Julie Pre-Trip 17 Comments

Once people get past the shock of hearing our crazy idea and then getting the rundown on the places we plan on visiting, the next question we usually get asked is “how are you doing this?”

It took us one year, from the time we decided to go on our around the world journey, to taking that first flight out of the country. During this time we had to decide what to do with our careers, houses, cars, and our kids’ education, in addition to planning an around the world trip. Here’s how we prepared for our one year trip…

Note: This post was originally written in 2014 right before the start of our trip around the world.

Trip Itinerary

 

Now this was the fun part. There’s nothing like spreading out a map of the world and picking all of the places you want to go.

All four of us had input on the places to visit. Tyler picked Italy, both Tim and I really wanted to see Nepal and trek to Everest Base Camp, and Kara wants to go to both South Africa and Australia.

We planned the itinerary around the Base Camp trek since there are only very short windows of time in which to do this, and then worked the itinerary out from there.

We are trying to have an “endless summer” to minimize the amount of clothing and gear we need to bring along with us. Now we literally have a stack of travel books almost as tall as Kara and we have become geography experts. We have a tentative itinerary for the year but it will be interesting to see how much this changes once we start traveling.

Visas

This was the second biggest headache in preparing for this trip, other than selling the house.

There are six visas we need to have before arriving in the country: India, China, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand (because of the length of time we will be there combined with the fact that we will be exiting and entering several times).

Each country has its own set of rules about when Visas can be applied for, how long they are valid, and what kind of paperwork is involved. China Visas (which we just picked up a few days ago) are valid for one year but they require an itinerary complete with hotel reservations and a flight out of the country. We spent weeks planning our itinerary, contacting and booking hotels, and then purchasing flight tickets out of the country, all for March of 2015, almost one year away!!

India wasn’t any easier. They wanted copies of every official document we had pertaining to Tyler and Kara, as well as numerous other forms and paperwork. The Visa applications were dropped off at the very inefficient Cox and Kings Company (India outsources its Visa applications…ha!) for three to five day processing. Fourteen days later our Visas were ready to be picked up. Well, at least we have them, and we are going to India!!

Bhutan can only be visited with a tour company. Our tour company, Bridge to Bhutan, is handling these Visas for us. Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand Visas will be obtained while traveling.

Vaccinations and Medications

We all have been vaccinated against Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, Hepatitis A and B, and received Tetanus boosters. Tyler and Kara just received their meningitis vaccinations and Tim and I received Polio boosters (which may soon become a requirement for visiting India). We did not receive vaccinations against rabies or Japanese Encephalitis. We felt that the risks and costs for these vaccinations outweighed the benefits. It would cost our family of four $4800 just for the rabies vaccine. It would cost $1200 for Japanese Encepalitis.

Several times during the trip we will be traveling through areas with a risk of malaria. We will be carrying with us a supply of Malorone. Although it is not cheap, it has a low side effect profile and there is very little resistance to it, versus many of the other prophylactic malarial medications.

Tyler has an allergy to peanuts which should make our travels through Southeast Asia and China somewhat interesting (and stressful!!). Are 25 Epi-Pens too many to take?? Just kidding. But we will be carrying quite the arsenal of Epi-Pens and Benadryl along with us.

In addition to all of this we will have a supply of Ciprofloxacin for traveler’s diarrhea, zithromax for strep throat or sinus infections, Medrol Dose Paks for rashes or orthopedic complaints, and Advil for the occasional headache.

Gear

We spent a lot of time on this. We each will be carrying a backpack with just the essential clothing, several pairs of shoes, and a laptop for schoolwork and for maintaining this blog.

Read more about what was in our bags: Our Around the World Packing List

Read Next: Our Around the World Itinerary

Comments 17

  1. Good info! We used our Google Pixel phones along with T-Mobile accounts for our 9 month trip. Since we are senior citizens, we pay $70/month total. We had international data and texting in all the countries we visited except in Tanzania and Rwanda. If we really needed to call anyone, we used Skype. After all the use we made of the phones and data and texts, we were afraid they’d cut us off. Nope! T-Mobile is my best friend!

  2. Hi there,
    Do you have any further information about travel insurance? We are planning a 6-7 month trip for later this year and can’t decide if we need both travel insurance and a domestic health insurance plan. Can we get away with just travel insurance?

    Thanks

    1. Post
      Author

      That can be a tough decision. You can get by with just travel insurance, but you need to read their fine print closely to see what it includes, especially when it comes to covering medical issues. For our around the world trip, we purchased both travel insurance and a domestic health plan. We wanted the domestic insurance for piece of mind, just in case someone got really sick or had a bad injury that needed surgery (depending on where we were, we would have most likely flown home for surgery and recovered at home). We never needed to use any kind of health insurance during the entire trip, but maybe we just got very lucky. And then, just 5 days ago, Tim had to go to the emergency room for a kidney stone, and we ended up canceling our trip to Egypt, which was scheduled to start the next day. So, you just never know what will happen. Do what you feel comfortable doing. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hi!
    your website is really good and helpful!
    Do you have a link that I can research what you guys suggested about communication? I mean information about purchasing SIM’s around the world.

    thank you!

    1. Post
      Author

      Each country is different when it comes to purchasing SIM cards. So, we research each country individually. For example, Germany may have several different companies to choose from but one may offer better coverage or one may be cheaper. Sometimes you will get lucky and there will be a shop right in the airport or train station where you can buy your SIM card as soon as you arrive. Make sure you always have your passport because they use this for identification. Also, we bought a global SIM card but never used it. Going local usually gives you the best coverage and it’s usually cheap. Cheers, Julie

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