Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
Reload this Page >

First time traveler traveling for 18 months- overwhelmed - HELP

First time traveler traveling for 18 months- overwhelmed - HELP

Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 01:50 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 95,724
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
hi nov-moon, For I probably wouldn't keep the spreadsheet again once the trip began. I'd use it only in advance to subtract approximate airfares and lodging from my $60k, to see what kind of a average daily budget I had to work with. I'd have it divided (at least in my mind) so I knew 5k for Europe, 3k for Asia, like that. Just generally so I knew I had enough to complete the trip I hope to do. Knowing you can always go on the cheap for a few days with meal. Or save money in certain locations because rents are very low.
suze is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 02:12 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 21,224
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Another issue to include in your trip planning is the costs and lead time needed for various visa/reciprocity fees. Note which countries require visas to be obtained in advance of arrival.

For US citizens, reciprocity fees can take a big chunk out of your budget. Eg, you can rack up nearly $1500 in reciprocity fees for South America alone (Argentina, Boliva, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay).

With a bit of planning, if you avoid flying into Santiago, you won't need to pay the Chilean fee.
mlgb is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 05:56 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 493
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It always amazes me how people resist the idea of freedom and cling to their comfort zone.

Why does the 60k have to last exactly 18 months? What if you only end up spending 50k, have you messed up? What if it runs out after 16 months have you messed up if you didn't throw any away but instead spent using common sense,doing what you wanted to do? We aren't talking about a 2 week vacation here.

Perhaps an example of how travel can fall out might help some of you see there is a POSSIBILITY that planning isn't the only way. Trip reports seem to get people excited here anyway.

Many years ago, 2 young guys, both 20, left home for the 'adventure of their lifetime'. Yes, they used that well worn and totally dumb phrase. Many years later, looking back, it was only 1 of many adventures in life they had to look back at and no one can tell if an even greater adventure is just around the next New Year.

So off they went with a boy scout haversack each carrying all their 'stuff'. A pair of jeans, a change of socks and underwear, a couple of t-shirts and that's about it.

First stop the UK on a one way ticket. Everything else would work out from the $600 (approx. value $3400 today) they each had in their pocket in cash and as for timing, no limit, go till the money is gone.

After hitch hiking north to visit some relatives, they hitched back and took a ferry to Calais. Hitched to Paris where they slept on park benches until they met a young woman who invited them home to stay with her and her parents for a week or so.

From the young lady they got an introduction to another young lady whose family owned some grape vines in the south of France. So off they hitched to there and picked grapes for a few weeks. Pay was $2 a day and a bottle of wine, with a shack to stay in thrown in.

While there they met another picker who was from Munich and he invited them to visit him in Munich and sleep on the floor of his apartment during Oktoberfest. Once they found out Oktoberfest was about drinking beer what do you expect to 20 year old guys said to that? So off they hitched again.

Having drank Munich dry they cast around for somewhere to go next and Rome seemed like a good idea. After all, didn't someone famous say, 'see Rome and die' and they certainly felt like they were near the dying part.

In Rome having not died they did the usual things. Stayed in a hostel, had a camera stolen, etc. One evening having yet again succumbed to the folly of drink, they found themselves agreeing to share fuel costs with a guy from the island of Jersey who had a VW campervan and planned to freight it across the Med to Libya, then drive it across the Atlas mountains and see what the Sahara desert looked like. So off they went again but looking on the bright side they didn't have to hitch this time.

After a sea crossing on a freighter clearly well past its appointment at the breakers yard they arrived in Tripoli. Gearing up for their expedition mainly consisted of bargaining for some rice and beans along with a used, burned and dented pot to cook them in. They bargained the market thief who sold them the pot downn to 50 cents. They also wisely invested in some cheap homemade 'sand ladders' and a shovel.

Now if any of you have crossed the Sahara then you will know that the practice is to check in with the police, from oasis town to oasis town as you go along. On arrival in one 'town' they did they and were promptly arrested on suspicion of murder.

Apparently another group consisting of 3 guys and a girl had left the last town around the same time. When 3 guys showed up with no girl, the assumption had to be they had either killed her or left her which amounted to the same thing. But all worked out in the end when the other group turned up 2 days later. Our two (now three) intrepid adventurers decided to view it as a couple of days of free bed and board, even if neither the beds nor the food were up to much. So off they went yet again.

