Yet another RTW wannabe...
Before finding this board, I've met the same dilemmas discussed here, settled a few, still struggle with others, all in all I think I'm heading in the right directon, but that uncertainty of budget and itinerary never quite leaves.
I'm a public employee and, in Brazil, my job allows for a non-paid hiatus (up to three years) and come back to my job without missing a step. I'll have a budget from selling my apartment and, even setting something aside for my future at home, I'll manage something around 45000 dollars for travel... with some 5000 to before-travel spending... I want to see too much... the whole of Europe, North Africa, some of the Middle East, India, SE Asia, China, Japan, Australia, NZ, USA, Mexico and a thousand other places... This is what I WANT... I don't know what I CAN do. If I could make money travelling and never settle down again, I would. In a heartbeat.
I began thinking about a year-long travel... then realized that, to visit all the places I want, I would need a year and a half at least... sometimes I think that it's doable, sometimes I think that's impossible... I feel ready to stay in hostels, travel as cheap as possible... I don't have a time limit, only a money limit...
While I was planning, my sister announced her engagement and all of a sudden I would have to split my journey in two... what was a hydrance became something of an excuse to tweak things a bit... specially my 90 day visa limit in Europe... so what I got now is something like this:
Part I - 7 months:
Egypt - 16 days
Jordan - 8 days
Israel - 8 days
Tunisia - 8 days
Morocco - 21 days
Spain - 21 days
Italy - 32 days
Croatia - 10 days
Montenegro - 10 days
Greece - 14 days
Turkey - 24 days
Russia - 12 days
Then I would meet my best friend and interrupt logical thinking for two weeks while we visit London, be in Paris for Bastille day and in Venice for the Festa del Redentore.
I would come back to Brazil for a few days for the mariage and to work out a few visas... after that:
I could go west, to Oceania, Asia, Iran, UAE, North of Europe (Poland, Tchech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Ireland, France), USA and down Central and South America.
I could go up South America till I get to the US, then go west to Asia, Oceania, Europe.
I could go up South America till I get to the US, then go east to Europe, Asia, Oceania.
The order is not that important, I guess. The budget is. The thing is: in a lot of places, I could make stops that I would love to make if I knew the money would be enough for the whole trip... but I wouldn't make these stops if I knew I couldn't.
For example: If I had to limt myself, I would only visit Peru and Chile in South America. If I didn't, I would go to Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina.
Yes, this is entirely subjective and depends solely on my hability to budget... but keeping accomodation cheap whenever possible, eating cheap most of the time, travelling with some flexibility, dividing my time between expensive and unbelievably cheap countries... how long do you think 40000 dollars can buy me?
Sorry for the loooong post... I had a loooot to say.
Flights are the biggest problem, and I could see that eating into your time substantially if you have too many. Your 2 weeks of hopping around western Europe will also burn through quite a bit of money in a short amount of time, particularly if your friend is the type to insist on hotels instead of hostels.
I've mostly traveled with my wife, so in most low and middle-cost countries we can usually get private rooms for the same or less than 2 dorm beds. Traveling alone, you might have to sacrifice a privacy a bit more often in order to keep your costs down, though you're likely to meet people on the road, and can split rooms for a while before parting ways.
As for scheduling - the 7 months you've got planned out in detail have some extremely rushed destinations, and looks a lot like trying to see too much too fast. Pacing for Italy and Spain look good (though only hitting up highlights in these countries and spending more time elsewhere could probably help reduce your spending. That said, the financial crisis in these countries probably makes them the cheapest they've been in a long time.) Egypt, Jordan and Turkey pretty much all need another week each. I haven't been, but I'd say the same is probably true of Croatia, Israel and Tunisia.
Greece in 2 weeks means being very focused on what you see and what you don't - and my experience in Greece was that the more off-the-beaten-track you get, the more pleasant the country is. The hustle for money in Athens, Olympos and Meteora was tiring and frustrating...Delphi, Lesvos, and Dadia(a bird sanctuary along the Turkish border) were much more pleasant places to see. I suspect Russia in 12 days offers a similar restrictions...enough to see St. Petersburg and Moscow, but not much else.
In terms of budget preservation, focusing your trip a little more would seem valuable. I'm seeing a minimum of three internal flights in those seven months (Israel-Tunisia, Tunisia-Morocco, and Turkey-Russia) due to closed or unsafe-to-travel border regions. Drop Russia and Tunisia, and you not only have a less-rushed schedule, but also only have one flight (Israel-Morocco). Change the order of destinations around, and you'll be able to take the shorter and cheaper flight from Israel or Jordan to Turkey or Greece (Tel Aviv to Athens can go for as little as $100), then overland the rest of your itinerary. This'll also save some of the more expensive countries for later, which tends to make you more frugal, and have a better idea of where your budget is sitting.
Aside from budget implications, I try to avoid flying in the middle of a trip, because it reduces the flexibility to change plans. Changing plans because you like where you are (or don't like where you are) is one of the critical components of the kind of freedom that travel brings.
As far as itinerary. Just pick a starting point. Move on to the next country when you get bored with the first. The next region when you get tired of the region you are in. And the next continent when you tire of the continent you are on.
The world is large but life is long. You don't have to do it all at once.
Now, there will be times when the seasons or visa issues will force your hand. That is something you will have to keep in mind.
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