Honeymoon: San Diego to AK, or Europe?

Old Aug 20th, 2022, 08:36 AM
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Honeymoon: San Diego to AK, or Europe?

Hey everyone, hope you're having a good day. I'm seeking some broad, first step of the process travel advice for my and my wife's honeymoon, to be taken midsummer 2023. We're already married, but I farm, so planning a summer trip, and the season back home accordingly, is a far ahead process (she's a teacher so it has to be midsummer). We're trying to decide between a road trip from Southern California to Alaska (or the reverse, advice sought), or a European tour. We would both be happy doing either one. We live in New England.

I've never been outside of North America, she's spent time in Scotland. Neither of us have been to Alaska or western Canada. We both love the western US. We plan to have kids in a couple years, so this may be the last big trip for a while, and our budget is modest. We have up to about 6 weeks to spend travelling, from late June to early August 2023. We have some family and friends out West here in the states, and I have some work contacts who would likely be happy to provide hospitality scattered across Europe. We're rough and ready, no frills sought, cheap. We're interested in learning, seeing new things, nature (and agriculture), history (human and natural), hiking or walking, kayaking etc. Less interested in art, fine dining, most things in cities. We did a 12,000 mile road trip on back roads all around the US in 30 days two years ago, so we're good living in the car, and with each other. We found it to be life-changingly good, and the intent was for it to be a survey trip, mostly from the car window, and relaxation was mostly out (though of course it was much easier than working!). We want the honeymoon trip to be a little slower paced -- not time by the pool, but just not so overwhelming. Time to stop in places for a day or two if we like them.

We'd be renting a car if doing the North American west, staying within about 300 miles of the coast, zig zagging around as we travelled either north or south (open to advice on whether to start at the top or the bottom). In Europe we've been advised we'd mostly be on trains, and would like to see as much of the continent as possible at a moderate pace, from Ireland, to Spain, Romania, to Greece.

So, thoughts on Europe or the West? Ballpark cost comparison (not seeking numbers, but is one twice as expensive as the other)? And remember, this may be our last hurrah before having kids.

Thanks for your time, Alex.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 01:00 PM
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How long is your trip? Alaska is magnificent but adding the drive there from California, Oregon and Washington , in my opinion, would be too much, not an easy drive, and would take time away from Alaska. We have driven up the west coast from end to end. We started on Rt.1 but eventually switched to I-5, faster but just an interstate. Once in Alaska, the driving wasnít difficult.
And Europe offers many different possibilities, so many countries to enjoy. If you post a proposed itinerary you will receive a lot of help here.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 01:18 PM
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We have up to about 6 weeks to spend travelling, from late June to early August 2023.

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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 05:40 PM
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Welcome to Fodors. 12,000 miles in 30 days would have required averaging 400 miles every single day for the entire month. If that is the way you actually like to travel (not my cup of tea -- I like to stay 2 or 3 nights in most stopovers) You could drive the full length of CA, OR, WA, then across BC, Yukon Terr. and AK in 6 weeks - but there wouldn't be much time for exploring/'zig zagging'. And sleeping in your car is not advisable in most areas.

If you do decide on the west coast -- I wouldn't be so ambitious. It would be very easy to fill 6 weeks just in California . . . but 3 weeks in CA, and 1.5 weeks or thereabouts each in OR and WA would give you a nice taste - but you'd still have to be very selective what to include and what areas to skip.

In Europe your options are just about limitless -- but mid summer ca be really hot in most of southern Europe so I'd maybe stick to more northern areas.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 07:51 PM
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I donít get the West Coast angle. The Alaska Highway starts way inland, like Edmonton?, no where near the Pacific. Driving directly from NE to Edmonton is like 3-4 long days, then starting from there with 5 weeks left seems reasonable, but I havenít done any of it.

If you are thinking of the Alaska ferry itís incredibly expensive to transport a car.


