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TRAVEL: WHERE ON EARTH CAN WE VISIT? ALL YOUR TRAVEL PROBLEMS SOLVED.

WE are planning a trip of a lifetime to travel round the world for about a year.

We intend to leave the UK in September and go to the USA for six months, Canada (two months), Australia-New Zealand (three months) and finish off by visiting China.

In the States we will start in Los Angeles, then go on to Las Vegas, Arizona, California, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Memphis, Florida, Washington DC, New York, Boston and Chicago.

In Canada we'll travel to Toronto, Calgary and Banff, where we want to board the Rocky Mountaineer train to Vancouver, then cross back into America for Seattle and San Francisco and then back to LA.

From LA we'll fly to Australia. The final leg would be to spend a week in New Zealand then travel to China. Do you think this is the best route and what is the best way to travel between these destinations?

Amanda McGing, by email

A DOC Holiday is just a lowly GP when it comes to an itinerary like this. What you really need is a consultant.

I don't have enough space here to cover all your adventure. But here's my brief prescription, for what it's worth...

There are several companies - known as travel consolidators - who specialise in cheap round-the-world (RTW) tickets which can be tailor-made to a trip such as yours. They include Trailfinders (www.trailfinders.com), Travelbag (www.youreoff.co.uk), Dial a Flight (www.dialaflight.com) and Travelmood (www.travelmood.com).

Each website will give you a phone number where you can chat about your requirements with a well-travelled sales consultant (Dial a Flight are good at this).

I think you'll find it easier to visit New Zealand before Oz. Instead of back-tracking, it's more convenient to fly to Asia on the final leg of your trip from an Australian city.

A basic RTW ticket incorporating three or four stopovers and valid for up to 12 months will set you back around pounds 1,000 per person. You might want to buy these (say, London-LA-NZ-Australia-Singapore-London) as your basic tickets and pay locally for flights to other places such as China and Hong Kong.

If you're spending six months in the US it's a good idea to pre-book "sector fares", which allow you to hop on and off at major hubs. Travelbag (0870 814 6545) offers Air Passes from LA to the key cities you want to visit, stopping off in Miami, Washington, New York, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco from pounds 402 per person. Conditions apply.

A new USA Rail Pass provides Amtrak travel nationwide and can be valid for 15 or 30 days. Prices for a 15-day pass start from pounds 184 and cost pounds 241 for a 30-day pass. Alternatively, a California Rail Pass is available which allows 21 days travel in California for pounds 99. Visit www.simply rail.com or phone 08700 841414.

Travelling from Vegas to Colorado and even Texas it's best, and more interesting, to hire a car. For a small supplement you can leave the car at a ' different location from where you started. The same applies to Canada.

In Oz you can pre-book a package of internal flights. In New Zealand it might be worth your while to hire a motorhome to cover both islands. Contact a company called Bridge and Wickers (www.bridgeandwickers.co.uk/020 7483 6555), which organises tours throughout NZ and Oz.

On America's West Coast you'll want to visit Beverly Hills, shop along Rodeo Drive and swim off Malibu beach. For more info on Los Angeles visit www.lacvb.com In San Francisco, take a boat trip to Alca-traz, dine out on Fisherman's Wharf and take a trolley ride. A good day trip - or longer - is into the Napa Valley for wine-tasting tours. For more info visit www.sfvisitor.org and www.napavalley.com

Also, head up into the former gold fields around Sacramento and then on to spectacular Lake Tahoe and the Yosemite National Park. For more info, visit www.sacramentocvb.org, www.calgold.org, www.go2yosemite.net and www.virtualtahoe.com In Seattle, take a trip up the Puget Sound for whale watching (you can also do this from Vancouver) then go whitewater rafting along the Colombia River Gorge. See www.experiencewashington.com and www.seeseattle.com

For Boston, call the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism on 020 7978 7429 or visit www.massvacation.org and www.bostonusa.com And if you're travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer, visit www.rockymountaineer.com or call 01622 832244 for a brochure. The highlights of a trip to Oz include Sydney's waterfront, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, surfing on the Gold Coast, fine dining in Melbourne, swimming with dolphins on the west coast and the rainforests of Queensland. Contact the Australian Tourist Commission on 020 8780 2229.

Once you get to China, splash out on a few nights at the new Commune by the Great Wall Kempinski Hotel, where you can relax in the spa and gaze out at the Great Wall itself.

It is situated in the Badaling Mountains, 30 miles from Beijing. Prices start from pounds 80 per double per night. See www.kempinski.com

DOC HOLIDAY

ALL YOUR TRAVEL PROBLEMS SOLVED

Write to Doc Holiday, Daily Mirror Travel, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5AP or email docholiday@mirror.co.uk

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WORLD CLASS: Five super sights to see' RAIL THING: Amtrak
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 17, 2006
Words:901
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