My RTW starting point (W from US ) please advise/critisize
Its been a while since I posted on the board, I have been extremely busy working so I can do some more travel. And thanks to the dedication and effort I am in a position where I can once again begin some extended travel. While sitting at my desk pounding away at the keys for days on end, I found inspiration in interacting with some of my co-workers in places that I have always desired to see, bringing me back to my roots, on the road. Interesting thing now is that if I plan it properly and either wake up or stay up for meetings I can most likely take my work with me. I can see this possibly(probably) being an issue in some more remote areas that I would like to visit. This combined with other factors (knowledge base, experience, etc...) is what brings me to this posting. I have worked up an itinerary for my RTW, it is very flexible and open so it allows me some freedom to adapt and change my mind as the journey unfolds.
Cost/day Nr of days Visas/Etc ~ Arrival Date ~ Depart Date
China $35.00 14 $140.00 11/02/11 11/16/11
Vietnam $20.00 7 $45.00 11/17/11 11/24/11
Laos $20.00 7 $70.00 11/25/11 12/02/11
Cambodia $20.00 7 $30.00 12/03/11 12/10/11
Thailand $20.00 21 $50.00 12/11/11 01/01/12
Burma $20.00 7 $60.00 01/02/12 01/09/12
India $15.00 21 $60.00 01/10/12 01/31/12
Philippines $20.00 7 $0.00 02/01/12 02/08/12
Malaysia $30.00 7 $0.00 02/09/12 02/16/12
Singapore $40.00 7 $60.00 02/17/12 02/24/12
Indonesia $30.00 7 $50.00 02/25/12 03/03/12
New Guinea $60.00 7 $60.00 03/04/12 03/11/12
Australia $60.00 7 $60.00 03/12/12 03/19/12
New Zealand $50.00 7 $60.00 03/20/12 03/27/12
South Africa $30.00 7 $150.00 03/28/12 04/04/12
Madagascar $20.00 7 ??? 04/05/12 04/12/12
Egypt $25.00 7 $50.00 04/13/12 04/20/12
Israel $40.00 7 $45.00 04/21/12 04/28/12
Turkey $25.00 7 $30.00
EASTERN EUROPE $300.00
Greece $30.00 7 $0.00 04/29/12 05/06/12
Bulgaria $25.00 7 $90.00 05/07/12 05/14/12
Romania $25.00 7 $40.00 05/15/12 05/22/12
Ukraine $25.00 7 $0.00 05/23/12 05/30/12
Belarusa $25.00 7 $0.00 05/31/12 06/07/12
Poland $25.00 7 $0.00 06/08/12 06/15/12
Czech $25.00 7 $0.00 06/16/12 06/23/12
WESTERN EUROPE $0.00
Austria $40.00 7 $0.00 06/18/13 06/25/13
Italy $40.00 7 $0.00 06/26/13 07/03/13
Germany $40.00 7 $0.00 07/04/13 07/11/13
Nederland $40.00 7 $0.00 07/12/13 07/19/13
Belgium $40.00 7 $0.00 07/20/13 07/27/13
France $40.00 7 $0.00 07/28/13 08/04/13
UK $40.00 7 $0.00 08/05/13 08/12/13
Spain $40.00 7 $0.00 08/13/13 08/20/13
Portugal $40.00 7 $0.00 08/21/13 08/28/13
Argentina $25.00 14 $0.00 08/30/13 09/13/13
Chile $25.00 7 $0.00 09/14/13 09/21/13
Bolivia $25.00 14 $150.00 09/22/13 10/06/13
Brazil $25.00 7 $110.00 10/07/13 10/14/13
Peru $25.00 7 $0.00 10/15/13 10/22/13
Equador $20.00 7 $60.00 10/23/13 10/30/13
Columbia $25.00 7 $0.00 10/31/13 11/07/13
Venezuela $25.00 7 $0.00 11/08/13 11/15/13
Panama $25.00 7 $60.00 11/17/13 11/24/13
Costa Rica $30.00 7 $0.00 11/25/13 12/02/13
Nicaragua $20.00 7 $20.00 12/03/13 12/10/13
Honduras $20.00 7 $30.00 12/11/13 12/18/13
Guatemala $20.00 7 $50.00 12/19/13 12/26/13
Belize $30.00 7 $20.00 12/27/13 01/03/14
MEXICO $35.00 14 $60.00 01/04/14 01/18/14
Some of the obvious questions apply.
