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Entries about flights

New-Zealand, finally!

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Yeah! I can finally write about this wonderful country, after having landed here a bit more than a month ago. Sorry for the delay but maintaining a blog up-to-date is a lot of work... ;)

On the 11th of December then, I made my way to the airport in Santiago de Chile and was ready to check-in, but only to be told that in order for the Quantas Airways agents to check me in and allow me on the flight I had booked and pre-paid, I needed an exit flight from New-Zealand. Yes, the New-Zealanders are really welcoming and as a European you don't need to arrange a visa beforehand (a tourist visa lasts for 3 months), but they also want to make sure you won't stay longer...

So in a bit of a panic, I had to run in the airport and find an internet spot and book (and pay) an exit flight from New-Zealand to Asia for 2 months later... Fortunately I had thought in the previous days about how long exactly I wanted to stay in Kiwikand but maybe I could have saved a bit of money trying to compare different flights if I had had more time. Anyway 30 minutes later, I came back to the check-in desk and could board the the plane without issues.

Conclusion: ALWAYS plan enough time to check-in to avoid panic rush and last minute urgencies like that. I had arrived 1 hour and a half before my flight and I was lucky I did otherwise I might have lost a lot of money and have had to book another flight...


However the flight I had booked wasn't direct so after flying over the edge of Antarctica (see picture of the icebergs on the right) I landed in Sydney and immediately boarded another plane in direction of Christchurch where I would spend the night (in the airport) before boarding another flight in the morning to Auckland. Not sure why the flight comparison website I had used to book my flight wanted me to do a stop-over in Christchurch but it was probably the cheapest flight combination at that time. Of course with that many connections, there is always something going slightly wrong and my backpack didn't follow me to Christchurch but instead was sent directly to Auckland the next morning. Not a big deal but I had to explain the problem to the immigration officers, persuade them that I wasn't a drug lord trying to smuggle illegal things in their country from South America, and manage to trace my bag to be sure I could collect it (after a full bag search obviously) in Auckland the next day.

Finally, on the afternoon of Friday the 13th of December, I arrived in my hostel completely exhausted, after having spent more than 2 days (technically you "lose" one day when flying from South America to New-Zealand) in the air and airports. But I was here and my luggage as well! Phew! :)

Plane ready to be boarded! Yeah!

Plane ready to be boarded! Yeah!

First leg to Sydney, 13 hours... Hopefully the movies on-board selection is good...

First leg to Sydney, 13 hours... Hopefully the movies on-board selection is good...

The route the plane will take

The route the plane will take

On the edge of Antarctica...

On the edge of Antarctica...

Auckland, finally!

Auckland, finally!

Oh I forgot it was almost Christmas!! It's definitely a weird feeling to think of spending Christmas when it's hot and sunny... Where is the cold and snow??

Oh I forgot it was almost Christmas!! It's definitely a weird feeling to think of spending Christmas when it's hot and sunny... Where is the cold and snow??

Posted by manolo84 14:01 Archived in New Zealand Tagged english flights immigration Comments (0)

Mexico here I am!

Mexico me voici!

sunny 25 °C
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Just a quick post to let you know that my journey has officially started! I arrived yesterday evening in Mexico, after having started at 7.30am from Paris, it was a very long journey...

I started to be a bit worried when checking-in as the woman behind the desk had some doubts about whether or not I would need a return ticket already booked in order to be allowed to enter in Mexico. Sometimes apparently the Mexican authorities can be a little funny and as I had only a one-way ticket with me, it would have been more than annoying to be asked to go back to France.

But luckily this doesn't seem to be the case anymore and the Mexican authorities don't seem to care much, at least for a french tourist who is not planning to stay more than 6 months in the country. The wait in Heathrow T5 airport was a big long (I had to connect there and wait 6 hours because I was flying with British Airways) and the plane was offering the tiniest TV screen I had ever seen on a plane (probably an old one) but we landed without problems at about 2am French time (7pm Mexican time). Going through immigration and getting my backpack back didn't take too long and I was out of the airport less than an hour after.

Took me a little while then to find out where the Metro was, which line I should take and more importantly where my hostel was. Turned out I had completely forgotten to check on a map before the hostel address and after walking for 30 minutes and asking several people (in spanish!) who were sending me in all directions, I managed to call the hostel and find out it was only 30 sec away from the Metro station... doh!

