I have been relatively immobile over the past year since I returned from South America, restricting my travels to a few brief trips to see our family 2000km to the south in Melbourne, Victoria. This pause, before I head off to Europe and Russia via India in May, seems an opportune time to pass on some hints and tips based on my experiences to any readers interested in travelling the world .
This introduces a short series of Travel Tips which I intend to write over the next few weeks. I will commence with an index in the next blog post and then start the series with the basic packing essentials, expanded by following posts. As it develops I intend to follow with posts on booking hotels, buses, rail and flights via the web, planning complex itineraries, deciding on what to see and how long to stay and various other items as they come to mind. I will link each post back to that index.
You are probably wondering what qualifies me to do this? Well, no formal qualifications at all. Just some experience. You may have totally different travel likes and dislikes; so feel free to treat my ideas as a smorgasbord. Use any idea you think may help you, ignore what you dislike. It won't bother me much either way because I'm really writing this for my own satisfaction.
What experience, I hear you cry? Well, apart from the TA map at the foot, here are a few statistics to set the scene.
Some I have spent weeks in (USA, UK, Eire and a few others) and some I passed through in a day. The rest are between those extremes. Most were visited since 2002, but some are from my time in the RAAF in the late '70s. Where I have written about a country I have linked to the first in that country's series. I may have left some out; I'll drop back and amend as I remember things.
US Virgin Islands
(including Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Cocos and Keeling islands)
The basic statistics:
Total Airports: 86
Total Airlines: 27
Total number of flights: over 130
Hours flown: nearly 400
Miles: about 180,000
Kilometres: about 290,000
Accommodation and TransportCountless hotels and motels, too many hostels, many leased or rented cars, several ferries and a lot of trains.
I plan and arrange all my own travel. I rarely use travel agents to book anything other than the initial air tickets and not even that sometimes. I have become fairly expert in using the web to book almost everything from planes, trains and automobiles to hotels and hostels. On the rare occasions where I have used an agent to arrange a set tour I have had mixed results: woeful in Egypt, brilliant in the Galapagos.
Yes, I've been badly infected by the wanderlust bug. And I haven't found the cure yet. I am still searching in faraway places but I always come home to paradise eventually.
If I help with just one tip that helps you in the coming posts, I will be well pleased. I'll be even more pleased if you comment to say so - or add some tips of your own.