Do you think this route and timeline is workable? if not what would you change to make it work?
From what I have gathered for weather it seems to work pretty well and doesn't fall anywhere during the traditionally hectic tourist season either. However I am flexible in times and some destinations so want to have as ideal of an outline as possible.
Do you feel the information I have gathered from the internet, which is approximately the cost of 2 people minus (what I feel we will share costs on) per day for the listed countries?
keep in mind I have hitched the US extensively and backpacked central america for considerably less then listed for some of the countries we will be visiting. However I do have that job thing so need to be more connected then that from time to time.
Based on your/others experience's, what is the outlook for an UNIX Administrator/Network Administrator to find work while traveling in the countries listed?
on the off chance I need to stop for a minute or the telecommute gig I have now doesn't pan out, or whatever may occur which would lead me to look for work. I have done some hospitality and IT work in Central America, during my trip down there and would imagine it to be similar but have been to any of the other continents so am unaware.
Obviously any other input is appreciated. Thanks for your time and input.
Amazing detail and planning. As I read through, I was gonna say, are you sure you can hit that daily budget, but you mention your experience and hitting budget in the past.
1) Do you want to be this regimented? The itinerary doesn't look like it leaves much open to chance and what you might learn along the way.
2) Working on the road - Are you budgetting for Internet Access? Do I think you can get work? Short answer is yes.
Of course, I'm gonna say go for it!
Sean wrote:1 word to start. WOW.
I'll second that.
I don't really have time right now to wrap my head around the whole thing, but here are a few things:
Visas - if you plan to get them in your home country (USA?), then the prices are going to be reliable. If you are going to get some on the road, which seems inevitable, then I've found that prices vary wildly. I paid about $65 for a 10 day Vietnam visa directly from the Vietnamese Consulate in Thailand, for example.
Another thing is internet - things are improving daily, and are generally pretty good in most of the developed world, but sometimes the internet goes out in places... sometimes for days. Other places you won't have the speed necessary for some of the software and applications we take for granted in the developed world (Skype or any VOIP, for example).
Some people are planners, some aren't, so I don't want to knock the level of planning you've done, but like Sean mentioned too, you've done a LOT of planning. Just remember to be open and flexible too
gotta run. Have a good trip!
A couple questions: airline tickets? Are you budgeting for those?
Are you taking a year off in Europe? The dates have a gap...
Anyway, we travelled a while back and getting ready to do our second RTW around the same time you will be leaving. I have budgeted $60/day for two in Asia, $120/day for two in NZ, $100/day in Europe. It is certainly more than you budgeted b/c the value of dollar is less these days and we have room for incidentals, trip insurance etc...Do you have that in your budget? Most of time it saves us to trek for extensive times to keep a more reasonable budget, but if you're working you can't do that...Also, keep in mind that in asia you'll get the "foreigner price" for some things so it might not be as cheap...my question is, do you really want to work or just enjoy yourself? I work from home and it is hard to put down the work if you're not done, aren't satisfied with your end result, have more phone calls to do...etc...
Just a thought Good luck!
Thanks for your input, all data is appreciated and allows for better preparation.
The plan seemed a bit regimented to me as well as I was writing it, and as I reflected on it I realized that as with most things in my life, I plan to the T, but in the moment I do what leads my heart and mind in the proper direction. So I definitely feel that if we want to hit all the places the trip will inevitably extend itself.. and I always leave with the understanding that if the opportunity and location arise I may not come back
On the budgeting for internet... do you have any info on the current average cost to stay connected in the regions I will be in? Do you think getting a phone with a data plan in each telco area would be more reasonable?
