Questions and Answers

Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.

While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!

This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!

Filter by:

Qatar Airways

1

Emirates business round trip or first class one way?

1

US-LHR-US – transit question

1

Traveling to Italy from the us

1

Traveling to Turkey and SSSS

1

Ukraine

1

Switzerland-France land border control

Can you help?
0

Transiting Rome airport

2

United ticketed flight to HNL, layover, Hawaiian flight LIH, 1st class benefits?

1

LAX to ATH on Delta, “Upgrade Certificate not available for this flight”???

1

Ask a Question

Everyone can read and comment, but you must login to post a new comment.

Answers (6)

July-September around the world Trip

July-September around the world Trip

  1. Nick Art

    Hello there

    I’m new here as a user, but have already frequently read and followed this page for quite some time now. Well the time has come and I’ll finally finish my Matura in Switzerland (Abitur, High school in english?the thing before university) The final tests are still to come, but I am very certain I’ll make it anyway.

    After finishing school on first of july, i’ll be going to the mandatory swiss military on the 31st of october, which gives me a nice little time period to travel around a the world a bit. I have decided to book with a friend and if some of my other classmates want, they can join aswell. We might even be as much as 6 (but I expect 4-5 in total with me counted). So this is how far I’ve come with planning already : (see picture of travel plan).

    We will start in Zurich, fly to San Francisco on the 20th of July, be there until the 24th, fly to LA, where our grand southern contiki tour starts. If you don’t know what contiki is: It’s a (now) website that offers under 35 year old tours all around the globe, with travell and hotel organised aswell as a tour guide: You’re in a group, meet new people etc.: It’s awesome, you should try it (if you can).

    The Grand southern Contiki tour takes us all around the south USA for 28 days. On the evening of the 19th of August we will arrive in New York, my favorite city. We will stay there until the 26th, on which we will fly to Tokio and arrive on the 27th. In Tokio, we will again join a contiki tour all around Japan and finish in Osaka on the 8th of September. We will fly to Hong Kong on the same day, where will stay till the 12th and take our flight back home to Zurich.

    Now I already did some research on the flights and hotels: Obviously for this journey an around the world ticket is perfectly fitting (I actually put Hong Kong on the stop over list just to be able to use an around the world ticket). I’ve checked out all three major alliances on their prices and connections. I’ll leave skyteam out of the list because it really is just unusable

    Star Alliance ([URL]http://www.staralliance.com/de/round-the-world[/URL]): (92c3-097c-3eb1-80f9 paste this code on the linked page for the online view of the journey) Zürich-SFO: Swiss A343, SFO-LA: United (current selection B739, but could also choose other flights with other aircraft since there are so many), NY-Tokio: Air Canada over Toronto: ERJ190 and B789, Osaka-Hong Kong: Air India 788, Hong Kong Zürich: Swiss B77W (new)
    Price: 4250

    OneWorld (Since online sharing doesn’t seem to work I’ve attached the screenshot as file)
    Zürich-SFO: American Airlines over Philadelphia B763 and A321transcontinental, SFO-LA: American Airlienes B738, NY-Tokio: JAL B788, Osaka-Hong Kong: Cathay A333, Hong Kong-Zürich: Cathay 77W or Finnair A350 and A321 over Helsinki (haven’t decided yet).
    Price: 3600

    I’m the very proud owner of an old miles and more member card (it’s from 2006 or something just when swiss got bought by Lufthansa and it’s blue and looks just really old) and about 19000 (not status) miles. Credit cards I just have from swiss banks (ZKB and UBS) with about no bonus I know of aswell.

    I’ve been searching hotels on various websites (booking.com or secret escapes etc.) and for Hong Kong I’ve been thinking about “The Mercer”, while in NY I was considering the Chambers hotel aswell as the Hudson (near the columbus circle) and the Warwick. But I’m open to suggestions on not too pricey (preferably not over 100USD per person per night) in any city if you have any.

    Now you why do I need your guys help? I actually just need your experiences and suggestions: First of all what airline alliance should I go for and why? And what Hotel? Any suggestions? Is there anything else to consider or that I forgot? Is it possible to upgrade to business somehow (not my first concern, just for knowledge)?(I was thinking of booking business in the first place but for the sake of not being selfish and not preassure my friends wallets I decided to go for eco)
    Anything that you think might help me will help me.

