South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and LA is surely the most unadventurous treadmill of a travel itinerary you can imagine, right?
You have an entire planet full of countries to choose from and somehow your trip has coincided with every student on the planet.
But there are reasons why this round-the-world-trip is so popular and there are still opportunities to get off the continental conveyor belt of gap yearers and onto the road less travelled; all it takes it a bit of effort to seek it out.
The reason this itinerary has become so popular is just how cheap the flights can be. This is the way to circumnavigate the globe. Distances between flight destinations are big enough to get around in a couple of flights but are still small enough to be able to get some seriously cheap tickets if booked early enough in advance. By booking 4 months before my departure date I managed to get eight flights for £1300. In the world of long haul, that is hard to beat.
People keep coming back to this trip because they can pack so many experiences into a few countries. In SE Asia you get the culture-shock of a completely different way of life, indescribably tasty and cheap food, exotic landscapes around every corner and remnants of civilisations thousands of years old.
In Australia you get the reassurance of a culture not too dissimilar from home but with an abundance of alien plant and animal life that will blow you away (or scare the living crap out of you), and of course the draw of unending sunshine and world-class beaches and cities to explore.
New Zealand comes on a more manageable scale, allowing you more freedom to explore the spectacular wilderness and take in the breathtaking scenery that has made these islands so famous; often whilst jumping, falling, rolling and screaming from one of the varied ways in which Kiwis fail to kill themselves.
After you’ve had all the adrenalin rushes you can handle, and your camera has taken all the landscape shots it can muster, it is time to relax and unwind in the tropical paradise that is Fiji.
On arrival in Fiji you’re on ‘Fiji time’, where everything will happen when it happens. Go hop the sun-kissed island chains and discover your inner beach bum and the incredible marine life Fiji holds in its crystal waters.
After a week or two you won’t know if you’ll be able to summon the energy to be bothered to return home, but the quick hit of LA should wake you up with its wannabes and freaks parading the streets and beaches of la la land.
To make sure you don’t come home with the same stories and experiences as everyone else, here are 3 simple tips on seeing the things others don’t:
1. Ditch the guide book. Of course use it to give you an idea of where to go and what to see, but don’t stick to it religiously. Real adventure happens when you go with the flow.
2. Talk to locals. Bit obvious but so many people don’t do this. Ask around to find out what the best things to do are, and where are the best places to eat and drink. You may end up where the guide book recommends or you may end up with a new friend and a unique experience. Don’t be shy, give it a go!
3. Talk to travellers. Same as above. Where have they been? What’s worth seeing and what’s worth missing? However, fellow travellers are almost shamefully eager to tell you just how good a time they’re having and what was incredible. Don’t take it all at face value; some people see things pretty differently to others.