Our latest attempt at our itinerary: (Actual travels noted after each section)
Utah – 2 weeks (first half Oct) - Our RTW prelude. A quick stop in Vegas to celebrate Eric’s 40th and then on to the canyon countries of Utah. Planning on spending a couple of days each at Arches NP, Canyonlands, Bryce, and Zion. Car camping, day hiking, and hopefully some good photo ops.
Actual: Did what we said we would. It was a good way to ease into the trip and clear out work from head before starting the rest of the travels.
Home to Pack! (second half Oct)
Australia – 2 months (Nov & Dec) – In general we will be traveling in a big counterclockwise loop of Australia, starting with a couple of weeks in Sydney. Afterwards, we’ll head up to Cairns (and the Great Barrier Reef), and then head over to Ayers Rock. We’ll then head to the west coast of Oz and visit Perth. Over the next month, we’ll slowly head back to Sydney via Adelaide, Melbourne, and the Great Ocean Road. We’ll celebrate Xmas and New Years in Sydney and get ready for our next phase of our trip.
Actual: We basically did a big loop as planned. However, we took a slight detour in the middle to go back to the US for a wedding. That was a lot of flying and took a few days to recover.
Thailand – 2 weeks (mid Jan) – Chang Mai in the north and beaches in south. Maybe a trip over to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Actual: Spent a few days in Bangkok and then went to Chiang Mai. From there we went on a trek up through mountain villages to the border of Burma and then to the Golden Triangle. We also spent a week between Ao Nang beach and Phi Phi Island. Cambodia will have to wait for the next trip.
India – 3+ weeks (end Jan thru mid Feb) –Trying to figure out what to do in such a huge, unique country in a relatively short amount of time has been challenging. Since three weeks isn’t a long time, we’ve narrowed down our travels to two regions–Rajasthan (and the “golden triangle”) and Kerala. In Rajasthan, we’ll be visiting Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, and Udaipur. In Kerala, we’ll be visiting Varkala, the backwaters, and Periyar (wildlife reserve).
Actual: Three weeks didn’t seem like much time, so we ended up cutting out Udaipur. We spent 10 days in the North, including a few in Mumbai, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Ranthambore. We then headed to Kerala and visited Kochin, Munnar, Periyar, Alleppy, and Varkala.
Hong Kong – quick stop en route if our flights take us there. Stop by Maccau and hopefully double our $$$.
Actual: Only stopped here for a day on the way to NZ, but added a few more on the way back. We skipped Maccau and spent the money shopping for new clothes.
New Zealand – 6 weeks (end Feb thru Mar) – renting a campervan and driving around both islands. It should be a nice change of pace after spending time in India.
Actual: We ended up adding an extra 11 days to our time in NZ. There was just too much to see and do plus we had to wait out the weather a few time. We spent most of our time on the South Island, driving a big counter clockwise loop around the coast.
Dubai – A 3 day stopover in route to Egypt
Actual: We shortened our time here to just 2 nights/1 day. It’s expensive!
Egypt - 1-2 weeks (early April) – Cairo, may take a tour or cruise to Luxor, Aswan.
Actual: We also shortened our time here to 6 days. It’s also expensive to do lots of tours, so we only saw the “big” sights – Giza, Seqqarra, Luxor temples and tombs. Skipped the Nile cruise to Aswan and Abu Simbel. Something else for our next trip.
Turkey and Greece – 2-3 weeks (April) – Not much planned yet, will definitely spend some time island hopping in Greece and enjoying the Mediterranean.
Actual: We only planned to spend a short time in Turkey, but enjoyed it enough to extend our time there. We visited Istanbul, Kas, Kusadasi, and Ephesus. After 12 days, we headed to Greece by ferry. We island-hopped for two more weeks, visiting Samos, Santorini (Thira), Naxos, and finally Athens.
Europe – ~5 months (May thru Sept-Oct) – no details yet, but will start in south (Italy/Spain/Portugal) and work our way north as the rest of Europe goes south on holiday in July. Plan to buy a car and drive through Switzerland, Germany, Slovakia, and France with a side trip to Scotland and Ireland. Plan to do some hiking, wine tasting, and spectator sports like cycling and football.
Actual: Oops! After some research on visas (see the blog posts for everything you never wanted to know about Schengen agreements), we realized we couldn’t spend this much time in continental Europe. We spent 24 days in Italy seeing Rome, the Giro d’Italia in La Spezia, Cuneo, Turin, the Peidmont region, Lake Maggiore, and Bologna.
We also spent a week in France in Grenoble, Annecy, Thonon-les-Bains, and Chamonix. We decided to leave the Schengen area for a while and spent a few weeks in Croatia, storing up some visa time. In Croatia, we visited Opatija, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir, Krka, Plitvice, and Zagreb. From there we headed Austria visiting Vienna and Salzburg. Next up was Liechtenstein (who could resist adding another country to my count?), and then Zurich, Switzerland.
From there we rushed across France to arrive in Barcelona in time to see the Tour de France arrive and depart. By this time we needed a little downtime, so we made our way through Bordeaux and Cognac to arrive in the Loire Valley where we rented a gite (cottage) for a week.
We then headed to Germany, stopping in Burgundy on the way. We spent 2 more weeks in Germany visiting Freiburg, the Black Forest area in Freudenstadt, Schwabish Gmund, Ulm, the Rhine Valley and the Mosel Valley. From there we visited Luxembourg on the way to Brussels. Next up was a week in Norway and then a few days in London on the way back to the US.
At this point we decided to extend our “year” by 3 months. So we spent 3 weeks on the East Coast – south Florida, Baltimore, eastern Pennsylvania, and Boston – recharging, refreshing the wardrobe, and getting set up for the next few months…
Europe (part 2) – Actual: 3+ weeks in Ireland, mostly along the west coast, but visiting Dublin, Kilkenny, Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Galway, Donegal. 3+ weeks in England in Straford, the Cotswolds, side trip to Wales, a week on the Ashby canal in a narrowboat, 1+ week in Brixham, a few more days in Bath and London. From there we took the chunnel to Paris and picked up a leased car and made our way south, stopping in Versailles, Normandy, and Mont St. Michel. From there we spent 2+ weeks in Portugal in Lisbon, Albufeira, Evora, Leiria, Porto, and Coimbra. Our last stop in Europe was Spain where spent a nearly a month in San Sebastion, Haro, Logrono, Bilbao, Barcelona, Leon, Valencia, Cuenca, Toledo, Segovia, Cordoba, Grenada, La Manga, and Zaragoza. When the weather started to get cold in late December, we decided to head somewhere warmer to finish off the trip.
SE Asia – Actual: We didn’t really have a plan for the last month of the trip, other than we wanted to end somewhere interesting, easy to navigate, and relaxing. We realized that we had been a little rushed when we visited Thailand before, so we headed back there and spent Xmas and New Year’s Even in Bangkok. We made a side trip to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, and then returned to Chiang Mai, and finally Krabi.
For the final tally, see the “scoreboard” page.