Anyway, I'm a bit jet lagged now so I think I'll spend the next days hanging out and resting whilst trying to establish an itinerary through Mexico for the following weeks. As a surprise, I have just found out a french version of the Lonely Planet to Mexico left in the hostel so I have a bit of reading to do now! The weather is nice at least so the mood is definitely good.

See ya soon!

Posted by manolo84 18:47 Archived in Mexico Tagged trip flights airports Comments (5)

Flight ticket booked!

Billet d'avion réservé! (Il était temps...)

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My first flight is now booked to Mexico, leaving Paris on the 29th May! No way back now! It actually took me a little while to decide which options to go for regarding the different flights I will have to book in the year to come.

Basically for those who are not familiar with the different choices a traveller has to face nowadays (and to be honest I wasn't either a month and a half ago) there are two ways to go: a Round-The-World flight ticket (or more commonly called "RTW" ticket) or taking flight tickets as you go, which offers more flexibility but can also be more risky as prices can go up very quickly.

The reason it took me a while to figure out which option was the best for me was that I am planning to fly very few times in total (5 times) but across almost all continents. RTW tickets are great if you have a very detailed itinerary in mind, are planning to fly at least between 5 and 10 times (or even more) or not touching ground on all continents.

There are mainly two airlines groups offering these kinds of RTW tickets, OneWorld and Star Alliance and whilst there are a few differences between both, the limit is that you have only 12 months between your first and last flights and must come back to the city where you have started originally your trip. Actually OneWorld is a bit more flexible than Star Alliance as they count the number of continents crossed rather than the number of flights taken or miles travelled. Besides with OneWorld you can also change the flying dates during your travel (for no fee or a minor one) but apparently you cannot with Star Alliance.

But for me, my plan being to start from Europe to reach Central America, then to fly from South America to New Zealand and to finally fly to Asia, that's already 5 continents so almost the maximum fare although I am only planning to take 5 flights:

  1. Paris to Mexico
  2. Santiago de Chile to Auckland
  3. Auckland to Hong Kong
  4. Bangkok to Kathmandu
  5. Kathmandu to Paris

So if I was to take a OneWorld RTW ticket, the price would be around £3,400 which seems a bit excessive.
The good thing would be that I don't have to worry about my flights but if I want to travel for more than a year I cannot. Besides the flight from Santiago de Chile to Auckland is quite rare and expensive already so even with a flexible RTW ticket I doubt I would be able to change it easily for a more convenient date, even if I wanted to.

The other option, taking flights as I go along, would come up to about £2,600. This is with taking all the maximum fares for the flights I have mentioned. So this solution seems definitely better to me as it gives me a full flexibility and works out a lot cheaper. The only risk being that long flight to New Zealand which could become unavailable or very expensive if I take it at the last minute. You can already book it for about £1,500 (one way, direct) or £1,120 (one way, two stops in Panama and LA) in December, time when I am thinking to leave South America. I was therefore thinking to book this flight now (anyway 6 months in Central and South America seems a good length of time)...

To sum up, I haven't taken that second flight yet but I am monitoring the prices every day or so and will probably take it after I start travelling, once I am on the road and better positioned to make a decision about the flying date. So that's it, the big departure is in a week time now! Still have a few things left like making sure I have everything I need and also take a good travel insurance. This last thing is actually quite tedious and no insurance company covers you 100% so you have to try to make the best decision based on a few important points and dig up through their policy wordings... tedious!



Ca y est! Mon premier vol est maintenant réservé pour Mexico City, partant de Paris le 29 Mai exactement! Plus de retour en arrière possible maintenant! Cela m'a pris en fait un peu de temps afin de décider quelles étaient les options concernant les différents vols que j'aurais à prendre cette année.

En gros pour ceux qui ne sont pas familier avec les différentes options qui s'offrent aux voyageurs souhaitant faire un tour du monde (et pour être honnête je n'étais pas du tout au courant il y a un mois et demi), il y a deux choix possibles: un billet Tour-du-Monde (appelés aussi billets RTW pour "Round-The-World") ou bien alors prendre des billets d'avions au fur et à mesure, ce qui offre plus de flexibilité mais qui peut aussi s'avérer plus risqué car les prix peuvent monter très rapidement.

