Seeking Critical Advice & Wisdom For My RTW Trip
1) Unfortunately I just turned 26 a few weeks back, and apparently a lot of discounts like to cut out after 25. I was wondering if my student ID card would still work in some cases - like maybe only some entities check the age on them and some don't or whatever. Anyone have any experiences with this sort of situation? Also, are there any other good options for those of us passed 25 as far as cards & discounts go?
2) I have a good idea from research as to what I want / need to keep my gear pegged towards. In any case, what would you guys consider essential gear for a "RTW trip"? Had any better experiences with certain brand bag packs etc?
3) Anyone experienced in cameras have any recommendations in that field? Likely going to be getting a nice point - & - shoot. Was going to run an SLR but the point and shoots take such good pictures that it will likely not be worth the extra hassle / cost.
4) Definitely going to have a smart phone as my go-to device for many a things. Thoughts, opinions and experiences with your phones overseas?
5) Does anyone know of a good book / phone ap / device for basic phrasing (like "hi", "bathroom", etc.) that covers all countries?
6) What do you guys think of the budget numbers? Do you think it's realistic or not even close? I'm pretty frugal and like I said it will be more bag-packer style. I'm sure there will be a few times where I'll splurge, but it definitely won't be an everyday thing.
7) These are the books that I've gone with so far: "Vagabonding" (Rolf Potts), "4-Hour Work Week" (Tim Ferriss), "The Travel Book" (Lonely Planet), "Best In Travel 2012" (Lonely Planet), "The Gap Year" (Lonely Planet). Also have some good sites like these and some articles. Trying not to get into too much more because it just gets too be way too much, but figured it's worth asking those with the experience. Any other books, specific websites or articles that anyone has found to be exceptionally awesome or helpful?
8) Broad question but I figured I'd throw it out there anyway. Anyone have any other suggestions for groovy places to go on my trip? I LOVE good food, so feel free to point me towards the best food on the globe! What do you guys think of my tentative one?
9) If there is anything else in general that you think would help me with my RTW trip prep I would greatly appreciate any and all advice there as well!
Well I believe that pretty much covers what I am mulling around in my head for now. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this puppy and hit me up with some knowledge!
P.S. If there is any more info that I can give or that you need to give me certain feedback, definitely let me know!
2) I'm weird because my travel backpack is actually one from Eagle Creek that has wheels in it and detachable straps- 40L main bag and 20L detachable daypack, a size that was picked part because it's the maximum one can take on an airplane and part because I didn't want a pack that I couldn't lift over my head myself! Wheels vs not is a huge argumentative point for some but I honestly recommend them especially for the places you're planning on going- after almost 50 countries I've only needed to use the straps a handful of times. And in fact the only real anti-wheel people I've encountered are folks who have never traveled much with 'em, but to each his own.
3) Canon does a great line of point and shoots IMO. If you're going solo, consider a tiny little tripod too.
4) I never took a phone on my rtw because I like being unplugged, we hardly do it enough these days (I mean there's always email and my blog to confirm that I'm still alive is my reckoning). But something small like an iPhone does come in handy especially if you're not lugging around a computer- my best advice is to get an unlocked one and you can get new SIM cards in each country as you go.
5) If you're already taking a smartphone, just download the Google Translate app
6) I don't see you mentioning if there's a time limit for this trip? I mean you can certainly do what you listed on that budget I think, but I won't guarantee it if it involves a month in each country or whatever (ie hard to say without specifics).
7) I remember the Rough Guide's "First trip around the world" book (can't quite recall the exact title) as being useful. Though these days I haven't relied on paper guidebooks at all and just use the wonderful wikitravel.org, look it up!
8) Broad a question indeed! It's really hard to say much if we don't know your interests, but based on food alone Thailand would be a good choice if you want to stop in Asia. From there as a base it's quite easy to travel around SE Asia for a bit too.
Also http://www.hostelbookers.com is the only booking site that is free, your deposit is deducted from the price you pay the hostel on arrival.
Agree with mama's question about the order
9) don't plan too much, leave room to change as new things come up
@Andromeda: Cool name ! Reason I am taking the smart phone route isn't necessarily to keep connected with the world as that is obviously not the point of my trip, but moreso to help with networking when I'm trying to couchsurf and for emergency, etc. As far as the time-frame, I just figured around a year in my head. As long as I have the funds though, I am fine with whatever. If I need to come home for a break that is no big deal. In each country I figured no less than 3 week and more often than not a month. Otherwise thanks man! That was a bunch of super helpful information. You rock!
@busman7: Definitely appreciate that rail pass link. Just turned 26 a few weeks back and it pushes me out of their youth ticket which is like 33% cheaper than adult - super bummer! Will definitely look into that. Again with Mama's question, that is definitely not the order. I'll for sure have that route planned correctly. Would definitely create some unnessecary chaos hehe... I am definitely not trying to overplan. Perfectionism runs in a lot of the family, so it is hard for me to not break from it and get overwhelmed by all the stuff, but I'm definitey doing better than I used to. The good thing is that I've had to deal with other things all year, which has essentially disallowed me to overplan and do a good bit in the last couple months of the year here before I split.
Thanks again from all of you guys - this stuff helps me out a lot. If you think of anything else definitely hit me up again. Also if anyone else has some thoughts, would definitely appreciate it!
I like my Sony cyber-shot and it makes very flattering pix of people, which is important I think.
I'm not sure about phone apps for learning a language, but whenever I went to a new country I'd at least learn some polite phrases. The only place I've found in the world where it is really hard to find people who speak English is any place in S. America.
The most essential items that I packed that may not show up on a general packing list is wool socks. They make all the difference on a chilly night and will help you get some sleep. Earplugs are good too. One of those little clip-on reading lamps is good for when you can't sleep or you're on an all-night bus from Bangkok and all they're showing is trashy tasteless movies and they turn all the lights off. Think survival of your sanity above all.
Your budget is quite high and if you manage to work some of your way around you could probably keep going for at least a couple of years. With all the places you want to go, you'll probably want to do that. I did a point by point comparison between buying RTW plane tix or buying as you go, and buying as we went was cheaper and I preferred the flexibility.
go girl now wrote:The only place I've found in the world where it is really hard to find people who speak English is any place in S. America.
Have you been to Yangmei? Noone there spoke a word of English - but that was half the charm of the place. Getting there was a real adventure as noone at the bus station in Nanning where we were leaving from spoke English either (and nor did we expect them to - we had Yangmei written in Chinese script on a scrap of paper and that worked) At the train station in Nanning (and it's not a small place by any means) there was not one English speaker - not even at the "foreign" counter.
In Bursa, Turkey we had to reply on German for communication, but to be fair, all we were doing was looking for a place to sleep (cheap and really grotty) and somewhere to eat (cheap and amazing - although the proprietor tried to make us go across the street to a big mall where there were western eateries - but we wanted his food and with lots of sign language told him so!)
Believe it or not, in a few small places through France and Germany we needed to use the respective native language, but they were few and far between.
Certainly, if you can communicate in English, you are not going to have too many troubles. And when you do, they make a great blog post!
Eastern European countries can be difficult with older people as anyone under 30 probably speaks fine English, but over that they learned Russian in school (and no one wants to pretend to remember that!). My rudimentary German had a lot more success there.
@mama & andromeda: Going to look at Google Translate. If it is the software I've seen before, then it definitely works excellent and would be great on the smartphone. I find that going to certain areas and finding that none of the locals around me speak any English will be a fun and interesting new experience for me. I'm definitely looking forward to learning the local tongue without always using some guide or translation tool.
Thanks again to all three of you. Everything helps.
Keep throwing the good ideas my way!
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