Itinerary Issues

When we first started planning this trip last year, laying out the itinerary was the best part.  We’ve spent hours daydreaming about the routes we could potentially take.  It’s been the fun part.  Any place we see on the map could be the next city on our itinerary.  The process of researching each place has really helped keep us motivated as we deal with the frugal living required to save for this adventure. 

From the beginning, our goal has been to have the website and itinerary completed by February, 2010.  As the website goes, I hope we are on track.  But the itinerary is presenting some challenges.  Here is a preview of what we’ve been dealing with.  We’ll be posting more details over the following week:

1) Finding the right RTW ticket to purchase.  There are a ton of options for Round the World tickets. Most are based on a mileage amount typically starting around 29,000 miles, have a cap on how many flights can be taken during the 12 month period, and a cap on the number of flights in each continent. Costs vary widely, but range generally between $1,000-$10,000.  Our goal is to spend no more then $4,000/ticket (including airport fees and taxes).  Naturally, our goal is to design our itinerary and then find a RTW ticket that matches up, but we know that our itinerary may have to change a bit to fit in with the ticket we choose. 

2) Non-RTW traveling.  We have no plans to travel the world solely on an airplane.  I want to see the landscape, experience the small towns when possible, and to really see how people live.  If we were to fly everywhere we’d be limiting our ability to see the places off the tourist routes.  Thus, we’re trying too keep our major flights limited to 10 stops, and travel over land the rest of the time. Right now, this is posing a challenge for traveling within Africa and the Middle East.  For instance– options for traveling between Egypt and Turkey have been really tough for us.  We will be posting more on this in the future. 

3)  Timing.  There are two very specific times of year recommended for Safaris (not to mention that we haven’t decided which country in Africa to go to), Gorilla Tracking in Uganda, hiking in certain parts of South America, etc.  The calendar keeps jumping around for us.  We’d like to leave for our trip in May 2011, but that will depend on how this itinerary comes together over the next few months. 

I’m a planner.  It’s hard for me to not go overboard with our itinerary.  Dave is the opposite– he’d prefer we travel without much planning at all.  We both recognize that there are some gaps in our natural tendencies, and we’re making a huge effort to take the middle way.  But when it comes to the major milestones of our trip, it’s hard not to wonder whether we’re planning this all wrong.  Then again there just might not be a right way to plan here.  We just have to do this the best we know how and hope that as we research we’ll learn the tricks that other long term travelers learn.

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