Welcome to the Travel Forums

Why join TravelBlog?

  • Membership is Free and Easy
  • Your travel questions answered in minutes!
  • Become part of the friendliest online travel community.
Join Now! Join TravelBlog* today and meet thousands of friendly travelers. Don't wait! Join today and make your adventures even more enjoyable.

* Blogging is not required to participate in the forums

A Year Around The World

Just looking for some advice/similar experiences
13 years ago, April 14th 2008 No: 1 Msg: #32606  

I wouldn’t have started a new thread for this, but I’m looking for advice for a very specific trip.

This time in 2 years my girlfriend and I hope to be somewhere in China, a couple of months into our huge around the world adventure (hopefully starting in January 2010 - Once uni’s finished and we’ve got enough money together). We’re both based in the UK and we’re planning on skipping Europe and Africa (Europe we can easily ´do´ a little more comfortably afterwards and Africa is another big trip for later) but seeing a lot of pretty much all the other continents (bar Antarctica). We would prefer to avoid flights and travel overland where possible (mainly to save on costs - also for real experiences and to see as much as possible). We’re unsure how much we need for this trip, but working towards saving 10,000GBP each (haven’t got a Pound sign for some reason!)

First question is what would the best way to get to China be? We were considering finding our way to Moscow then going on the Trans-Mongolian express to Beijing, via Ulaanbatuur (sp?). That seems quite an adventure in itself. If we did choose this option, what would the best way to reach Moscow be? Do you think just biting the bullet and flying to Moscow would be the best option? Trains across Europe is another option, but as getting to Beijing would only be the very first leg of our trip, I’m worried we’d be completely ´trained-out´ by the time we got there if we did that.

We then plan on spending a couple of weeks in the northern part of China before heading over to Japan for a week or 2 (can’t stay too long - expensive!). After that it’s back to China via Shanghai, where we’ll spend a week(ish) before heading to south China making a trip over to Hong Kong. Then we want to get to India somehow.

So the second question is, does anyone know the best way to get to India from the south east of China (Guangzhou area) would be? One that takes in Tibet and Nepal is preferable, would this be realistic on a fairly modest budget? Trains would be fine, but after the huge scale of the Trans-Mongolian one, I’m sure we’ll be keen to travel via shorter train journeys. Anyone know the timescale of a train journey such as this?

Once in India we hope to stay for a while, maybe 6 weeks, before heading back on ourselves again, until we reach Vietnam. I assume the best way to get there from India would be through China again? Avoiding the often unstable Burma.

We’ll then find our way through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand before we get to Malaysia. We’ll then say Hello to Singapore and it’s on to Indonesia. We’ll stay there for a couple of weeks, then move on to Australia. I assume we could get a boat of some sort for this leg? Has anyone caught a cargo ship, or any ship not of a commercial nature before? If so, how did you find the experience? It’s something I’d be very interested in doing, just as an experience.

We’ll probably spend around a month in Australia and a few weeks in New Zealand. Again, what would the best way to get to NZ be? Would a plane be too expensive and is it realistic to get on some sort of boat?

After this we’ve reached a bit of a dead end! We plan on getting to South America, but I don’t see anyway of doing so other than via plane. That’s fine, but does anyone know of any reasonable cheap flights from NZ to anywhere in South America (preferable Chile though)? If it does go spectacularly well and we end up in Chile for a couple of weeks, into Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru. Are trains a good way of getting around South America? How expensive have you found them to be.

After this point I have to admit, I haven’t got much of an interest in Central America. I know a lot of people do and many think it’s fantastic, but my girlfriend and I just aren’t particularly bothered about seeing it. Apart from Guatemala. Would getting trains through Central America make more sense than getting a plane from Peru to Guatemala if we’re not that excited by seeing the region?

After this, it's up through Mexico and into the USA. We'd love to spend a long time in the US and Canada (maybe 2 months) but with it covering such a vast amount of land, we're unsure of how to make the most of it. Buses seems like a decent option to me, but I don't know much about them to be honest, just a guess based on films!

We'd enter the US at the south obviously, then head west to California. We'll then head northwards, making journey's inwards to see things like the Grand Canyon, until we reach Canada. We'll probably then make trips north and south of the border as we head East towards New York before finally getting a plane home.

