Got a full sixty days to go travelling? Look no further for what to do, as one of these 5 trips is bound to tickle your fancy.
Each trip can be scheduled for roughly two months, but you can speed it up or slow it down, add or take away. This is an outline that you can work with for tailoring your own trip. For instance, a portion of one of the trips may attract you for planning a one-week vacation. Do what suits you.
We will give some recommendations of highlights to consider and include what we plan to do when we take the trips ourselves.
Each trip can be taken on a budget as well, which we will do, spending no more than $1000 a person per month. But a lot depends on where you are flying from; flights take up a big chunk of the budget. Of course, each trip can be taken in lavish luxury I’m sure.
Some Travel Hacks to Consider
Train and Bus Travel
A lot of these trips can be taken at least in part by train. We will only refer to one site for train travel, as the guy in Seat 61 is an expert in that field: http://seat61.com. He shows with pictures and through experience what each class of the train is like, travel hacks to reduce prices. He also gives suggested routes and recommends highlights to consider seeing on the journey. His philosophy is, why fly when you can travel by train in comfort and actually see the country?
If there is not a train available for that area, Seat 61 also includes information on the bus.
There are several budget airlines that offer really good deals within their region. Some (like Ryan Air and Easy Jet) offer flights for a few dollars if you can catch the deals!
If you are traveling within:
United States and parts of Mexico, Central and Northern South America, use http://jetblue.com.
Europe, check out http://ryanair.com.
Europe and parts of the Middle East, use http://easyjet.com.
Southeast Asia, other parts of Asia, and Oceania, use http://airasia.com.
Almost everywhere you can find hostels that are a lot cheaper than hotels. If you are traveling through India, for instance, look no further than Zostel (http://zostel.com).
Visa prices and policies differ depending on where you are from, and they are constantly changing as well, so for the most part we will leave that part out of things, and you can find out how much it will cost.
The Epic 5
As we have researched these trips to death, we will include a flurry of links that can assist you in your own trip research. However, as we haven’t done these trips yet and have none of our own pictures, excuse the lack of intimacy of the pictures. The links have plenty more pictures.
Here they are, trips of a lifetime, the Epic 5:
1. The Asian Arsenal
The players: India, (Bangladesh), Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.
Timing: From May-September will be some of the hottest and most humid months, with monsoon season hitting in May-ish. So winter months of November up until March would be ideal. It would be the greenest towards the beginning of winter.
Getting around and attractions: Fly into Delhi, India (visa on arrival) and take a train to Kolkata or Siliguri. Delhi to Kolkata can be taken as an overnight train, so it saves getting a hotel for that night. A sleeper class seat for that trip will be about $8US(Rs. 556) a ticket. Check out more here: http://seat61.com/India.htm#.Vx2WIJN96Rs.
If you go to Kolkata, you can then travel through Bangladesh to head toward Myanmar. Bangladesh is not so visited and I think it’s fair to say it is a fairly misunderstood country. To clear up some facts, you can learn about travel in Bangladesh here: http://nijhoom.com/bangladesh-travel-faqs/.
If you choose to go from Delhi to Siliguri instead, consider taking the UNESCO World Heritage Toy Train between Siliguri and Darjeeling. More on that here: http://www.darjeeling-tourism.com/darj_000089.htm. And if you’ve never seen the Hindi movie Barfi! before, which features the Darjeeling area, you heart may be very much warmed.
Now this is where the trip gets epic. From 2016, the IMT (India-Myanmar-Thailand) highway has slowly opened up. Myanmar is newly available to travellers traveling on land, opening their land borders to foreigners recently. Same goes with the border between Myanmar and Laos. The IMT highway goes from Assam, India and connects to Mandalay, as its most important stretch. With this road and newly opened borders to tourists, this trip becomes possible for the first time.
Feeling really adventurous? Buy a motorbike in India and cruise this whole trip. You would have to return to India in the end to resell it.
