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Need some help with my initial RTW plan

Pieje

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  • Added on: March 27th, 2011
Regarding onward tickets i dont know how it is in other countries but as a european coming to the states that was also a requirement.
While i didnt have one i had no trouble whatsoever enterring the US.

The conversation with the US customs went a bit like this:
Passport please
What are you doing in the states?
Me: I'll be touristing about.
where are u going?
Me: NYC, DC, San Fran and maybe Vegas
How long will u be staying
Me: two to four weeks
*looks at me and stamps my passport*

So unless u actually look or behave suspicious i dont think that it is a problem.
travelblog --> www.mytb.org/pieje

busman7

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  • Added on: March 27th, 2011
Just do a search on BNA & you will find that onward tickets are required when entering Panama by bus from CR. It appears to be a scam but that doesn't change the fact.

Boarding a plane to Brunei also requires an onward ticket.
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown

vagabondette74

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  • Added on: March 27th, 2011
last time I flew into Guate the airline asked for proof of onward travel but no one at the airport did and it was never an issue before.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

Vagabonder.at.heart

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
vagabondette74 wrote:If I were you I'd fly into DF and bus down through southern Mexico. I like it better than Guate - though I'm biased since I live in Chiapas half the year and last time I was in Guate it was landslide (I mean rainy) season which sucked. :)


I'm definitely starting in Mexico and heading south. Not sure yet if I want to start near the Cali border or fly into DF and go from there. Looks like I'll be going through Chiapas though so I'll have to hit you up! I may have to stop by Guatemala too though since one of my good friends is from there and would be offended if I didn't. ;)

vagabondette74 wrote:Re the rainy weather blahs, it does kind of suck but there are worse things than spending an afternoon in a coffee shop (or, in the case of Prague, a bar) talking to some locals. I feel you though about moving. I lived in Portland for 18 months and it rained for 12 of them. :)


Ahhh, yes Portland. My friends and I would make the short hike down to Portland a lot during college. The weather is very similar to Seattle...spent many days in the coffee shops and the library studying...and avoiding the rain. lol If you want a laugh, check out an episode of a new show called Portlandia. :lol:

vagabondette74 wrote:To help with money, if you're not already, I'd strongly suggest getting involved with Couchsurfing. It can be a great way to meet locals and other travelers and stretch your dime. I'd do it now so you can start meeting people at home and building a reputation and references which will make surfing later easier. Once I get back to San Cristobal I look forward on getting back into the hosting game as it's a lot of fun!


I actually just signed up for Couchsurfing a few weeks back! Trying to familiarize myself with the site right now and get more involved. No requests to use my couch yet though :( I think I may need to fill out my profile a bit more.


vagabondette74 wrote:Also, I just saw that NYC is on your list. Personally I'd save it as a last stop if you have money because living in the US it's fairly easy to get there and relatively cheap so I'd spend that money in harder to reach places and do NYC for a long holiday weekend some time.


Good point on NYC. It would probably be a good last stop or saved for a later trip. I'll be posting my revised itinerary based on everyone's recommendations shortly for further review.

Vagabonder.at.heart

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
busman7 wrote:Leaving from LA I agree with vagabondette74, leave NYC for last & head straight to Mexico. Belize wasn't my favorite country but Caye Caulker was worth the effort it takes to get there & it's only a days trip to Tikal a must visit imho as is Antigua.

Kind of partial to El Salvador as I am an X-pat near La Libertad, Nicaragua is also nice, haven't been to Honduras other than on the bus from San Salvador to Managua, hated CR but Panama is cool just have an onward ticket when you get to the CR/Panama border by bus. Viasa on arrival in CA are no problem.

You will likely be fine with point to point tickets & likely Santiago de Chile to Auckland on LAN will be your cheapest bet.


Caye Caulker looks amazing! So does Tikal, both have been noted. :) I hadn't heard too much about El Salvador but may have to stop by your B&B to check it out. Thanks for the input on the other countries and the tip about the onward ticket req at the CR/Panama border. I'm going to have to delve into that a bit more I think.

Vagabonder.at.heart

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
Pieje wrote:Regarding onward tickets i dont know how it is in other countries but as a european coming to the states that was also a requirement.
While i didnt have one i had no trouble whatsoever enterring the US.

The conversation with the US customs went a bit like this:
Passport please
What are you doing in the states?
Me: I'll be touristing about.
where are u going?
Me: NYC, DC, San Fran and maybe Vegas
How long will u be staying
Me: two to four weeks
*looks at me and stamps my passport*

So unless u actually look or behave suspicious i dont think that it is a problem.


