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Retirement Gap - travel westerly or easterly

Is it best to travel westerly or easterly on a r-t-w gap trip?
10 years ago, January 26th 2011 No: 1 Msg: #127419  
B Posts: 4

New on here - taking a long term view of planning for a gap year or two, along with my wife Pip, when we both retire in around 8 years.

So first fundamental question, if we concentrate on the typical \'Southern\' and Eastern continents / countries - Africa, India, Nepal, Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia/Thailand, Phillipines, Australia, N Zealand, (possibly) Pacific Islands, S America, Central America (and possibly Carribean) are we better off going Westerly or Easterly? I\'m hoping for up to 2 years. Pip is in the 1 year camp. Hopefully we\'ll end up somewhere in between. (say 22 months !!)

We are planning to travel very light - day packs/hand luggage only - and I\'m not convinced either that we will buy r-t-w tickets and may use local airlines where possible (excepting of course the Pacific and Atlantic hops). I have even envisaged us starting off with Easyjet to Marrakech which would imply going easterly.

All views welcome Reply to this

10 years ago, January 26th 2011 No: 2 Msg: #127427  
Hi Paul & Pip,

Welcome to travel blog. A gap year is a great idea and everyone does it a little bit differently. My husband and I took one three years ago. We quit our jobs, sold our house and put things into storage. It was wonderful and now we are back at work but dreaming of and planning for another one.

With your departure 8 years away you'll have time to think about what you want to see and to do.
To answer your first and fundamental question it won't matter if you go East to West or West to East-- this should be personal preference. My personal opinion is that you should decide which countries hold the most interest for you and start there.
Asia and South America will be less expensive than others.

The good thing is you don't have to decide now how long you will be gone. You actually don't have to decide before you leave unless you decide to purchase an around the world ticket. (more info below)

Traveling light is the best way to go. You will not regret that decision. If you over pack you will end up throwing it out or mailing it back home. Before you go you will need to make up your mind about taking cameras and a computer. A small pocket calculator will be needed. There is another blog in the forum that discusses in detail what kind of gadgets others take with them.

Many will tell you that it is less expensive not to purchase an around the world ticket and I believe that may be true. Not buying the around the world ticket gives you more freedom. When we traveled we did purchase the around the world ticket because of elderly parents and we wanted to be able to alter our plans and return quickly.

Would you like to plan your own journey? With an around the world ticket there are a few guidelines and restrictions. One of which is you must complete your travel in one calendar year.

Now that you have joined travel blog you should publish a few blogs featuring your local area. That will give you the experience you need to publish your blogs on the road.

Please let us know if you have additional questions.
Merry Jo

193 Days International Travel, 13 Countries, 45,000+ air miles, 15,000+ photos and unending memories

Reply to this

10 years ago, January 26th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #127436  
Hi Paul.... Welcome to TravelBlog...

I found that in the UK the majority of people go east... I'm assuming you're in the Europe as you mentioned Easyjet... I'm probably wrong though.. 😉

The most common routes start in Asia --> Australasia --> South Pacific --> USA/S. America and then maybe Africa in there somewhere. I think this is the main routing of RTW tickets but you can easily do them in reverse, and it's all down to preference. If you stray from a RTW ticket with a single airline alliance though, the world is at your fingertips, you can do whatever you like whenever you like (for a price of course).

When we went on our last travels for a year, we went west, starting in S.America then NZ/OZ and then into Asia... The reasons being:

-I think jet lag is better going west.

- We wanted to end in Asia as we'd been there plenty of times before and my wife wanted to blow all our remaining cash on shopping, so we'd have a better idea on how much we'd have left.

It really is personal preference though... Maybe plot the sights/activities you'd really like to do on a map, prioritise them and then maybe a logical order will form.

