on that or not. It all depends on YOU and YOUR interests.
It always raises contoversy here on the TT but I for one see a definite difference between what I call a tourist and a traveller. Ignoring the semantics of everyone who travels is a tourist and every tourist is a traveller, I use the words with 2 very definite definitions. A tourist plans a tour (hence the name tourist). A traveller plans nothing beyond A. It's as simple as that.
One thing a tourist will never have is an adventure. They may enjoy a lovely tour of all the usual and perhaps even some unusual spots in the world but by and large everything will be pretty predictable. For some people that is pretty much a necessity. It is too far out of their comfort zone to do otherwise. When they say to the guy sailing Micronesia, 'oh wow, I can't go', they are secretly happy that they 'can't'.
Adventure by definition requires certain conditions. Risk and the unknown. Either you are a risk taker or you are not. It isn't good or bad, right or wrong it is just different for every individual. But someone who likes some unknown and risk in their life is likely to find a long term trip that is all planned out rather boring. Nor does it mean someone is foolhardy if they take any risks. Joining the guy on the sailboat has inherent risks. He could know next to nothing about sailing; he could be a weirdo; his boat could be in bad shape and sink. Who knows, but if you get a good feeling about the person, know yourself what to look for in the boat then the risk is not necessarily that high. You make a judgement obviously. What is a reasonable risk and what is not. It's common sense. You don't hand over 2 years money up front, you pay your share as you go along for example.
Trying to explain to someone who travels with an itinerary just how many opportunities of all kinds turn up when you travel with no real plan is like trying to explain colour to a blind person.
Oct 31, 2012 5:32 PM
9Regarding your visas.... there is no easy answer. I don't recommend getting a whole bunch of visa's before you go because you may never get to those countries. For China, Bangkok is the easiest place. You can get it 1-3 days, depending on how quick you want it. For Egypt, its visa on arrival so no worries. Bangkok is often a very easy place to get visa, and you can either do it yourself or pay an agency to do it for you for about 10 dollar more .
For 1 way tickets, it's a toss up . Most countries in South East Asia don't care that you enter on a one way.. You may have a slight problem coming from NZ or OZ,because your airline on that side will care. A couple ways around this. One, is a cheap air ticket out of the country. Air Asia, Pegasus, Tiger Airways, all offer up cheap fares. Air Asia might be the best for this. The other way, is just to buy a fully refundable air ticket. These are the most expensive, but pretty much 100 percent refundable, although there may be a fee for it. Sometime the fee is more than the ticket.... As some examples... for leaving Thailand, look for a Bangkok to somewhere or a had yai to malasia...this can be a 15 dollar ticket. For Malaysia, penang to Medan on Indonesia is often the cheapest. Many ways to do it. Theoretically, you could also buy a bus ticket over the internet from some place like haad yai to kuala lumpur, but i've never tried it. Since it's a confirmed ticket, it should work, and may just answer the airlines need..... Personally, I've flown into Asia over 20 times on a one way ticket and never had a problem .
Nov 1, 2012 8:56 AM
10In my opinion 'proof of onward travel' issue is vastly over-stated. There are countless threads on the topic here on the TT.
There are certain facts to bear in mind.
1. It is always the airline that insists on this. The Immigration authorities of the country you are going to obviously cannot insist on it before you arrive in the country.
The airlines want to cover their butt since they can be fined and are required to fly you back to your departure point if you are denied entry into a country. However, not all airlines will insist or not be willing to accept a plausible reason as to why you are flying on a one way ticket.
2. It is rare that the Immigration rules actually say, 'proof of onward travel is mandatory'. Far more likely is that the rules say you may be required to provide proof of onward travel. The operative word is MAY be required.
Most of the time Immigration does not ask about onward travel. A common question would be, 'how long do you plan to stay in our country' and the response would be '2 weeks' or '2 months' or whatever.
You have to consider what is the INTENT of asking about onward travel. The intent is to look for people planning to stay beyond the time limit they are allowed as a tourist and to work illegally. If you do not fit the profile for that and do not raise the suspicions of the Immigration officer it is not likely you will be asked about 'onward travel'.
If you are asked, it is up to the Immigration officer at his/her discretion to accept your reason/travel plans or not. They are not in the business of discouraging tourism. They do not question every person arriving extensively. They are looking for the bad guys, not you. If asked and you have a plausible reason for not having already bought a ticket out of the country there is no reason why they should not accept your story.
If on the other hand you have a $30 ticket on a bus across the border that you could easily throw away and sound uncomfortable when talking about planning to leave on it, guess what. You have now moved into the suspicious category. So who's to say that was a smart way to try and avoid the issue. Does anyone really think that Immigration officers are not aware of how easy it is to buy an onward ticket and never use it?
Immigration departments use very specific wording when denying someone entry into their country. They have to put it in writing and that means the lawyers have been involved in the specific wording of what goes into writing. Here is the wording used by UK Immigration for example.
"but I am not satisfied that you are genuinely seeking entry as a visitor for a period not exceeding 6 months."
Or, "but I am not satisfied that you intend to leave the United Kingdom at the end of your proposed stay as a visitor."
Or, "but I am not satisfied that you do not intend to take employment in the United Kingdom."
Any one of those 3 reasons could be used to deny you entry. The second one is most specific to 'onward travel' But what to note is the word "satisfied". That one word puts your denial of entry entirely at the discretion of the Immigration officer. So you can show an onward $30 or fully refundable $3000 ticket and the Immigration officer can still say 'I am not satisfied'. The only real question is why would he? The answer is because he does not believe you regardless of what 'proof' you show him.
Nov 1, 2012 9:23 AM
11Some more info on 'onward travel'.
Here is what the Canadian Immigration website says:
"the officer will ask you a few questions. The officer will confirm that you meet the requirements for admission to Canada. This should only take a few minutes.
You will not be allowed into Canada if you give false or incomplete information, or if you do not satisfy the officer that you are eligible for entry into Canada. You will also have to satisfy the officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay in Canada."
Note again the use of the word "satisfy", twice in the second paragraph. Note also the unwritten part about 'if asked'. By writing "you will have to" it doesn't actually mean every single person will be asked, it means no one can complain if they are asked. The vast majority of those entering Canada as tourists are never asked for proof that they will leave.
So again, the bottom line is if you do not arouse suspicion the issue is not likely to ever come up.
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