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Old Dec 5, 11, 8:21 pm   #1
 
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2-3 years to plan for RTW trip, tips?

My wife and I are dead set on taking a year off and just going to see the world and am looking for the best tips on saving money. I have a few ideas from a high level but all of this is a bit new to me.

So far I have:
  • RTW ticket that touches brazil, hawaii, japan, australia, europe, southeast asia, south africa (maybe other parts if malaria doesn't scare me away) and possibly eastern europe/central america depending on what I can get thrown in
  • Hop on the eurail for 3 months to travel across europe, same for japan
  • Book RTW a year in advance to save more cash?
  • Couch surf or worse case cheap hostels

I've been trying to read around on miles/points airfare cards but it seems to be geared towards people who travel a lot already, and may not be sensible for me to hop on one for two years, especially if I purchase RTW tickets through non-affiliated companies.

I'm prepared to spend around ~$50k for the entire vacation, but i'd rather use more of it for food/entertainment/misc and less for travel/accommodations... Plenty of time to plan this out, but there is just so much to decide on!
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Old Dec 5, 11, 11:26 pm   #2
 
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Let me say first of all that I believe it's possible for a person to over-plan their trips. I've never gone all the way RTW, but I have taken some pretty extensive overseas trips in my 68 yrs. Be somewhat practical - don't try to see everything in one trip. Be honest with yourself, and ask yourself why you want to go RTW. I often see people who travel so fast through one country that they remember little or nothing about that place. It can be extremely hard to pack for RTW when you're going from winter to summer on the same trip (I thoroughly believe in packing very light - one smaller backpack, 40L).

I just returned from Turkey and Rep. of Georgia, and I discovered a better/cheaper way to use accommodations - to rent shared apartments with Airbnb, as well as using smaller guesthouses.

Back to my first thought about not trying to do it all in one trip - maybe you should choose a theme for your trip based on your interests (photography, animal life, food, visiting developing nations), and mainly go to the areas that allow you to witness/participate in these areas of interest. My recent trip was a "food trip" and I took local food walking tours (in many areas, short cooking courses are available - especially SE Asia).
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Old Dec 7, 11, 11:35 pm   #3
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An RTW ticket is no longer the bargain it used to be, and matching up the tool at hand to your itinerary is the key to smart travel and savings. For some itineraries, the RTW ticket may be good value, for others, not financially a good idea at all. Remember that RTW tickets come with limitations and restrictions that may or may not work well for your plans. Sometimes a multi-stop ticket (maybe an RTW or something else) with surface segments, or with long stopovers from which you book separate local tickets for the region, will work better. Same idea with the railpasses.

Agree with above poster: focus on priority destinations and perhaps don't overplan. This will be the hardest part in a world full of great places to see and activities to do. Then do a sanity check with budget. However, even $50k is not inexhaustible and how far that will go depends on your travel style and how long you plan to explore high-cost vs low-cost destinations.

In general, the more you move about, the more expensive the trip gets and the more you spend on just travel logistics rather than food/entertainment/misc. If you have not done long trips before, don't underestimate how very physically and mentally tiring it is to constantly be on the move. Sometimes planning to "settle" for a couple of weeks or so in a place where you can use as a base to explore the region, take cooking or language class, etc. is not a bad idea to put in the mix every so often.

Do not forget to include visa costs for your travels for countries that require this, on a long trip, this can add up to a chunk of change. And budget for adequate medical/evac insurance coverage.
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Old Dec 8, 11, 6:53 am   #4
 
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In general, the more you move about, the more expensive the trip gets and the more you spend on just travel logistics rather than food/entertainment/misc. If you have not done long trips before, don't underestimate how very physically and mentally tiring it is to constantly be on the move. Sometimes planning to "settle" for a couple of weeks or so in a place where you can use as a base to explore the region, take cooking or language class, etc. is not a bad idea to put in the mix every so often.
You summed up my preferred trip. My wife and I have done two long trips where we spent a few months in a main destination with short side strips at the beginning/middle/end.

The first was in Buenos Aires for about 5 months. We got a 1br apt in the nice Palermo neighborhood and used that as a base to explore the city and also take brief side trips to other countries or parts of Argentina.

The second one was 5 months in New Zealand. We rented a house in the laid back Lake Taupo area and bought a cheap used car.

It's really nice to "live" somewhere for a change of pace from the usual 1-2 week vacation.
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Old Dec 11, 11, 4:08 pm   #5
 
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What is your budget?

Japan is extremely expensive, western Europe is also on the pricey side.

Your dollar will go much farther in China. When it comes to Europe, think Poland over the UK. As other posters have mentioned Buenos Aires is great, i would also look at Panama
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Old Dec 12, 11, 9:37 am   #6
 
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here you go for $10k

http://www.groupon.com/pages/delta-air-lines
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Old Dec 12, 11, 9:38 pm   #7
 
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northern hemisphere only, while it does include three $500 excursions brinking the ticket price to $8.5 for two you may do better else where or have more flexibility.

If you are going for a long trip you may want to travel my train, such as flight to HKG and train to russia,
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Old Dec 12, 11, 9:44 pm   #8
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northern hemisphere only, while it does include three $500 excursions brinking the ticket price to $8.5 for two you may do better else where or have more flexibility.
Yeah and fuel surcharges run what on AF/DL/KL, $400 per segment......
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Old Dec 13, 11, 1:47 pm   #9
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What is your budget?

Japan is extremely expensive, western Europe is also on the pricey side.

Your dollar will go much farther in China.
Depending on where in China, it's not that much cheaper than Japan or W. Europe these days, certainly not as cheap as longtime budget favorites SE Asia and India.

A year isn't that long for what you've planned. Probably far too short. If you go RTW pick a few central destinations and then spoke out from them. EG - into BKK in Asia then cheap flights around the region.
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Old Dec 13, 11, 3:29 pm   #10
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Depending on where in China, it's not that much cheaper than Japan or W. Europe these days, certainly not as cheap as longtime budget favorites SE Asia and India.
Just stayed in PEK in a clean independent hotel with ensuite shower/toilet for $25 per night (with inroom wifi). Beijing subway costs about 30 cents to get you as far as you would like to go. Cheap food everywhere, Tsingtao beer about 60 cents for a 600 ml bottle in store

'nuf said.

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Old Dec 13, 11, 3:29 pm   #11
 
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I agree with what people have said so far. Dont overplan. I am planning my for next xmas-new year but will be lightning quick. I am travelling home to MAN but going westbound from the midwest. Good Luck. I do understand however, that planning is all part of the fun. There is only one lifetime but definitely good advice - DONT CRAM TOO MUCH IN

Last edited by GRALISTAIR; Dec 13, 11 at 8:17 pm. Reason: spelling
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Old Dec 13, 11, 4:10 pm   #12
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Just stayed in PEK in a clean independent hotel with ensuite shower/toilet for $25 per night (with inroom wifi). Beijing subway costs about 30 cents to get you as far as you would like to go. Cheap food everywhere, Tsingtao beer about 60 cents for a 600 ml bottle in store

'nuf said.

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If you want to take part in a "is China cheap" pissing match I'd suggest the China forum, there's a long established one there How Expensive is China To Visit?

Like everything else, opinions very. From my perspective I've stayed in single rooms in European cities for $40-50 could buy decent beer for a euro (or less in the Czech Republic). Cheap wine for a euro or two. China was $20-30. India and SEAsia were $10-15 and $1 or $2 for a beer..

Last edited by DownTheRappitHole; Dec 13, 11 at 7:56 pm.
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