Il y a principalement deux groupements de compagnies aériennes offrant ces billets "RTW", OneWorld et Star Alliance, et même s'il y a quelques différences entre les deux, la limitation est que vous n'avez que 12 mois max entre votre premier et votre dernier vol pour compléter votre tour du monde. De plus vous devez impérativement revenir dans le même pays où vous avez commencé votre voyage. OneWorld est un peu plus flexible que Star Alliance dans la mesure où ils comptent le nombre de continents traversés plutôt que le nombre de vols pris ou kilomètres parcourus. De plus avec OneWorld vous pouvez aussi changer les dates de vols pendant que vous voyagez (gratuitement ou pour presque rien) tandis que ce n'est apparemment pas possible avec Star Alliance. Les billets RTW en fait sont une très bonne option si vous avez un itinéraire bien défini en tête, pensez prendre l'avion entre 5 et 10 fois (ou plus) et si vous ne passez pas par tous les continents.

Mais dans mon cas, mon but étant de démarrer d'Europe afin d'atteindre l'Amérique Centrale, puis de faire la liaison Chili - Nouvelle Zélande et enfin de terminer en Asie, c'est déjà 5 continents de traversés donc presque le prix maximal pour un billet RTW / "Tour-du-Monde", même si je ne compte prendre que 5 vols:

  1. Paris - Mexico City
  2. Santiago du Chili - Auckland (Nouvelle-Zélande)
  3. Auckland - Hong Kong (Chine)
  4. Bangkok (Thaïlande) - Kathmandu (Népal)
  5. Kathmandu - Paris

Donc si je venais à prendre un billet RTW avec OneWorld, le prix serait d'environ 4000€, ce qui semble un peu excessif pour seulement si peu de vols. La bonne chose pour le voyageur au long cours est que cela procure une certaine paix d'esprit, ne pas pas avoir à s'inquiéter et vérifier le prix des vols tous les jours, mais si je voulais voyager plus d'un an cela ne serait pas trop possible, à moins de volontairement manquer le dernier vol retour vers Paris. De plus le vol Santiago du Chili vers Auckland est assez rare et cher en temps normal donc même avec un billet RTW flexible je doute qu'il soit très facile de le changer pour une autre date, il faudrait sûrement attendre un peu de temps.

L'autre option, réserver les billets d'avions au fur et à mesure reviendrait à environ 3000€ après calculs. Ceci en prenant en compte les prix maximum pour les vols que j'ai cités ci-dessus. C'est assez cher aussi mais comparé à l'autre option, cette solution me semble clairement la plus adaptée à mes besoins car elle procure une totale flexibilité. Le seul risque étant comme je l'ai dit, que ce long vol vers la Nouvelle-Zélande devienne indisponible ou trop cher si je m'y prend à la dernière minute. D'ailleurs les prix actuels pour Décembre tournent à peu près autour de 1800€ (direct) ou 1300€ (avec plusieurs stops). Le réserver maintenant pour Décembre me donnerait à peu près 6 mois en Amérique Centrale et du Sud, ce qui parait à priori une bonne durée...

Pour résumer, je n'ai pas encore pris ce vol au jour d'aujourd'hui mais je compare les prix chaque jour et je le prendrais sûrement une fois que mon voyage aura commencé, une fois que j'aurais une idée plus précise de mon itinéraire en Amérique.

Donc ça y est, grand départ prévu pour la semaine prochaine maintenant! :-)

J'ai toujours deux ou trois choses à finir de préparer et aussi à prendre une décision quant à l'assurance voyage que je dois choisir. Ce dernier point est en fait assez ennuyeux et après recherches il semblerait qu'il n'y ait pas d'assurances qui peut vous couvrir à 100%, même les assurances les plus chères ont des choses qu'elles n'assurent pas, que ce soit au niveau médical ou de la couverture santé en France après un éventuel rapatriement, ou bien alors des éventuels bagages volés ou bien encore certains sports classés "trop dangereux" comme la randonnée en montagne au-dessus d'une certaine hauteur... Vous devez donc prendre une décision en vous basant sur quelques points essentiels et aussi ne pas oublier de parcourir toutes les petites lignes de leurs polices d'assurance... Fun!

A bientôt!!


Je me suis essayé sur cet article de mettre une version en anglais et une en français mais je dois vous l'avouer, cela m'a pris quand même pas mal de temps. Je ne vous promets pas que tous les articles que je posterai dans le futur seront dans les deux langues, ce sera selon l'humeur et le temps que j'ai devant moi au moment où j'écrirai... :-)

I have tried on this post to write in both english and french but to be honest this takes quite a lot of time... I can't guaranty that all my future posts will be in both languages, but more depending on the mood and time I have when I write... This will be a surprise! :-)

Posted by manolo84 16:38 Archived in France Tagged french flights Comments (6)

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