Round the world trip planning

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Hi, my girlfriend and I are in the stages of planning our round the world trip and were hoping for a bit of basic advice.

First to give you a bit of background, we are both 23 and plan to take 6 months off either late this year or early next year (hence the planning now), with a budget off roughly £6000 each (not including flights), plus whatever else we manage to save between now and then.

The thing is we really can’t decide where to go or what route to take and were hoping you could give us some inspiration? We were thinking of getting a RTW ticket, is this a good idea? There are just so many places to choose from! I like beaches and islands, love the idea of tropical islands, my girlfriend loves cities, especially modern ones with huge shopping malls, we both like a party and a good night out once in a while but also like nature and wildlife so would like to get some trekking in too. It’s a bit vague I know, but was hoping for some inspiration?

Also is our budget enough? How much should we expect to spend?

Thank you all in advance.

peterdraper 16/04/13    Gap year Link Report

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It`s good to be planning now. The more you know, the better your choices will be in the end. So, start reading and throwing darts at the map. Eventually you`ll have a good idea where the expensive places are and where you`ll get by with less money.

My experience with RTW companies is that they`re willing to listen to you in the hopes that eventually you`ll buy the ticket. Look at a few companies and see how and if they will fit your plans.

The more you know, the better the questions that you`ll have. I used to buy guidebooks of places I thought of going, just for the sake of info. This wouldn`t be a bad way to start.

PirateAt50 16/04/13    Link Report

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Pirate is right, the earlier you start planning the better (especially if you need vaccinations etc), and the more exciting it will be too! I love the planning stage!

Your budget is pretty good for 6 months, but that is dependent on how you travel really (are you hotels and posh restaurants all the way or are you comfortable in hostels and eating street food?) Roughly £1000 a month, approx £30 a day is a fair mid range budget if you travel in developing countries, India, South America etc you can travel really comfortably on that budget. You may struggle if you stick to Europe, Oz, the more expensive countries too much.

The RTW ticket CAN be a good way to travel, but not always. It depends where you want to go. If you want to fit in say 5 or 6 countries, flying in and out of the major hubs such as Bangkok or LA, then they can be an okay deal, but it does get more expensive the more ‘off the beaten track’ you go. However, if you want to focus on one region, then sometimes single or open jaw tickets may be the best way to go. RTW tickets also tie you in to very specific dates, which isn’t great if you want the freedom to move around as you choose. You can pay for date changes, but these costs can add up. You will be better off deciding on this when you choose where you want to go.

In 6 months, rather than trying to go ’round the world’, you are much better off exploring one region thouroughly in my opinion. One of the biggest mistakes many first time backpackers make is trying to do too much too fast. It is not uncommon for people to try and travel the world in a month! Travel slowly and you will enjoy the experience all the more, on average try and see one country in one month, depending on the country, sometimes more.

For example, just to give you some inspiration, you could do the traditional banana pancake trail through SE Asia.

Start of in Thailand, head through Cambodia and Vietnam. That’s three months. From there head through Malaysia, spend a week or two in Singapore (expensive but luxury), then a last month in Indonesia and Bali or the Phillipines. You’ll have a few weeks left to play with if you decide to stay longer in one place or two (which is bound to happen).

This hits a lot of your criteria and you can travel really comfortably on that budget too.

Alternatively you can hit the traditional Gringo trail in South America?

Either way you will enjoy your time much more by sticking to one region.

Michael Huxley 16/04/13    Link Report

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Thanks Pirate and Michael, some great advice there! Sorry Pirate I know the question is a bit general but I’m new to travel in this way and it’s a bit daunting.

The idea to explore one region sounds logical. The problem is we want variety too, and there are so many places to choose from. I’m guessing we’d be better off avoiding some of the more expensive places on our route though? That is a shame.

peterdraper 22/04/13    Link Report

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No not necessarily, it is all about balance. To use the same example I did before, most of SE Asia is relatively cheap, so you could budget travel aroun Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia for 5 months, staying in hostels, eating street food, etc, then balance that out with a week in Singapore or Hong Kong for example. If you want to visit Brazil (relatively expensive), then balance a shorter visit there with lengthier stays in the much cheaper Bolivia, Colombia and Venezuela. Easy.

Michael Huxley 22/04/13    Link Report

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“Sorry Pirate I know the question is a bit general but I’m new to travel in this way and it’s a bit daunting.”

Of course, and the more you ask, even in general, the better that others can point you in proper directions.

I just mentioned “expensive places” because some are, hysterically so in some cases. Frìnstance, I´m in Switzerland on my bi-annual 3 months here, and it would suck if I was backpacking it. But I spend the rest of the year in India and hardly spend your whole budget in a year.

Spend some time and pick some likely stops and we`ll tell you what we think. The least daunting part of your adventure is that you have people here willing to help.

PirateAt50 22/04/13    Link Report

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