The IMT highway is said to have a bus running between India and Myanmar within 2016. From Mandalay, Myanmar, most of the rest of your trip can be taken by train, with tickets from Mandalay to Yangon available for less than $10US. See more here: http://seat61.com/Burma.htm#.Vx2Z4pN96Rs.
Myanmar has a rich, enduring culture with sights to see such as Bagan, Inle Lake, and the fattest piece of highway you ever did see outside Yangon.
Once into Thailand, resources are abundant, with Bangkok being the most visited city by tourists in the world. Chiang Mai, north of Bangkok, and nearing the border with Laos offers many attractions in it’s area, and could be a possible route for your trip to head to Laos from here instead of going to Cambodia and Vietnam first. Bangkok resident Mark Weins has a lot of videos on places to see, and things to eat in Bangkok, and a lot of the other places mentioned on this epic trip is on his YouTube channel as well. His YouTube channel is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyEd6QBSgat5kkC6svyjudA.
Cambodia has a sad history, with happy people. Siem Reap is where all the tourists go. You would hit that first on you’re way into Cambodia if you are coming from Bangkok, Thailand. Angkor Wat is another iconic symbol of Cambodia.
Now Vietnam will be your destination for beaches, beautiful islands, and fantastic food (although Thailand will rival Vietnam in the food aspect). A short trip from Phnom Penh, Cambodia and you will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. From there you can travel slowly all the way up the coast to Hanoi. You will want to stop at places like the ridiculously beautiful Ha Long Bay along the way.
From Hanoi, you can travel into Laos, which is a place not a lot of tourist venture into. But it offers peace and serenity that some of the other destinations may have been lacking. Jungles, waterfalls and humble people will be your companions for this lag of the journey. If you go to Nam Kan National Park, you can have a stay of a lifetime for a couple nights in the world’s highest tree houses, all over 100 feet high. About $100US a night, it will definitely be more expensive than your other accommodations I’m sure, but it would make a pretty incredible experience. Check it out here: http://www.gibbonexperience.org/.
Now, after Laos, if you are winding down your epic adventure, the most logical path would be to return to Bangkok, Thailand and fly out from there, because the flights are a lot cheaper generally. From Nong Khai, Laos to Bangkok, Thailand you can get a cheap $8US train ticket or a $23US express sleeper ticket if you want a bit of a treat. Info on that here: http://seat61.com/Laos.htm#.Vx2gyJN96Rs.
I hope that was epic enough for you! If it wasn’t, there are 4 more options!
2. Cowboys & Giants
The players: The Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and USA’s Washington, Oregon, and California States. If you throw in a coast-to-coast unforgettable train journey from New York to San Francisco, you will see at least another 8 states. That “wee” side journey can be done for as little as $278: http://seat61.com/UnitedStates.htm#.Vx2kMJN96Rs.
Timing: Beautiful weather would be enjoyed in July and August, but a lot more tourists will be out at those times too. If you flew into the US first and then traveled up to Canada, consider traveling from June into July. That way you’d get good weather down south and up north, have a bit less tourists to deal with, and still get to catch the Calgary Stampede (Alberta, Canada) in July.
Getting around and attractions: A lot of this trip depends on renting a car for the western side of the trip. This will be a major expense of the journey, and bus travel might be a second best option. Renting a car will also be more expensive when you’re pick-up and drop-off points are different from each other. You can reduce costs a bit by travelling with as a group of at least 4 people, renting a different car within Canada from the one within the States. There are tons of car rental options available for both countries. You can compare prices at: http://rentalcars.com. Anyways…
So if you start the journey on the east coast of the United States of A., You would probably fly into JFK airport in New York City. You won’t need a car for this lag, just legs and a Metro Pass. See the most visited tourist site in the world: Time Square. Go see a Broadway play, visit some of the incredible museums available in the city, and get a burger and a shake at the Shake Shack or get a pizza under the Brooklyn bridge. You won’t have problems finding resources for what to do in New York City, but you can start here: http://www.nycgo.com/. From there, you can take the Lake Shore Limited train to Chicago.