Eventually, after many exciting adventures like discovering why carrying sand ladders had been a good idea albiet not exactly as loved after using them for the 100th time, they had crossed the Sahara from north to south.

Interestingly, they had leap-frogged all along the way with another group of 4 English guys who had planned their expedition meticulously down to the last Mars bar and were equipped with 2 brand new Land Rovers and all the latest gear imaginable. When last seen in Djamena, Chad, they were trying to sell their one remaining Land Rover and fly home. The other one had broke down in the desert and had to be abandoned. No point in trying to go back for it since it would have been stripped down to the chassis by the end of the following day. ;-) Gotta love those bedouins.

Long live the VW camper said our intrepid 3 and carried on. Heading south through the Central African Republic they continue a routine of visiting local mission schools. If it were a catholic mission they were catholics and if it were a protestant mission why of course they were protestants. Invariably in return for talking to the school children about their home countries, they could expect a free meal and sometimes even a beer.

Reaching the border to the Congo they ran into their first visa issue. After several days spent in fruitless attempts to get permission to drive across the country they had to call it a day and decide to go elsewhere. No problem our intrepid 3 said, we've always wanted to visit Cameroon and Nigeria anyway. Or as the saying goes, 'go west young man, go west. So off they went.

In Cameroon (or was it in Central African Republic, the memory wanders sometimes) they came across an anthropologist on yet another of their visits to missions to scrounge a free meal. This anthropologist invited them to accompany him (in a moment of excessive bonhomie brought on by excess drinking) to a pygmy village where he was researching their culture. Not every day someone gives you an invitation like that and it doesn't appear very often on tour company lists of highlights either.

Wanting to buy a bow and arrow as a souvenir, one of our 3 offered cash. What good is cash in an equatorial African pygmy village? Barter my boy, barter, is the name of the game. A deal was finally struck, his t-shirt with the picture of Queen Elizabeth on the front (bought in London as a patriotic expression) in return for a bow and 2 arrows. Not a full adult bow but a decent teenagers practice bow. The only question then was how to carry this all the way home but that little hiccup didn't have to be dealt with today did it.

Wandering on they finally arrived in that wonderful country, that pearl of Africa, Benin (then Dahomey) and the capital, Porto-Novo. The idea was to hop another freighter with the VW and head down the coast bypassing the DROC by landing in Angola. Once again, visa issues stalled things.

But every cloud has a silver lining as they say, one afternoon when coming back from yet another fruitless attempt to get the necessary paper work, they met a woman from America who lived in Porto-Novo (married to some Embassy muckety muck). She was fascinated by their tales of their adventures in deepest darkest Africa and invited them to come for lunch the next day at the local 'Expats Club.' Very exclusive don't you know.

So not being slow to grab a free meal they turned up of course. Lunch was served by the pool and the champagne was just the right temperature. After regaling the woman and af few of her friends with some of their stories, they were told they could have the run of the club while they were stuck there. My, my, isn't that nice.

So every morning they would make an attempt to get the paperwork dealt with and every afternoon they would lounge by the pool, have lunch, a cooling swim and generally take life easy.

They even got invited to a party being given for the newly arrived American Ambassador. Tie and tails were the dress code but our intrepid 3 showed up in their cleanest t-shirts and jeans. Being introduced in the reception line to the Ambassador as 'three intreped travellers who have come across the Sahara'.

Finally, having practically mugged an official when he got off a plane at the airport, as the only way to see him, they got their papers all stamped and booked passage on a freighter. This one made the one in the Med look postively luxurious. But never mind.

Landing in Angolo the adventure was back on track. Surely there was a track right? Driving along without a care in the world heading east (go east young man, go east) they were stopped at a road block by some ragged young guys waving kalishnakovs. Hmm, what have we here.

It turned out that Angola like many places in Africa in those days was having a spot of unrest. They were driven off the road, down a dirt track into the bush to see 'the officer'. Along the way one of our intrepid 3 suggested jumping and making a run for it but cooler heads prevailed. After the officer questioned them as to whether they were foreign mercenaries or not, they were finally allowed to go on their way.

As all those who travel for an extended period of time will tell you, there comes a point when you need to take a break. Lay on a beach for a week or something to get away from the whirl of sightseeing and visiting yet another museum. Our three were no exception. So they decided a good thing to do would be to head for Victoria Falls a local tourist trap. So off they went.

Arriving at the falls they made their headquarters in the parking lot of an impressive local hotel. With a little pretending to be guests they had use of the hotels facilities during their stay. A restful few days other than the arrest on suspicion of stealing. Never a dull moment with these guys.

One of the three had been trying to sell a watch to get a few extra bucks to splurge while there. They still had some money but weren't buying much more than a stalk of bananas or some rice to cook. He figured a watch wasn't really needed. When the sun was up it was day and when the sun was down it was night. What more did they need to know about time?

So there he was buttonholing tourists around the falls asking, 'wanna buy a watch, cheap?' Unfortunately one of the people he asked was a plain clothes police officer. Oops. So he was dragged off to the station to explain himself. Fortunately our boys were getting pretty good at talking their way out of things by this time and all ended well. When asked if he wanted to buy the watch now, the police officer told them not to push their luck.

Deciding that perhaps it was time to move on from their rest stop at Victori Falls they came up with the brilliant idea to go and climb Mt. Kilamanjaro. All that lazy life was making them soft. They needed a physical challenge to work off the fat. Off the went again.

From Zimbabwe they made their way to Tanzania and the mountain. Arriving at the foot of Kilamanjaro one of our 3 didn't feel well. Possibly a cold or flu coming on he thought. Sure, the others thought, too soft to climb the mountain. So off the 2 went leaving the third behind in the VW. He had malaria.

Imagine yourself stuck in a VW camper, too sick and weak to move hardly at all with nothing but a stalk of bananas hanging from the ceiling and 5 plus days to wait until the others returned. Hardly the definition of a good time. But needs must.

On their return the three headed off for the major city of Dar Es Salaam on the coast hoping to find a doctor. Arriving there one went to a pharmacy to make inquiries and while in the pharmacy a woman overheard him asking the pharmacist about a doctor for his friend. She immediately took charge.

Driving him back to where the VW was parked she ordered themm to follow her home. When they got to her home she had the softie immediately confinend to a sick bed and sent the other two off to be fed by her cook. Her doctor was summoned and began treatment. Bed rest for at least a week was prescribed among other things. They were guest in that house for 2 weeks.

One day sicko came downstairs to find the woman darning (some readers might need to look that word up) a pair of his socks. She was covering the hole with coloured threads that ended up being a giraffe. He still has those socks.

Eventually of course all good things come to an end and no matter how much the other 2 entreated him to remain sick he got better and off they went again.

By this time Jersey boy was getting home sick and decided he wanted to drive his VW into Uganda where he heard he would be able to sell it on the black market for a good price. He would then fly home from Kampala on the proceeds and our original two intrepid travellers would be on their own once again.

Crossing the border into Uganda they came across people dancing in the streets with excitement. When they asked what was the occasion, they were informed there had been an overthrow of the government and their saviour Idi Amin Dada had taken over. Things would be wonderful under his rule. Little did they know. Again, some readers may need to look up some history to find out why he came to be called ‘the butcher of Uganda’. It isn’t referring to his job before becoming President. He was also the King of Scotland according to him but that’s another story. In Kampala all went as expected and our three went their two separate ways.

So our intrepid two decided to head south once again and hit the road with their thumbs out. Hitching their way through Tanzania and Mozambique they made their way towards South Africa. One incident along the way involved a land owner who invited them on a cheetah hunt. Apparently a cheetah was taking some of his cattle. They passed on that invitation but it was in that man’s car that the bow and arrows finally was lost. Left behind when they got out of the car and never to be seen again.

Often when they were hitching they would try for hours to get a ride. Several times when it got to mid-afternoon and they were having no luck, they would try to hitch in either direction. Spending a night out in the wild did not appeal to them given the nature of some of the residents. Both four legged and two legged. So on some days they covered as many miles in one direction as the other it seemed. But eventually they arrived in South Africa.

Making their way to Johannesburg they tried looking for work. Funds were running low and how to get home eventually was becoming a bit of a question. They had no luck finding a job but did end up on a national radio talk show being interviewed about their trip across Africa from north to south. During the interview they were asked do you intend to go from the Med to the Ocean to complete the crossing of the whole continent? That thought hadn’t occurred to them but once the seed was planted well you know what happened next. ‘Cape Town or Bust’, they cried and out came their trusty thumbs.

Of course they made it to Cape Town without incident, what did you expect? Once again they were interviewed on national radio. Asked about their future plans they said they hoped to find some work to earn some money to make their way home.

The following morning they were called down to the reception desk. A man in a suit and tie said he was there to take them to a company where the President had heard them on the radio and wished to offer them a job. Outside, a Rolls Royce (I kid you not) was waiting with a chauffeur. They drove to the outskirts of Cape Town and into a large industrial complex. They met with the company President who said ‘he admired their pluck’. They were then taken off to be interviewed by 3 different department managers. After the 3 interviews they were asked, ‘well which department do you pick to work in?’

Two months earned them enough to buy tickets home via Iceland and New York, to Toronto. On arrival they had been gone 1 year less one week. Between them they had one dime (ten cents) which was just enough for a call to one of their homes to have someone drive to the airport and pick them up. Debating who to call they decided to walk instead. After all, it was only 4 or 5 miles.

Tour or adventure, the choice is always yours to make. But remember, by definition you cannot plan an adventure.
Improviser is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 07:19 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 21,224
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No wonder you think trip reports are boring. That one certainly is.
mlgb is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 09:43 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,455
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
as someone posted . . .

>>Anyone who writes 'trip reports' has already shown all anyone needs to know. LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!!!!!
janisj is online now  
Old Jul 4th, 2013, 08:01 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 493
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Where did you see any mention of me janisj? Your so busy trying to find some way to insult me now, you are becoming laughable.
Improviser is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2013, 08:25 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,474
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...omment-8287040
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2013, 09:51 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,455
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
I know that isn't a report of your trip but it does plead >>LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!!!!!
janisj is online now  
Old Jul 4th, 2013, 10:17 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 21,224
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Of course it's a trip report. Whether they planned or not, it's still a trip.

There are many variations of planned vs unplanned, a continuum. Not an absolute one or the other, as november moon indicated. In fact I don't see a single post suggesting that every day and every minute needs to be locked in concrete prior to departure.

I rarely book more than the first few nights hotel, and the round trip tickets. But I do know that I don't wish to sit on a beach nursing a beer and hoping to get travel tips from an aging hippie with a long ponytail.
mlgb is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2013, 05:26 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 493
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Janisj, I'd say it says, LOOK AT WHAT OTHERS WHO DID NOT PLAN DID!!! There is no ME involved.

I have no idea what you mean about posts being nuked. Point to a thread and what was 'nuked'and I'll have a look.
Improviser is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2013, 05:23 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,083
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amazing trip report, improviser! When I was that age, four of us went camping all over Europe for three mostly unplanned months. We had a great time, but not all the adventures you wrote about!
Saraho is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2013, 11:01 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 95,724
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
>

If a thread or individual post has been removed for being inappropriate (nuked) that means it is no longer on the forum for you to go "have a look".
suze is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2013, 03:14 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 493
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Then how do YOU know it was nuked? I am not aware of any missing threads or threads on which I commented where my comment has been removed.

Are you suggesting that YOU are aware of such a thread suze? You are making no sense girl. Leave it to janisj to explain her own comment.
Improviser is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2013, 04:33 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,902
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think some folks here are just being argumentative to annoy others.
MissGreen is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2013, 04:55 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,100
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree Miss Green but I think you are being way too polite! One particular forum member seems to have a persecution complex. I was going to add some thoughts on the OPs original question but they do not appear to have returned presumably unimpressed by the attitude of some so I won't bother.
crellston is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 12:08 PM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,762
Received 17 Likes on 1 Post
What a great story and adventure, Improviser!

intershift, I met a couple doing a RTW when I was at Easter Island. They did a lot of riding buses and camping in some spots to save money and spent money when they had to, like flying the high priced flight to Easter Island. Good luck! And I would do a trip scenario in Excel like Suze mentioned.
sundowner is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2013, 06:00 PM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I totally agree with your way of traveling, Improviser! Your travel adventure was thoroughly amazing and I enjoy your intriguing writing style! There are certainly many ways to experience travel and, having traveled quite extensively, have learned that engaging in less itineraries and plans, brings the most happiness & satisfaction to me!
sandygary is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 07:50 AM
  #38  
TC
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ignoring the jibberish........

