Finally, after months of planning and years of waiting, we are starting our world travel adventure. We leave in just two days. Gah!
Writing this first post has been on my long list of things to do. And now it’s one of too many things on a crazy growing last-minute list. I can’t wait to leave so that everything I didn’t do will be too late to bother.
World Travel Itinerary
I tried to be flexible and just wing a large part of this trip but I just couldn’t do it. So, quite a bit of accommodations, flights and cruises for this trip are already booked. This may come back to bite us in the butt, but… I sleep better at night when I have plan.
So here it is!
Boston (three nights)
We passed through Boston before, but didn’t get to see much at all. So when I found FIVE business class award seats on Japan Airlines in their super awesome Sky Suites, I snapped them up. We’re flying from Boston to Hanoi Viet Nam with a free stopover in Tokyo!.
So now we have the chance to properly explore Boston for a few nights staying at the downtown Boston Intercontinental (using a travel hack of course).
We’re starting our world travel in style but of course this isn’t self-sustaining at all. Our points and miles (and cash) will run out. And soon at this rate! But I’m using (and earning) points and miles strategically.
Japan (11 nights mostly in and around Tokyo and Kyoto)
Japan was never on my list of places to go on this world trip. Simply due to cost.
Somehow I got distracted by those JL Sky Suites and lost all perspective. It was also a bit of a concession to Ben who wasn’t terribly excited about our RTW trip until we added this stopover.
Don’t worry though, I have a pretty solid plan for sticking to a budget in Japan.
Viet Nam (August/September)
Visa options for Canadians visiting Viet Nam include a 30 day Visa that you can get on arrival with just a travel letter. Figuring this out was more than a bit of a PITA.
Between knock-off Viet Nam embassy websites and the official embassy here in Ottawa stating otherwise, it was difficult to confirm that the Viet Nam Visa on Arrival was in fact a viable option for Canadians. And it’s way cheaper too!
We fly JL Sky Suites from Tokyo to Hanoi where we’re staying for a few days before heading to amazing Halong Bay for a two night Junk Boat cruise.
We’re also visiting Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Dalat during our three week trek to Ho Chi Minh City. We throw in a Mekong River Cruise to round out our Viet Nam itinerary and then head to Phu Quoc Island.
Phu Quoc Island (for a rest)
Technically Phu Quoc is part of Viet Nam but it deserves its own paragraph. And I’m pretty stoked about this part of our world travel itinerary. I made my most exciting travel hacking hack to date and redeemed hotel points at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emeral Bay Resort. I’ve never stayed in such a luxurious hotel and we booked the seven night and two room stay for a steal.
I figure we’ll need a bit of a break since we’ve never travelled for more than a few weeks before and this resort fits in perfectly. I expect I’ll be ruined for all future resort stays. At least I’m hoping.
Cambodia (end September)
After our luxurious stay on Phu Quoc, we take a boat ride to mainland Viet Nam and then head on to the Cambodian border crossing in Ha Tien. Maybe we’ll brave the chicken bus. Somehow this is a long and tiring full day of travel. Although I hear it’s part of the adventure.
Most of our time will be spent in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. And of course we will explore the amazing Angkor Wat.
I’ve read mixed reviews of Laos. Some travellers love it and others not so much. Regardless, we’ll give it a go. Vientienne and Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang is a well trodden route that I plan to stay on.
I haven’t figured it all out yet. There are so many places to visit in Thailand and just not enough time. We could spend a whole year here but then this wouldn’t be world travel. But I do know we’ll be pushing the limit of our 30 day Visa free stay in Thailand.
Risking temple fatigue, we’ll visit some UNESCO sites, Bangkok of course, and I have stays booked in Chiang Rai. We’ll end our time in Chiang Mai for the famous Lantern Festival over the first weekend of November.
We’re flying from Chiang Mai to Rome on Thai Airways. I booked these flights on points as well. Unlike the Japan Airlines flights, I couldn’t find five seats in the same cabin. So two of us are in business (guess who?!) and three are in economy.
We only have twelve days in Italy so we’re visiting three cities, Rome, Florence and Venice. I’d like to stay longer but we have to hop aboard a Repositioning Cruise in Savona Italy.
Repositioning Cruise (Costa Fascinosa)
This could really turn out to be a stupid idea since we’ve never cruised before. Especially since it’s for 18 nights. We could hate it. Though I doubt it.
The long cruise will give the kids a chance to catch up on their school work and for all of us to rest and regroup. And I’m sure we’ll find things to do aboard.
Ports of call on this transatlantic cruise include Barcelona Spain, Casablanca Morrocco, Tenerife Canary Islands, Recife, Maceo, Salvador Bahia and Rio de Janerio in Brazil, and Buenos Aires Argentina where we disembark.
Planning in Progress
Okay, I’m not too crazy. And I am trying to be a little intrepid, so although I have the coutries picked out and a handful of hotels booked, I don’t have the second half of our RTW trip planned out. Yet. Too much. But here is where we’re going:
Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain for sure.
Repositioning Cruise (April)
We haven’t booked this transatlantic cruise yet. Well, it’s not even picked out. Nor is it even a sure thing. But right now it’s more likely than not that we’ll use another repositioning cruise as transportation from the western hemisphere back to Europe where we’ll disembark.
Repositioning cruises fit nicely with world travel. Especially since they’re comparable to economy air travel but are much more comfortable.
South Africa Road Trip (May)
I skipped over South and Central America planning to tackle the Ultimate South Africa Road Trip Itinerary. We’re here for the whole month of May and included Livingstone Zambia for Victoria Falls, Swaziland and the Kingdom of Lesotho.
I have no idea about Greece but am looking forward to figuring it out. This country was Hannah’s request.
And then back home.
That’s our plan.
We hope you follow along and enjoy the journey.
Long-winded, I am. I really try not to be but can’t help myself.