    Now I need to mention while I’m kind of spoiled(not really) and have some money I can use my friends aren’t that much gifted with money throwing grandparents. So if anybody has some suggestions to make the whole thing cheaper feel free to come forward! (Not going at all does not count)
    Currently I’m estimating about 15k in expenses per person (4250 (Star Alliance)/3600 (Oneworld) + 4000 (America tour) + 3500 (japan tour) + about 3000-3500 for hotels in sfo, ny and hong kong and food and other stuff I can’t think of atm)

    If you read through until here, congratulations
    Thank you very much for your tipps and help inadvance

    Greetings

    Nick

  2. PhatMiles

    First of all congratulations on your successful schooling. I am extremely happy that you are venturing in to a RTW trip. Not everyone has the luxury or the interest to do that.

    [I]I am assuming all of your currency is in Euros since you are from Swiss.[/I]

    When it comes to itinerary, I would certainly chose OW to SA considering the airline/aircraft quality as well as money. 650 Euros is a substantial amount in my opinion.

    I’ve researched contiki tours in the past. It is a good option but not something I would go with. I am not at all against going with new people.
    $4000 is a steep price for an itinerary I have no control over. Some of the highlights from the tour itinerary are ([URL=’http://www.contiki.com/destinations/usa-canada/tours/12-grand-southern-start-los-angeles’]source[/URL]):
    [SIZE=4][COLOR=#4d4dff][I]Evening tour of the famous Vegas ‘Strip'[/I]
    [I]Visit Fremont Street & see the light-and-laser show[/I]
    [I]Experience some of the world’s largest hotels & casinos[/I]
    [I]Live it up Vegas-style with a limo ride & champagne[/I]
    [I]Non-stop nightlife[/I]
    [I]SO FAR ALL OF IT IS VEGAS[/I]
    [I]The next set of “inclusions” is Grand Canyon[/I]
    [I]They have included so many places from Dallas as sightseeing activities.[/I]
    [I]Civil rights museum, rodeo near Dallas, mingle with cows — seriously? [/I]
    [I][/I][/COLOR]
    [SIZE=4][COLOR=#000000]You are very young and should be able to plan a trip and execute it. It will be so much fun and interactive. Most of all, you get to chose your places. Some of the places in the Contiki tour are awesome, some are ok, some are horrible in my opinion. If you plan your own tour, you pick places that interest all of you a lot. Rent a car, drive in the US, spend some time/money on a concert etc. [/COLOR][/SIZE]
    US is very well connected by road and has horrible train system. With a good drive + fly combination you can conquer that grand southern on your own easily.
    [SIZE=4][COLOR=#000000]If it is 4 friends including you – you are looking at paying $16000 to Contiki and then some other incidentals which you cannot avoid. If you don’t want to plan, go for Contiki.
    I cannot comment on the Japan tour since I have never been there.

    For hotels, I would certainly lean towards Airbnb. They have excellent options in NYC. If you ate going to go out to the city a lot, do not waste a ton of money on hotels.
    I think Chambers and/or Warwick don’t work well for your situation. They are nice hotels (my choice is Chambers) but as a young lad with friends, that would not be my highest preference. Hotels.com is a good choice too.
    If you end up planning the trip by yourself let us know, and we will chime in with tips on dos and donts when booking hotel for rookies. I don’t think you will get finger pointing help on picking a property and looks like you don’t need that.
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Some overall tips for your trip (especially for the USA part):[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [LIST]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Whatever itinerary you pick, credit all of your miles to a single frequent flyer program. For eg, I would pick Singapore for Star Alliance, AA for OW etc[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]If you are booking hotels by yourself, it helps to pay attention to booking directly on the hotel website. If so, I would try to stick to one chain so that you don’t distribute your points making them almost worthless.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Get a prepaid service sim (In the US, TMobile, H20, Ring Plus, etc) card and use on an unlocked phone. Roaming charges kill you.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Invest in an AARP/AAA membership. They are quite affordable and pay off very soon.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Check the international driver permits and apply for one if needed. [/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [/LIST]
    [COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Contact Ford ([B][U][URL=’http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/05/17/virtuoso-travel-advisor/’]blog post[/URL])[/U][/B] if you want to check the benefits of booking through a Virtuoso agent. Sometimes you will be paying the same amount on hotels but get better benefits like property credit, free meal etc
    [/SIZE][/COLOR]
    I wish you the very best and good luck with everything.
    [SIZE=4][SIZE=4][COLOR=#000000][/COLOR][/SIZE]
    [COLOR=#4d4dff][I][/I][/COLOR][/SIZE]

  3. Anonymous

    Hi [USER=1903]@Nick Art[/USER], and welcome!

    Sounds like a fantastic trip, and I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

    I agree with everything [USER=522]@PhatMiles[/USER] said, especially this:

    [QUOTE=”PhatMiles, post: 16709, member: 522″]I’ve researched contiki tours in the past. It is a good option but not something I would go with. I am not at all against going with new people.
    $4000 is a steep price for an itinerary I have no control over.[/QUOTE]

    I took a similar (but smaller scale) trip when I was 16-17, spending six weeks in Europe. The cost was outrageous (now that I know better), but it was the extra costs that really added up. So many optional dinners, or extra activities, and not a tremendous amount of value-add. If you enjoy planning travel, I think you could truly do better on your own.

  4. No Name

    [USER=1903]@Nick Art[/USER]

    Welcome and congratulation on your Abitur.

    I think Phatmiles has covered a lot, so I will just add a few small points.

    First of all when posting costs on internet forums it’s important to write what kind of currency you are talking about, we get people from all over the world here. (Don’t worry people far more experienced than you make this error all the time). So are we talking $ £ € or Swiss Francs here?

    When it comes to the Contiki tour, I don’t have any experience since I’m was allergic to organized bus tours even when I was you age. When it comes to cost if 4K € is a good value or not depends heavily what kind of hotels and quality of dinning that is included.

    While I agree with Phatmiles that credit your miles to one program is the right thing to do, since you are in Europe I would consider BA Executive Club.

    Now the BA FF program is a bit strange. It’s easy to earn status when flying premium cabins, but the way the award chart works the miles earned called Avios is best used for short haul economy flights since it’s distance based.

    A Oneworld Round the world ticket with this routing should earn you BA Silver aka Oneworld Sapphire that will get you Business class checking in and lounge access and extra luggage.
    [URL]http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=zrh-phl-sfo-lax%0D%0Ajfk-nrt%0D%0Akix-hkg%0D%0Ahkg-hel-zrh[/URL]
    [URL]http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/tiers-and-benefits[/URL]

    Another nice thing with BA if you are just starting out is that their membership year starts on the 8 of the month after you join the program. If you join BAEC as new member say July 10 and credit all the flying on this trip to BA you would end up with elite status until August 8 2018.

    BA awards starts from 4500 Avios and in Europe you can redeem for awards on BA, Iberia, Air Berlin and Finnair.

    Note that there is a requirement of flying 4 segments on BA or Iberia (ZRH-LHR-DUB or ZRH-MAD-Somewhere in Spain Return would do the trick), but these can be cheap economy tickets. AA has the same requirement of 4 segments for status which your itinerary would not give you.

  5. Nick Art

    [QUOTE=”PhatMiles, post: 16709, member: 522″]First of all congratulations on your successful schooling. I am extremely happy that you are venturing in to a RTW trip. Not everyone has the luxury or the interest to do that.

    [I]I am assuming all of your currency is in Euros since you are from Swiss.[/I]

    When it comes to itinerary, I would certainly chose OW to SA considering the airline/aircraft quality as well as money. 650 Euros is a substantial amount in my opinion.

