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Annie & Blue

Around the World in 80 Days
A How-to Guide
By: Sandra Scott

Around the world in 80 days! It’s a song! It’s a movie! It can be your dream come true. When friends and family ask where you are going on your next trip, imagine the surprised looks when you reply, “We are going around the world!”

Click to View Full SizeThe photo album of your trip can include images of Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, wandering the Plain of Jars in Laos, relaxing on the beach in Bali, gazing awe at the Taj Mahal, shopping in the market in Bahrain, walking Italy’s Appian Way, and soaking in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. My husband and I have taken several “Circle Trips” - you can, too. It is easier and less expensive than one may think.

The most common question we encounter is: “How did you do that?” The biggest obstacle is lack of time. “Circle Tickets” or “Multi-destination Tickets” are relatively unknown among American travelers because of limited vacation time. Planning long-term, independent, international travel requires some special planning.

Click to View Full SizeWhen we tell others about our travels the wide-eyed look and raised eyebrow indicates the unasked question. “How can they afford it?” It is less expensive than one may think. A circle ticket or multi-destination ticket is the most economical way to travel to several destinations. Agents purchase the cheapest air tickets for each segment of travel making make use of several airlines.
The most popular itineraries are “Circle the Pacific” and “Circle the Globe” tickets. A prepackaged “Circle the Globe” ticket can start as low as $900. Certain restrictions apply and a portion of overland travel is sometimes necessary. Usually travel must be completed in a year and all flights are confirmed upon payment. Regardless, parameters are not excessively restrictive.

To keep the cost at a minimum stick with the routes offered by consolidators and plan your own side trips. For example, Hong Kong is often part of the ticketing. From Hong Kong it is easy and economical to visit Southern China by train or Macao by ferryboat.

Click to View Full SizeA passport is necessary plus many countries require a visa, which is permission given by a country to enter. To find out if a visa is required check http://travel.state.gov/foreignentryreqs.html.

Usually a visa can be obtained by mailing an application, with a money order (costs vary), photos (2x2) as required, and your passport to the country’s embassy. Plan on at least two weeks processing time per visa. Applications can be downloaded from the country’s embassy web site. Locate a country’s web site at www.embassy.org.

While most visa transactions can be done by mail, a few countries, such as China, will no longer accept mail-in applications. In that case contact an agency such as, American Passport Service, (800) 841-6778, www.americanpassport.com, and for a fee they will obtain the necessary visas.

Some countries, such as Cambodia and Bahrain, issue short-term visas upon arrival. Take along extra visa photos. Be cognizant of restrictions and expiration dates on passports and visas.

Click to View Full SizeWhen it comes to planning, nothing replaces a good guidebook and promotional material from national tourist offices. Rates for hotels and tours are usually less expensive when booked after you arrive. However, arriving in a foreign country without reservations often gets a visit off on the wrong foot. Consider reserving a hotel for the first night or two in each country. That will allow time to become acculturated and make travel arrangements.

Travel guides now include e-mail addresses for accommodations and travel agencies. Plus, most airports and train stations have a tourist office that will help you find accommodations and plan tours.

Remember the packing adage: “Take out half of the clothes and double the amount of money.” Believe it or not, all you need for a three-month trip can be packed in one carry-on luggage plus one small bag that fits under the airplane seat.

Choose clothing all in the same color family that can be mixed and matched. Plan on layers for colder destinations. Most hotels provide laundry service and many now have washers and dryers.
It is possible to buy almost anything you many need anywhere in the world. Mail home souvenirs and other unneeded items. Preprinted address labels facilitates sending postcards and packages. A credit and/or ATM card means that you will need very little cash.

House care
Click to View Full SizeIf you have someone living in your house while you are gone, leave names of suggested repair people. Lights on a timer will make your house look lived in. Stop newspaper and mail deliveries. Depending on your location and/or the season have your lawn mowed or the driveway plowed. Have someone check on your house periodically. Let the local police know you will be away.

Check with your physician to see if any immunizations or special precautions are recommended for the areas you are visiting. It never hurts to carry a prescription medication for intestinal problems – just in case.

Try not to travel too fast and plan “mini-vacations” or rest days every week or 10 days. Savor those special locations by staying longer. Leave a detailed itinerary with relatives, pay your bills online, and keep in touch with family via e-mail. If your e-mail server can not be accessed from afar set up a free account on Yahoo. Make sure all the necessary addresses are in your account’s address book.

Also, e-mail yourself your itinerary with flight times, confirmation numbers, and other important data just in case something goes missing while you are traveling. Internet cafes are found every where worldwide.
English is a connecting language so if you speak English communicating is not a major issue. Most places that deal with international tourism have English speaking personnel.

Get going
Click to View Full SizePack your bags and see the world. Walk across the Bridge over the River Kwai; attend a Cao Dai service in Vietnam; dine at a traditional hangi, a meal cooked in the ground, and learn the Maori huka, war dance, in New Zealand; study the Aboriginal Song Lines on Ayers Rock (Uluru), take in a Kathakali performance in India, and walk in the footsteps of Caesar on Italy’s historic Appian Way.

You will be amazed at how friendly everyone is, how easy it is to get around the world, and how time flies. On the last leg back into the United States you will be planning your next multi-destination trip.

If you go:
Multi-destination tickets are available at:
Air Brokers: 685 Market St., Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94105,
www.airbrokers.com, (800) 883 3273

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