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Thread: Travel tips for 3 month trip in autumn?

  1. #1
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    Smile Travel tips for 3 month trip in autumn?

    Hey guys! Been lurking for a while, and really like the feel of the TB community. I am going on a 3 month (well, 84 day) trip around the world this autumn - and would love some travel tips if you have some! Specifically for the destinations I've got down, and maybe someone can tip me off to some other nearby gems? Reccomended methods of transport for the overland bits (*all the bits between two destinations in one country )would be appreciated too :-)

    My route is as follows:

    (Flying from Trondheim, NO)
    Auckland, NZ to Rotorua, NZ
    Sydney, AUS to Darwin, AUS (only 10 days, so I'll probably fly SYD-Red centre or something)
    Osaka, JPN to Tokyo, JPN
    San Francisco, US to New York, US
    Reykjavik, Iceland

    x Dyveke

    (Maybe I'll make a packing list post, will be travelling with my brand new dyneema A30 - which arrived today, and looks amazing!)

  2. #2
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    << San Francisco, US to New York, US .....Reccomended methods of transport for the overland bits >>

    Just to be clear, are you looking to do something other than fly to get from SF to NYC? I mean, if you're looking to drive across the country (which sounds awesome and something I've always wanted to do in a camper...), I'm sure you'll get lots of tips. Just wanted to be clear that was what you were asking; couldn't really tell from the post. Also, if yes, how much time were you planning for that?

  3. #3
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    This really sounds like a fantastic trip. I'm super jealous!!

    Might also help focus the tips and recommendations to know what kinds of things interest you when travelling to these places? Culture, history, adventure, do you like the touristy things everyone does/sees, or do you seek out rarer, sometimes more authentic experiences?
    Own: Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Iberian), Aeronaut 30 (Steel/Ultraviolet), Night Flight (Coyote/Steel), Guide's Pack (Steel), Synapse 19 (Olive/Steel), Daylight (Navy), Aeronaut Packing Cube Backpack (Wasabi), Founder's Briefcase (Black), Pilot (Steel 400d/Steel), Co-Pilot (Black/Iberian), Side Effect (Black/Ultraviolet), Travel Tray (Iberian), various cubes, pouches, sacks, and straps

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    I’m not sure if you’re considering driving the SF to NY leg of your trip, but an obvious option might be legendary Route 66. The road is one of the USA’s older highways and runs from Los Angeles to Chicago which I believe is about 2000 miles.

    U.S. Route 66 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  5. #5
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    Another solution would be trains.

    Not as fast, but sometimes faster, when there are airport delays.

    California Zephyr
    Chicago - Denver - Glenwood Springs - Emeryville (San Francisco)
    Amtrak - Routes - California Zephyr


    Amtrak Routes Interactive Map
    Amtrak Route Atlas

    The map above will give you choices of trains from Chicago to NYC

    Alternatively, you could ride the train to Denver and catch a plane there to NYC.

    Thu 9:10 am Fri 6:38 pm Direct 32 hr, 28 min California Zephy

    I imagine that your transcontinental flights are already booked or are you flexible with them?
    Last edited by backpack; 07-28-2014 at 05:06 PM.

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    Sounds amazing! How much time do you have for San Fran to NYC? As others have mentioned, that's quite a long haul if you're going by land. Lots of amazing sights on the way, though. An ideal situation would be a month or so - a straight shot drive across the country is ~48 hours of driving time, so if you break it into 8 hour driving days, that's 6 days that will be mostly just driving (or on a bus/train), and I imagine you'll want at least a couple days each in SF and NYC, plus a couple days in various spots on the way...

    Edit: Also, there's lots of places I can recommend along the way (just drove DC to Seattle with sightseeing on the way last summer, so a lot still fresh on my mind), but there's just SO MUCH, so it'll help a ton if you have some things in particular that you're interested in (hiking? caves? bourbon tours? specific cities?).
    Last edited by ClaireJ; 07-28-2014 at 05:09 PM.

