Budget for 6 months travel?
What do I need to budget for day-to-day expenses (food, shelter, travel). My itinerary is: Russia - 2 weeks China & South Korea - 1 month Japan - 2 weeks South-East Asia - 2 months Southern Africa - 2 months What are the start-up costs? Vaccinations, Visas, Flights etc... I'd like to hear from people who have done similar trips and can talk from experience. Flights would be out of London to St Petersburg, then travel along the Trans-Siberian, boat to Japan, trains and buses in South-East Asia, flight to Cape Town, overland travel to Nairobi, then flight back to London. Thanks for reading. I look forward to sharing your experiences and informed knowledge!
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You're asking for a lot of info but I'll see what I can do, although it's largely going to consist of referring you elsewhere. To start with - budget. I guess you're backpacking and not staying in 5* hotels. You don't say exactly where in Asia & Africa you're going and some countries are more expensive than others (some surprisingly more so). So, go to the Lonely Planet website and call up each country, one by one. In the Money section, they give a guideline for what you're likely to need. That will be far more accurate than anything I can tell you. Vaccinations - you need lots if you've never had any since childhood, so start planning now. Go and see your GP (cheapest) or go to a travel clinic if you live in London or a major city (they're not cheap, but are open later). Note that some vaccines require two jabs, a few weeks apart to be effective; others don't kick in until 10-14 days after you've been vaccinated and you may not be able to have them all simultaneously. You will almost certainly need malaria tablets in Asia and Africa. Best suggestion for that (and do this before you go to your GP) is to go in to a larger branch of Boots and talk to the pharmacist as they have a useful booklet that tells them what is effective where (and where resistance has built up). Chloroquine/Paludrine can be bought over counter, anything else will require a prescription. Some are taken daily, some weekly, some you have to start taking a week before you enter a malarial zone and carry on for 4 weeks after you leave, others you don't; some have side effects, some don't. You need to discuss all of this with a professional, although if you want starter info, check out www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/ Given what you are doing, I would contact a specialist travel agent such as STA or Trailfinders (I've used Trailfinders for years) to work out the best RTW ticket for your plans. Trailfinders can also help with visa info, but note that they charge a heft handling fee if you use their service to actually get the visas (although it saves you time / frustration and endless queueing). However, they should at least be able to give you all the info, even if you decide not to use their service ;-) Note that some visas are only valid for x number of days after issue, so don't get those too far in advance. However, you will probably find that most countries on your route in Asia and Africa will issue them at the border / can be obtained en-route (and it's often cheaper to do it that way). Go in to a big book shop one weekend, take a notebook, pick up a handful of guidebooks and do some research. The Lonley Planet website's 'Thorn Tree' forum is a good place for finding out about border crossings, if you're uncertain. Anything else... 2 weeks isn't long in Russia. I spent 6 days in St Petersburg, 3 in Moscow (which was a bit too rushed!) and then got on the Trans Mongolian train. Make sure you allow PLENTY of time to get to the train station...I was boarding as the train was pulling out; it looks good in films but I would never like to repeat that experience. Assuming you drink, take a few bottles of vodka or whisky - it's a great way to bond with your fellow travellers (and once it's dark, there's not a lot to see out the window). Food was OK, but you might want to take a few snacks (esp as it's towards the start of your trip) for those moments when the platform sellers have nothing that looks even vaguely appealing. A phrase book was handy, although it got wearing going through the same few phrases with ALL my fellow passengers, over and over again. Admitedly I was on the Mongolian train (and sharing a cabin with the lady who seemed to be in charge of the 20 people smuggling bottles of ethyl alcohol / selling cheap Russian good out of the windows at every stop) but you can't assume that the train will be full of tourists who speak English. On my trip, there was myself and 4 other tourists, two of whom were in first class. You will definitely want a phrasebook in China, unless you're joining a tour / hiring a guide - outside of the main cities it's almost impossible to find people who speak English. Get used to pointing at other people's dishes to order your meals! You may even find this to be the case in major cities too - I had trouble in Beijing. However, the sites and sights outweight such small disadvantages. Not a lot else I can say without knowing exactly where you're going and, even then, I can probably only comment on or suggest major towns / tourist attractions as you only have two months, so will have little time to get to more offbeat places. Just make sure you stop in one place for a few days, every so often. The islands in southern Thailand, Malaysia's Tioman, the Gili islands off Lombok (Indonesia), Tofo Beach (Mozambique) and Lamu (Kenya) are all great places to chill/party. If you can fit Laos in and it isn't on your itinerary - go. Ditto Botswana & Namibia. One final point: For all your stops, read the Dangers & Warnings sections in your guidebooks. It's easy to get blase, but they're there for a reason. One very final point - have an absolutely fantastic time.