Sorry it's such a long post, but it's going to be a long journey! It gets me excited thinking about it.

Has anyone made a similar trip or anyone have any wisdom they wish to share? Do you think the 10 000 GDP each is a reasonable amount, bearing in mind we do wish to spend a fairly large amount of time in a few of the more expensive countries.

Cheers for your time. Reply to this

13 years ago, April 15th 2008 No: 2 Msg: #32624  
Hello Gareth 😊

That sounds like quite an adventure. I would love to travel more overland when I get more time because I think it will show me just how big the world is. Flying half way accross it in a day gives one the impression that it is not big at all. :D

Is the reason you want to avoid flying because you think it will be more expensive than overland travel?
This is not necessarily the case. In fact flying can often be cheaper.

About the 10,000 GBP, not including intercity and intercountry transpost budget travelling can cost anywhere from 3 to 50 pounds per day. If I was doing what you are doing I would aim at making the intercity and intercountry transport cost 4000 and then have 6000 for the other expenses. That should be more than enough for a 6 month trip. How long is your trip going to be for anyway?

Mel Reply to this

13 years ago, April 15th 2008 No: 3 Msg: #32634  
Hi Mel, thanks for the reply.

The expense was part of the reason for avoiding flying, but like you say, it's great to get a sense of how big the world is, which you do by travelling overland. In some cases where it's ridiculously difficult to travel otherwise, or flights are substantially cheaper, we won't mind flying. That's part of the reason for my post, to see if anyone knows in which cases it makes sense to fly or otherwise.

Hmm, we're planning on being away for about a year. Do you think we'll need more? The plan is 10,000 GDP each, so 20,000 between the two of us. But, is that probably not enough?


Gareth Reply to this

13 years ago, April 15th 2008 No: 4 Msg: #32637  
I dont think you will necessarily need more money Gareth. You will just need to plan how to spend it. If you spend 6000 of your money on non transport and visa expenses and you travel for a year you will still have over 15 pounds per day. So you could spend more time in the countries which cost 3 to 10 per day and less in the ones which cost 50 per day. I think you have plenty of money if you do this.

Reply to this

13 years ago, April 15th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #32638  
Yeah we´d be more than happy to spend more time in China and India, maybe sacrificing a week or two in Australia and New Zealand. We do want to spend a lot of time in The US/Canada though, which will probably prove to be our most expensive period. As it's at the end of the trip we could adapt our plan to suit how much money we have left I guess. Reply to this

13 years ago, April 15th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #32664  

Just a little note about your Canada/US leg, as far as Canada goes if you don't want to rent a car the only cheap option is the bus. I have heard of people getting deals on the trains occasionally and if you have a chance to take one through the Rockies it is highly recommended. Airfare is pricey since we only have a couple of carriers. If you can budget for it I would rent a car (it is not as expensive as it is elsewhere)--- you would get to take different routes and see more than just the Trans-Canada highway. As well our bus service is okay going from major centers but for day trips from those cities -- not so good.

If you need any further Canada advice just let me know. I live in Winnipeg and have traveled a lot to the West and my husband and I are doing a road trip to the east coast this summer -- so we have this country covered!

Good luck on your planning, we are planning a similar trip for 2009-2010!
Carrie Reply to this

13 years ago, April 16th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #32791  
B Posts: 28
flying is not so expensive if you get a "round the world" ticket. You can organize your trip making surface and flying travels. The cost is about US$3000-4000, and you can get up to 20 flights. Take a look on www.oneworld.com


- From NZ to Chile: www.lan.com
- Travelling by land in southamerica is only possible by bus.

Southamerica.... Chile is the most expensive (cheap hostel in valparaiso... US$20). Bolivia is the cheapest (hostel US$3)

Reply to this

13 years ago, April 17th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #32826  
Bolivia is on my list of places I want to go to Gozub.
Have you been there? If so, what did you think about it safetywise?
Did you actually fly directly into Bolivia? I have not seen any good priced flights for that. I thought I would have to go there overland from an neighbouring country.

Reply to this

13 years ago, April 18th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #32906  
B Posts: 28
Yes, I've been in Bolivia. Is the poorest country in this continent, but it has very beautiful places... like the Uyuni Salar.... Amazing!

