Our Trip Thus Far...
According to the map creator our trip currently covers 102,000 km which means we will be going around the globe more than twice (circumference of Earth is approximately 40,000 km).
View Full Size Travel Map at Travellerspoint
So what have we done so far...
Travel Agent: Harvey World Travel in East Perth
Many thanks to the marvelous and helpful people at Harvey World. We had a fixed time frame on the first leg, as we have to be back for my son's wedding, so we let the experts arrange this bit. Our instructions? "South America and Africa, you have 2 and a bit months, give it your best shot :-)" and you can see above it is very comprehensive and well thought out. This trip is all mapped out to the day with plane trips, accommodation and tours. We have vouchers and an itinerary so that at any moment we know where we should be and how to get there. It does give us comfort and security in a possibly tumultuous part of the world to know we will be looked after. Final conclusions when we get back.
Hepatitus A nd B
Have drinks for Cholera (not mandatory but helps protect against dodgy water etc)
Important: Organise your injections around 6 weeks before travel as some immunisations take several weeks to get to full effectiveness and also some may need boosting. I got caught with the Hepatitus B needing another shot as the first one did not give immunity.
The Travel Doctor
In May we head off again with a lot less comfort and security. We start off in Japan with my son and his new wife for celebrations with her family, then on to Tokyo for a couple of days. After that it gets a bit hazy until the 17th, when we head out to Turkey. We have bookings in Turkey for Cappadocia and Istanbul for a week and a half and then it all gets hazy again...
We have three months in Europe so the map will change once we decide where we want to go, similarly we have a month and a half in the US so that will change too. Hoping to get into Canada as well, and over to Iceland somewhere in the middle of our Europe trip.
Issues (second leg):
We decided to use our Qantas frequent flyer points for a round the world trip. 140,000 points and you get 5 flights, so that necessitated selecting our big stops. Perth to Japan, Japan to Turkey, London to New York, Los Angeles to Brisbane and Melbourne to Perth. All the in between stuff we will work out on our own. Special thanks to my daughter Lauren for lending us some points, as we were a bit short.
These were trickier than expected. In Europe you have the Schengen Convention, which says that you can go through most of the European countries (there is a list on Smart Travellor) on your aussie passport as long as it is no longer than 90 days in 180. We did want to go a bit longer than that, but considering the alternative was to investigate visas in every European country (and some are complicated) we decided against it. Some places like Turkey say that you can get a visa when you arrive at the airport and the US require you to apply for a visa waiver, which also costs money, so it is very similar to just getting a visa. On our first leg we needed visas for Brazil and Egypt and will need to get one at the airport for Zambia.
Since we have used the free travel insurance that came with the credit card we had additional complications. This has a time limit of 6 months in any one trip from leaving and returning to Australia. We had wanted to go a couple of weeks over the 6 months on our second leg but this also became to hard. Conflicting advice from the company made it not worth the risk as the minute your last trip takes you over 6 months your insurance is void from then on. So if our last trip was over the 6 month mark to begin with then the whole trip is not covered. We had a last minute scramble when we first booked our flights and then realised that even though we left within 6 months we arrived within Australia after 6 months and the insurance is determined by when you hit Australian soil. All fixed now though :-)
Some useful links
Tripit - Site with accompanying mobile ap for building itineraries by forwarding your travel emails.
Travellors Point - For creating the travel map above plus other useful information.
BackChat Mobile - For global roaming with your phone. Voice and data. You need to unlock your phone to use it but claims to work in most places around the world. It is prepaid with special numbers for adding credit so you know how much you have spent. No nasty surprises :-)
Ok, I hope anyone considering a similar trip is helped by some of our experiences.