-first and foremost--- budget: $60,000 sounds like a lot of money, however for 18 months on the road that is only a bit over $3000 per month. Divided by 4 weeks in each month and its only a tad over $800 per week. If you could find a hotel during some of the events you mention for $100 per night it would be a miracle. Even at that you would only have about $100 per week left over for every other expense. My first bit of advice......your wish list and budget don't match.

- a "round the world" airline ticket is your best (most economical) mode of travel. Do you know how to use one? There are web sites and/or agents that can assist with planning if you are unfamiliar. Each airline has specific rules and routings.

- pick 18 locations -- one for each month. Pick them because they fit into the RTW travel ticket plan and for their central location as jumping off points to other near locales. Personally, I don't think you have the budget for 18 months around the world. Consider cutting back the time.

- once you have a general outline, start filling in your timing for the specific events that you want to see. That will automatically dictate your timing and most likely your routing. It will immediately show you if it's even possible to be in all the places you want, at the times you need to be there. I imagine you will be eliminating a few things at this point. As an example; Mardis Gras is in February. What are you planning to do between December and February in the U.S. to kill time until MG in New Orleans?

Event timing is the most difficult and expensive to get to anyplace and stay there. Travel will cost more and housing will be hard to find and expensive. While it sounds like fun, it can really eat into a budget (a budget you don't have) or just be impossible to accomplish. Unless this is a backpacking/hostel kind of trip, I think it's too ambitious.

It's a grand plan, but it will require a lot of planning to accomplish and not feel as though you have been unwise with your resources.

I wish you luck and safe travels.
TC is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 08:57 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 493
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"-first and foremost--- budget: $60,000 sounds like a lot of money, however for 18 months on the road that is only a bit over $3000 per month. Divided by 4 weeks in each month and its only a tad over $800 per week. Even at that you would only have about $100 per week left over for every other expense. My first bit of advice......your wish list and budget don't match."

I love it TC. Now explain to me how someone else manages to travel for a year on $15k or even less. It's done all the time. The one clue you give to how you arrive at your conclusion is the word 'hotel'. It implies a certain way of travelling.

I have no aversion whatsover to nice hotels and often stay in them. But I also have no aversion to a hostel for $20 a night if that is all that is available or as much as I wish to spend.

People travel Europe (a generally agreed expensive area to travel in) for 50 Euros a day. That's a hostel bed, supermarket food and the odd museum entry or beer. It doesn't include transportation. So get yourself there (1 plane fare), stick out your thumb and away you go. That's $2k a month TC for Europe. A similar number is reasonable for N. America, Australia and some other countries.

A LOWER number is reasonable for a lot of other countries. In SEA for example a generally accepted number is from $40 per day.

So depending on where you spend your time and for how long it is in fact quite possible to travel the world for $12k (plus airfare) per year. I don't see anywhere that the OP said anything about how they see spending their money.

Re the, "If you could find a hotel during some of the events you mention for $100 per night it would be a miracle." You can find a hostel bed for $20. Or as happened to me, someone could offer to let you sleep on their living room floor for free.

Don't assume everyone spends the same amount of money as you do. I understand if you wouldn't want to sleep on someone's floor. But with 60K for 18 months, there is NO problem in making it last that long or longer. You just have to be willing to adjust your spending pattern accordingly. If 'events' mean higher prices then perhaps in those locations you opt for a hostel and hotels everywhere else for example.

Re RTW tickets. They are NOT always the cheapest way to go. That is a common belief but not always true. These days, there are all kinds of low cost carriers (LCCs) and it is entirely possible to string together a series of one way tickets to take you anywhere you want to go.

Nor is price alone the only factor to consider. Let's assume a RTW is in fact cheaper. It locks you in. Yes you can make some changes but you can't for example decide to double back on your route for some reason or simply decide to not use the balance of the ticket if something comes up that makes you want to do so. It does not allow for spontaneity or serendipity.

As you say, it's a grand plan but will require a lot of planning. That's true if the OP chooses to fit in all the events (thus tying them in to a time frame)listed. Or the OP could do little planning at all and be very wise with their resources.

I once went to an island expecting to stay a week. I stayed for 7 years. What would I have done with a RTW ticket?
Improviser is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 09:03 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,455
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
The OP probably isn't coming back so this is now mainly about improvisor . . .

(Intershift registered, posted and went away)
janisj is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:14 AM.