I think Southamerica is very beautiful to travel by bus. You can make very niece routes, for instant .. from

Valparaiso (Chile) - San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) - Salar de Uyuni - La PAz - Cuzco (Perú).... you can do a lot of routes by bus.

Other example... Valparaíso - Santiago - Lake District - PAtagonia (Torres del PAine!!) and go to north by Argentina... Calafate - El Chalten - Bariloche....

Every country is safety if you take care and don't do anything stupid like being late on an empty street.

I have been stolen in Peru.... digital camera, and Brasil (Rio is a little unsafety).

Where are you from? Reply to this

13 years ago, April 18th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #32952  
Thanks Gozub 😊

I am from Ireland but I live in Germany.

Mel Reply to this

13 years ago, April 21st 2008 No: 11 Msg: #33175  
Hi there,
We are planning a similar trip and we booked all our flights through STA travel and got a round-the-world flight ticket for around £2000, this is quite a flexible ticket we got to choose 6 flights in north america, 4 in australasia, 4 in asia and 4 in europe, and there are different versions of the ticket to include more/less continents I think its called a one-world-explorer ticket.
We also want to take the train where possible and will be "training" it down the west coast of the US from seattle to LA and then again in Asia from Hanoi to Beijing. We're leaving in July this year though so not sure how flight prices will change in the next two years, as was said before flying is sometimes the cheapest option but maybe that is set to change.
Hope this helps,
Steph Reply to this

13 years ago, April 23rd 2008 No: 12 Msg: #33377  
There are loads of ways to reach Moscow, plane, train, bus... By train it probably takes about 2 or perhaps 3 days from the U.K.... To break up you train journey, you could get off along the way. For instance on the way to Moscow get of in Warsaw or something and on the way to China get of in Irkutsk in Siberia (5 days by train from Moscow) and enjoy the beauty of Lake Baikal, than hop back on the train and get of again in Mongolia for a ride in the Gobi or something... There are lots of options.

As for getting to India via China. If you go via Tibet and Nepal you will need to take a tour. The only way you are allowed to cross the Tibet-Nepal border is on a tour, which starts in Lhasa and ends in Kathmandu. I have heard of some people getting away with not doing the tour, but I don't know how they did it so I can't give you any advice on that. The tour is quite expensive I have heard. To get to Tibet you can nowadays take the new train line to Lhasa, which I would think is more comfortable than the bus.

Another route into India and probably cheaper is to go via Pakistan. You need to cross in the north and make your way down the Karakoram Highway. It is fairly easy, and that part of Pakistan isn't dangerous. Than make your way down to Lahore and cross the border to Amritsar in India.

India to S.E. Asia, it is cheaper to just get a one way ticket from Calcutta to Bangkok, I think you can get one for less than 100 US dollars... The other option would again take you back through Tibet and back to the south of China and cross into Vietnam or Laos from there... Burma isn't possible via India, the border has been closed for 60 odd years and though there are tales of it being opened up any moment I wouldn't hold my breath as these tales have also been going on for the last 60 years! You could get into Burma via China, but that again requires to take a tour at least until you cross the Burmese border after which you can dump the tour if you so wish.

Indonesia has a lot of passenger boats ferrying between the different isles, reliability and safety is an issue though, but the same can be said about the domestic airlines serving the islands...

In S. America, busses are the best way to get around, they are mostly comfortable... There are not that many useful train tracks and trains are mostly slower anyway. In the Amazon boats are the norm. Overland from S. America to Central America isn't possible due to the Darian Gap, where all roads end. It is on the border with Colombia and Panama... You can go around it along the coast, or you can just fly over it.

I would suggest you buy a Round the World ticket, it is cheaper than buying individual tickets, and you will need to buy some tickets, China- Japan, Australia-New Zealand, New-Zealand-S.America, S. America- Central America and Central America-North America and eventualy I presume back home for somewhere in North America. With a Round the World ticket you will have a lot of options, it is valid for a year so that should cover your trip. Plan it well if you want to do as much overland travel as possible. With the bigger Round the World tickets you can choose a lot of flights as mentiones above... 4 in Asia, 4 in Australasia, 4 in Europe, 6 in N.America, 4 in S. America (this includes Central America I think)... But you pay more the more continents you pick... It all takes planning. I would suggest to at least take Asia, Australasia, S. America and N. America... Because it looks like you might be doing a bit of flying on these continents... Or of course you could just leave the Round the World ticket for what it is and buy individual tickets as you go along and try to get the best deals, but I think you will not be able to beat the Round the World ticket...

