Some days I feel like I'm making significant progress on the trip planning, other days it's like I'm hitting a wall. Upon reevaluating our itinerary over this past weekend, Greg & I realized (not for the first time) that we would be in the Middle East region over the Christmas holiday. We don't have an issue with this per se, except that December is high tourist season and prices for some of the activities we want to do (like the Nile River cruise) are at a premium. In addition, we also discovered that if we keep our Kenya & Tanzania safari in November/December, then prices will be much lower than during September/October. The trade-off is the weather, as November marks the start of the short rains. Again, we don't mind this, as long as it doesn't impede our ability to travel from park to park and see all the animals.
The only way we found that we could rearrange our itinerary to account for both issues mentioned above, plus considering that we had already lengthened our trip by approximately 6 weeks to give us more downtime and factor in more travel days (thus counting one full day every time we get on a plane, even if the flight only takes a couple of hours), was to "stop" the first part of our trip in Hong Kong and from there fly to Turkey and then make our way south. Then we would backtrack from South Africa to Southeast Asia, where we can spend a leisurely & hopefully inexpensive Christmas & New Year's on a beach somewhere.
So here is the latest version of our Round-the-World itinerary. It is definitely still a work in progress (we have not bought a single plane ticket!). But we are much closer to booking our East Africa safari (thanks to one of my flight attendant friends) which will mark a critical turning point in our trip planning as it will lock in the dates for that portion of our trip and free us up to focus on everything before & after.
As always, your suggestions & feedback are greatly appreciated!!!
DATE DAYS LOCATION
01AUG 3 in transit BNA-ATL-LAX-SYD
03AUG 5 Australia - Sydney
09AUG 3 Australia - Cairns
13AUG 3 Australia - Darwin
17AUG 3 Australia - Adelaide
21AUG 2 Australia - Melbourne
24AUG 14 New Zealand - self driving tour from North to South Island
08SEP 4 South Korea - Seoul
13SEP 3 Japan - Tokyo
17SEP 5 Japan - Kyoto & Hiroshima
23SEP 5 China - Beijing & The Great Wall
29SEP 14 China - Yangtze cruise Chongqing-Yichang, Guilin, Soochow, Xian
13OCT 5 China - Hong Kong
18OCT 10 Turkey - Istanbul, Cappadochia, Pamukkale, Antalya, etc.
29OCT 3 Jordan - Amman, Jerash, Petra, Wadi Rum
02NOV 5 Israel - Jerusalem, Dead Sea
08NOV 10 Egypt - Cairo, Luxor, Nile cruise, Abu Simbel
19NOV 14 Kenya & Tanzania safari
04DEC 7 South Africa - Cape Town, Garden Route
12DEC 25 Vietnam - Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Mekong Delta
Laos - Louang Prabang, Vientiane
Cambodia - Phnom Penh, Angkor, beach break
07JAN 13 India - Kerala: Kochi, Trivandrum
21JAN 9 India - Delhi, Agra, Varanasi
01FEB 21 Italy - Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples, Palermo, Sardinia
23FEB 7 Spain - Barcelona, Madrid
02MAR 7 Morocco - Marrakesh, Fes, Tangier, Rabat
10MAR 1 in transit RAK-MAD-ATL-BNA