No no no – I spent much of yesterday afternoon looking into how we can fly To Rio using air miles and buy tickets from Santiago onward. Easier said than done. Really disappointed to discover that ‘hopping’ around Pacific Islands is not quite the same as ‘hopping’ around Greek Islands…
not even if you’re prepared to fly (unless you go back and forth via Auckland – so much for the carbon footprint!) Granted, they’re on just a tad larger scale than hopping round the Aegean … With 4000 miles between Chile and Easter island and about the same again onto the Cook Islands! I did discover you can hop around a group – so for example Fiji is made up of several close islands and you can fly or possibly sail between these so maybe we’ll simply need to simplify this part of the plan – perhaps a side trip to Easter island from Chile (worth it?) then Auckland – Fiji – Sydney. More realistic.
Weird though, we can get a ‘one-way’ round the world ticket (bit of an oxymoron I thought!) to Auckland via Rio/Santiago for £1100 with BA / Quantas but if we use airmiles to Rio I haven’t found anything on line from Santiago to Auckland for less than £1200 – huh?!! If I added Easter Island and Tahiti stops, it seems to increase to £1900!
Ideally, I’d really like to fly Santiago- Easter island- Tahiti – Cook Islands – Fiji – Auckland – having had a good look at pacific-travel-guides.com (brilliant) which ranks and reviews all the island groups for beaches, backpacking, families, sailing, diving etc etc and shows all inter-island and international flights – unfortunately recent forum discussions on lonelyplanet.com suggest even some of the few main flights have been stopped in recent months and sea travel sounds an unlikely option. Laura at Travel Nation in Brighton had pretty much told us all this a couple of days ago but intent on doing my own research and firming up our flight plan, I had to check it out myself!!
I briefly thought about a side trip to Antarctica! Wow, could be amazing but a glance at trips from Chile or Argentina shows prices starting around £3000 a person for 10 days – eek. Still thinking of a ‘side trip’ to the Falklands, though haven’t priced that yet. May be a good way of ‘coming home’ for Christmas – a matter I have been avoiding with Ben since a tricky discussion a few weeks back in which I resorted to ”who knows love, maybe we’ll pop home, nothing’s planned yet!”
I think we have solved the later flights with a plan … We need to have flight tickets as far as Bangkok to avoid upsetting immigration officials when we don’t have proof of exit but apparently Thailand is a bit more relaxed if you have a visa in advance. So, I’m thinking Australia – Bali – Borneo – (Phillipines?) – Bangkok … And then in theory come home overland – Cambodia – Vietnam – China – Mongolia – Russia – Europe – Eurostar home!!!! That leg can go beyond the 12 months validity of a RTW ticket as the flying is all done within the 12 months.
… And if we’ve got any wanderlust left, maybe a side trip to Nepal/India – Hmm ?! Tickets could be purchased much later on an as-needed if-we-have-any-money-left basis!
Ideas/suggestions very welcome:)