16-22 months backpacking (India, China, SE Asia, Australia)
Replies: 8 - Last Post: May 31, 2013 8:59 AM Last Post By: Suleika
Apr 13, 2013 12:38 PM
16-22 months backpacking (India, China, SE Asia, Australia)My boyfriend and I are planning a 16-22 month round the world trip to India, China, Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand) and Australia and are looking for some advice. We're planning to leave mid Sept. and visit the destinations in the above order, starting with India. We will have a total budget of around £20,000 and will also try to find jobs on a Working Holiday visa in Oz. We've already done some research re visas, jabs, cost of flights, and other travel costs. We're planning to stay in hostels (double rooms if our budget permits) and also use CouchSurfing. We've decided to pack light; we're going for the Osprey Exos 46 rucksacks.
We have Lonely Planet guides to each of the regions (India, China, Southeast Asia on a Shoestring and Australia) and Lonely Planet's The Big Trip (although this seems to be more geared towards high school/university graduates, we are in our mid-late twenties and will be quitting full-time employment).
This is the approximate amount of time we intend to spend in each of the regions:
India - 4 months - mid Sept. 2013 - January 2014
China - 2 months - February, March
Southeast Asia - 4 months - April, May, June, July
Australia - 6-12 months - August, Sept., October, November, December, January 2015...
In order to stay flexible, we don't want to create an exact itinerary for each destination, but instead compile a list of places we'd like to visit and an approximate route with entry and exit points, with connecting flights between the different regions.
The route could look something like this:
UK - India (Manchester - New Delhi)
India - China (Kolkata - HK/Shanghai?)
China - Vietnam (Beijing - Hanoi)
Thailand - Australia (Bangkok - Darwin?)
Australia - UK (Sydney - London)
I'm planning to create individual threads for each of the regions, for more specific information and advice, but we are also looking for some more general advice too, regarding the following topics:
- Long-term storage (in the Manchester area)
- Travel insurance/medical insurance
- Visa bureaucracy (would it be best to try and sort out most of the visas before we leave the UK?)
- Budget (is £20,000 a realistic budget for 4 months in India, 2 months in China, 4 months in SE Asia and getting started in Oz for 2 people?)
- Money management (how best to manage our budget? Cash, credit cards, traveller's cheques?)
- Which gadgets to take, and Internet access (we're planning to take 1x unlocked phone - to use with local Sim cards -, 1x iPad mini with keyboard - for WiFi Internet and Skype -, 1x Nikon 1 J2 compact system camera, 1x Kindle e-reader, 1x X-mini portable speaker)
- Required/recommended equipment (including first aid and medical kit)
Any further tips & advice would be very much appreciated (we've travelled together before on several occasions, but are completely new to independent backpacking).
Thanks in advance ;)
Nicole & Stu
Edited by: Suleika
Apr 13, 2013 3:26 PM
1On a side note,
I've worked out the total cost of flights (excluding internal flights, as we're thinking about doing most of our travel by road) will be around £3,000 for both of us (based on actual flights found on www.skyscanner.net and www.momondo.co.uk).
I've used www.budgetyourtrip.com to find average daily costs and used these to work out the totals for each country (the total figure for 4 months India, 6 months China & SE Asia and 6 months Australia, plus flights and visas actually comes to £26,200 for budget travel, for both of us - this is supposed to include Accommodation, Food, Water, Local Transportation, Entertainment, Communication, Tips and Handouts, Intercity Transportation, Souvenirs, Alcohol).
We're planning to stay in Oz between 6 - 12 months (maximum time on Working Holiday visa), depending on how we get on and how long our money lasts.
Apr 13, 2013 6:14 PM
2If it was me, I'd switch around the middle part of your itinerary, and go straight from India to SE Asia, and then hit China in June and July.