Thanks for sharing your experience at customs. I'm hoping to not run into any problems either.
I just started looking into onward ticket requirements and it sounds like a hassle for people who are not on a rigid itinerary/schedule.

Vagabonder.at.heart

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
So here is the new and improved itinerary with a rough timeline based on feedback. Let me know your thoughts on this and if it looks more reasonable.

June - Jul/Aug:

Overland through Mexico down to Central America hitting Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and flying out of Panama to Columbia.

Aug - Sep:

After complaints from some of my Columbian friends that I'm skipping their homeland, it has been added to the list ;) So Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina. Flying out of Argentina to New Zealand.

Oct:
New Zealand - North and South Island (Is one month too long?)

Nov:
Australia - Sydney, Melbourne, Eastern Coast

Dec - March:
Asia - Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, India, Nepal

April-May:
Possibly Europe - Maybe Portugal and visiting a friend in Denmark. Greece & Turkey unlikely?

June:
Stopover in NYC?

busman7

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
Loos pretty good to me. :)
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown

2wanderers

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
1. My first question is knowing what you know now and based on my prelim itinerary, would you recommend a RTW Ticket with Airtreks or similar company or point to point tickets?
This is personal preference. Price-wise I believe you'll generally come off ahead through Airtreks, but there's no guarantees. It's certainly a tradeoff in flexibility, though less so that a RTW pass from one of the alliances.

1. I bought a North Face Doubletrack 21 (http://www.backcountry.com/the-north-fa ... in-tnf1999) because I wanted to be able to carry it on a plane. I also like the option of being able to wheel it or strap it to my back. I believe it is 45L. I'm doubting myself now though and wondering if I should have gotten something with more space? Any critiques/criticisms of this bag?
If you've already bought it, give it a shot. If it's returnable, I might trade it in for one without wheels. There are, however, many proponents of the wheely backpack around here, so it's certainly a preference thing.

For size, your stuff will expand to fit the space allotted. Cold weather gear will be the biggest challenge in a small bag - and traveling in the Andes you may want cold weather gear even if you're going during summer. We hit snow while biking in Ecuador in February, and I regretted leaving my winter gloves at home.

2. Do you think a smartphone is needed? I was thinking about just bringing my laptop, ipod touch, camera and buying a cheap GSM quadband phone while abroad. Off contract smartphones run $500 so it's a spendy purchase and I'm not sure if it's worth it. I'm not sure what network coverage is like and if it's even worth the cost. Thoughts?


That's a lot of tech. I know that traveling with tech is big these days, but I don't miss it. Not being constantly plugged in is part of the appeal of travel for me. A camera and ipod is more than enough unless you're trying to run a business. Computers for checking email etc are widely available throughout the world.

I wouldn't even think about the phone, smart or otherwise. Swapping sim cards every country eats up a lot of cash, as do roaming charges if you go that route instead. Smartphones are even worse, since prepaid plans are rarely available. I just really don't see the advantage.

vagabondette74

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Location: San Cristobal Mexico currently

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
At this point in time, I would not start in TJ and make your way south but rather just fly into DF. Mexico is a much bigger country than people seem to think and getting from TJ to the south of Mexico will take quite a while and, in some areas, be dangerous as well. Plus, bus travel in Mexico is expensive (relatively speaking) so getting 2/3 of the way down to start is not a bad idea to help minimize costs. You could even fly into Acapulco or Tuxtla Guiterrez depending on what you want to see.

Feel free to drop me a note here or on CS when you are getting to Chiapas. I'm in San Cristobal de las Casas. My CS name is the same as my user name here. To get more involved in CS, sign up for your local group(s) and definitely make sure your profile is filled out.

If you're worried about being asked about onward passage when flying into Mexico, you could buy a bus ticket from Hulxtla to Tapachula on ticketbus.com.mx. Tapachula is a common border crossing and the ticket would cost you about $2. You could just pick a random date so you have something to show them at the airport showing you're heading to the border then walking across. Then you can trade it in for credit towards a real ticket or just trash it. When I was asked for proof from Guate that's the ticket I purchased to show them I was going to the border and it worked fine.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

Vagabonder.at.heart

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
2wanderers wrote:This is personal preference. Price-wise I believe you'll generally come off ahead through Airtreks, but there's no guarantees. It's certainly a tradeoff in flexibility, though less so that a RTW pass from one of the alliances.


Thanks for your input 2wanderers. I'm still checking out prices with Airtreks and the alliances but leaning towards one way tickets right now for flexibility.


2wanderers wrote:If you've already bought it, give it a shot. If it's returnable, I might trade it in for one without wheels. There are, however, many proponents of the wheely backpack around here, so it's certainly a preference thing.

