That’s what two different friends said when I told them of my future round-the-world travel plans. And yeah, three months is about four times longer than the longest trip I’ve ever taken. But for a trip around the world? If only. Three months in Africa? In Australia? In South America? In Europe? Sure. But when you’re circling the globe, hitting more than a dozen countries on four continents, three months is just skimming the surface.
Meanwhile our travel plans keep shifting. First I figured out that our tickets would cost more than I thought because, while we’re paying a set price per number of continents, we’re paying for a) our starting continent of North America, and b) Europe too, because our plane has to land in London to get to Africa via the One World alliance. Soooo, we decided we might as well spend a few days in London and maybe hop over to Belgium too while we’re at it, since I’ve only been to England and Ireland in the Europe realm of things. At least I know my next RTW trip will be cheaper than this one that hits Europe, Africa, Australia, and South America.
Then earlier this week I discovered that, oops, there’s no One World connection between Nairobi, Kenya and Johannesburg, South Africa, so we’ll have to buy separate tickets on another airline to get between them. Why no carrier in the One World alliance offers a flight between two of Africa’s biggest cities, I have no clue. Then I figured out that a) every takeoff and landing actually counts as its own segment, so we needed to make sure every flight we take is direct, and b) even though we’re allowed up to 16 flight segments, we’re only allowed a maximum of four per continent. Crazy, eh? Fortunately we can buy up to two extra segments at just $150 apiece, so that’s probably how we’ll get to Iquitos (accessible only by boat or plane) in the Amazon.
I also discovered that the only One World flight between Australia and South America is Sydney to Buenos Aires. We weren’t planning to visit Argentina, but I’m certainly up for visiting Buenos Aires, so as of Wednesday, that’s added to our itinerary.
The good news is, while not all the flights we’ll need are available every day of the week, we can otherwise leave our travel dates open and adjust them as we go.So what’s the new route? Here’s how it’s looking as of September 17, 2010. We’ll leave the last week of December for London, probably take a ferry over to Belgium with some friends, then head to Ethiopia (via Nairobi). Then the Indian Ocean beach town of Mombasa via the overnight train from Nairobi, followed by a week or so with friends in Botswana via Johannesburg. After that about two weeks bumming around Australia, then a week or so in Papua New Guinea. Then off to Buenos Aires; Santiago, Chile; then a little trek around Bolivia, Lake Titicaca, and Cusco, the nearest town to Macchu Picchu (which I think I just misspelled). After that grubby Lima; amazing Iquitos; and our last country–Ecuador, right on the equator. Finally, since we’ve gotta go through Miami on our way home, we just might spend a day or three there chilling in the sunshine.
Over the last year we’ve had to discard ambitions to visit places like Tahiti, Easter Island, and Rio, because they simply weren‘t accessible on our airlines from our route. We’ll catch those spots some other trip, but for now, the aforementioned route will do just fine–after all, there’s only so much time.