The visa costs seemed pretty varied from what I found listed from here (the states). As I sort of expected.. and there is always the inevitable "convenience" cost associated with last minute visa's.. also several of the countries I checked follow a similar method to the central american countries I have visited, several of which state that there is no visa required for US passport holders, however I remember paying the fee, with the realization that we (the states) tax all the visitors to our country to such a degree that its sort of expected and was assuredly a tip in the mind of the receiver.. Not such a problem when you are hitting 6-7 countries on the road but with this list, definitely something I need to be more prepared for this time..
Internet.. this is something that is pretty important when I need it.. I can get by with bits of on/off time for the most part but there will be times (probably weeks at a time) that I will need to be connected pretty consistently, there are a couple places listed where we have offices and co-located data centers so I know there is a sufficient level of connectivity in those spots. But the rest of the less developed areas are lingering in my mind.. luckily we have an irc server to use in addition to our IM app for work so the actual bandwidth need is a bit less.. all terminal and text pretty much.. but I still wonder about it..
Per the planning.. this is my neurotic way of making sure I can do it.. but when it happens its on and if a place calls I go, if its welcoming I will stay (often longer then planned), and if its neither I will continue on to another with extra days..
Airline tickets are loosely taken into account.. but we are trying to travel via land as much as possible which can be a bit more difficult to research then airfare. That being said there are areas which require flying for multiple different reasons (oceans, safety, environmental, etc...) and looking at a couple routes I tried to come up with one that facilitated this over to asia down via land and boat as much as possible via the Philippines and the other south pacific islands and back up via the other side indonesia/malaysia, I'm hoping this and the ability to be flexible will keep the airline costs to as much of a minimal as possible.
The SS had a glitch in its relational formula.. thanks for catching that.. as much as a year in europe sounds fun.. I think I will have more time and money to experience that a bit later in life.. unless I get there and just can't find the motivation to leave.
Per your budget estimates in the listed countries. Do those include the averaged cost of travel insurance per day? I was considering that as a precost and was looking at a policy to cover the duration of the trip. I do have an emergency/incidentals fund also but like to separate the two in my daily costs.. I should probably add those to the daily averages though to get a better understanding of actual daily costs.
I would love to just take the time off work, and very likely at some point in the journey will get frustrated with working on the road, or distracted by life that I will as professionally as possible wrap up whatever project/task I am on and turn back to enjoying where I am..
Best wishes and safe travels to all.
1) I think you REALLY under-budgeted for India. I ended up with an average of $25 - $40 per day there (per person) depending on what city I was in.
2) Belarus is going to be an issue for you. First of all, the visa is $140 for a short term stay ($100 just for a transit visa), which isn't in your list, plus there are an unforgivable amount of hoops you will need to jump through to make it happen. Just so you know.
3) 2 people for $40 a day in western Europe?! Nope. If you really want to include so many places there, then you'll have to re-budget.
4) Maybe I'm misreading it, but it looks like you have $90 for a visa for Bulgaria? You shouldn't need one at all.
5) Overall, I'd say your projected costs are below reality. Even if you could survive on what you've listed, for example in eastern Europe, there would be no money for anything outside basic survival needs. Budget high, and if you end up with some left over, then either go home happy or decide THEN where to go to spend it... but it looks like a failure waiting to happen as it's written right now. Not to discourage you, of course! Keep working on it! You'll have a great trip!
For example, for a brisk tour of Vietnam, I would suggest giving yourself around three weeks. Or were you planning on just seeing the north and then heading over to Laos? With just a week, you could maybe do Hanoi and Sapa (and Halong Bay if you like) and then head to Laos. With two weeks, you could add Hue and Hoi An in the middle of the country and then head to Laos. Incidentally, I think you've got the right idea traveling overland as much as possible, but just be aware that the bus ride from Vietnam to Laos (Hanoi to Luang Prabang, for example) takes about twenty-four hours on bumpy roads. I haven't done it myself, but by all accounts it's pretty grueling. Doable, though, and then you can rest up in Laos.
But there again, I'd say give yourself more time in Laos and Cambodia. I haven't seen all that much of either country, but personally, and I know some will disagree with me, but I would recommend getting a week-long pass for the Temples of Angkor and really soaking them up. (You could stay at Garden Village for five or six dollars a night, and for two or three dollars you could rent a decent bike from somewhere else to get you to and from the temples, instead of hiring a tuk-tuk for the day as most folks do.)
Three weeks in Thailand is more reasonable, though you could easily stay longer. Then when it comes to Burma, be aware that you'll have to fly in and out. No way to do it overland. So be sure to budget for that. Here again, I'm guessing a week isn't long enough, though I've never been there.
Now, are you sure you want to go from Burma to India and then backtrack all the way to the Philippines? What if you got a round-trip flight to Burma from Bangkok, and then took the train or bus into southern Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore? And maybe from there to Indonesia and Australia? I realize you're also trying to fit the Philippines in there somewhere, but it seems to me that doing it this way, you could get all the way from China to Indonesia taking nothing but buses, trains, and ferries, aside from the one necessary round-trip flight that would get you into and out of Burma.
I recently did a RTW trip that was sort of like this... Same as you, I headed west from the US, and I made it from Japan to Vietnam overland (and overwater where necessary), and then I did Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia overland. Would have loved for those two legs to be connected as well, but at one point I was eager to get from Hanoi to Bangkok, and I flew. But anyway, it's absolutely a great way to do it. I really feel like I got an appreciation of how those countries fit together and of the transitions between them.
When you do make it to India, I agree with Bideshi that $25 to $40 a day is a more realistic budget. Also, India is a challenging place to travel. So I would structure your trip so that the countries you visit before and after India are not as challenging, so that you can go into it energized and rest up afterward.
By the way, on my own RTW, I made it as far as India traveling slow (the legs I mentioned earlier, and then from Malaysia to Sri Lanka to India), but after that I started skipping, with some regret. I definitely think it's much better to see all the in-between places instead of basically teleporting from one place to another. But the thing is, long-term travel does start to wear you out after a while, and so I think what you have to do to counteract that is to give yourself ample time in each country, so it's not a long-term sprint, which is impossible. And you could also add some free days to your itinerary, to account for the inevitable delays, days off, and places where you just can't bear to leave so soon.
Anyway, it sounds like an amazing trip!
Regarding the Internet, by far the best thing you can do is just get a netbook and use wifi everywhere as even in remote places in Tibet and Uganda etc this year I found wifi to be ubiquitous. You cannot do a single thing about the fact that it can be super slow in most of Africa and Asia though and subject to random outages- I had to do an interview while in Kathmandu, for example, and am happy my interviewer thought that was cool enough to counteract the detail that I lost the connection at one point due to slow Internet.
Beyond that though I never encountered Internet cheaper than $1/hour in an Internet cafe, though often it's more expensive than that (this current hostel in Berlin does 15 minutes for 1 Euro actually- ouch!- but wifi is free).
I am definitely going to look into my budget more. it seems to be the major point of contention. I do anticipate some additional costs but I have been able to come up with money/work in central america via fire-performance at bars/clubs, jewelry, IT (fixing stuff at internet cafe's) and tourist related gigs.. so I am hoping if need be to supplement the daily budget saved with the income from trade and performance mostly, in the instance that I cannot maintain my current gig.
I am also looking at modifying some of our route and times to work out better.. may have to skip some countries or make it into a 2 stage, completing the other at a later date to see everywhere we want to go. Or possibly look at saving a bit longer and making it a longer run, cutting out parts for later in life, or ...
I will keep on the plan/research and end up with the best experience possible..
Thanks again everyone.
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