Replies: 14 - Last Post: Feb 6, 2013 5:54 PM Last Post By: max_mexico
Feb 3, 2013 6:02 AM
RTW itineraryWe're working on the rough plans for our RTW trip. This is a rough plan so Im throwing it out there to see from those who've done this how much it costed or if it's too rushed or whatever. We have 4-6 weeks to do it. Budget would be 6,000-8,000 USD not including flights to Seoul and from London.
Fly into Seoul
Ferry to Vladivostok
Trans siberian railroad with two or three stops in the middle. Likely Lake Baikal, Perm and Novosibirsk
London to fly back to the states. I've already been to London and have family here, so London isn't really a destination.
Too rushed? We plan on doing a couple days at each. All transport from Seoul to London will be by Rail or ferry where appropriate. We'll stay longer at the bigger places and shorter at the smaller ones. Let me know your feedback. Specifically from people who've done this same trip or major parts of it.
Feb 3, 2013 10:06 AM
1Technically, this is not a RTW :p Round The North Pole perhaps. Take a look for yourself (randomly using Chicago as start/end):
Too rushed? For most people, yes it would be. Since you won't be flying, transport will take a lot of time. For some of these places, you can travel overnight by bus or train. Is that an option for you? If not, you would easily waste the better part of a day just going from one place to the next. You've listed 13 destinations and have 28-42 days, so you're probably looking at 1-2 useful days in each city. I would advice making a calendar/spreadsheet with your itinerary day by day, taking transport in consideration, to get a better idea. Have you traveled at such a high pace before?
For me, the main thing with your itinerary is: just "big" cities. Only capitals outside of Russia. In Norway for example, Oslo is really not that interesting if you're also visiting Stockholm and Copenhagen. But the fjords of Norway are one of the most amazing things on this planet. Best thing you can do is rent a car and do a road trip here (3 days would do if you're really in a rush, but more is better). Or pay for a "Norway in a nutshell" tour. Failing that, at least swap Oslo for Bergen.
Consider taking the ferry to Stockholm from outside of Tallinn (Paldiski) instead of Riga, that's usually cheaper. A few years back, I've paid as little as $8 one way for the overnight ferry!! I think they recently raised the price though.
If you don't consider London a destination, look into flying through Reykjavik. I think that would fit right into this "northern hemisphere RTW". And one way tickets from Scandinavia to the US are often cheapest going through Reykjavik (Icelandair), so you could get a layover there for free. Again, Reykjavik by itself is not a highlight, you should rent a car (or do a tour if that's your thing).
Feb 3, 2013 12:08 PM
Feb 3, 2013 2:06 PM
3I agree it is hardly a RTW trip by most definitions but hey, you can call it whatever you want.
What is more to the point is the question of whether it is rushed or not. Using the Rule of 3s as a starting point, that would say you would need 13 x 4 nights for 13 places as a MINIMUM. That's 52 days without counting London or initial arrival and final departure days. So 55 at least.
It all depends on the purpose of your trip. You will not spend enough time in any one country to actaully see that country but you can check off a list of cities you have passed through if that's what you want to do.
I'd say 6 weeks is enough time to see a bit of Scandinavia or get a feel for Russia but not both. If it were only 4 weeks, a couple of Scandinavian countries or Russia one side of the Urals or the other.
Feb 3, 2013 2:38 PM
4Heres my 2 cents.
I also like to travel fairly fast, but this seems a little to quick. 1 week will literally be on the Trans Siberian which takes more time out of sightseeing at your stops.
Here are some suggestions to gain some extra time.
I would lose RIga from your itinerary. Tallinn is the better pick out of the 2 cities and you will not be missing much by skipping it. As has previously been stated, it makes more sense and is cheaper to catch a ferry to Stockholm from Tallinn.
I would only go to Norway if I was going to see the Fjords. There is really no point to go to Oslo. Expensive and to see what? Again it is easier to get to Copenhagen from Stockholm rather then Oslo.
I think if you take out those 2 detinations it will make your trip a bit more comfortable time wise.
Feb 3, 2013 2:41 PM
5Oh, and after you have done this trip, please give a trip report about the Trans Siberian journey. I will be doing this trip in 2014 and plan on stopping along the way as well. Love to see how it went and what your stops (lake Baikal) were like.
Have a great trip no matter what itinerary you decide.
