Planning as we go

12.06.10 | Comment?

A lot of people who are planning for a round-the-world trip opt for the “RTW” plane tickets. They are $4000 to $5000 and allow you to stop multiple times in several continents. Considering that long-haul flights are generally north of $1000, it sounds like a very attractive deal for such a long journey. The down side is that you have to pick your cities and dates in advance. Each RTW ticket has its own rules but essentially it locks you in a set itinerary.

We chose not to do that. Even if it’s more expensive.

We had a rough idea of an itinerary that would start like this:
New Zealand -> Australia -> Southeast Asia -> ???

Since we traveled to New Zealand by ship, we weren’t sure we needed proof of onward travel, so we didn’t bother. Oops… turns out we did, no different than if we were arriving by plane. Luckily we were allowed into the country thanks to a nice customs and immigration officer who looked the other way.

The only “plan” that sort of developed before we got to NZ was on the ship… we promised to visit some of the Cap Cleveland crew members in the Philippines in January when they’d be off the ship and home for vacation. They also told us about a big festival on the island where several of them live.

Ok, that’s a good start… The Philippines in January. But where to go in between? Well, after a month in New Zealand, we knew we wanted to stay a few more weeks to do some wwoofing and essentially stretch our money while trying out a little farming. That meant we’d only have 3 weeks to spare in between NZ and the Philippines. Do we go to Australia as we’d originally envisioned?

No. We decided that if we went to Australia, we’d want to do it the right way, the long way. We didn’t want to just glimpse at Sydney and Melbourne and maybe the Great Barrier Reef. Additionally, temperatures were hiking way up and so were prices around the holidays.

So we looked at a map to see what was in between New Zealand and the Philippines. We also had a desire of pampering ourselves after all the physical labor we’ve been doing in the vineyards. In the end, we’re going to get pampered in… Bali! This small Indonesian island is reputed to have fantastic and cheap spas, great water sports, delicious food and warm people. I need not be convinced further.

So let’s sum up. New itinerary:
New Zealand -> Bali (Dec 12) -> The Philippines (Jan 5) -> Southeast Asia -> ???

Could we have done that with a RTW ticket? No. Is it more expensive? So far, I don’t think so… each leg was just under $500. We’ll tally up in the end.

I’m so excited. Bali! The Philippines!

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