After you’re ready to leave the windy city, you can take the California Zephyr train which will take you through the varied landscapes of the United States for 48 hours until you arrive in San Francisco, California. Again, there is all the information you will need for the New York to San Francisco train travel here: http://seat61.com/UnitedStates.htm#.Vx2y5JN96Rt.
After seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, and admiring the varied ethnicities of San Fran’s population, perhaps checking out the wine country of Napa Valley nearby, you can explore southern California further, by heading south to Los Angeles to see Hollywood, Disneyland, and Universal Studios. If you wanted, San Diego Zoo is a world-renowned wildlife park: http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/.
A new blogger couple we found who took the Highway 1 through California has some good information here: http://thebakersjourney.com/pacific-coast-highway-road-trip-itinerary/.
Traveling up to northern California, it would be a shame to not stop in the Redwood National and State Parks to see the towering redwood giants. From there you can stay on the coastal highway all the way up until Seattle. At this point, you may want to drop off your car rental and bus across to Vancouver, BC, Canada.
For more options during this lag including Yosemite National Park, you can check out this article: https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/san-francisco/best-west-coast-road-trips-california-oregon-washington.
Now, British Columbia, Canada is where we are originally from, so we know it well.
After getting a taste of the international culture and fun of Vancouver, we would recommend stopping through Kelowna, where you can visit Mission Hill winery in it’s beautiful surroundings (http://www.missionhillwinery.com/guestexperience.aspx), and take a trip over the Kettle Valley Railway. You can either take the steam train (https://www.kettlevalleyrail.org/), or walk or cycle the valley’s trails and trestles towering over the dipping valleys.
Next stop will be Banff, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. Nearby Lake Louise will take your breath away, and even at peak tourist season, the area is vast enough, that you won’t be stepping over anyone. If you have a car, going up the Icefields Highway to Jasper will be an experience where you are bound to see mountain goats, elk and other amazing wildlife crossing the road in front of you.
Last stop on this crazy journey is Calgary, a city known for its crazy weather changes within 24 hours. Taking a spin to the east of Calgary, you will end up in the flat Canadian prairies, where you can spot roaming giant bison. For a rip snorting yahoo end to your trip, spend a day or two at the Calgary Stampede (July), and enjoy roping steers to bucking broncos at the rodeo, cultural exhibitions, concerts, and all sorts of unique foods to try. Check it out at: http://www.calgarystampede.com/.
Bored yet? Still 3 epic trips to go.
3. The Eurasian Epic
The players: China, Mongolia, and Russia are the main countries involved. But if you wanted to start in Singapore and work your way to China, you would hit Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam on the way. If after Moscow, you wanted to travel to the UK, you would pass through Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, and France. If you are from the UK or anywhere in Europe, you could take the whole trip as far as Singapore, and then fly back home! All these options can be seen on the map found on this page: http://seat61.com/Trans-Siberian.htm#.Vx2-JJN96Rs.
Timing: A bit of a personal preference as to when to go. Winter offers less daylight up in Russia, but snowy landscapes. April sees melting snow, and slush which isn’t so attractive. Summer offers long days and beautiful green landscapes, but you’ll be really hot if you choose to start from Singapore. Take your pick.
Getting around and attractions: The Seat 61 article is very in-depth for this trip, so a lot of information you can find there. But first off, first class direct tickets can make this trip look extremely pricey. But, as we mentioned in our video, if you do not get international tickets and settle for lower class seats, you can save majorly! Here is a forum with some information on how you can go from Beijing to Moscow for less than $250US: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/europe-eastern-europe-the-caucasus/russia/cost-of-a-trans-mongolia-train-ticket-from-moscow-to-beijing.
From Moscow to London can be for about €200 on the Eurail train.
Singapore to Beijing will be a mix-and-match between train and bus to get there, and will start with about $100US to go from Singapore, through Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, up until Bangkok, Thailand. From there, you can take a train up until the Cambodia border, but from there until Ho Chi Minh City, you will have to take a bus. From Ho Chi Minh City, you can take a train all the way up to Shanghai, figuring out where you want to stop and stay along the way. Epic trip number 1 has some more details on this portion of travel.
From Bangkok to Beijing, it will cost you about $200US for train and bus. I would opt for going until Shanghai. That way, you can take the fastest train system in the world between Shanghai and Beijing. The bullet train will be a crazy experience. But it will cost you at a bare minimum of around $70 to enjoy the ride. 300km/hr comes at a price. See more here: http://seat61.com/beijing-to-shanghai-by-train.htm#Train_times,_southbound.
But along the way in China, it would be worthwhile to stop to go to places like Zhangjiajie and the Li River to experience rural China’s amazing landscapes.
Anyways, the major reason behind this whole trip for us is Mongolia. After arriving from Beijing, to Ulaanbaatar, we would go straight to the countryside to trot on horses and stay in the Mongolian traditional nomadic home: the ger (same as a yurt). There are many ger camps for travelers to stay in, but the trick would be to stay and work with a traveling herder camp. Not really much information out there on that, and the fact is, if they have a website, they’re going to offer an “authentic” tourist experience, but nothing real authentic. Without local friends, doing this legit would be tricky.
Okay, so from Mongolia, it’s time to take the epic Trans-Siberian Railway trip across Russia to Moscow. This will take over 5 days, travelling across an entire continent, and into another. As mentioned before, it is possible to take the whole Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing to Moscow for about $220US! The trick is buying a ticket for China, Mongolia, and Russia separately, and crossing the border on your own. More information on how to do that here: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/europe-eastern-europe-the-caucasus/russia/cost-of-a-trans-mongolia-train-ticket-from-moscow-to-beijing.
Moscow is home to the subway savvy stray dogs, which get on and off the subway to travel where they want to go instead of walking!
After this, either for bragging rights or perhaps convenience if you happen to live in the UK, you can take the train from Moscow to London, but it would kind of be a shame to travel through that much of Europe without stopping.
But, if you are looking into experiencing some of the best that Europe has to offer, you can stay tuned until our last epic trip idea, number 5: Yodel & Bobble. But meanwhile, we have the Middle Eastern epic trip idea number 4!
4. Float & Boat
The players: Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey. Travel advisories could come up at any time for these places, but for the time being, they are all accessible, and the only shame is problems in Syria make it impossible to travel by land from Lebanon to Turkey. But we have ways…
Timing: I would opt for spring or fall, so April/May or September/October. Not too hot, not super cold, and avoids the crowds and inflated prices.
Getting around and attractions: For us, we would fly into Beirut, Lebanon, but depending where you are coming from, Istanbul, Turkey, or Tel Aviv, Israel may be a better option. But we’ll do the routing from the supposition of flying to and from Beirut.
Public transportation in these areas is not as good as other regions of the world; you may have to consider hiring a car. Also, if you can manage at least one homestay, that will be one of the most lasting memories you’ll have of the trip.
The Mediterranean region of the Middle East is packed with history…and a whole lot of good food to boot. After flying into Beirut, Tyre, Sidon, the cedar forests of Lebanon, and waterfalls such as the Afqa Waterfall are all at your disposal.
For me, I would not miss the chance to have a legit Lebanese shawarma/donair. Throughout this entire trip, you can enjoy dishes rife with olive oil, spices and herbs, and enjoy dishes and foods such as hummus, tabbouleh, falafels, kebabs, dates, figs, all sorts of nuts, olives, herbs, pita bread, and a lot of lamb! And don’t forget legit Arabic coffee.