Last edited by tom_mn; Aug 20th, 2022 at 08:22 PM.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 09:58 PM
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What kind of budget do you have for 6 weeks?
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 02:48 AM
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I've only done two trips to Europe. Most recent to Fraysinnet in southern France followed by 6 days in Paris in May. I left just before very hot westher started. Given temperatures this summer I don't think I would go to Europe. But I would map out work contacts and summer temperatures to see if plausible The Amalfi coast is amazing and my trip included a visit to a water buffalo farm with a wonderful lunch. One restaurant on the side of a cliff had a tier where theywere growing tomatoes. Driving was scary but we had private drivers with 9 passenger vans. I noticed the reason why driver's mirror didn't get knocked off was because he was retracting it when roads were very narrow and traffic was crazy. Lodging for the most part of both trips were in old convents and arranged by trip leaders. Years ago dh subscribed to a tractor magazine and I wish we had gone a tour of England with visits to tractor shows. I think that kind of tour would help you meet up with locals although sounds like work comtacts would help with that.

we did the vehicle on Alaska ferry but expense was necessary since son was moving to AK. When he moved back he started late on a Friday night and was in NH by Wednesday. Only slept in hotel once. He and wife shared driving to make quickest trip from Anchorage to NH possible. I think he and dh took a week to drive from NH to Seattle with a full day in Glacier National Park and another full day in Seattle for sightseeing. We departed ferry in Skagway, spent a couple of days, the. One overnight in Tok to Anchorage area. I managed to discover a local garden tour of an Anchorage neighborhood which was fun. You would probably enjoy Forest Fair in Girdwood which is held around July 4th. We visited farmers markets in a couple of places. I think there were fresh oysters at the one in Homer. It would be great if you could include the agricultural fair in August. We missed it. Camping is very popular in AK and very lenient about where you can camp. One net fisherman gave us a salmon which we were able to cook. But most air b&bs Frowned on cleaning fish in their kitchens. Keep in mind even some locals don't camp in tents because of bears although our son and dil did. Camped often with local offroading group.

Tough choice. Son and his family have done two cross country trips with two other couples all with truck campers and young children so new adventures will be possible with children.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 03:27 AM
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If you need to rent a car in the US, check out UHaul for pickups. We paid $800 for two weeks including insurance.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 07:32 AM
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My thoughts: Reduce the amount of miles driving a rental car. Depending on where you live in New England, take the Amtrak Lake Shore Limited or the Capitol Limited to Chicago overnight. Spend a few hours in Chicago before getting on the Amtrak Empire Builder all the way to Seattle WA. Spend at least a day in Seattle before getting on a cruise ship to Alaska. Most of them dock in Juneau, Sitka and or Ketchican before the end of the northbound leg in Whittier or Seward. Once you get to Anchorage, rent a car to see as much of Alaska as you can on your own schedule. Return the car where you rented it and then fly back to Seattle (or Portland) to continue your rental car trip southbound along the coast. I always prefer driving US 101 and CA1 southbound. (all right turns to make a stop at a viewpoint and other reasons).
If you do go all the way to southern California on the coastal routes, come back north using mostly I-5 and see a couple California National Parks including Yosemite. Once you get back into Oregon, take the detour off I-5 to see Crater Lake NP. Depending on your time/funding constraints, you could also visit 2 National Parks in Washington. Rainier for sure before returning the rental car where you rented it in Seattle or Portland.
It is your choice whether you want to fly back to the east coast or take the trains back eastbound.
I've been riding Amtrak (and ViaRail) trains since October 2001. I/we do fly when we go where Amtrak doesn't go or we are in a hurry to get where we are going. We flew to Alaska a few years ago. Last November we flew to Honolulu to see our DD and SIL who moved to Ewa Beach from Maryland last year. That was our second trip to the Hawaiian Islands. Over the past 18 years I have driven a rental car in all 50 states.
On Amtrak, the Roomettes (and bedrooms) are much more comfortable than coach seats if you can book and afford them. The sleeper car passengers also have meals included in their fare. The Sleeping Car Attendant will provide a menu. Tip SCA's well if you liked their service.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 08:50 AM
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Yes, six weeks available to travel.

Janisj, we did indeed average 400 miles a day. Went over 600 one day crossing Texas. Texas was a loss.. it was too hot and we were road weary that day, but the rest of the trip included lots of excellent content, bearing in mind that it was a *survey* trip. It was the peak of covid, we only had a month but wanted to see what the US looked like, and check out places we might want to spend more time in later, and we accomplished that, including many great stops, but yes we were travelling 16-17 hours each day including stops, and we don't want to do that this time. We would love to be able to spend 2-3 days at each stop, but we don't have that luxury of time or money. Appreciate the tip about the heat in Southern Europe, that's a good point.

tom_mn: I have to clarify, we aren't looking into driving from home to the west, we would fly out west and rent a car there. We love the western edge of the US and would like to include that on a trip eventually leading to Alaska.

