Have you ever thought of going around-the — world in one vacation? I have several times and it leaves you with a strong sense of completion. And, you can accomplish this in only 30 days by planning carefully.
My first suggestion is to contact an airline and obtain their round-the-world fares. How much depends on the air miles flown. I have put together a suggested itinerary to start your thought process and you can modify the stops before booking your ticket. I chose United Airlines because of their several airline alliances. You may use a different carrier.
The itinerary I selected is as follows: Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand with a several-day stop here. There is much to see and do in New Zealand. I suggest you book an organized tour to show you the sights of both the North and South Islands.
From here it’s on to Sydney, Australia. It’s only a 1,200-mile flight across the Tasman Sea. Australia is a different world from New Zealand. Australia is fast-paced like the United States. New Zealand is slower paced. I think you can do Sydney in three days which will give you a good idea of the country.
Fly north now to Tokyo via Singapore stopping off in Singapore city/state. It is a bustling first world tropical city with much to do and see. The leading hotels here are some of the finest in the world. Singapore is clean, well managed and safe for the foreign visitor. Try various ethnic foods while you are here. Your choices will be many. Again, book day tours here so you won’t miss important areas.
After two days, head now to Tokyo, Japan. It’s about a 7-hour flight. You will want to spend two or three days in Tokyo touring, then head down to Kyoto by Bullet Train. Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan and is a must-see. Book a local guide to see the Buddist temples and shrines, the Nijo Castle and the flittering Golden Pavilion. Be sure to have a typical Japanese dinner one night here. Perhaps traditional Shabu-Shabu (hot pot) is for you. There are also important museums to visit and at night attend a Geisha dinner with all the traditional trimmings.
Off now for a 5-hour flight to Hong Kong, China. Here is one of the most bustling cities in the world. Crowds are hurrying in various directions. Again, book day tours so as not to miss the important sights. Here are tall buildings, museums, Chinese theatre, and zillions of small restaurants to tempt your pallet. You will discover Chinese food in China is somewhat unlike Chinese food in the States. Hong Kong is almost surrounded by the bay and you will see “junks” which are usually homemade boats that house entire families sometimes. There is much to see and do here, so plan on spending at least three to four days in the area.
Fly now to Bangkok, Thailand. Here is a rather different Asian country and city. Bangkok is a city of opposites, a busy modern metropolis built around a traditional core, as you’ll discover. Explore the cities canals (Khlongs) and grand historical sights. You will visit colorful temples, palaces, markets and local river life. It’s all here in one sprawling city with crawling traffic and exhaust fumes. Spend at least two days in Bangkok sightseeing and then you may wish to head into the countryside for more adventures.
From here, you may wish to enter India for a look-see or follow my suggestion and skip the misery of this country and continue on to Istanbul, Turkey. This is the crossroads between Asia and Europe. The Ottomans made Istanbul the envy of the world. You will want a guided tour of the city and area taking at least two days. Landmarks include Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. The city is set on a grand bay with many boats playing the waters between the land points. Lose yourself in the 300-year-old halls of the Grand Bazaar or the Byzantine-era Basilica Cistern. This is also a choice walking city. There was a time when a very special train known as the Orient Express traveled the tracks from London to Istanbul. Passengers were required to formally dress for dinner and nighttime activities. Every traveler was accommodated in private rooms aboard the train. It was very costly years ago and still is today. You may want to take tours out of the city because there is much history in the greater Istanbul area.
From here, you can fly on to Athens or Rome depending on how much Europe you wish to cover on the trip. If your ticket is an “open jaw,” whereby you take some land transportation within Europe and pick up the air again in London, this is alright. If this is going to be your first time in Europe, take some time to get acquainted. You can take a train between your selected points. If you go to Rome, plan at least three days to see the important sights. There are many in the Eternal City. There is the famed Colosseum, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica. There are fountains, statues, the Roman Forum and so much more.
I suggest you also visit Florence and Venice before departing for Madrid or Barcelona and on to Paris.
You will want at least three nights in Paris, the City of Light. This is my favorite city of all, and you want at least three useable days here. Book day tours that will include the important museums and attractions. Be a tourist and have lunch at the Eiffel Tower. Build in some walking time. This is the best city in the world for walking. It’s fun to stop at some of the small sidewalk cafes for coffee or tea or some other delights. You can watch the people rush by your table. There are important sightseeing opportunities also near Paris that you won’t want to miss. You can book your day tours through the hotel concierge in almost all cases during your trip.
Now, take the Chunnel Train to London. It takes only two hours, 15 minutes. In London you can fill the rest of your days with sightseeing and activities. There are so many important destinations you won’t want to miss. Take a river cruise on the Themes, and see some local live theatre and music, and take day trips out of town to visit the most important historical sights England has to offer. You will not want to miss the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge the British Museum, Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards.
So, you are ready to go home now. Pack your bag and head off to the airport for you flight back to your hometown. British Airways has a non-stop flight between London and Phoenix which may be of interest to you.
How much will the airfare be for this particular itinerary? Well, airfares change almost every 20 minutes, but a fare I was quoted by United using 29,681 miles was $6,191 base plus about $1,200 taxes and other add-ons.
Plan on spending about $500 most days for food, day tours and other extras along with your lodging. Independent travel is expensive today. You may wish to book a prepaid World Tour to save money.
Also, if you have the time, consider a round-the-world cruise lasting a little over 100 days. On these cruises, at least 90 percent of your expenses are pre-paid. Most of the world cruises depart in January of each year. Your travel agent will assist you with these arrangements.
Some telephone numbers you may wish to use are: United Airlines, 1-877-726-7282. British Airways: 1-800-247-9297.
Planning your trip is half the fun. Have a ball!