After Lebanon, you can cross the border into the northern district of Israel. Northern Israel is a chance to enjoy the flaura and fauna of the region. There are beautiful hikes around the Sea of Galilee, with natural caves in the hillsides to discover.
Instead of going straight into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, we would suggest going through Jordan after northern Israel. You would go through the Sheik Hussein Border Crossing.
After Amman, Jordan’s capital, where you can enjoy delicious street foods, you can wander down to the Dead Sea for a free-floating experience at the lowest point below sea level on land (on the coast of the Dead Sea). Everything after Amman will be noticeably dryer than where you’ve visited so far. Then there’s Petra which is about as pricey an entry fee as they can get (over $70US a ticket), but it is an incredible ancient region where you can explore for the whole day and not have seen it all. You kind of have to put that in the budget, can’t be in Jordan and not go.
The Red Sea is well known for its coral reefs and pristine waters. As Israel’s beaches and Aqaba as well can get pretty crowded, if you head towards the Saudia Arabia border, Tala Bay is a beautiful place to snorkel with far less crowds. Out of the ordinary things in out of the way places is our motto (literally, it is our motto for The Ticket to Travel). Better to get off the beaten track and have more personal experiences without the crowds.
So now you head back into Israel where you would want to go Jerusalem to see evidence of some of the oldest documented kings and tribute to their architectural and engineering accomplishments thousands of years ago. Lots to see around here for sure.
Then you got Tel Aviv, a more modern city. Depending on what kind of things you like to do, you may not want to spend too much time there. There is a seaside promenade and the Yarkon Park you can visit while you’re there.
At this point, you have arrived back at the threshold of the northern district of Israel. You can get cheap flights between Tel Aviv and Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkey is a real mix of culture, and I think you’ll find it has it’s own distinct feel of culture, while still carrying remnants of the Middle Eastern culture especially in the east. But it is the bridge between the east and the west, so you know it is going to be culturally rich. There are a lot of options of places to go, and what you will want to do will vary according to your tastes, but we’ll mention a few highlights, and you can add to it as you see fit.
In Istanbul, you can stay in the Sultanahmet area, close to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market. Enjoy Turkish tea or coffee that helps wash down a Turkish delight or baklava on one of the cities cafés.
Ephesus is an archaeological treasure trove, replete with Roman and Greek structures thousands of years old such as the Temple of Artemis. A lot of new stuff has been uncovered and made available to the public.
Pergamum also has remnants of times past remaining with less tourists than Ephesus, including ruins of a massive temple, an amphitheater and old establishments on the hilltop.
Friends of ours really enjoyed the town of Bergama as well, with cobblestone lanes and historic houses. It is just a few kilometers down the road from Pergamum.
Cappadocia has bizarre terrain unlike any other place on the planet. The in thing here is to do a hot air balloon ride to see the sunrise, but it will set you back a fair bit, and you are not likely at all to have your own private hot air balloon, they fit more people than you might think. The sunrise viewed from the ground with the horizon dotted with colorful air balloons may be just as rewarding. Cappadocia is a quite far away to the east from any of the other places mentioned which are all in the west of Turkey.
There are currently no ferries running between Israel and Turkey, Greece, etc.. Anyways, if you are flying in and out of Beirut, it makes sense to take a Turkey to Lebanon ferry. The Tasucu, Turkey (south of Cappadocia) to Tripoli, Lebanon ferry costs $125 per person. You can find more information here: http://ferries-turkey.com/ferry-routes/turkey-lebanon/tur-leb-ferry-en.html#start. That may sound like a pretty steep price for a ferry, and in fact, it is expensive. It costs basically the exact same price to fly. So you have to figure whether you want the ferry journey for the experience.
If you are not taking the ferry, you may opt out of going all the way to Cappadocia if you don’t have to head that way to take the ferry. Depends on your time, money, and preference.