MIke. Reply to this

10 years ago, January 27th 2011 No: 4 Msg: #127479  
Hey guys,

I am not going to add to much as the above have pretty much covered everything. But are you going to be going around in hostels or hotels? Travelled before? Since you have 8 years before your trip maybe you can do some smaller trips around Europe so you can get the full idea of living in hostels for 1 or 2 years. Going from Europe right in Asia for example can be a little bit of a shock and the accommodation worse! Maybe go for some trips around Europe, Morocco is a good place to witness the hustle and bustle (with Ryaniar and Easy Jet flying also).

But good luck for your trip! It is awsome your doing it 😊
Reply to this

10 years ago, January 27th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #127494  
B Posts: 4
Thanks for the advice and support so far - much appreciated.

Whilst we are no-where near claiming to be experienced back-packers we do have some experience of far-flung travel, though so far always with travel companies (5 USA fly-drives excepted). For our 25th wedding anniversary we were in Peru (Llama Travel) in a very small group, to the extent that we were the only ones to loop south to the Nasca Lines. We even managed to fit in a very full day on the Machu Pichu trail. Our anniversary found us on Lake Titicaca. For 30th anniversary a couple of years ago we did an Explore camping safari to Kenya and Tanzania, with the anniversary being in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Most of our independent travel has been the typical, book it ourselves, city breaks - Dubrovnik, Venice, Istanbul, Amsterdam that type of thing - Copenhagen this October. I have already in my 'random notes' files proposed that in the year or two before we set off we try out some unbooked backpacking in, say, Eastern Europe on NW Africa.

We are hoping to mainly fund it from monthly pensions (renting out our house to cover the costs there) and my current estimates of monthly income will, I believe, enable us to have a balance between hostels and hotels (and hopefully couch / home share also) with maybe an occasional dip into lump sum savings.

Still a long way off but much to look forward to. Reply to this

10 years ago, January 28th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #127619  
A few considerations"
1. Jet lag: I also find it easier traveling west. But that only applies to transatlantic and trans pacific flights with large time zone differences. On an extended journey of a year or more having jet lag issues ofr a couple days shouldn't be the deciding factor.

2. Anticlimax (horse races back to the barn): Once you are half way, or have been to the place that you consider to be the climax of your trip, and you are on your way home, even if there are months left to go, there is a psychological anticlimax to get it over with and to go home at a faster pace. Take this into account in scheduling.

3. It all becomes a blur. If you are on the road a long time (what long constitutes differs for everyone), and see a succession of very different cultures, unless you document each as you go along (that's what Travelblog is for), it can easily become a blur. That's why I like to do individual trips to separate areas as it appears you have done thus far. This way each trip and area is a distinct memory. Certainly, I would do Europe, the Mideast, and north Africa separately as you are from the UK.

And it appears you have done the U.S. adequately, with five fly-drives...the best way to see the States. So one possible itinerary that takes into consideration these cautions would be UK to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, (skipping Bolivia and Peru which you have done, and saving the Caribbean for another trip since it is off the direct route), Tahiti/Fiji/Cook Island, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China, before returning home would be good from the perspective of easy cultural transitions, and leaving the heavy duty shopping towards the end.

If you were really adventurous and still had the travel bug, you could go from China, along the Silk Road through the Central Asian republics, to Turkey, or alternatively the trans-Siberian or trans-Mongolian rail to Moscow, and then home. I am not a big fan of India, but that would be an alternative route home from CHina. If you did India, and still wanted more, then you could stop in Dubai and then swing through Egypt and East Africa. I have always been intrigued by the overland tours from Egypt or Kenya to Victoria Falls and on to South Africa. But that trip I would never put on the end of this itinarary, but do it separately. So you can keep your options open.

One final consideration.
4. You do not want this to be the FINAL trip, after which you will settle into comfortable retirement, dreaming of your ultimate trip. You should always be planning the next trip! So whatever you miss on this trip, you can always go back! This may be the compromise you can reach with your wife...one year around the world and then four three month long trips to various regions. Reply to this

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