For size, your stuff will expand to fit the space allotted. Cold weather gear will be the biggest challenge in a small bag - and traveling in the Andes you may want cold weather gear even if you're going during summer. We hit snow while biking in Ecuador in February, and I regretted leaving my winter gloves at home.
I'll probably stick with the the 45L size, but unsure yet of the brand. I'm checking out Eagle creek's packs at the moment. I was just going to pack a light waterproof rain jacket and maybe some layers. How expensive do you think it would be to just pick up cold weather gear on the road if needed?



2wanderers wrote:That's a lot of tech. I know that traveling with tech is big these days, but I don't miss it. Not being constantly plugged in is part of the appeal of travel for me. A camera and ipod is more than enough unless you're trying to run a business. Computers for checking email etc are widely available throughout the world.

I wouldn't even think about the phone, smart or otherwise. Swapping sim cards every country eats up a lot of cash, as do roaming charges if you go that route instead. Smartphones are even worse, since prepaid plans are rarely available. I just really don't see the advantage.


I've gone both ways in previous trips so I'm hoping to find the right balance of tech this time. I'll be posting my complete packing list for input in the near future.

Vagabonder.at.heart

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2011
vagabondette74 wrote:At this point in time, I would not start in TJ and make your way south but rather just fly into DF. Mexico is a much bigger country than people seem to think and getting from TJ to the south of Mexico will take quite a while and, in some areas, be dangerous as well. Plus, bus travel in Mexico is expensive (relatively speaking) so getting 2/3 of the way down to start is not a bad idea to help minimize costs. You could even fly into Acapulco or Tuxtla Guiterrez depending on what you want to see.


Good point about starting further down. I think flying into DF or better yet, Acapulco will be the way to do it!

vagabondette74 wrote:Feel free to drop me a note here or on CS when you are getting to Chiapas. I'm in San Cristobal de las Casas. My CS name is the same as my user name here. To get more involved in CS, sign up for your local group(s) and definitely make sure your profile is filled out.


Thanks for the tips on CS. I'm going to fill out my profile a bit more and will definitely drop you a line closer to departure.

vagabondette74 wrote:If you're worried about being asked about onward passage when flying into Mexico, you could buy a bus ticket from Hulxtla to Tapachula on ticketbus.com.mx. Tapachula is a common border crossing and the ticket would cost you about $2. You could just pick a random date so you have something to show them at the airport showing you're heading to the border then walking across. Then you can trade it in for credit towards a real ticket or just trash it. When I was asked for proof from Guate that's the ticket I purchased to show them I was going to the border and it worked fine.


Great tip on this ticket! I'm jotting it down in my notes. Going to do a bit more research on onward tix requirements and visas so will probably have more questions soon.

Are there any visas that I absolutely have to get before leaving the US or will I be able to obtain all of them on the road?

Vagabonder.at.heart

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  • Added on: April 12th, 2011
So I'm set on my plan to buy plane tickets as I go and travel mostly overland. I've hit a snag though with the Brazilian visa. From my understanding, I have to obtain this while in the US before I leave. It also has the dreaded onward ticket requirement.

http://www.brazilian-consulate.org/cons ... alreq.html

4. A copy of a booking slip or a booked itinerary showing travel to and from Brazil, passenger names, itineraries, flight numbers and arrival/departure dates

Since I don't know when I'll be arriving or leaving and I'll be travelling overland through South America and won't be arriving by plane, any suggestions on what to do about this requirement?

Kate and Dan

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  • Added on: April 28th, 2011
Vagabonder.at.heart wrote:Since I don't know when I'll be arriving or leaving and I'll be travelling overland through South America and won't be arriving by plane, any suggestions on what to do about this requirement?


I'm not speaking from experience here — and only raising this point for you to investigate further; however, if you're arriving overland, it's unlikely that immigration will likely ask for proof of onward travel. In my experience in other countries, this is more a requirement at airports.

That being said — you could always use a fake onward ticket. Although, again, I've never done this myself.

Glad you're being mindful of this, however. It cost these two guys quite a bit of money in New Zealand. Tough story here.
Image

Vagabonder.at.heart

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  • Added on: May 3rd, 2011
Kate and Dan and others that have helped,

Thanks for the reply and the heads up on New Zealand. Don't want to end up in that situation!

So I decided I'm going to try and obtain all visas while on the road. I'll keep everyone updated in terms of how that goes and any problems that arise. I've done a decent amount of research and I think I'll be able to pull it off, especially since I'm not tight on time.

It looks like I should be good to go for Central and South America. The only visas I'm concerned about are Bolivia and Brazil. For Bolivia I'm going to try and get it at the land border crossing. I don't want to get a Yellow Fever jab and it appears you can sign a waiver at the border. If what I'm hearing down there is that it's needed, I'll get one in Lima. For Brazil, I've heard it's really easy to get at least a 30 day visa and possibly a 90 visa at Iguazu Falls. Let me know if you have experience with these 2 countries and my info is off?