Alternatively, the trip to Turkey could be merged with our 5th and final Epic Trip Idea, or even the entire trip could be combined. For instance, a flight between Istanbul and Munich, Germany runs for little more than $60 (Antalya-London can be £30 with Easy Jet, and another £26 from London-Munich…). Let’s take a look at Epic Trip Idea No. 5.
5. Yodel & Bobble
The players: Germany, Austria, a quick dip through Slovenia, followed by Croatia, and Italy.
Timing: I would go for September/October or spring for the flowers, but then that would bypass Oktoberfest (but as Oktoberfest is a bit of a beer festival/crowded party, you may not be into that, and if it doesn’t suit your timing, the foods and beverages will still be available at other times minus the crowds). Again, summer is nice, but everybody is travelling in the summer…
Getting around and attractions: It is easy to tick off over a dozen countries visited, by zipping through Europe on a train. But this trip idea is sure to give you a nice varied flavor of culture and landscapes. It is easy to tag on an extra European country on this trip according to your preferences. For instance, with family in Italy, we would stay there longer than you probably would.
For all this travel, you have the options of car rental, car sharing, bus, or train to get around.
So in and out of Munich may be a good flight option for this trip. Southern Germany is the most picturesque at the north side of the Alps, and Munich is the main hub for southern Germany. German foods like spätzel, schnitzel, delicious breads, strong cheeses and sausages are things you will want to enjoy with a pint perhaps, a big part of the experience.
On your way to Innsbruck, Austria from Munich, you could take a little detour to visit the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. You can also go straight from Munich to Salzburg, Austria, but going from Innsbruck to Salzburg gives you more of an experience in the Alps. This whole region is totally awe-inspiring, one of the most beautiful of all Europe; it belongs in an epic trip. In Salzburg, take the Sound of Music Tour to visit pristine meadows and view snowcapped mountains that were made famous by that old classic musical. It is the to-do thing in Salzburg for visitors. Check out some more about it at: http://www.austria.info/uk/things-to-do/cities-and-culture/the-sound-of-music/sound-of-music-tour.
In a car, in over 4 hours you can drive from Salzburg, Austria, through Slovenia, to Split, Croatia’s beautiful beachfront city. Croatia is a very tourist friendly country, but is less travelled than many other popular European destinations. From Split, you can take a city bus to Solin to see the Roman ruins there. Split itself has a lot of history which you can see as you explore the city. Take a stroll through the green and fish market, and barter yourself some fresh scallops. Then you gotta cook ‘em…
Now it’s Italy time. You’ll hit Venice first. Venice has no shortage of tourist info. You may want to glide through its canals on a gondola.
Directly west of Venice, is Verona, about 100 km. away. The real allure of Verona is that it feels like legit Italy, without the lineups of Rome and moderness of Milan.
From Verona, it’s up to you. All this mentioned won’t take you near 2 months to see. You could combine it with Epic Trip Idea No. 4, or you could add to it other features you want.
As a suggestion, London, Edinburgh, and Dublin (Guinness Factory anyone?) are great cities to visit and always have cheap flights by Easy Jet or Ryan Air. If you’re in Ireland, visit the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland and the Giant’s Causeway.
Flights between the UK and Iceland can be a mere £20 with Easy Jet. If you want to stay 10 days in Iceland and enjoy its natural beauty, here’s a nice itinerary for this trip: http://thebakersjourney.com/the-only-iceland-ring-road-itinerary-youll-ever-need/. You’ll fly in and out of Reykjavik.
We didn’t even touch Africa with the Serengeti, the Congo rainforest, Nile River, and Victoria Falls. Neither did we discuss South America with the Amazon rainforest, jungle rivers, and the Andes mountains. But with these 5 Epic Trip Ideas, we hope there is something here that appeals to you that can help you shape your own trip!
If you have suggestions or comments, please leave them below. And before you go, subscribe to our YouTube channel to enjoy out of the ordinary travel in out of the way places videos released twice a week. You can click to subscribe on the YouTube symbol below. Till next time!