    I’ve researched contiki tours in the past. It is a good option but not something I would go with. I am not at all against going with new people.
    $4000 is a steep price for an itinerary I have no control over. Some of the highlights from the tour itinerary are ([URL=’http://www.contiki.com/destinations/usa-canada/tours/12-grand-southern-start-los-angeles’]source[/URL]):
    [SIZE=4][COLOR=#4d4dff][I]Evening tour of the famous Vegas ‘Strip'[/I]
    [I]Visit Fremont Street & see the light-and-laser show[/I]
    [I]Experience some of the world’s largest hotels & casinos[/I]
    [I]Live it up Vegas-style with a limo ride & champagne[/I]
    [I]Non-stop nightlife[/I]
    [I]SO FAR ALL OF IT IS VEGAS[/I]
    [I]The next set of “inclusions” is Grand Canyon[/I]
    [I]They have included so many places from Dallas as sightseeing activities.[/I]
    [I]Civil rights museum, rodeo near Dallas, mingle with cows — seriously? [/I]
    [/COLOR]
    [SIZE=4][COLOR=#000000]You are very young and should be able to plan a trip and execute it. It will be so much fun and interactive. Most of all, you get to chose your places. Some of the places in the Contiki tour are awesome, some are ok, some are horrible in my opinion. If you plan your own tour, you pick places that interest all of you a lot. Rent a car, drive in the US, spend some time/money on a concert etc. [/COLOR][/SIZE]
    US is very well connected by road and has horrible train system. With a good drive + fly combination you can conquer that grand southern on your own easily.
    [SIZE=4][COLOR=#000000]If it is 4 friends including you – you are looking at paying $16000 to Contiki and then some other incidentals which you cannot avoid. If you don’t want to plan, go for Contiki.
    I cannot comment on the Japan tour since I have never been there.

    For hotels, I would certainly lean towards Airbnb. They have excellent options in NYC. If you ate going to go out to the city a lot, do not waste a ton of money on hotels.
    I think Chambers and/or Warwick don’t work well for your situation. They are nice hotels (my choice is Chambers) but as a young lad with friends, that would not be my highest preference. Hotels.com is a good choice too.
    If you end up planning the trip by yourself let us know, and we will chime in with tips on dos and donts when booking hotel for rookies. I don’t think you will get finger pointing help on picking a property and looks like you don’t need that.
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Some overall tips for your trip (especially for the USA part):[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [LIST]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Whatever itinerary you pick, credit all of your miles to a single frequent flyer program. For eg, I would pick Singapore for Star Alliance, AA for OW etc[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]If you are booking hotels by yourself, it helps to pay attention to booking directly on the hotel website. If so, I would try to stick to one chain so that you don’t distribute your points making them almost worthless.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Get a prepaid service sim (In the US, TMobile, H20, Ring Plus, etc) card and use on an unlocked phone. Roaming charges kill you.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Invest in an AARP/AAA membership. They are quite affordable and pay off very soon.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [*][COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Check the international driver permits and apply for one if needed. [/SIZE][/COLOR]
    [/LIST]
    [COLOR=#000000][SIZE=4]Contact Ford ([B][U][URL=’http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/05/17/virtuoso-travel-advisor/’]blog post[/URL])[/U][/B] if you want to check the benefits of booking through a Virtuoso agent. Sometimes you will be paying the same amount on hotels but get better benefits like property credit, free meal etc
    [/SIZE][/COLOR]
    I wish you the very best and good luck with everything.

    [/QUOTE]
    Thank you for your opinions and tipps. I already thought that those hotels may be a bit overexagerated. (It’s just that I’m used to those, I’m a bit spoiled, don’t judge me 😉 ) I will defienly look into airbnb!

    As for the renting a car: None of us have a driver license (in switzerland you can start applying for it with 18, do the theorie test and practical then need 3 more years to actually get it. And with the license on probe you are nor allwed to drive outside of switzerland. Since trains are horrible in the US the only other option would be to go per bus, but I was rather uncertain about that aswell. Therefore I thought contiki was the best bet. But be sure that I’ll look into your suggestions aswell.

    Just one last thing: Switzerland doesn’t use the EURO, since we’re not part of the EU. We us the swiss franc (CHF) which is about +- equal the dollar.

    Thanks again for all your insightfull and helpful answers.
    ____________________________________________________________________
    [USER=268]@No Name[/USER] Okay, I’ll look at that one.
    Also none of you even mentioned miles&more at all: Is it really that bad?

  6. No Name

    Well the main problem with M&M is that unless you have FF status with LH your miles will expire 36 months after they are earned, for many airlines any activity (flight, shopping in online portal, and some case transferring in miles) in your account will extend the period. Not so with LH sadly :-((
    [URL]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_%26_More#Award_miles[/URL]
    [URL]https://www.miles-and-more.com/online/portal/mam/no/program/information?nodeid=2547184&l=en&cid=1000328[/URL]

    And then there is the problem of LH having high fuel surcharges for awards.

Sign in to help answer questions.