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Transport strategies, climate, and interest
Don't damage your own cause by choosing a route and itinerary that get you to destinations at times of least interest, beauty, or comfort.
The book takes a rich look at the details to consider to choose a route that suits you and your wallet. The larger points are expressed in the text and excerpts below.
Do the math! Do you really want to rail-pass your way to a dozen Euro-nations on a 6-week trip, or hit 20 countries on a pricey Round-the-World ticket with only 4 months available? No!
Give yourself a chance to just be there -- and follow the Threaders Rules so that your transit time is more a part of your travel experience.
Airports: The Constraints Of Transport Routing
Here's one a lot of traveler's never consider:
If you want to make your ground time as worthwhile as possible, don't begin by considering the $50 or $100 air ticket price advantage available by choosing certain airports. That savings might disappear as soon as you get off the plane and find that you have to spend a day and $70 getting to your first destination of choice. Design your journey first, then reluctantly bend the ends of the thread so they intersect with airports.
Cost: How Much Is Too Much?
In The World Awaits, you'll find details on the costs of various 'grand routes' around the globe. In general, the best deals are found along popular Eurasian routes served by several major air carriers, and the cheapest ticket packages are put together by the discounters -- check big city Sunday newspaper travel sections for their ads.
Save the most money by staying out of the air! Yes, I know, it's hard to get from Athens to Perth via the surface of the Earth. But if you take fewer big leaps and spend the savings buying days and weeks on the ground, you'll get more travel for your money.
Following the Weather
On long journeys, planning the weather can be complex and often impossible. I recommend starting with whatever seems the most critical to you, and working from there. If you need to avoid the sweltering August heat of the Mediterranean and hit the perfect autumn trekking time in the Himalayas, start with these items and devise an itinerary that fits around them. Check out the book for details on the things you should consider, and how to piece together a climate-saavy itinerary.
Get Stranger As You Go
There are different theories on how to design a trip that brings you into contact with a variety of cultures and conditions. Some don't care one way or another. Others like to hit the wildest spots early, or towards the middle of a trip -- perhaps for the potent effect of the sudden change. I agree with those who like to get progressively more exotic as they go along. That way, each successive destination is fresh with interest, and you can sort of 'grow into' the weirdness.
With the latter view, developing nations are likely to be in the second half of your plan, with Europe and the developed nations coming earlier. Starting from the U.S., many such trips will be eastbound, starting in northwestern Europe, going on to the Med and Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, then Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia.
Obviously, this principle of planning will often break down at some point. Just remember that:...
The goal, remember, is to be educated, entertained, and filled with wonder. Gain the kind of knowledge ahead of time that frees you to explore and discover -- not just the sort that keeps you marching down the beaten track with a sightseeing checklist in hand.
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