Transportation

Planes:

Yeah…that’s a seat on an airplane. It’s the Airbus 380 first class section, and it’s sick as shit. Tickets for these babies are expensive as all hell, but the room is private, it has 2 beds in it, and it might be the coolest flying experience that will ever be offered, like ever.

Obviously on a site like this my suggestion would be to avoid coach class as much as possible, but that’s not always so true. In the US, our domestic carriers have the worst first class sections of any airline I have been on. Their first class sections get better on international flights, but there is still no comparison between international travel and US travel. So, when the price is right, I book first class. When an upgrade is available, I always take it. But more often than not, first class inside the US is just shitty. You don’t get a private TV. You don’t get a great meal. The best part is more room, and free booze. The only possible exception to this rule is Virgin America. They have fantastic style and great planes. The first class section is very cool and intimate. The seats are great (they even have massagers in them) and you get private entertainment (but like Jet Blue, everyone gets private entertainment).

Now if you’re flying internationally or flying overseas in general, they take first class very seriously. You will eat and drink like a king. On big planes the seats will often be fully lay flat. You will have desks and multiple blankets and pillows. You will have turn down service. The entertainment will be top notch. You will usually have dividers if you are sitting in the middle to create some privacy. The window seats are almost always singles so your privacy is built in. Overseas airports have amazing lounges as well. It can make a huge difference. It’s not even comparable to the US.

Planes matter. If I’m gonna be on a long flight I always try to pick the right plane. A 747 can be the oldest shittiest ride ever…or if it’s been renovated it can be sick. See my Frankfurt notes on the Lufthansa 747-800. The new 330’s along with the 380 and 777 are some of the best flights you can ever take. The 787 is the jam. Modern everything, along with those big windows and the quiet. It’s cool.

747-800 Lufthansa – First class area is pretty small, lower deck in the nose on my configuration. Seats were about the same as business class, which was on both decks and the entire upper deck. TV screens were huge and entertainment was more than enough. Food was not great. Blankets were fantastic and all the other extras were fine. The headphones were killer.

Trains:

-I happen to like trains. Over too long a distance it can become extremely annoying, but if you are on the right train, with the right person, going to the right place, it can be just about perfect. Whenever possible, I try to get a private room. In the US it can be very small, but it is very private. You bring some wine, set up some music, and before you know it your having a party while the world whizzes by, you can literally do whatever you want. Eating on trains can be great or terrible. They try to seat you with other guests (if this bothers you then tell them you have a party of 4…you’ll get your own table at least until the car fills up, and it rarely does). Sometimes hanging with others in this environment can be fun though. You get a free meal with a private room, but the food really really really sucks. The café car food is better, and that’s where the wine is so you’ll be going there often anyway.

Trains in other countries are far better than ours, if you choose anything other than local trains (which can be the worst of the worst). Overnight action can be sick, but getting a private room gets expensive. The business class sections are always nice otherwise and you’ll get a number of amenities.

ICE trains in Germany are far better than the IC trains. Seats are great and first class offers waiter service and free newspapers and such. Internet worked great (not even offered on their other trains) and there were enough open seats that I was able to move from my window seat that faced a wall next to a big dude, to a table seat. Power outlets were everywhere as well.

Cars:

-While I have had unbelievable and fantastic times driving around various countries, I would call renting a car more trouble than it’s worth most of the time. People in foreign countries drive much differently than we do, and even with GPS, you will almost always feel like you have no idea where you are going. Parking is always a bitch, and frustrations can mount quickly…Big Ben…Parliament. You can visit more places, and smaller places in a car, but the trade off is tough. Lastly, drinking and driving sucks.

Buses:

-Huh?

“Round” the world trips:

-I have done this sort of trip twice in my life, both times through Star Alliance. I can think of no better way to travel if you have the time, and a little bit of money. Both times I bought business class tickets for about 15k (coach is around 7 or 8k). Not only is business class perfect for lounges and other amenities during alyovers, but checking in oversseas in business class can be like a rock star expeirence, amny of the flights you’ll take only have fiorst class so you’ll get bumped up, and overall, the long haul international flights in busioness or first class are some of the best things you will ever do in the trasportation world. I plan my journeys around long hauls, they are an experience in and of themselves. There are some surcharges for the superstar flights, like Singapore Airs A380, but the surcharges are worth it, and it might be one of the best hotels you’ll stay in for an overnight flight…
You will see that there are many ways to do it.

First Trip 2013:
Oct 21 – IAD to Munich
(then traveled by train to Innsbruck, Venice, Cortona, then Rome)
Oct 30 – Rome to Athens
Nov 1 – Athens to Istanbul
Nov 4 – Istanbul to Dubai
Nov 7/8 – Dubai to Hong Kong
Nov 10 – Hong Kong to Seoul
Nov 12 – Seoul to Manila
Nov 15 – Manila to Bangkok
Nov 18 – Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh
Nov 20 – Ho Chi Minh to Singapore
Nov 24 – Singapore to Sydney
Nov 27 – Sydney to Auckland
Nov 30 – Auckland to DCA

Second Trip 2015 (broken into 3 pieces):
Apr 30 – IAD to Frankfurt
(then traveled on a rail pass)
May 2 – Frankfurt to Cologne
May 3 – Cologne to Hamburg
May 4 – Hamburg to Copenhagen
May 6 – Copenhagen to Stockholm
May 8 – Stockholm to Helsinki (flight)
May 10 – Helsinki to St. Petersburg
May 11 – St Petersburg to Moscow
May 14 – Moscow to Barcelona (flight)
May 15 – Barcelona to Costa Brava (drive)
May 17 – Madrid to Seville
May 19 – Seville to Malaga (Met Julie)
May 20 – Malaga to Nerja
May 22 – Nerja to Granada
May 23 – Granada to Alicante
May 24 – Alicante to Valencia (fly from Valencia to Ibiza)
May 27 – Ibiza to Barcelona
May 29 – Barcelona to IAD (not on round the world)

Sep 8/9 – IAD to Paris (With KM and EM) (not on round the world)
Sep 9 – Paris to Normandy
Sep 12 – Bayeux to Paris to Antwerp
Sep 13 – Antwerp to Bruges
Sep 15 – Bruges to Berlin
Sep 18 – Berlin to Munich
Sep 21 – Munich to Frankfurt
Sep 21 – Frankfurt to Shanghai (started round the world back up)
Sep 24 – Shanghai to Beijing
Sep 26 – Beijing to Tokyo
Sep 28 – Tokyo to Bangkok (Met PM and BS in Tokyo)
Oct 6 – Bangkok to Manila
Oct 9 – Manila to Seoul
Oct 10 – Seoul to Vancouver
Oct 12 – Vancouver to NYC
(then took a train from NYC to DC)

Jan 30 – NYC to Mexico City
Feb 1 – Mexico City to Lima (Lima to Cusco Feb 2, Cusco to Lima Feb 4)
Feb 4 – Lima to Rio (Met Julie in Rio)
Feb 12 – Rio to Panama City
Feb 13 – Panama City to St. Maarten (ferry to Anguilla)
Anguilla for 3 nights then to St. Maarten
Feb 19 – St. Maarten to IAD