We are home. Almost sure we got nothing else but a small cold and few mosquito bites.
It was fun!
It was interesting!
A lot of both!
And now a little more on this one-of-a-kind experience for us.
We got by chance some error-fare tickets (maybe another post will follow especially for those!) and at almost no cost got 6 flights touching 3 different continents, 4 countries and over 40 hours of flying! A deal you do not miss although you can not really make choices on the dates/duration/cities. For a little over 300 EUR we had tickets for South Africa (6.5 days and 6 nights) and Thailand (6 days and 5 nights) and some lay-over in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). As the start/return point was Rome – we took 2 days there too. In total – 18 days traveling, including 10 flights and 5 countries.
How did it look like?
Well, when we were getting the tickets we were so excited we did not really think a lot =). Next thing you usually do when preparing to travel somewhere is either get a travel book guide or open 53464765 Google windows and search on where you should go! As you might suggest – when you are visiting huge countries like South Africa and Thailand – 5 days for each are quiet insufficient! Then the question comes – intense program with “see as much as possible” or the relaxed version of “I will be back for the rest” you should pick? Actually – it is really up to you! We were 6 people and we tried some of each option – both work good if you are prepared for them.
Personally for me – after getting the tickets always next step is a simple excel spreadsheet. It should include your days in/out and the cities/places you will be at the evening. This helps extremely when you are making the reservations for hotels/cars/planes or any activities you are planning to do. Also you might include some info about expenses.
When you have the basics – where you want to go- you need to check transportation! HIGH IMPORTANCE on this! Sometimes buses/trains/planes are available in almost no cost in every some hours/minutes but sometimes you need to wait 1-2 days and this will make you change the program once again if so. If you need domestic flights – check on luggage requirements as they might differ from your expectations. Also if you will be renting a car in some places – make a reservation in advance – way faster an almost always – cheaper than if you take it from the counter. Will not recommend any brands right now as honestly, most of them suck but you do not really have a choice, right? Make sure you have a good look on it before you take it and mark all dents with someone from the company! 🙂
If all cleared there too – next step is accommodation. This highly depends on how many people are traveling. If more than just two – you need to select priorities. Rate how important for you are some factors like: privacy, price, location, can you share bathroom with someone else, are you OK with hostels and guest houses, do you require any special equipment/amenities, etc.
Our house in Cape Town
When all cleared – you can start searching for your hosts. I personally prefer using big reservation platforms instead of going to each hotel/hostel private site as it is more organized for me. You can of course pick your own way. In Cuba for example we found a guy that was traveling with us from town to town (we were 25+ people) and while we were exploring the new town he managed to find us beds day by day! And honestly – it was so nice to be part of someones` dinner or just to hang for a while in their own houses. Depending on where in the World you are going – you might need your printed reservations – just a slight reminder.
OK, accommodation – checked! Seems like you are pretty ready to go! I would suggest you pick some activities you want to do while onsite and check on their opening hours. Some might require you to book a slot in case you want fixed hours – I include those in the excel – my Northern Star!
Now your final two steps in this huge preparation!
Visas – Make sure you check what are the restrictions for the countries you will go and if you need anything to go in-or out of the country (yes, in some countries you need to either pay or have special document in order to get out of the country! 🙂 )
and vaccines! – This is not to be underestimated. Most of the information you can find on the country`s government websites but you can also check HERE – https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
Before you go!
For trips like this – big backpack is way more comfortable than a suitcase! Make sure you take one and for easier access – you can get of those with full zip through the body and also with a flight cover for the back so your strings do not get ripped around the airports. We got 2 different ones – one a little more expensive with integrated flight cover (the Vango one) and one cheaper from Decathlon.
The purple one was heavier and it comes out can not fit as much as the other one but it has a 20l detachable small backpack for you daily needs. Definitely worth it!
The blue/green one came out really handy! It could gather a lot of stuff and is quite light. Although it does not have a bottom opening and self-integrated flight cover (we bought a Vango travel sack separately which has 2 wholes after the 10 flights…).
And that is pretty much it… Pack light, save space for shopping :), take medicines, put a smile on!
Here are some guidance for the packing also: