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--- In RTWers@yahoogroups.com, Wade Allsopp <wadeall@y...> wrote: Welcome to the group Jon (and any other new joiners)

I must admit i hadn't realised Steve Gould was his real name - must have been a bit awkward to have been named similarly to someone
famous.

Though things could be alot worse. I had a friend called Forrest
which
seemed a perfectly OK name until a certain film came along.

re your questions:

> 1 We both desperately want to see some of Indonesia but have been
> put off by the unstability in the region. Would you recommend
> travelling there in the current political climate?

I guess there are two issues. Are u going to get caught in the cross fire in some Christian-muslim or muslim-fantamentalist or
independence
fight. I think this is largely a matter of not going to certain regions. Ive been to Indonesia 4 times, the last three whilst various troubles were going on in various bits of the country. I think if u stear clear of places like Ambon, Aceh etc this should be fine.
Indonesia is a huge place (not just in terms of kms but even more so
in
terms of hrs journey from A-B so trouble in one place is a very long way away. It's like not going to Finland because there were some bomb blasts in the Basque country.

The second issue is the more recent targeting of western interests inc tourists in Bali and businessmen in Jakarta. As things curently stand I would be reasonably relaxed about this as actually half the world (very much including the UK ) is a potential traget for terrorists
now.
Yet statistically things like road crashes and suicide are a much bigger risk factor. I think I would give places like the Sheraton, Jakarta a miss, but I figure that was not where you were heading in
any
case.

A few of our members have been in Indonesia recently and hopefully
they
can comment.

Of course the situation couldget more serious by the time you are planning to get there, but if thats the case you can alter your RTW ticket. This will usually cost USd$75, but in cases where you just want to skip a stop and fly direct, they can just tear out two coupons from your RTW book and issue you with a new direct flight coupon.

eg if you had been going Sinpapore- - Denpasar - Darwin , they should be able to take the two flight coupons and issue you with a
Singapore -
Darwin ticket without charging you for reissuing the whole ticket.


> 2 Also we are interested in seeing Burma. At present we've been
> told that it would be impossible to enter the country by air. Would
> it be safe to travel here?

Myanmar is perfectly safe (for foreigners). I don't know who told you u cannot get in by air. It is difficult (officially impossible) for FITs (Foreign Independent Tourists) to cross iinto Myanmar by the Thai border (or at least to cross very far - I think you are allowed to cross a few km and in practice some people sneak in from there). But unless you have radically new info it is certainly possible to fly in.

That's not to say you dont need to keep abreast of the situation in Myanmar. The US has been getting upperty about the abuse of rights there recently and it looks as though the FX rules and regulations are about to/have been revised. Apparently as of a few days ago its no longer required to exchange US$200 into FECs (micky mouse money that
is
hard currency equiavlent). As a result the value of the FEC has been plummeting apparently (too bad if u were a tourist holding FECs at the
time.) There are rumours that Myanmar will start relying on Euros rather than USD soon but who knows? Mynanmar has a very strange record re messing around with its currency. In 1987 (when a Kyat was actually worth something) Ne Win decided overnight to make the Kyat 100 note illegal tender (it was how alot of private investors stored their wealth at the time - no compensation of course) and they started issuing 15, 45 and 90 Kyat notes (these being divisable by Win's
luckky
number 9. Ne Win is dead now, but in Mynamar almost anything can happen.

> 3 To book our ticket we have been using STA travel. Is this the
> best agent to use? Can anyone recommend an alternative?

I've always found STA in London pretty hopeless as the lines are
always
busy with clueless students. Once u get through to someone you should get sensible RTW advice as they do alot of these tickets. The price
of
the tickets in the UK is standardised between agencies and airlines,
so
u wont get a better price (for the same RTW ticket shopping around).
However siome people do charge for a credit card purchasse and some allow it for free. Personally I prefer Trailfinders and Travelbag,
who
I find more professional and efficuient.

There are a couple of excellent UK sites giving a run down of the different RTW ticket options:

http://www.westernair.co.uk/roundtheworld1.html

http://www.thetravellerslounge.co.uk/

These plus other useful links such as for international Star Alliance ticket prices and a router/seat availability site for One World are referenced in trhe Links section of the RTWers site:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RTWers/links/


> 4 Also we need to get travel insurance. I have never travelled
> before and so am not sure who offers the best value for money
policy
> for a years travelling. Any recommendations?

Travel Insurance is a bit of a nightmare for everyone. The first
point
is that it is normally only available for residents in a country so most advice is country specific.

For some general advice, the first thing to realise is that a big
chunk
of your premium often goes to cover, marketing and admin costs. This is why annual travel insurance is usually much better value than
single
trip insurance for anyone making more than a couple of trips a year as for a single trip insurance probably half the premium goes to cover such admin costs. This is also why internet based insurance cos are usually much better value than those relying on banks or travel agents to market their product.

The other thing to remember is that the insurance company will treat you as a statistical average. If you are travelling with just a
couple
of pairs of jeans and an LP guide, you don't want to be included in a pool with a lot of guys with expensive camcorders (esp those making false claims).

In fact false claims have become a huge problem fopr the industry and the genuine customer as it has generally made the claims procedures much more rigorous than they used to be. It is now a real hassle to get the documentary evidence you need to make a claim when you lose something, especially if you are somewhere remote with a difficult police regime. I lost a few items on my travels and have not yet made a successful claim for one technicality or another. I remember wasting a day in Lithuania after havingan MD player stolen. First there was
the
question of finding the police station, no mean task even though I was travelling with A Russain gf at the time. Then the police were out
for
a long lunch. Then they insisited on having a Lithuanian translator though my gf could easily have translated in Russian. Then I had to bribe them a bottle of Finnish vodka (Russian Vodka of course was unacceptable as a briibe) to get them to deliver the report by the
time
I was leaving town. Then when I finally returened to London I found that my claim had been timed out as my trip had lasted longer than expected. So the whole thing was a complete waste of time and effort.

Anyhow you probably do need at least some emergency cover.

http://www.find.co.uk

is a great UK site with links to all UK provides of financial
products

Wade

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Last modified : December 16, 2005 18:37


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