We're Never Coming Back

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Monday, January 30, 2006


We went to STATravel this weekend to enquire about tickets. Its all very exciting, but here's the deal.

The best value ticket to get is an ESCAPADES ticket. This allows you 8 stops around the world, at very select destinations. It costs £1300 (all prices include taxes), but would mean only 1 or possibly 2 stops in central and south america. This is a total killer - very limited flexibility, very little coverage of the continent, and so we'd have to supplement our journey with extra flights, which would probably cost at least £300 extra. Total price: £1600.

For the same price, there is a ONEWORLD ticket. This is restricted by mileage (29,000kms) and the price is calculated by the number of continents you visit. 4 continents gives us 16 stops and costs £1600. The only problem with this is that "central america" is included within "north america", so if we want to go there, we would need to pay an extra £400 to include an extra continent, pushing the price up to £2000.

So instead, we have opted for 4 continents, and we're going to leave central america behind for this journey. Its dissappointing, but its not the end of the world. It means we're missing Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. It also means that we're missing the hot beach holiday element of our journey from the first 4 months. BUT, we'll be beaching our way around the rest of the planet, and we'll have 4 months in south america, without the need to rush around from place to place to cover the necessary ground. Its a good trade off.

So, for £1600, we're proposing to do the following:
Ecuador (1 month) - Peru/Bolivia (1) - Brazil (Rio/Sao Paulo) (1) - Argentina (BsAs)/Chile (1) - NZ (1) - Oz (3) - Singapore/Thailand (1) - Cambodia/Vietnam (1) - China/Japan (1) - India (1).

We are allowed 4 stops in each continent, which we need to decide this week. Then we are taking our itinery and our proposed dates to STATravel on saturday and booking them, along with the insurance package they offer.

Its wildly exciting. I'm going wild.

Anyway, if you have any recommendations of places to go, stops to make, stops not to make, be sure to let me know and we'll try and slot it into our itinery.

I totally knew I was definitely going away. I have done for ages. But you know it kinda feels like it might not happen - something might come up, or there might not be enough money. or whatever. But this is a totally positive step forward. When we book the flights next saturday, expect me to be a very happy boy. Very happy.


Anonymous Pete Groom said...

Random thoughts / comments follow in Ecuador:
It's not a particularly big country to so you could cover lots of it in that timescale.
I took a few internal flights rather than buses as it wasn't that expensive based on the time I had etc - e.g. A whole day by bus and the hassle of working everything out compared to an hour on a plane for about $90USD. But if I'd had more time and wasn't alone I think I'd have used the buses a lot.
In Central America I took a couple of buses for about 16 hours and that was about my limit I think - wouldn't want to have gone much further.
Spent about 5 days in a jungle lodge that was quite expensive (a couple of hundred maybe - really can't remember) but was worth it - they have the Amazon on the east side of the country. I think that's a difficult area to get to without flying.
White water rafting was good - used a company called Yacuamu. Wasn't just good for the rafting but gets you out to see the countryside from a perspective you won't get from the roads.
Thought Cuenca was a really nice city and would have stayed longer if I wasn't bored with my own company by then (this was getting to the end of 6 months). It was also good for a national park - Las Cajas maybe?
Places to stay in Quito weren't particularly expensive. I stayed in nice hotels but it was cheap in comparison to here - and would have been much cheaper if not alone.
The old city in Quito was nice and I spent a couple of days wandering around it - but I'm quite good at doing not much and wandering around so might be boring for you.
There were lots of trips and things being run from the areas where all the hostels and travel agencies are located - bike trips in the mountains, hiking etc. It's really worth getting out to see the volcanoes as they look pretty spectacular.
If you were in Quito on a weekend there's a really good train ride out to a country park - you have to come back on the same day as there's not really anything there. It's well worth it and took up just a day.
There's another famous train ride that I didn’t make because of time - think it was called Riobamba for summink like that.
I didn’t make it to the coast so know nothing about it - just changed planes in Guayaquil a couple of times where it was very hot and sticky.
You'll notice the altitude in Quito if you're walking up hills - but that would be good training if you're hiking in Peru. (Hiking in Las Cajas was hard work too but would be training for you.)

3:34 pm  
Anonymous Ceciel said...

Book into Auckland and out of Christchurch.
You can always book an internal flight with air nz if you decide that you don't want to do the drive between the two (about $100 if you book early), but most people do the drive. It is quite a long way but lots to see and do need to make quite a few stops.

Will you have a car or are you going to join some kind of bus travel thing? Believe there are a few options. Although quite a few people buy cars off other backpackers in auckland and then sell them on in christchurch to others going back in the other direction when they get there. Cars are fairly cheap.

And 6 months should be fine. Ahhh, bit rainy, but mainly okay. Colder in south island.

3:55 pm  
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