You still have 2 years to plan it so I am sure you will figure something out... Have fun! Reply to this

13 years ago, April 24th 2008 No: 13 Msg: #33513  

we just came back from a trip very similar to yours just without the North America bit. We also went for a year and we spent 10.000GBP each - that was including around the world tickets, 2 months in New Zealand, 5 weeks in Australia and 3 weeks in Japan. It all depends on your level of comfort, we camped, slept on floors at friends, but mainly stayed in hostels in double rooms. However, we saved a fortune by not drinking and partying every night. One option you might want to consider is buying open jaw flights as part of your around the world ticket. That will allow you to fly into one place and fly out of another. So, say for example, we flew into Rio, Brazil, but our nexto flight was out of Buenos Aires, that way we had to opportunity to do some stuff over land and did not have to go back on ourselves. You will definitely save some money by buying an around the world ticket. Ours worked out perfectly well. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Take care,
Josie Reply to this

13 years ago, April 24th 2008 No: 14 Msg: #33524  
B Posts: 28
Hey Josie/Ralf:

I already have my RTW ticket. I start on July. Can you tell me more about the flights, please.... did you have any problem on that? (loosing bags, change of dates, etc).

I know the rules... you pay for a change on the destination, but not on the date.. is that right?

Did you change some of your destination or dates during your trip?... How easy was it?

Josie, tell me about your trip on new Zealand.... is it expensive?... are there a lot of backpackers? Did you work there?

..many cuestions... sorry

(where are you from) Reply to this

13 years ago, April 24th 2008 No: 15 Msg: #33525  
No problem, we had as many questions when we started.

We had the one world explorer ATW ticket, no luggage lost and no problem with changing dates. Some flights are a bit more difficult to change simply because they are very popular, e.g. Santiago - Auckland. Only one minor issue we had with a flight when we were coming back to UK through Germany. As we booked the flights in October they could not be prebooked for end of the year after, simply because the flights were not available yet, so once we went to change them it so happened that the flight from germany to UK would not fly any more - not a big deal for us as we wanted to go straight to UK anyway.

Didn't change any destinations but quite a few dates and that was very easy. We always went to the actual airline in big cities and did it there. Always better to talk to the people in person.

New Zealand was ok in terms of price as we rented a van, so we had accomodation and transport for about £17 a day. Food we always cooked ourselves and Andy went fishing. It was amazing 😊 and luckily we did not have to work. Reply to this

13 years ago, April 24th 2008 No: 16 Msg: #33526  
B Posts: 38
Hey Gareth,

Sounds like a great trip to be tailored! I am excited for you.

I have a suggestion for the China/India/SE Asia part. One thing you could do once you reach Beijing is by traveling by bus/train from the capital through Xi'an (Terra Cotta Warrior) then down southwest to Tibet region(assuming it will be a safer place for travelers in two years). From there, you can probably cross over to Nepal then India and do your counterclockwise in India trip to reach Bangladesh then reach South East Asia, and then re-enter China to go to Hong Kong/Macau/Shanghai via Vietnam. From Hong Kong, you can easily (and cheaply) fly to either Bangkok or Singapore and have Singapore as your base for a while to tour Malaysia/Indonesia/the Philippines/Brunei Darussalam, and subsequent flight from Singapore to Sydney, Australia. (or maybe from Bali to Sydney? I have no idea how cheap this would be - but remember, closer places does not always mean cheaper tickets).

You're not always saving up money by traveling by land - unless if this is your goal. But if budget is the issue, you need to establish several base points where you can easily fly cheaply. Singapore is the perfect place to hunt cheap plane tickets around including to Australia. And try the Kuala Lumpur based AirAsia.