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    Woah! I'm blown away at the quick responses

    All flights to and from the different countries are booked, yeah. I won't be driving at all (don't have a license yet, it's too expensive!), so I was thinking maybe trains would be a good option, at least in Japan and the US.

    I'm quite interested in culture and nature, though I don't think I'll be bringing any proper hiking gear. I tend to shy away from touristy places, mostly because I just don't like the crowds and feeling like you have to keep track of all your stuff at all times, so I guess I'm looking for slightly rarer experiences (as well!). I'm travelling alone, so activities fit for a single traveler would be helpful :-)

    Anything you've enjoyed doing would be interesting, so if you want to share something, please do!

    I've got about 10 days in NZ, 10 days in Australia, 30 in Japan, 30 in the US and 5 in Iceland.

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    You should be aware that, with the exception of the East Coast (between Boston and Washington DC), trains in the US are very much unlike trains in Europe; they tend to be slow, relatively expensive (even compared to flying), and unlikely to be on-time. Also, many US cities (again, aside from the East Coast and a few other cities), don't have as strong a walking or intracity public transport system as you might expect.

    Please don't mistake this for my advocating against these things, but you should not expect the same level of convenience or service as you might expect elsewhere.

    From my limited experiences: the trains in Japan (in contrast) are truly a thing of beauty!
    Last edited by jmoz; 07-29-2014 at 09:22 AM.

  9. #9
    Registered User itsablur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dyveke View Post
    All flights to and from the different countries are booked, yeah. I won't be driving at all (don't have a license yet, it's too expensive!), so I was thinking maybe trains would be a good option, at least in Japan and the US.

    I'm quite interested in culture and nature, though I don't think I'll be bringing any proper hiking gear. I tend to shy away from touristy places, mostly because I just don't like the crowds and feeling like you have to keep track of all your stuff at all times, so I guess I'm looking for slightly rarer experiences (as well!). I'm travelling alone, so activities fit for a single traveler would be helpful :-)

    Anything you've enjoyed doing would be interesting, so if you want to share something, please do!

    I've got about 10 days in NZ, 10 days in Australia, 30 in Japan, 30 in the US and 5 in Iceland.
    You should be able to take a train (well, several trains) to get from SF to NY. Amtrak offers a USA Rail Pass for 15, 30, or 45 days validity with an accordingly increasing number of allowed segments (8, 12, 18 respectively) in case you want to make stops along the way. For 30 days, I think it's about $680 USD, which is an OK value based on the number of segments they include. Trains aren't the best in the western US. Your other option is to hop around to just a few cities using regional or discount airlines like jetBlue or Southwest. If you catch their pretty frequent sales, you can hop around for less than $100 per leg; I flew Las Vegas to SFO for like $60 a few months ago. You might want to (on top of all the other planning you have to do), figure out where in the US you want to go. That would probably help shape the decision to fly or train, and help steer some of the suggestions for places to go/things to do.

    I am currently planning a trip to Iceland, Norway, and Sweden in October. I think we've got about 5-6 days in Iceland much like you do. Since you will be without a car, your best bet is to base yourself out of Reykjavik. Many of the day tour operators will have pick up services to get you from wherever you are in Reykjavik. I don't think 5 days is enough to bus your way around the country on your own, but you might be able to get to one or two other areas then come back. Depending on the time of your flight from Iceland back to Trondheim you may also consider staying in Keflavik on your last night. Our flight to Bergen is at 8 AM, so our plan is to see a little more of Reykjavik the morning of our last full day, then pack up and head to the Blue Lagoon for the afternoon, evening in Keflavik, and a much easier transfer to the airport early in the AM.

