So the time has come to reveal all about the plans for the year. Sometimes I am able to contain myself and keep the plans limited, like last year to India and Sri Lanka. This year… less so! This year I have sort of thrown off the shackles and decided to get as much in as I can. It’s funny planning these things, you set yourself up for a big trip, which most people I know this is ridiculous, and when I sit down to nut out the nitty gritty of it, I suddenly feel far too restricted and try to get more in! And that’s exactly what has happened with my plans for travel in 2019.
The trip is still a fair way away, over six months – although I have a brief break in Queensland coming up in April before I go completely mad. Work this year thus far has just been so very busy, and I have had so little free time there are a bunch of things I wanted to have done by now, but I simply haven’t been able to. As for my BIG trip, well, the planning has been on-going for a couple of months now, and I started booking flights one by one around a month ago.
As has become the norm, I am mostly relying on Frequent Flyer points for this one, both through KrisFlyer (points transferred from Velocity) and Qantas Frequent Flyer points that I have amassed. KrisFlyer have already proven pretty good – although I had to cop a cancellation fee when I booked flights I so decided to take a more direct into Central Asia. As always for me – I am enjoying the planning and booking immensely! So here is what I am looking at –
I already detailed a prospective route through Central Asia in a previous post a couple of months back now, taking in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Although I am yet to confirm my tour of Turkmenistan, I do know that it will most likely start at the border near Konye-Urgench in the north of the country, take me past the gas craters of Dervaza to Ashgabat and Merv/Mary.
I’m flying through Hong Kong to get to Central Asia with a two-night stop over and I’m leaving at the end of October. I’m flying Singapore, Astana Airlines and Turkish airlines out of Ashgabat, then changing onto Royal Jordanian to get to Jerusalem.
Yes, it will be my first trip to Israel, and indeed Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. So lots of firsts! I plan to take a few days there, and then I’m still going to Minsk if I can squeeze it into the itinerary. When I became inspired to visit Jerusalem, I thought I would cut Minsk out completely. However, I looked at what I wanted to do and the time I would need – and I couldn’t escape the fact that I didn’t have enough time. So, reluctantly at first, I decided I would try and sneak another week. Making the trip a total of 7 weeks.
After Minsk it’s a brief journey into Spain for a little over a week. Barcelona and Seville. I hoped for longer but my better half wanted to spend a little longer in Portugal – which will be around two weeks. Faro, Lisbon and Porto – and from Lisbon there are a couple of day trips to be had. And this section of the plan is the least explored at this stage, as it’s at the end. Back mid-December.
So – there are my plans for another crazy trip. When I get the chance, I don’t like to do things by halves – especially this time! Using Frequent Flyer points I should be able to save quite a bit. But when you look at it all it’s really a strange combination of countries for one itinerary I guess. Central Asia is really hard to get to from Australia. Nothing close to a direct flight exists. Luckily Air Astana do fly into Almaty direct from Hong Kong (but I’ll have to overnight there). Visas will be needed, but with the exception of Turkmenistan they should be relatively easy to come by. Basically, even though the combination is odd and doesn’t really go together, I’ve managed to plan a bunch of places I really want to visit and somehow put them all into the one trip!
Do YOU have any travel plans for 2019?? Please comment below! And May the Journey Never End!