Thanks for your detailed input dfrost, kleeblatt, and tom.

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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 08:58 AM
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offhghway-well while you don't specifically say so, i'm assuming you would fly to the west coast to begin the drive, not drive from NE to get out west. that would be too much without question. also, to increase your experience opportunities rather than just see things from the road, i suggest breaking the trip up. either focus on California and possibly southern Oregon. or OR/WA/AK. San Diego to the Oregon border would make a full trip of cities, towns, outdoors, beaches, national parks, wineries, etc. and you should be able to make it as far north as Crater Lake NP which is gorgeous. i personally think that the OR/WA/AK (through BC) trip would be great during your timeframe as summer is the best and easiest time to explore Alaska. so much to explore you still won't see it all. in no way would i recommend taking a cruise, especially only going one way. waste of your valuable time and money. not enough opportunity to see very much of Alaska just through port stops. trains can be fun but again your on their schedule, not yours.
starting in Portland and covering what your interested in for say a week and a half, then heading north along the WA coast to Olympic National Park and then around the northern edge of the peninsula where there are many quint small towns, and turning south through Tacoma to visit Mt Rainier National Park. into Seattle for say 7 days. rough time frame you may prefer more. heading north to BC, possibly exploring Whidbey Island and definitely being sure to include a ferry into the San Juan Islands-even just a day trip. it's spectacular. as you continue north you'll have multiple border crossing points to choose from. if time allows, you could travel a bit east before the crossing and see some-certainly not all-of North Cascades National Park. once in BC i have only driven as far north as Kamloops so the drive north into Alaska would need to be researched thoroughly. but what i've seen about the drive is that it's gorgeous. but can't recommend routes or stops. be aware that a lot of Alaska is roadless. it requires planes and boats. example-Juneau can only be accessed from either boat/plane. so knowing where you can drive into, or stop leave the car and fly into for a few days, would be important. then fly home from Alaska.
a couple of notes (things may change before your trip)-rental cars, especially one way which you would most probably want to do, are very expensive right now. book far in advance if possible. ferries in the San Juans in WA need to reserved far in advance out of Anacortes. and BC/Canada currently has some specific rules you have to follow about entering.
Europe would be awesome to depending on how the world is come next summer. but IMO it might be too stressful for those who've never visited to enjoy it as a honeymoon. we've driven all over and it's much different than the US.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 09:32 AM
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Hi Offhighway, welcome to Fodors!

One point in favour of Europe this year is the almost parity of the Euro with the US$, which would make a trip to Europe cheaper than normal. Against that have been the very high temps at about the time you would be travelling and of course no-one can guarantee what the € and the weather will be doing next year. Another point is that you might find travelling in foreign climes easier without a baby or child in tow and in 6 weeks you could see quite a lot of Europe especially if there were just two of you who were prepared to rough it a bit. Do you have any idea about where in Europe you wold want to go? areas that might appeal to you are the Greek Islands, Croatia, the Dolomites, or even Central and Eastern Europe. I have seen others recommend Rick Steves' "Europe by the Back Door" for those who haven't been there before.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 09:37 AM
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If you plan on having children, I'd take this time to explore Europe. The kids might travel better on a road trip in the future.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 10:50 AM
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I agree with both of these most recent replies regarding kids. Although it would be hard to tow them up to Alaska, I think it would be harder to bop around Europe with them. And Annhig we don't know nearly all of what we'd like to see in Europe. We could enjoy things anywhere, humble things like exploring the landscape. I'd feel I'd made an error if I didn't see pieces of England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Greece, and Romania.

Melproffit, in what way do you see Europe being too stressful for a honeymoon? That is one of my main concerns.. I know we could navigate the language barriers and unfamiliar customs sufficiently to survive, but I could see us falling into the trap of only seeing the most touristy, heavily visited areas, since they'd be the simplest to navigate for us, and that would be a bummer. Or even worse, making a real mistake or two along the way that would cost us significant money or time.

Finally, let's step back and re-focus just briefly on one issue: is Europe going to be way more expensive than the north American west? Ballpark?
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 10:58 AM
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I agree now is the time to go to Europe without kids. Personally, I would focus on a region of Europe. Venice is super-romantic and would be perfect for a honeymoon. Explore the ancient villages and towns of Tuscany (i.e. Lucca) and Provence (i.e. Arles). Try to go in May before it gets too crowded and hot (or go in September).
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 11:10 AM
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tom_mn: I have to clarify, we aren't looking into driving from home to the west, we would fly out west and rent a car there. We love the western edge of the US and would like to include that on a trip eventually leading to Alaska.
Itís not a clarity issue, you donít have time to do both regions and I assumed Alaska was the priority and focused on that.

