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Anyone (other than my wife) think this schedule isn't doable?

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Jun 16th, 2010, 07:21 AM
  #1
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Anyone (other than my wife) think this schedule isn't doable?

I apologize in advance for the long post, and multiple questions. If this would be better suited for a different forum/catagory, please let me know.

I have recently been doing some research online on taking a trip to visit the Sister Cities of Dallas (with the exception of Kirkuk, Iraq). The plan is to visit the cities, spending a week in each photographing the city and the people, then compile it all in a book.

Here is a tentative schedule I have come up with, thus far.

Prior to going overseas, I would need to purchase a Eurail pass. I looked at the different options they show online (http://www.eurail.com) and I think the 3 country pass valid for 6 days within 2 months would work best for me (unless my understanding of how it works is incorrect). Also, all of the train schedule times I have listed for Europe are from the schedule also found on that site.

Day 1 - Fly from DFW to Frankfurt, Germany. Because of the arrival time of the plane, I would need to spend the first night in Frankurt, to catch a morning train. (1 night in Frankfurt)

Day 2 - Train from Frankurt to Prague 8:19 - 14:30 and another train from Prague to Brno 15:39-18:22. Move into my hotel in Brno, Czech Republic.

Days 2 - 9 - Visit the people and places of the city of Brno. (7 nights in Brno)

Day 9 - Train from Brno to Prague 9:35 - 12:21 and train from Prague to Frankfurt 13:30 - 19:36. Spend the night in Frankurt again, to catch a morning train.

Day 10 - Train from Frankfurt to Paris 9:01 - 12:49, a taxi/relay to another station, different train from Paris to Dijon 15:58 - 17:35. Move into my hotel in Dijon, France.

Days 10 - 17 - Visit the people and places of the city of Dijon. (7 nights in Dijon)

Day 17 - Train from Dijon to Paris 9:25 - 11:03, Taxi to Airport, Afternoon flight to Riga, Check into hotel in Riga, Latvia.

Days 17 - 25 - Visit the people and places in the city of Riga. (7 nights in Riga)

Day 25 - Fly from Riga to Moscow, taxi to hotel close to train station. (1 night in Moscow)

Day 26 - Explore Moscow during the day.

Day 26 - 27 - Night Train to Saratov 17:30 - 9:10 (1 night on the rails), arrive and check in to hotel in Saratov, Russian Federation.

Days 27 - 34 - Visit the people and places in the city of Saratov. (6 nights in Saratov)

Days 34 - 35 - Night Train to Moscow 16:04 - 7:28 (1 night on the rails).

Day 35 - Arrive in Moscow, Fly to Taipei. Check into my hotel in Taipei, Taiwan.

Days 35 - 43 - Visit the people and places in the city of Taipei (7 nights in Taipei)

Day 43 Fly from Taipei to Tianjin. Check into my hotel in Tianjin, China.

Days 43 - 50 - Visit the people and places in the city of Tianjin (7 nights in Tianjin)

Day 50 - Fly from Tianjin to Sendai. Check into my hotel in Sendai, Japan.

Days 50 - 58 - Visit the people and places in the city of Sendai (7 nights in Sendai)

Day 58 Fly from Sendai to Monterrey. Check into my hotel in Monterrey, Mexico.

Days 58 - 65 - Visit the people and places in the city of Monterrey (7 nights in Monterrey)

Day 65 Fly from Monterrey to Dallas - HOME.


Now for the questions!

1. Is this trip too ambitious for a novice world traveler? It seems like a LOT of flying time, but I grew up taking long (12-20 hour one way) car trips so I'm sure an airplane has to be more comfortable than the back of a Chevy station wagon.

2. Is the schedule too tight? I've tried to look at the arrival times of flights and schedule 2-3 hours to get from one point to another when needed.

3. Are the train times shown on Eurail.com accurate/dependable? As an example, I'd hate to get to Prague and find that the train was late and I've missed my connection to Brno with the possibility of being stuck in a city I had no plans on being stuck in.

4. In my planning, I've alotted myself $150/day for food and taxis. Will this be enough? I would be trying to stay in, or near, the center of the cities, so plan to do a lot of walking. I can also eat pretty thrifty, as long as I can find Coca-Cola

5. At the end of the trip, I think it may be easier/cheaper to fly from Sendai back to Dallas, then (after taking a couple days off to rest) take a week long trip to Monterrey. Thoughts?

I have many more questions, but think I'll stop now before I wear out my welcome.