Because of the weather. China has a temperate climate like Europe, so can be quite cold in Feb./March. The climate for mainland SE Asia is completely different, and in places like Thailand/Laos the hottest time of the year is April-June, at least until the rainy season starts. The heat is debilitating, but also the countryside there gets kind of dry and brown.
You don't have nearly enough money for the amount of time you're planning in Australia. I don't know what kind of skills you have to offer any employers, but unless you have a job offer prior to arriving in the country, I wouldn't count on being able to support yourselves there by working.
Apr 14, 2013 4:12 AM
3I've now also created an individual thread for India, see http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2313345
Apr 14, 2013 8:42 AM
4Second mstep's suggestion regarding switching China and SEA around.
Visas - You need to get the India one prior to travelling there. It is easy enough and can be done by post or in person:
I would usually suggest getting as many as possible here before travelling, however I am not sure if this is going to be possible in your case. Off the top of my head I don't know how long China visas are issued in advance (I would guess 6 months). Bearing in mind you are in India for 4 months before China, this may be cutting it a bit tight. For that reason I would suggest picking it up in India. Then pick the others up as you go.
Gadgets - Speaker seems unnecessary, not sure why you would need more sound than the Ipad already produces, plus it is just additional weight to carry. I wouldn't bother with the Ipad, nearly all hostels have free computers with internet and skype, at worst you end up having to use an internet cafe. It just seems like something extra to carry and have to worry about getting stolen/lost/broke. I would just suggest a camera and an unlocked smart phone (meaning you can still take advantage of wi-fi), without the need for a tablet/laptop.
Money - Travellers cheques are pretty much dead. Debit cards plus a credit card for emergencies seems to be the way to go. Shop around for the best offers. When withdrawing from an ATM abroad there is usually some minor charge charge, so it makes sense to withdraw larger sums of money less frequently.
Budget - You don't have enough money for the length of time you want to travel in Australia. However, as it is at the end of your trip I don't see a problem with arriving there looking to find a job. If it works out and you find something that is great, but if not you can just fly back as soon as you run out of money. I wouldn't expect to find a job there, unless you have some specific qualifications/skills. If you don't find a job your budget is not going to last too long (usual suggestion is at least £50 per person per day minimum), but you will have some time to see the country.
Apr 14, 2013 11:17 AM
5I'd post separate threads on all the subject you want info on. I'll respond to just one here.
The best way for a traveller to handle money is using cards. A debit card for withdrawing cash from ATMs and a credit card for purchases/payments.
In the UK you are fortunate to have good options for cards. Not all cards are created equal and some will cost you as much as 4.5% in exchange and fees vs others which will cost you nothing. So while it might not matter much to someone on a 2 week vacation who spends 1k, it does matter to the longer term traveller spend 20k.
Here is the site you need to read : http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money
You will see the best cards for you to get are Halifax Clarity for credit cards and Norwich & Peterborough for debit cards. Both of you should get separate cards on separate accounts. That way if a card is lost or stolen you can report it and use the other card on the other account. It is quite easy to transfer funds between accounts online using your tablet and wifi. You can also set up the credit cards to be automatically paid in full from your account on the due date if you like. Or check the charges and make the payment yourself online each month if you prefer.
Take a small amount of cash in GBP, say a couple of hundred in 20s. Just for emergencies when ATMs aren't working etc.
Apr 16, 2013 10:54 AM
6A good publication from Rough Guides (if you can face picking up any more) to look at might be 'First Time: Around the World' by Doug Lansky. Not to take but just for planning. Good advice for just this sort of trip without all the guidebook bits you've already bought. Good luck carrying all those by the way!
Edited by: BonoboChamp
Apr 20, 2013 6:01 PM
7Thanks, Bonobo, will look into it!
Here's the thread for China, for those of you who have any suggestions/advice specific to this part of our trip:
May 31, 2013 8:59 AM
8I've now created a thread for our leg in South-East Asia - any advice welcome!
@BonoboChamp: I bought the book and it's brilliant, lots of good backpacking tips and info!
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