Iíd suggest you compare that drive time from Boston to Edmonton vs San Diego to Edmonton, to put things in perspective.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 11:43 AM
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". . . pieces of England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Greece, and Romania."

You ain't going to manage anything like that much in 6 weeks.


"Melproffit, in what way do you see Europe being too stressful for a honeymoon? " . . . well -- it certainly would be if you tried to traverse half of Europe in 6 weeks.

And. . . . Europe wouldn't necessarily be more expensive. Any rental car(s) for 6 weeks (most rental contracts are limited to a max of 30 days so you'd have probably have to do at least two different rentals) . . . that allows entry to Canada . . . and allows drop off in Alaska would very likely cost more than two R-T flights to Europe. The US $ is currently at very good exchange rates vs. the € and £.

"We would love to be able to spend 2-3 days at each stop, but we don't have that luxury of time or money. "

That makes next to no sense -- sorry You have complete 100% control over how long you stay in any one place - and in general the more moving on one does, the more expensive the trip. You don't have the luxury IF you choose not to. I am NOT suggesting you travel 'slow', but trying to cover San Diego to Alaska in six weeks is unnecessarily rushed, and could be extremely expensive for what would essentially be rushing through some of the best scenery in the world and seeing it through the car windows. At some point you probably should give up the idea of a 'survey trip' and actually go somewhere to enjoy it - not just pass through. And a Honeymoon would be as good an opportunity as any . . . just sayin'
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 11:45 AM
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Long and typically wordy post follows. You have been warned.

As others have suggested, six weeks for a west coast + Alaska car trip or car+train in Europe next summer is going to be a challenge both in terms of budget and timing. It’s pretty certain that the current eye-watering costs for rental cars isn’t going away any time soon, and trying to drive your own vehicle from New England to Alaska, then down the coast to California and back to New England, just won’t work in six weeks. (Okay, it might be feasible technically, but only with a pretty heroic number of hours behind the wheel, not compatible with a “slower paced” trip. The opposite, actually.)

The same goes for a train-based tour of Europe. European train fares have gone up a lot in the past few years, and if your aim is to have this as a more countryside vs. city experience, the trains will take you to the big cities (and many middle-sized and smaller ones) but you’ll still need a car to explore the countryside. Of course this is doable, and may well be an option worth exploring.

But I have a different idea, one that I’ll throw out even if it results in the “what the hell??” response. Use the six weeks to go around the world.

Humor me a little here, and throw on your thinking caps. See, the big airline alliances sell “round the world” airline tickets that are good for a year and which include up to 16 flights. The key requirement is that the trip has to cross both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, traveling in the same direction, and that the trip begins and ends in the same country (with a few exceptions.) The ticket price includes a baggage allowance, the itinerary and dates can be changed either for free or with a pretty affordable change fee, and you can stop over for as long or as short a time as you want, again, subject to a few rules that aren’t too stringent.

An important characteristic of these tickets is that they’re priced very differently depending on where the trip begins and ends, NOT on the home country of the passenger. The difference in base price can be as great as 50% or even more, depending on where you start, not where you live.

Probably not surprisingly, the US is among the more expensive places to start and end, but possibly more surprising is that several European countries are among the cheapest, with the difference more than offsetting the cost of flying to Europe in the first place, then flying home after the RTW ticket is done.

So let me describe an imaginary RTW trip for you and your bride, using your time availability (and constraints) as a basis for the itinerary. The ticket type I’m using is the popular “Oneworld Explorer,” sold by the Oneworld airlines such as American, Alaska, British Airways, Qantas and several others. Unlike RTW tickets sold by members of other alliances, like Star Alliance (United, Lufthansa, et al) this ticket has no mileage limit, but is priced based on the number of continents touched over the course of the ticket’s life. The Oneworld Explorer also tends to be cheaper than its competitors.

So imagine this. It’s December 2022 and your wife is off school for the winter break, and you can escape the farm for a long weekend. You hop on a plane in Boston and the next day you find yourselves in Oslo, Norway. Why Norway? Because for the time being it’s the cheapest country in which to start and end a Oneworld Explorer RTW ticket. The one-way fare in December is around $400 from Boston to Oslo. You’d connect someplace like Lisbon or London, wherever’s cheap or to your liking.