Thanks!
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Jun 16th, 2010, 08:44 AM
  #2
 
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Welcome to Fodors. Most of this would do better on the Europe board, and some on the Asia. You might also take a look at http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntre...spa?forumID=58

You are essentially planning a round the world trip. I'll be setting off on my 3rd RTW in Sept., and there a number of RTW travelers on Twitter (tags #rtwsoon & #rtwnow). While I am a big advocate of train travel, and my 2nd RTW was mostly by train (see wilhelmswords.com/rtw2004 ) you might also look into a RTW air ticket (start with airtreks.com). If you have a lot of FF miles, the three big airline alliances issue RTW FF tickets.

I do not advocate Eurail.com - try bahn.de for schedules, railsaver.com for whether point-to-point tickets would be cheaper, and whichbudget.com for cheap European flights. Also see seat61.com for info on trains. And you might buy a copy of Thomas Cook's Rail Map of Europe.

Have you considered taking the Trans-Mongolian train from Moscow to Beijing? You may be able to train from Saratov to Ekaterinburg and pick the Trans-Mongolian route up there (if you do that, definitely stop off in Irkutsk and Ulaan Baator).

I don't think this is too ambitious - you're stopping off for a week at a time. You can usually rely on train times in western Europe, but they get a bit less reliable (and often less comfortable) as you move south and east. However, if a connection is shown on bahn.de, the second train will often wait for the first.

I haven't looked at this in detail, as I think you should rethink the order. Why are you going to Germany and the Czech Republic and then backtracking to France? (Click on my name for my French TR including Dijon.) Start with France and keep moving east. Equally, I would travel China - Taiwan (you can fly from Hong Kong) - Japan.

$150 day for just food and taxis is very high. My 3rd RTW I averaged $130 day for everything - visas, accommodation, transport, food, etc. etc. But I don't take taxis - public transport is much better in Europe and Asia than in the US, I stay in guesthouses and pensions, and Asia is (or can be) much cheaper than Europe.

If you are a novice traveler I recommend reading Hasbrouck's "Practical Nomad" and either Lonely Planet or Rough Guide's "First Time" books. You can email me through my website if you want to talk more.
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Jun 16th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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An additional note. You say "photographing the city and the people". I hate having my photo taken, and I don't think I'm alone. I hope you plan to ask permission! Have you connected with the Sister Cities people in the other cities?
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Jun 16th, 2010, 09:53 AM
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Definitely re-post on the Europe and Asia Forums -- you'll get tons of help. This board is more for general travel topics and yours are pretty destination-specific.

Also maybe on the Air Travel forum because there are a couple of other posters who can also help w/ RTW itineraries.

I don't think any sort of Eurail Pass would save you money. Just book your train trips individually.

And contact the sister city authorities/chambers of commerce/visitor centers -- they will likely have specific help/info/local introductions for you.
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Jun 16th, 2010, 02:44 PM
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ditto the suggestion to repost on Asia and Europe forums, only a few people check in on this "Travel Tips" branch.
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Jun 16th, 2010, 09:21 PM
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Another note, if you're planning on photographing people and putting it in a book, you're going to need releases signed by them giving you permission. Check out some of the photography forums (dpreview is a good one) to find sample releases and tips (sometimes people will sign the release if you offer them a free copy of their photo or the book, etc. - you don't always have to pay them cash).
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Jun 17th, 2010, 08:15 AM
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The Thorn Tree at www.lonelyplanet.com also has forums for Europe, Asia, around-the-world, solo, that might be helpful to you.
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Jun 17th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Thanks for all of the replies. I think I'll chop this post up and repost the bits in the different forums suggested.

I'll try and touch on some of the questions brought up, and explain my thought process:

The reason I had looked at flying into Frankfurt first and going from there between Brno and Dijon was based on my understanding of the Eurail 3 country pass. My understanding was that it was valid for one country and two adjacent countries. Because Germany is adjacent to, and between, The Czech Republic and France, I figured it would be a good starting place. I'll look at the train links you suggested. Your site is very cool, and you seem to know what your talking about!

I'd love to take the trans-Mongolian railway, from Saratov to Tianjin, but my wife is against this trip as it is. Adding more time away would not be a good thing.

Regarding photographing people, I would absolutely get their permission first. I'm not looking for models who are posing, I'd want just everyday people living everyday life. Talking (or communicating some way) with them would be, I hope, some of the fun.
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Jun 17th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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suze - I posted a thorntree link in my first post, but the OP seems to have disappeared.
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Jun 17th, 2010, 12:38 PM
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oops, sorry thursdaysd. the OP did come back. but must have been posting exactly the same time as you were!
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Jun 17th, 2010, 02:31 PM
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suze - yes, bad timing!

