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World on a Shoestring A beginnger's guide to traveling around the world...as written by beginners...

I'll play mustard, you play catch-up

USA | Tuesday, 28 November 2006 | Views [1854] | Comments [1]

Let's bring everyone up to speed on where we're at, shall we? here's what Gen and I have so far:

Where to start? I suppose the best place to start would be where we started. A great resource for us has been the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum. Everyone here is more experienced than us, so this site has been an endless font of resources, websites, travel advice, literature, and annecdotes. Post a question, and normally, in less than a day, you'll have a helpful answer. For everything and everywhere, this is the place to go if you need help.

Our next purchase needed to be Travel Insurance. As we had never invested in travel insurance in the past, we were starting from scratch. We took several suggestions from friends that had traveled in the past, but all seemed to be way out of our price range. Lonely Planet recommends WorldNomads, and their prices aren't matched anywhere else that I've researched, so we decided to go with them. They've been helpful, quick to respond, and accomodating.

We started saving money just about a year ago. Thanks, in whole, to the generosity of our parents allowing us to live for free under their roofs, we were able to save $1000/month. In figuring out how much we needed to save up, we assumed about $50/day, give or take, during travel, if we're traveling on a strict budget and self-catering.

Our biggest expense, currently, has been our plane tickets. We started searching all the major discount airfare sites about a year before our projected departure. We also looked into round the world (RTW) plane tickets, like here and here. Depending on what you're looking for, i'm sure they can be advantageous over what we decided to go with, but for our needs, the round the world tickets were too inflexible and too costly. We eventually found exactly what we wanted for a hair over $2000 each from cheaptickets.com. FOr that price, we purchased tickets from Philly to LA to New Zealand to Australia to Thailand to London. You'll note that there's no return trip included in that itinerary. That's intentional as we like to keep our options open. I can offer little advice here except to be flexible with your dates, and check ticket prices regularly. Its cheaper to fly on a monday, tuesday, wednesday, than thursday, friday, saturday. We're flying on all mondays. Except for the flight from LA to NZ, which covers a monday, a tuesday, AND a wednesday!

Making that initial purchase unloaded a huge weight off our shoulders. Neither of us ever spent $4000 in one sitting, so once the tension was broken, we were able to begin making other purchases petinent to the trip.

Our next purchase was a backpacker's bus tour of New Zealand. There's several to choose from, including Magic, Stray, and Kiwi. After researching each, we decided to go with Stray as it seemed to fit our needs better than the rest, but it's really up to the individual. These bus companies provide transportation around both islands, help make reservations at hostels, and suggest activities at each stop along the way. It's a good way to have someone cover all the bases for you.

Other than that, we've been looking into several other things. We haven't yet purchased our EuroRail passes yet, but will be doing so in the next month. They have a convenient discount rate for two travelers that are traveling together that knocks off about $400 from the cost, and the only stipulation is that the travelers must travel together at all times.

A few weeks ago we purchased our backpacks from REI. Gen and I both got Gregory internal fram, extended trip packs. They came highly recommended by the guys at REI, and were a good price, so we picked them up. Additionally, Gen and i have purchased zip-to-shorts cargo pants, shoes and sandals from REI. One of our shared favorites are our Keens. These things are comfortable, and sturdy enough to walk around in all day long. Another good resource, of course, is EMS, if you have one near you.

That's about where we are right now. Coming soon will be the EuroRail purchase and transportation for Australia and Thailand, as well as more clothing for the trip.

We'll keep you up to date!

Tags: eurorail, insurance, lonely planet, the planning phase, world nomads



This blog is a great idea. I would love to be on your distribution list. Atrip around the world is always fun -- even if vicariously!!

  Leo Nov 30, 2006 12:15 PM



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