Eight weeks to see the world
GO ASK JOAN: Your travel questions answered by JOAN SCALES
Round-the-world trip I am aged 57, still working, and would like to take eight weeks off work in early 2013. I would like to see as many sights and cities as possible; would eight weeks be too short for a round-the-world trip? I would particularly like to visit India, and prefer English speaking counties. My budget would be under €10,000, and I would not mind staying in low-star hotels/hostels as long as I have my own room. – DB, Limerick.
roundtheworldexperts.co.uk. The price will depend on the routing you choose and fares start at around €1,800. You must travel in a continuous loop, with no backtracking and can arrive and leave from different airports. Don’t forget to take out travel insurance in advance. Countries where English is spoken or reasonably well spoken, could include North America, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, the Middle East, South Africa and Egypt.
Most hostels now are a far cry from the flea pits that passed for cheap accommodation in the past. Look at hostelworld.comor hostelbookers.comfor places to stay, read the reviews and pay heed to the ratings.
Taking tours in the various places is the best way to see a lot in a short time. With a westerly circumnavigation you are less likely to suffer from jetlag. Try to break up your journey and keep the flights to a reasonable number of hours, I find seven to eight hours is manageable. Trains are also a good way to see a lot in a short time and you can cross most countries by train. See seat61.comfor help in planning train journeys.
San Diego sunshine
My daughter, granddaughter and I are planning to go to San Diego over the Christmas holidays and wonder if you have any information on apartments to rent. - MG, Dublin
San Diego is rated as one of the best places to live in the US due to its pleasant climate. It is also a very popular holiday destination and there are many apartments/condos to rent, though Christmas is a popular time to visit.
The Embassy Suites at San Diego Bay is a mixture of hotel and suites and as the clientele is usually corporate, the rates fall over Christmas and start at $114 per night.
Sail and swap
The World Mirror dinghy Championships are being held in Lough Derg, Co Tipperary next summer. We have a summer house there and are considering a house swap for the first time and do not know where to start or what overseas waterside location to consider. We have three teenage boys who are sporty but not into sailing. We would like to keep costs to a minimum by booking flights early, perhaps making contact with local clubs or alternatively joining a house swap site. - AR, Dublin
You can join a home swap website but not necessarily find people who will be looking to come to Lough Derg, so you need a two-pronged approach. Lough Derg Yacht Club is putting up a list of accommodation available in the area to rent and you can contact them at officeLDYC@gmail.com and ldyc.ie.
There are three principle agencies for home exchange. They all work on a fee basis of about €100 a year. You become a member and can swap with other members.
You are looking for a waterfront location, which helps to narrow down your search and the fact that your house in Lough Derg is not your main residence means you can do a non-simultaneous swap.
The US usually tops all the lists, with the most number of people looking to exchange. This is a good time to start looking, the January flight sales are usually the best. See Homelink.ie, Homeexchange.com, and Intervac.com.
Send your questions with name and address to jscales @irishtimes.com