    Here are some things we found interesting to do in Iceland:
    • Golden Circle (everyone does this; it might be touristy, but you kind of have to)
    • Blue Lagoon (another touristy site, but when in Rome...)
    • Scuba dive or snorkel Silfra in Thingvellar (a fissure between the European and North American tectonic plates)
    • Hike a glacier
    • Lava caving
    • Ride an Icelandic horse (purebred breed of horse only found in Iceland)
    • Find some fresh Skyr, eat some hakarl (putrefied shark), minke whale, puffin, and Icelandic lamb
    • Chase the Northern Lights (but you probably get this back home)
    • Visit puffin breeding grounds to see millions of puffins everywhere (only really worthwhile up until mid-August or so)
    • Spellunk into a magma chamber (only open until late September)


    Edit: Southwest flight was actually $58, not $83 as I previously thought. I was about to buy at $83 when I found a sale for cheaper. That's like crazy cheap.
    Last edited by itsablur; 07-29-2014 at 09:19 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsablur View Post
    I am currently planning a trip to Iceland, Norway, and Sweden in October.
    Very cool! I live 2 hours from Trondheim, but go to university in Bergen - and love it. Hope you get to see it while the weather's nice :-)

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    I agree with itsablur...unless you're "really into trains," you are probably better off picking a few key cities you'd like to visit and do smaller hops by plane.

    Once you're in the New York City area, the trains along the Amtrack "North East Corridor" route are a great way to get between Boston and Washington, DC, and the cities (esp. Boston, NYC, Philly, DC) are all really great for getting around by non-car options (walking, subway, bicycle, taxi). Tons to do in each of those cities.

    Specific to NYC, it's difficult to recommend anything "non-touristy" because there are so many damn people everywhere...that said, pretty much avoiding midtown is going to be "not as touristy" as it's going to get. I'd recommend renting a bike a riding up and down the west side highway, and maybe taking the staten island ferry (not at rush hour!) -- the views of the city on the ride back are spectacular. And even though you don't like touristy, I would still recommend doing something touristy....maybe choose one of the museums and spending a half day there (my favorite is the natural history museum).

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    here some ideas:
    1. SYD
    Has great public transit within the city and suburbs.
    The ferry hub is at Circular Quay (pronounced "key")
    -Take a ferry to Manley. A short walk brings you to a beach, plus you get all the views of the harbor during the crossing. There are both fast and slow boats.
    - take a ferry to Taronga Zoo. Chance to see some australian natives plus there are beautiful views of the harbor from the Zoo.
    - walk through the Botanical Garden. When we were there in Nov 2011, there were amazing fruit bats hanging from the trees.
    2. Japan:
    Tokyo has excellent public transit, and is a very safe city. Go to one of the large department stores and go to the food section. They often hand out samples, and it is interesting to see the food items.
    Take the high speed train to Kyoto. I did as a day trip from Tokyo, but there is so much to see there, better if you can spend a night.
    3. SF
    SF itself has good public transit. However to get to outlying areas in California and much of the west, most people use a car.
    I realize that is not an option for you.
    A few years ago DH and I did the SF to Denver California Zephyr trip. As others have noted, it only goes once a day, and is often late (in our case 4-6 hours late). It does pass through some spectacular scenery (California Sierras, Rock formations in Utah, Rocky Mountains).
    If you get off the train, you can't catch it again for another 24 hrs. There are also a couple of train options from SF to Los Angeles, or SF to Seattle.
    Fall is a great time to visit SF. It is less foggy, sometimes we have some amazing weather in October. It will be less crowded unless a big convention happens to be occurring (check Moscone Center Convention site)
    Some things to do outside SF: Visit Muir Woods (Sequoia Sempervirens, Coast Redwood, these are the tall ones)
    Wine Country (Napa Valley), Yosemite National Park (spectacular Granite rock formations, it is about 4 hrs from SF. They also have a stand of Sequoia Gigantea (these are the ones with a huge trunk diameter). I have no personal experience of taking a bus tour , but here is a link to give you an idea of some of the options:
    San Francisco Day Trips & Excursions | Viator
    Of course most tourists to SF : go to Chinatown, Fisherman's wharf, the ferry building, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, take a boat tour to Alcatraz (famous closed prison on island in middle of SF Bay), ride a cable car, eat some of our dungeness crab, go to Golden gate Park.
    FYI you can take BART from SFO to downtown.

    NY: Metropolitan Museum, walk through central park.

    Hope that gives you she ideas. Sounds like a great adventure!

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