Now's not the time to be sentimental, well, actually, now would be as good a time as any, but I haven't quite realized I'm home again... there is really something magical about that. Since I set out almost 4 months ago, I haven't stayed longer than about 10 days in a single place, I have not had a proper home, just what I could carry with me, no income, just a budget to stick to (....yeah....). And now it is really over, I have done all I hoped to, and way f***ing much more! I never thought I'd be skydiving, nor spelunking, nor going across the andes. There are so many insane moments, incredulous people and events that there is really no point trying to recap. Honestly, that's why I tried writing the blog most days. I'm not joking, I can't even remember all the stuff I've done and learnt.
However, the purpose of the last post (for this trip) is just to try and add up a list of good-to-know stuff, basic s***, that can save a lot of hassle if you only know about it.
Use StaTravel (http://www.statravel.se) and just tell them where you want to go for a full plan. If looking for individual flights, skyscanner (http://www.skyscanner.se) is my personal favourite. They even have an iPhone app (http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/skyscanner-all-flights-everywhere!/id415458524?mt=8) that is nice.
There is also an option to use a milage calculator from star alliance, but I think you'd usually save money if using StaTravel instead. All the tests I did, STA were cheaper anyways.
General tips: Wikitravels (http://wikitravel.org/sv/Huvudsida) is a superb source of info on wherever you're going, they've got sights written down, local transit, currency, things to keep in mind and so on and so forth.
Also, don't underestimate Google Maps, you can get info on the citybusses, metros, trams, anything in pretty much every major town. From you're exact position, which way to go to find a bus stop, which bus to take, where to get off... everything!
Not too much I can say here, I'm afraid, my couch host took me around and showed me a ton without me having to worry at all. What might be said is about locations, where to go for what.
Kuala Lumpur for a day or two, it is not the most stunning town in the world, even though the Petronas Towers are iconic and should definately be seen.
Penang is a better place to spend a bulk of the time, or Borneo if jungles and nature is your cup of tea. Heading south to Singapore is for those looking for city life and partying, all valid options. Just keep in mind that Malaysia is muslim, so most people don't drink there, except for foreigners.
Getting around: Greyhound busses - http://www.greyhound.com.au/ Get a buss pass for the east coast if just there for a while or get a milage pass if there longer. Pretty much the only decent way of getting around. You've also got OZExperience (http://www.ozexperience.com/), where you travel with a gang instead and have a fun driver and some discounts and stuff, but this is also a lot more expensive and hand-holding.
Stay: Base (http://stayatbase.com)! I would definately recomend people to stay at one of the Base hostels around Australia. Buy 10 nights-pack and spend them whereever you want to. After having visited pretty much all the different Base hostels, I can't say I was let down by a single one. There is always going to be people there, always a party going on, always activities offered. So I definately recomend Base.
Places to go: All up the east coast. Definately Sydney, Carins, Melbourne... you know the big towns. But do NOT miss Byron Bay and Magnetic Island, smaller places. Also, if you don't have a diving licence, get one! Definately!
Apart from that, Australia is quite straight forward, the east coast is very backpacker friendly, tons of travellers and stuff to do. Really easy to enjoy the country, just go there and everything will sort itself out.
Getting around: Here we have a few alternatives, KiwiExperience (http://kiwiexperience.com/), MagicBus (http://www.magicbus.co.nz/) and Stray (http://www.straytravel.com/) all working about the same. You book one of their suggestions and hop on and off along the route as you please. This is just as OZExperience, you go with a group you get to know and they hold your hand for most everything. I used NakedBus (http://nakedbus.com/nz/bus/) which is the cheapest way, between a third to half the price of KiwiExperience and the rest for a route you make up as you go. Instead of having a itinerary and just deciding on dates, you have 10 "trips" from wherevere to wherever, whenever you want. Worked a lot better for me.
Where to go: Queenstown and Taupo for adventure and Queenstown is great for LotR scenery. Wellington is a cozy town, Rotorua for Maori traditions and geo-thermal activity, Paihia and Auckland for diving and warmer climate. Kaikoura for dolphin swiming, Franz Josef if you've never seen a glacier and Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound are aweinspiring fiords. AVOID Christchurch, the town is still smashed, and keep getting smashed, by earthquakes. Depressing place for now...
Stay: Here there are also a few Base hostels, but BBH (http://www.bbh.co.nz/) is a good alternative. BBH is not a chain, but rather stand-alone hostels that have gone together and offer discounts if you have a membership. So if you buy a BBH card for 40 bucks, it includes a SIM-card for 20 bucks and then you save atleast 3 dollar per night, so seven nights or less and you'll save money. However, if you have a bit more money, stay at base once again. It does cost a bit more, but they always rock.
Getting around: Use the website Plataforma 10 (http://www.plataforma10.com/) to find a bus to whereever you're going, and make sure to check you're spam folder for the ticket if you book online. Otherwise, just checking the bus online and then buying the ticket at the busstation is often easier.
Greentoadbus (http://www.greentoadbus.com/en) is also good if staying a bit longer and traversing the entire continent. A buspass can take you around where you would go on your own accord, but again, a bit more handholding and a few more pesos.
Stay: Not much to say generally, just check up on hostels on Hostels.com or Hostelbookers or any similar website if you wanna book ahead.
Where to go: One place you CANNOT miss, the Iguazu Falls in the north!
Never did find too much about Brazil, stayed quite a lot in Rio there.
Where to go: Rio de Janerio of course, Ilha Grande is also marvelous and quite close. Paraty is an old, unspoilt town. Fernando do Norona is a place I would definately go if I had more money and time. Far up in the north, but apparently gorgeous beaches and awesome diving.
Getting around: You don't. Everyone warns you about the distance... it's true. LA is about the size of a small country, and it's not that the busses are bad or anything, but there is no feasible way for them to cover an area that spread out so get a car there or plan ahead well. Hermosa Beach is a awesome area to stay, but it takes a while to Hollywood with the transit system.
Las Vegas: Be 21, have a bit of money and have a few friends with you. All you need to know about Vegas!
Travelling in the States: Greyhound busses (http://www.greyhound.com/) are the cheapest mode of transportation whereas the railroad (http://www.amtrak.com/home)is a bit more comfy. All depends on your budget.
Canada: All in all, pretty similar to the States, plus I didn't spend that much time in Toronto, since I went to New York after a few days and therby didn't spend much time at all on the north side of the border. Liked Canada more than the States though, a bit more homely. My tip: go to Vancouver instead. The west side of Canada is known to be gorgeous so British Columbia is preferable to Ontario from all I heard.
That is it folk, nothing more to say until the next trip is on its way.
Cheers and hope you enjoyed the read.