Feb 3, 2013 8:14 PM
Feb 4, 2013 7:01 AM
Feb 4, 2013 7:54 AM
Feb 4, 2013 9:39 AM
Feb 4, 2013 11:56 AM
Feb 4, 2013 4:43 PM
11Thanks for the productive feedback. Yes, the budget comes from our last trip through Europe, averaged $1000 per week, each. So I guess that makes the total for two people 12-16,000. That hits our comfort level well enough and is well within our saving ability between now and then. This works for us. Some will boast that they can do it cheaper, and that's good for them.
We did central Europe on the whole 2-4 nights at each city. Some cities pricier than others but it all averaged out. Although cities there were closer and the trains were pretty cheap.
The timeline for this is my only concern. I know for our last trip we had more cities in mind but crossed them off the list as we saw fit, and I expect this to be no different. No matter what happens we're doing Seoul to London overland, it's really a matter of how many stops we make between Helsinki and London.
The other consideration I dont yet know is if I will be taking a leave of absence from work or just leave and say "I'll be back when Im back". If it's the former, then there will be a timeline to adhere. If it's the latter, than the timeline is of no importance and this thread becomes just an interesting topic.
Personally, I don't mind the fast pace. I can still see a lot of things, meet a lot of locals, and when we feel like there is more to explore we stay longer. When we feel like we've seen it, we move on. if I love a place enough, I will come back to it another day. This trip is more about the journey as a whole plus about 5 specific highlight stops. Everything else is a bonus.
So maybe a better question is, of those cities between Helsinki and London, what are the best to hit during October - November? Is there another obvious stop I am missing? Any winter festivals you know of?
Feb 4, 2013 6:28 PM
12I think that sounds like a great attitude! If you end up staying longer than expected somewhere, just rush it towards the end or take a flight to London.
I'm curious about the ferry from Korea to Russia, can you give some more details on this? How to book it, times, prices, any visa issues, etc. It's the Eastern Dream, right? And departs once per week?
And what about the Trans Siberian, you need to book tickets in advance? Or just show up same day or day before to secure tickets?
I have been in all of Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen. What's more, I've been there during the shoulder season. They are much, MUCH, better in summer. In fact, your entire trip, except perhaps Seoul, will be cold and towards the end very dark (sun setting around 3pm -- no fun!). No chance you can make it 4-8 weeks earlier? It'd be a much better trip IMO. If not, well, less tourists I guess.
I'd definitely skip Oslo/Norway this time of year. Not sure how to prioritize the rest. I think Stockholm and the beautiful archipelago is much better in summer, so perhaps that goes too. I like both Tallinn and Riga a lot (but not Vilnius). But Tallinn is closer to Helsinki, so Riga could go too. Then you'd be left with Helsinki, Tallinn, Copenhagen, London. Copenhagen is more interesting than Tallinn, IMO. But you could take a boat from Helsinki to Tallinn and then fly cheaply to London. But then you mentioned you're doing everything overland? That means going down to France and taking the train? A bit confused here, maybe you can clarify.
Feb 6, 2013 5:28 PM
13I am a bigger fan of cold weather traveling. I've lived in warm climates too long to appreciate warm weather. And I love snow. Also I dont like tourists, even though I am one. I find that traveling in winter provides completely different types of travel experiences. Cold weather festivals, ice festivals (eg: Haerbin), winter markets, opera, etc. Sure there are just as many things you can do in summer, I just prefer winter activities. It's also cheaper.
The ferry info is all from Seat61.com. Best site ever.
Thats also where I get some excellent trans Siberian railroad info. Not sure if we'll buy as we go or buy them in advance. I love a challenge, but I also love not getting stuck in the cold... literally, as it would be in early winter.
For more detail on the overland thing, the idea is to go from helsinki ferry to tallinn, train to Riga, ferry to stockholm, train to oslo, ferry to copenhagen, and ferry from Cope to Southampton. That last ferry only runs until the end of November according to my Thomas Cook Book. No train through Paris for me, mon ami...
It seems like a lot of ferry/rail combos, but I love a good pitch and roll of an unforgiving ship. (I used to work on ships).
Again, this will certainly change, but if I was in Helsinki today, that would be the plan. The other thing that contributes to our cutting and adding cities is based on any festivals or events that come up in the region. Film festivals, ice and snow festivals, Art Festival, Jazz festival, etc. When we find something like this that piques our interest we divert as needed.
Feb 6, 2013 5:54 PM
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