The fun stuff!
Our RTW trip consists of three main parts: Southeast Asia, Europe, and America. Yeah, it is a lot to pack into six months, but that’s double the time we would’ve had if we’d tried to fit these trips into four weeks of annual leave over the three years.
Oh, and we’re chasing summer! Yeehaw! This pleases me no end, but I won’t tell you how much T hates the idea. I’ll confess I am a little afraid at to how he’s going to cope in the heat.
Travel route planning has been both incredibly fun AND extremely frustrating/stressful. Our flights dictate how long we have on each continent, but within that, countries and dates are mostly flexible – restricted slightly by visa duration and certain obligations, like volunteering assignments. Of course, I have rough outlines but we’ll really be going with the flow and seeing what happens on the road.
Travel, of course, is highly personal. I have a friend who doesn’t understand why anyone would want to visit western Europe (all her holidays are in the US or Australia). I have another friend who doesn’t see any appeal in southeast Asia (she is moving to Singapore soon however for work). I personally am not hugely interested in China, Nepal, India etc, although budget travelers and outdoorsy types – the majority of couchsurfers and RTW travelers it seems – adore those countries for the experience and the incredibly low costs.
When thinking about the best places in the world to travel, it really comes down to your interests. Our travel trip planning (well, really it’s been 99% me) has been about fitting in some of the best travel spots in the world in terms of profile and popularity. Guess I’m just not that original. We’re mainly interested in cities, though there will be some countryside/small town time as well, moreso for volunteering/homestaying.
Here’s the Google Map I’ve made, with the blue stops being sure or almost sure stops and yellow being more like wishful stops.
View RTW in a larger map
ASIA – May 10-June 20
Route: Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam (then back to Thailand to fly out of Bangkok).
We’ll be bussing around for the most part as trains are not common. I’m not sure how we’ll get back from Vietnam to Thailand – flights look expensive so land or boat travel is looking like the way to go.
Asia will be cheap, so a nice way to start the honeymoon without pinching pennies on every corner. Once we get to Europe and America, it’ll be budget backpacking/couchsurfing all the way.
UK/EUROPE – June 20- September 22
Route: London, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, (maybe a day in Switzerland), Italy, Greece, France, then back to London. We also have three days in Iceland after London.
We might try to make it to Ireland for a couple of days, and also, I’d like to visit Spain and Portugal but gosh, they’re so far away. Ditto Russia. Much as I want to see St Petersburg, visas are said to be a nightmare and also ridiculously expensive – hundreds each, from what I can tell.
The plan is to get a Eurail pass (there are discounts for those under 26 or travelling in groups of 2-5). Careful planning and strategic booking might make it cheaper to buy individual tickets as we go, but I think for flexibility and convenience, a pass will be our friend.
HOWEVER: I’m not sure how we’ll get to Greece; the ferry looks like a bit of a drawn out and painful journey, but again, flights are expensive. Looks like it will be cheapest to get to Athens from Rome. Anyone have any tips on travelling between Greece and Italy?
Where we’ll be on my birthday, I know not. Possibly Amsterdam, or somewhere in Germany?
We’re spending a week volunteering for food and accommodation at an English immersion programme in the Black Forest and I’m trying to line up a volunteering opportunity or two in Italy, as I’d really like to experience Italian culture first-hand.
We have a few people I hope to meet up with in the UK (Auckland friends) and Europe (people we met and hosted through Couchsurfing – a post coming up on that!) so if I have any readers in those countries, holler!
AMERICA/CANADA – September 22- November 5
Route: Very, very fluid. The rough plan is to spend a few days in NYC, then rent a car, drive up through to Montreal/Toronto if we can (anyone done this? I need to check on car rental policies), then back into the US (possibly to Chicago, though it’s quite far, or else around Niagara Falls and through New York) and cross from east to west. Then we fly home with an overnight stop in Tahiti.
Our exact route is flexible. Places we are definitely hitting are NYC, Boston, DC, New Orleans, Vegas, SF and LA. (T turns 25 a few days after we land in NYC; I’m assuming that as long as we pick up a car after that, even if we actually make the booking before then, we won’t get slammed with underage penalties. Obviously I need to check on that.) We also met a really awesome couple from Vermont through Couchsurfing, so will probably pause through there on the way to Canada. You guys convinced me it’d be a shame not to visit Canada. (I’d really like to do Vancouver, Portland and Seattle, but just don’t think we’ll have time to make it all the way up the west coast as well.) And obviously, there’ll be other stops along the way too.
Anyone keen to meet up for a coffee, share tips and advice, show us around for an hour, offer us space on your floor, whatever, I’m open to all proposals. Thank you to all those who have reached out so far! I’ll send you guys emails this week – there’s a couple of you I am dead set on meeting in person