For New Zealand, I'll make sure to have my onward ticket requirement ready to go, whether it's fake or real ;) Although, I was going to just have my ticket arranged through to Australia but it appears that's not enough now?

Vietnam - I'll try and get in Bangkok...
Thailand - VOA, etc...

I gave my notice at work on April 1. Last day of work was last Friday. Gave my 30 day notice to end my lease at my apartment. Got everything listed on craiglist to sell. Packing up whatever I want to keep and putting it in storage. Going aways parties at the end of the month. Finances in order. I've been planning since last year and it's crazy that it's coming up soon. I'm still kind of in shock that I'm doing this. A little bit worried about what's going to happen after the trip when I come back but not thinking about it yet. Most of my friends are excited for me. Some are asking why? Some are saying it's crazy to give up my job in this economy. I'm just ready to get out of here. I wish I could fast forward the time to the end of the month. lol Sorry about the brain purge.


The following is an excel I created with what I've found and we're I'm going. I'm going to cut and paste it here so the formatting will probably be off. But maybe the info will help others.

June Mexico "Playa del Carmen, Tulum,
Chichen Itza" NO 180 days "Included in plane
tix cost" Tourist card or FMM, included in plane ticket cost. Important to keep FMM for exit.Onward ticket and proof of financial means may be necessary
June Cuba Havana NO From Mexico
June Belize Caye Caulkner NO 30 days "$39.25 Exit Fee
in USD only" Visitor visa valid for 30 days, onward ticket and POFM req. http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_t ... _1055.html
June Guatemala Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Antigua NO - C4 90 days N/A C-4 agreement, no entry/exit reqs.
July Honduras "Roatan Island, Moskito Coast,
Copan" NO - C4 90 days N/A C-4 agreement, no entry/exit reqs.
July Nicaragua Granada, Ometeppe NO - C4 90 days N/A C-4 agreement, no entry/exit reqs.
July Costa Rica NO 90 days $26 exit tax Proof of onward travel required.
July Panama NO 90 days N/A Tourist visa

August Ecuador Galapagos Islands? NO 90 days N/A Possible proof of onward travel needed.
August Columbia Bogota NO 60 days N/A Possible proof of onward travel needed.
September Peru "Lima, Cuzco, Inca Trail,
Machu Picchu" NO 90 days N/A Possible proof of onward travel needed. Get YF jab and cert in Lima. Use SAS, Peru Treks, or LLama Path for Inca Trail
September Chile Santiago, Easter Island? NO 90 days N/A Tourist card $140 fee only charged at Lima airport.
September Bolivia Lake Titicaca, Salar del Uyuni YES 90 days $135 VOA, visa pic, hotel reservation, int'l vacc cert for yellow fever req, bank statement
October Argentina "Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires
Patagonia" NO 90 days Airport entry fee Fee only charged at airports
October Brazil "Rio, Florianopolis, Garopaba,
Santa Catarina, Ilha do Mel, Buzios (Geriba beach), Paraty
Angra dos Reis" YES 30-90 $65 Obtain at Iguazu falls on Argentinian side (most likely 30 days, possibly 90) or in Buenos Aires:(http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/t ... 6#18367506)

November (6 weeks) New Zealand "North Island - Auckland
S. Island - Queenstown,
Christchurch" no 3 months $0 Onward ticket req and proof of funds. http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/visit/
December Australia Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast yes 3 months $20 Electronic Visa required. Valid for 12 months through date of purchase, for up to 3 month stay. No working. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
January Indonesia Bali yes 30 days $25 30-day Visa avail on arrival. Proof of onward travel required - purchase next airfare from Australia.
January Malaysia

January Thailand Bangkok, Ko Phi Phi NO 30 days $0 No visa req for 30 day visit
February Vietnam "Saigon, Hanoi, Halong Bay,
Da Nang, Nha Trang, Da Lat" yes Varies $85 Obtain in Bangkok. Obtain up to 6 months prior to entry.
March Laos Vientiane yes 30 days $35 VOA, 2 passport photos
March Cambodia Phnom Penh yes 30 days $20 VOA and online, 2 passport photos

April India "Kerala, Palolem Beach, Goa,
Bombay, Delhi, Himalayas" yes 180 $30 180-day Visa in advance (obtain in Bangkok).
May Nepal Kathmandu yes $30 VOA 15 day ($25), 30 day ($40), or 90 day ($100) Best trekking seasons - Sept/Oct or March/April.


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