DaHS - "valid for one country and two adjacent countries" - I think that's true, but I don't think it matters in which order you visit the countries. You should definitely check whether point-to-point is cheaper, especially as non-youth rail passes are usually first class, and second class is perfectly fine. Glad you like my site.
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Jun 17th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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"valid for one country and two adjacent countries" - meaning you begin in country 1, you move next to country 2, you move next to country 3 . . . all without passing through country 4, 5, or 6.

The sister cities you plan to visit:
Dijon, France
Brno, Czech Republic
Riga, Latvia
Saratov, Russian Federation
Taipei, Taiwan
Tianjin, China
Sendai, Japan
Monterrey, Mexico

I would check at possible flights between Paris and Prague, and some of your otehr connections at
http://www.whichbudget.com/

Your schedule has you spending a lot of time returning to Frankfurt just for train connections. Start your trip in Paris/Dijon, then move on to Prague/Brno, then Riga . . . Or if flight connections are better between Paris and Riga, then do Prague/Brno to Paris/Dijon to Riga . . .
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Jun 17th, 2010, 05:23 PM
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"1, you move next to country 2, you move next to country 3 . . . all without passing through country 4, 5, or 6. " - no, although the countries need to be contiguous, you can pass through other countries, you just have to buy tickets for that part of the route (in advance). Lots of info on how these passes work at http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/select.htm
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Jun 17th, 2010, 06:15 PM
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<>

Even though you're not posing them, etc., it's not just getting a verbal "yeah sure", but you have to get a LEGAL release in order to use the photos in a publication. If they come across the book later on and see that it's making money, they can sue you for using their recognizable image (if you can't identify the person in the photo, such as a silhouette, then you don't need a release) and simply say "I never agreed to this" and the burden is on you to prove otherwise.

I'm not suggesting that you're not going to do the right thing, but I just want to make sure you are following the laws because it'd be terrible to do all that traveling and then not be able to use the photos as you've intended...
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Jun 17th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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toedtoes,

You only need a model release if you plan on using the photos for product endorsement. You can sell photos of people taken on in a public place without their permission. What you can't do is use a picture of a person (and often buildings and other recognizable places) for placement in an advertisement.

If this wasn't the case, there would be no paparazzi.
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Jun 18th, 2010, 08:39 AM
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I'm working on a new travel schedule, with the new suggestions and resources. I'll try posting in those other forums mentioned, and link back to this original thread.

Sorry for my delays in posting. I'm doing all of this planning/dreaming at work.

Thanks for all of the help and input!
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Jun 18th, 2010, 10:33 AM
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ShelliDawn - you can take photos of people taken on a public place without their permission, but you cannot use it for "commercial" use (not just product endorsement, but for profit purposes, etc.).

Here's a website that explains a lot about it:
http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html#4

(Disclaimer: this is only in regards to the US, other countries may have other laws - but if you're publishing your book in the US when you get home from your trip, the people can sue you in the States.)
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Jun 18th, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Toedtoes: Your link really doesn't imply a release would be required for situations like the OP's (even if the photos were taken in the US)

In fact it says >>he key concept you need to always have at the front of your mind is "association." Does the person or thing in the photo imply he or it is an advocate or sponsor for an underlying idea or product. <<

General photos - like the soccer game mentioned in your link, and street views, and photos of folks going about their business, and other photos like that are not impacted.

Look at any magazine, tour book, National Geographic, you name it. Those millions of folks photographed did not sign releases.
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Jun 18th, 2010, 02:48 PM
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Janisj - that statement was only a part of the article. He talks about a photographer who places a photo of a person in the front window of his studio and how that would need a release whereas posting the photo on his website (or having the photo in his portfolio) wouldn't.

The point is that there are many intricacies to this and if the OP has not yet done his research about it, he needs to BEFORE his trip not after. If he needs the releases in order for the book to be published, he's going to find it very difficult to get them afterwards unless he had the foresight to at least get contact info at the time of the photo taking.

Also, many publishers will protect their own interests by requiring the photographer to provide releases whether they are legally required or not. As the article states, it's the publisher who usually gets sued.

I didn't mean to turn this into a debate, just to give the OP a heads up if he wasn't aware of the issues.
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Jun 20th, 2010, 11:19 AM
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I would fly into Paris first to go down to Dijon and then back to Paris to fly or train to Prague. From Prague I would train or fly to Riga.Too much backtracking?
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