It’s dark and cold in Norway in December, but you’re from New England, so you can handle it. Maybe you take a day or two to head north to see the northern lights, depending on how much time you have. Remember, you’ll be back.

Anyway, when it’s time to leave you go to the airport and take the first flights using the RTW ticket you bought sometime between now and December. It doesn’t matter where you bought it, only that it’s for a trip starting in Norway. You fly… home, via London or, if you really like sitting on planes, via Doha in Qatar.

Then it’s back to work and school. Until June, when the big trip begins for real. So you want to see Alaska? Okay, off to Anchorage via Chicago. The RTW ticket allows up to six flights within North America (which includes the Caribbean and Mexico/Central America.) If you want to rent a car for a few days to explore Southcentral Alaska – maybe the Kenai Fjords, or go fishing from Homer, whatever, you can rent a car and do so. Or, hop an Alaska flight down to Juneau and spend a couple of days exploring the forest-and-island world of Southeast Alaska.

Then down to Seattle and then LA, visiting friends or seeing some of the countryside. Maybe take a couple of days to see the waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge, whatever.

Anyway, then you board a Qantas 787 at LAX and 15 hours later you’re in Brisbane, Australia. It’s midwinter here, but you’re in subtropical Queensland, so maybe you rent a car (very cheap, around $50/day) and take a few days on some beach to overcome jetlag and to visit the kangaroos and koalas.

Then it’s a couple of hours over the Tasman to Auckland, New Zealand. Another car and two or three hours later you’re in the Bay of Islands, a glorious subtropical region where you can snorkel in clear waters. Or head south from Auckland to the stunning landscapes around Rotorua and Lake Taupo, stopping so see the hobbit houses at the Lord of the Rings exhibit at Matamata.

A few days in New Zealand, then it’s back across the Tasman to Sydney. See the great zoo, walk around Sydney Harbour with its iconic bridge and opera house, eat great Asian food. It’s all good.

Then back to the airport and onto another big Qantas jet, this time for a 14-hour ride across the Indian Ocean (or, if it’s like we did one time, skirting Antarctica) to Johannesburg in South Africa. Spend a night at a cheap and comfortable hotel at the airport, then the next day hop on a short flight to Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) on the Indian Ocean coast. Another car (again, around $50 per day) and an hour later you’re checking into a terrific B&B or small hotel (around $100/night tops) near the entrance to Addo Elephant National Park.

Addo is a “self drive” park, where you’ll drive around the scenic parkland, encountering (duh) lots of elephants, possibly some big cat predators... Or, if you want, you can join an independent safari drive operator for a tour; this will free you up to take more pictures, whatever. It’s a superb and very affordable experience.

The next day (or the day after) hop in the car and start driving toward Cape Town. This will take you along the “Garden Route,” one of the most beautiful drives in Africa, indeed, the world. You can stop and watch the surfers at iconic Jeffreys Bay, or visit gorgeous communities like Plettenberg Bay or Knysna. Stop in picturesque Hermanus (maybe some whales visible offshore) as you make your way to the Cape Winelands. This area, around the communities of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, is spectacularly beautiful. It’s a big citrus and wine producing area, for those interested in the agricultural world.

Finally it’s into Cape Town, the Mother City. Visit Table Mountain, the Victoria and Alfred (not Albert) waterfront, Robben Island, the Kirstenbosch Gardens, the wildly colorful Bo-Kaap district, and other sites. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, set in spectacular countryside. Not without its bitter history of course, but that too can be a source of inspiration. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/fcddHkmJ7gZFDWKR9

Anyway, from Cape Town it’s a direct flight to London, then maybe a visit to someplace in Europe or the Middle East before ending up back in Oslo, done. Fly home, maybe using some of the frequent flyer miles you’ll have earned along the way. Six weeks, four continents. Glaciers, tropical beaches, kangaroos and hobbits, elephants and lions, wine, whales and Malay food to die for, and the people… oh, the people you’ll meet.

The cost of the RTW ticket? Around $2100 plus taxes and fees, maybe $2400 or $2500 all in. (By the way, that’s half the cost of starting the RTW in the US.) Now that’s flying in economy; business class would take the number to around $5500, but of course you’d be way more comfortable. Still, you’ll survive; millions of people travel this way all the time.

