“Do Peti” is slang for two lakh rupees. If you don’t know what a lakh is, GET OUT. Nah, just kidding; you can stay. A lakh is nothing but a super cool (and convenient) way of saying 100,000 (it’s written as 1,00,000). If you don’t know what a rupee is, GET OUT! Seriously. Not kidding this time.
As of 31st March 2011, 2,00,000 Indian Rupees = 4,670 US$ = 3,165 Euros = 93 million Vietnamese Dong
The last is not too relevant, but I really like saying “dong”.
The “Do Peti” challenge is to go Around the World in two lakh rupees. Now I bet you’re all like “meh”. And you’re right! Anyone can buy a bunch of tickets and go around the world in less than a week for much less.
And that’s why we have a time target: 6 months!
Why Two Lakhs?
- Two lakhs is the difference between a top end Maruti-Suzuki Alto and mid-range Swift. What’s your priority?
- Most organized “package” tours to Europe from India that last 15 or more days cost at least two lakh rupees.
- Two lakh rupees was also my very first savings goal. As soon as I started earning, my goal was to save two lakhs and go to Europe for a month.
- And well, it’s a nice round number.
- The trip must be “around the world” i.e., a full circle of the globe with one crossing each of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
- The total money spent from my account may not exceed 2 lakh rupees.
- Accounting – Calculating the exact cost of an RTW trip is a tall task, considering the multitude of currencies involved. For the purpose of this trip, all expenditures will be recorded in the local currencies, and conversion to Indian rupees for the final tally will be based on the exchange rates at the half-way point i.e., 1st July, 2011.
- All expenditures including but not limited to logistics (visas, etc), transportation (flights, buses, trains etc), accommodation, food, drinks will be included in these two lakhs.
- Exclusions: Alcohol. I’ll run a separate beer money kitty.
- Income: Any money earned on the road may be spent and will be counted as separate from the original two lakhs.
- I may not accept “money for nothing”.
- I may not abuse any host’s hospitality.
- Any expenditure towards maintaining and updating the website is excluded.
- Consequently, any money earned from the website (ha!) will not count as income for the purpose of this trip.
It is not so much a plan as a general “note to self” on how to go about this trip. The first few destinations had to be logistically covered, of course, but the rest is pretty much open. I’m keeping an eye on airfares so that I can snag the best deal as soon as I find one.
- Flights/route: This time I’m going eastwards around the world, starting with India->Syria->Turkey->Europe->North America->South America->North America -> Asia -> India. So 31st March, 2011 I started with a Damascus via Jeddah. I also have a ticket from Izmir (Turkey) to Athens on 20th April, and another from Frankfurt to New York on 16th June. I needed the last two for the Schengen visa, and I’m holding on to them for now, but I can cancel or sell them online later if I feel the need. The intended route is down from the US into Central and South America and up again to the US west coast for a flight back to Asia. The final flight will probably be from Bangkok to Kolkata.
- Visas: I got a Schengen visa and visas for Syria and Peru before I started, and I already have a US visa. Turkey is visa on arrival, and the rest, I’ll figure out later.
- Insurance: This is a very frequently asked question and the answer is very simple: YES; you need travel insurance. Not just if you fall sick or cause some third party damage. Let’s take the worst case scenario: if you die abroad, the resulting logistical and financial nightmare will be an unnecessarily big burden on your family. It’s definitely worth the 8000-odd rupees for a 180-day worldwide policy.
PS: The trip is now over. Due to various circumstances I haven’t yet finished blogging the trip, but I have my meticulous notes and will finish the trip report soon. Follow the blog for updates!