Good luck planning it, and keep us updated! Reply to this

13 years ago, April 24th 2008 No: 17 Msg: #33531  
Wow, thanks for all the great replies! Really helpful. I'll write a proper response to everyone soon (a bit busy writing essays tonight!), but thank you. Reply to this

13 years ago, April 25th 2008 No: 18 Msg: #33551  
B Posts: 38
A little more thing about US/Canada portion.
I think we are big into couchsurfing, so that might be one option you want to pursue to save up some money by not spending it on accomodation. And I think flying around the States is cheap, especially if you do a great distance i.e. San Diego to Miami, although Road Tripping is the way to go to a certain extend. Wait till you have to drive 10 hours straight through only two states ... that's getting old pretty quickly.

As in Europe, the States offer you too many things to do at once - great distance and too many things to see with a limited time, so plan it accordingly by theme or cities, i.e. 'famous places LA-Las Vegas-NYC' or 'great architectural Chicago-NYC' or 'cultural Santa Fe-San Antonio-San Francisco-Louisville-Miami' or 'historical Dallas-Atlanta-Savannah'. And don't forget to visit Cuba too, assuming that you don't have an American passport - after you visiting the States, since the immigration might make it a great deal if they see the Cuban visa stamp. Puerto Rico is worth checking out, as well as Bermudas in the Caribbean, which is easily accessible from Miami or Atlanta, for instance. Reply to this

13 years ago, April 25th 2008 No: 19 Msg: #33609  
B Posts: 71
Hey Backback Rookie. Ill try to help out with some things I know.

First of all for saving money on flights, yes a round the world ticket is good however when you want to include South America, forget it. They either cant do it or charge a large amount more to get you there. For the the first stop I think avoid flying direct to Moscow as this is really expensive from what I've seen. My advice is to get a cheap easyjet flight to Tallinn or Riga (as they fly to both now) (or even other budget airlines i.e Ryanair flies to Tampere with a connecting bus from the airport to Helsinki) then train it to St Petersburg, Moscow or both from any of those places.

It is possible to get a boat from Indonesia to Australia but because Australia has very strict laws on boats coming from that area, I believe there is only one company that does it. I hear its very expensive and takes a very long time. My advice for getting to Australia and then onto NZ is to bite the bullet and fly. Honestly its quicker, less hassle and most likey cheaper. There are special deals sometimes with Virgin Blue which flies from Australia to NZ.

From NZ to Chile, there is really only one option, LAN Chile. If you're not deperate to go to Chile, Aerolineas Argentineas flies to Buenos Aires and/or onto to Brazil. However its a really crap airline and it sounds like your set on Chile. Getting around South America is pretty much restricted to busses or planes. Long distant train travel is rare at best.

I recommend renting a car if possible in the US/Canada. It can work out cheaper than hiring or catching busses and is geat for convenience. Hell, if you're really feeling adventurous, try buying a second-hand car although make sure its in good condition.

As far as money. You can travel on that for a year, but if you are willing to scrape by. Places like Russia, even China (I've heard), Australia, NZ, some places in Brazil, US and Canada can really eat a hole in your budget. Travel will be the most expensive part. I was planing an overland trip all the way from London to Sydney without using a plane for about a year and was budgeting about £10 000 myself. However, most of that time was going to be spent in cheap countries. I would say aim for at least £10 000 but try for more if possible and travel like you only have £10 000, that way if you fnd you're ahead of budget, you can splash out on a nice hotel or something.

Other than that have a great time, it will be a trip of a lifetime. ENJOY! Reply to this

13 years ago, April 27th 2008 No: 20 Msg: #33711  
N Posts: 10
Great to hear about another around the world adventure. We spent a year on the road and started with an around the world ticket - great deal as long as you plan it out accordingly (ensure you flight cover your longest and most expensive legs i.e. London - Jo'burg). By going overland, its certaintly the most affordable, but time will certaintly not be on your side - do your home work, a 24hr hellish bus ride in some parts of Asia can be avoided by spending GBP 15 on a 45min flight.

Enjoy your trip and don't be cheap - make sure to give back to those less unfortunate people in the countries you visit. Being on a budget is one thing, but expoiting the poor and impoverished is unfortunately a too common of an event done by most backpackers.
Reply to this

Tot: 0.045s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 7; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0083s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.2mb