This is the first Travel Challenge for Saverocity, I thought it would be a neat idea to tackle a bucket list trip that took you to see the seven wonders of the Ancient World on points and miles, the goal is to do this as cheaply as possible to show how something like this trip can be accessible to people who have the desire, but not the means to achieve it, and I will for a change, be focusing on the cheapest possible way to use your points and miles. There will be no Business Class flights, and no 5 star hotels, this is all about the destination, about the experience of seeing places that you thought weren’t possible and doing it for a remarkably small amount of money.
I am notorious for lengthy posts, but think this one has so much depth to it that I want to break it up into several sections.
- Introduction – what are the Wonders, and where are they located
- Transport- Flights – exploring distance based, stopovers open jaws and setting up the correct order to visit the Seven Wonders to get the most bang for your buck.
- What to do when you are there – each of the Wonders has so many other interesting things to do whilst you are there that any of the countries would be a trip in its own right, lets look at what to do and build the shortest, to the lengthiest itineraries.
- Hotel options – where to use points, and where cash can be better.
- Doing it right – Packing, Money, Safety, Religion, and other tips.
An Introduction to the Seven Wonders of the World
The first thing to note about the Seven Wonders of the World is that there are more than Seven, which is why people get a little confused, here is how it breaks down:
- Seven Wonders of the Ancient World:Pyramids of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Statue of Zeus in Olympia, Colossus of Rhodes, Lighthouse of Alexandria
- New7Wonders Foundation list: Great Wall of China, Petra, Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu, Chitchen Itza, Colluseum of Rome, Taj Mahal, Pyramids of Giza
- Seven Natural Wonders of the World: Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Mount Everest, Aurora (such as the Borealis) Paricutin volcano, Victoria Falls
Additionally, there are many other places that have made the list at one time, or in one form or another, iconic places such as Stonehenge, Hagia Sophia, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are common characters in the lists.
My challenge will focus on the Ancient Wonders, in some ways these are the ‘originals’ though it is often stated that the original list itself has evolved with time. Also, whilst it is stated that only one of the Seven Wonders still exists, I would argue otherwise, since the lighthouse of Alexandria can still be seen, providing you are willing to don a wetsuit and a scuba tank. Even when places really have lost all traces of the original building, there is something to be said for the desire to hold onto the heritage and culture of such places, and visiting them can be an enlightening experience.
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
One of the most notable things about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is their relative proximity to one another, which means that if you can get over to the region, stringing together all of them in one trip is not that difficult to achieve, though it should be noted that in order to visit where the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were it will require a trip into Iraq, which might not be for everyone. I put together a list of the most convenient airports for the Seven Wonders for perspective.
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Mapped
Close Geographical location
It strikes me a no surprise that the wonders were all in a very close geography, back in the days where information sharing was limited it is easy to see how people could generate a list that appeared to be cover Wonders of the World within such a narrow range, and places that have since been added to more modern lists, such as Machu Picchu in Peru simply would not have been considered. If you want to play around with an interactive version of the map to get a better idea of distances you can check out one I built here.
This makes for a superb opportunity for the traveler to plan a route that visits all of the locations in the list in a single trip, which is a goal of this post, but if that is just too much to bite off you can pick and chose from the within the list. One that many might think to skip would be the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in Ancient Mesopotamia, currently called Iraq.
Next up in the series will be exploring Flight options. A key here is that despite the Wonders all being ‘pretty close’ to one another picking sweet-spots in distance from your home airport will save a lot of airline points. I will compare Distance Based and Region Based flight options to show the best value to be had.