How We Planned For Our Trip

Planning Our Destinations: 

How do you plan for an extensive round-the-world trip? The world is such a big place and being passionate about traveling, we had a tough time narrowing down where we actually wanted to go.  Our planning process began with four things: A bottle of whiskey, a map of the world, a pack of darts, and a blind fold.  Once we were fully confident we didn’t want to spend any time in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean and were pretty sure our apartment deposit was completely expended, we got rid of the blind fold and darts and really started the planning process.

At the end of our planning process we had an extensive list of destinations and a bank account that didn’t quite match up.  We then decided to implement a more cost oriented process of planning.  We found it helpful to think about things from a comparison standpoint.  For example: It can cost around $100 a day per person to visit Ireland.  That same $100 will get you four days in Bolivia.

We wanted to have an extended traveling experience so that eliminated any notion of going back to Europe (for now) and also took away several other countries on our list. We found it useful to visit Lonely Plant http://www.lonelyplanet.com/.  The practical Information in the country overview has a daily budget listed that we implemented into our planning.  We will let you know as the trip transpires how beneficial that information really is.

This is one of the three determining factors we took into account when planning our trip.  We also tried to include places we didn’t think we would be able to visit with small children (we plan on starting a family after this trip).  Now we realize that there are traveling families out there and I am sure going to Laos with a two year old is perfectly safe.  We just know from our experience dealing with small children we may feel inclined to look the other way if there were ever a potential kidnapping, especially prior to embarking on an 18 hour bus trip.

We also eliminated places we thought are a big of enough draw to be a single destination in the future (i.e.) China, Japan, Eastern Europe, etc.

Once we had agreed on the countries we would like to visit, the next step was to decide where to go within each country and how long to stay. We started with Lonely Planet, then asked other travelers and looked for travel blogs.  We are not that excited to get too far off the beaten path, but do plan on touching base with travelers and locals once we get to each country and have left a week or two of “travel days” to integrate any places we haven’t included.

Medical:

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

This link as well as a phone consultation with a local travel nurse told us everything we needed to know to ensure we were fully vaccinated for this particular trip.  We also scanned our shot records (as well as all other important documents) and stored them in our email as a backup record.

Visas:

We used the two links below as well as Lonely Planet to get information on our visa requirements for each destination.

http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4965.html

 http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/index.html

Banking:

After a trip to Jamaica last year, we found that our banks usual opportunistic tendency to *&^% us in the ass is on heightened alert when in a different country.  We got dinged with drafting overseas charges, currency conversion charges, and charges for using ATM’s that weren’t part of the bank’s branch.  That was more than enough to motivate us to look into different bank options for this trip.  Sally found that several travelers mentioned Capital One.  They don’t have any of the fees mentioned above; most importantly they let you use any ATM with no charge.

Budgeting:  

Lonely Planet’s practical information to the rescue again!  They have a range of budgets from minimal to luxury that include food, accommodation, travel cost (bus/flight), and activities.  That information combined multiple travel bloggers insight, gave us a good indication of the amount of money we thought we would need.

We took the center of the road and multiplied the daily cost by the number of days we planned for each country.  We decided to give ourselves a little wiggle room by not figuring in flights, buses, and major expenses (i.e. Safari).  We created an Excel spreadsheet and plan to track our spending to ensure we don’t run out of cash… Fingers crossed on that one.

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