Subject: Planning vs On-The-Fly
Hello, just joined this group in an effort to `know' everything I can absorb about the regions my wife and I will be traveling. My wife and I (early 30s, no kids, decent positions that allow us to take a year off, unpaid, but get our jobs back when we return) are planning an Asia, African, Eastern and Central Europe 10month RTW trip. We've previously explored countries in Europe, North America, Hawaii, Guam, Taiwan and Thailand - but never in a continuous stretch.

My question is: In a long term trip (over two weeks) - How much of actual traveling occurs due to planning and how much due to changes you find out while on the road.

When I was 22 - I went to Europe with a buddy. The only real planning I did was pre-buy a Eurorail pass and get one address of a girl I knew in Paris. I spent 6 great weeks bumming around, meeting new people and (due to lack of planning) ran out of money 4 weeks into the trip. Thankfully, my friend withdrew money and I was able to pay him back when we got back to the states.

This RTW trip - we've pre-bought flights getting us into Tokyo, Beijing, HCMC, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Dehli, Nairobi, Cairo and Istanbul. Land travel in between destinations. We'll fly out of Amsterdam back to the states. I've picked up a ton of used travel guides (thrift stores have 1 - 4 year old guides for under $1) and have been cut-and-pasting on-line articles and guesthouse reccommendations. I know the name of the owner of a guesthouse at the halfway point of the Tiger Leaping Gorge hike near Lijiang, China and the train station location, train number and time it leaves to get from Nairobi to Mombassa. But who's to say that we don't find something better and never get to those locations? How much info is too much? Just the `essential' guidebooks I have weighs nearly 10 pounds. I've begun ripping out just the pages I want - but still want to have more...Go with the flow or log-in to Lonely Planet, Rough, and the groups when we get to a new city? A little over two months and from now and we'll begin the trip in Asia....

Thanks, Karl