In terms of timing, well, six weeks isn’t a lot, but by limiting the number of destinations you can make it work. I’ve done comparable RTW trips in less time, and didn’t feel deprived or rushed, but of course it’s a personal thing. I’d probably do a week or ten days in Alaska and on the west coast, and ten or twelve more in Australia and New Zealand, then ten days or so in South Africa, and the balance of the time somewhere in Europe prior to coming home. By flying east-to-west you’re saving clock time due to time zones, but don’t forget the International Date Line.

Actually, what I’d really do would be to put off Alaska until Denali Park is fully available (access to the park interior is blocked due to road repairs that will last through 2023, maybe beyond.) I’d take those days and add them to Australia and NZ, or to South Africa, where not only will your dollars go a lot farther, but where there’s so much to see and experience that it’s nuts. Maybe you could stop on the west coast en route from Boston to Australia to say hi to friends, whatever.

So I’ll stop here since this might very well be consigned to the “what the hell” (or more likely the “what-the something else”) category. But maybe you might find the idea intriguing, in which case I’d be happy to expand (at great length, obviously) on the idea.

Happy planning, regardless, and congratulations on your honeymoon!
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 12:42 PM
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Ironically you have put your finger on the best way to see the most touristy heavily visited areas and make a mistake that might cost you serious money, in setting out your extremely ambitious idea to see 11 countries in 5-6 weeks. Despite having spent my entire 66 years living in Europe, I have never been to Portugal or Romania, I have never been to mainland Greece, and i've only been to Ireland once. Trying to cram all those countries [let alone the varied places in them] into such a short time would IMO be a very big mistake, which is why I recommended the Rick Steves' book as I believe it gives sound trip planning advice. As for cost, at the moment I wouldn't think that Europe would be substantially more expensive than N America next year [but as the last 3 -4 years have shown us, who can tell?]. But the more you move around, spending money on moving from one place to another, the more the overall cost of the trip. Plus it takes time out of your seeing and doing time to move around, find the nicest bar/cafe/ etc. With the luxury of 5-6 weeks, you could afford to choose say 3 places as bases and tour in between and still see a lot of Europe, but without feeling as if you have been travelling all the time.

PS - I just read Garyloo's suggestion and I love it.

Last edited by annhig; Aug 21st, 2022 at 12:47 PM.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by offhighway View Post
I agree with both of these most recent replies regarding kids. Although it would be hard to tow them up to Alaska, I think it would be harder to bop around Europe with them. And Annhig we don't know nearly all of what we'd like to see in Europe. We could enjoy things anywhere, humble things like exploring the landscape. I'd feel I'd made an error if I didn't see pieces of England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Greece, and Romania.

Melproffit, in what way do you see Europe being too stressful for a honeymoon? That is one of my main concerns.. I know we could navigate the language barriers and unfamiliar customs sufficiently to survive, but I could see us falling into the trap of only seeing the most touristy, heavily visited areas, since they'd be the simplest to navigate for us, and that would be a bummer. Or even worse, making a real mistake or two along the way that would cost us significant money or time.

Finally, let's step back and re-focus just briefly on one issue: is Europe going to be way more expensive than the north American west? Ballpark?
offhighway-while i'm sure most folks who have traveled even a little would have only minor issues navigating customs and languages, my comment was mainly focused on the driving aspect. i would never rely on trains when trying to cover ground for six weeks. too much time spent seeing the world flash by and too many opportunities for issues to crop up and delay your trip. but driving there is a different animal than North America IMO. road size, rules of the road, lack of uniform road signage (especially in smaller towns), places like rural UK, Amalfi coast, rural Spain can all provide stress both just driving from A to B and locating a specific address upon arrival. this is not how I would want to spend my honeymoon. i know GPS is your friend these days when driving but i say save it for a different trip, or a few smaller trips, in the future. also, one other thing i should mention regarding driving in Alaska, if you happen to get that far, you can only drive your personal vehicle a small distance into Denali National Park. then you have to board a parks shuttle bus to access further in.
oh, just noticed gardyloo's note on Denali. i was unaware. this definitely would affect getting the most out of Alaska on a driving trip.

tom_mm-OP would have zero reason to go anywhere near Edmonton while driving from anywhere on the west coast to access Alaska. north through BC (hwy37), a small time in Yukon (1) and head west to Alaska border.

Last edited by melproffit; Aug 21st, 2022 at 03:03 PM.
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