Planning a RTW trip for a year is something that one can never spend enough time doing. No matter how long you plan and how much research is done, there’s always unplanned incidents which that can throw a huge wrench into any well thought out itinerary. My only advise is to have two things. A really good optimistic sense of humor and strong will to forge ahead after something didn’t go as plan because it will happen. Unplanned events and Force-majeure, aka acts outside of human control, may include those pesky local holidays that your trusty LP guide never seems to give the heads up about, forces of nature or just the weather, locals or people dressed in military gear (official, unofficial or somewhere in-between) taking over the government, protests which turn bloody mad, and a let dramatic and continuing tanking of the USD greenback. Let’s just say things got expensive real fast and we won’t even talk about the rise in food prices. Well, may I just say a few words because it’s happening again. The NYTimes featured an article about the U.N. addressing the rise of food costs. This is a big heads up to people traveling overseas. Developing nations will be hit the hardest. The Philippines seem to be fine for now since corruption took care of that according to Bloomberg.com.
One of the things that can be planned which will hopefully offset some of the unfortunate incidents along the way is where the end of the line will be. How can you make a nice ending to a long journey? This is where the Seychelles comes in. It’s an expensive destination compared to most but it’s a once in a lifetime experience given it’s locale and limited access. Flying from JFK in NYC to Mahe International in a single trip cost about $2000/person and the shortest trip is 20 hours. Flights also don’t go everyday. The added advantage of going here on a RTW trip is that you can include it on one of the many RTW package deals if you are a savvy traveler. I would also consider transiting through Madagascar and as well as Mauritius while you are in the neighborhood. It’s much less expensive now, both amazing islands full of good food and natural wonders, and very safe despite what the media reports, but I do recommend checking out the U.S. and the U.K.‘s excellent travel advisory reports before booking. in Madagascar and do yourself a favor and look into a private car to take you around when you get there since public transport, as adventurous as it seems, just takes time away from buying vanilla beans ( to freshen up the backpack) and spending time checking out the lemurs and baobab ave.
The one thing shortcoming about the Seychelles is the currency situation. There are plenty of illegal money changers in the center of Mahe but the Seychellois Rupee can only be used by locals. The Seychellois rupee which is right now .083 to the USD but it doesn’t matter because everything from postcards to the crappy vegetarian pizza is priced in euro. The Seychelles are amazing and worth every Euro just need to use them wisely. The bus is 5 rupees to get anywhere like the big supermarket in town which has a good assortment of goods available for reasonable prices. The bus will also take you to the airport so you don’t have to pay NYC prices for a cab.
The Seychelles is a place where everything is just right. It’s relaxed, people are genuinely friendly and enjoy life. We also didn’t know when we would be in this neck of the world again so why not blow the rest of our budget. The family run hotel called Daniella’s Bungalow’s we stayed in was a bargain (100 Euro/night including breakfast) It’s located down the street from most of the nicest properties on Mahe like the oceanfront Le Meridian which was going for $300+ Euro. It wasn’t oceanfront but it was good enough for Keanu who jogged past my husband and I as we lugged out backpacks from the bus stop to Daniella’s after a bumpy flight from Mauritius. Daniella’s didn’t have an oceanfront location but it was a 2 minute walk from a deserted beautiful local stretch of beach.
Where ever the RTW world trail ends make sure it ends on the best note possibly because it will be the last taste you will have of absolute freedom. Being somewhere like the Seychelles makes all of those missed destinations, unfortunate encounters with dubious others, injuries and other unpleasant events disappear with the ocean tides of the sapphire blue lagoon. For the last days of the sojourn it will be only you and the guy that runs the unofficial shuttle boat Keanu probably used going back and forth from the Le Meridian.