What’s The Plan?
After visiting our families in both China and the USA, we will fly from New York to Casablanca at the end of August. After traveling through Morocco, we plan to make our way through Europe, first crossing over the Straight of Gibraltar into Spain. We will then move through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia. We will then cross into Asia via Istanbul and into Turkey. From there, we plan to enjoy the Caspian region, taking in Armenia, Georgia, and then heading north into Russia. After exploring here, we will move into central Asia, heading to Western China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. We will then hopefully (depending on the political situation at the time of travel) head through Pakistan via the Karakorum highway and make our way into India and Nepal.
How Much Do We Plan To Spend?
Our ultimate goal is to average $40 USD per day per person. Daily budgets will vary depending where we are during our trip (Higher in Europe, lower in most other regions). For our trip, we have budgeted $17,000 USD for each person (for roughly 14 months of travel give or take) . As we travel, we will keep track of our expenses, and list them here on this blog, commenting on what made our budget easy or difficult to achieve for each country. We hope our best judgements prove right!
Why Do We Want To Do It?
Before thinking of ‘settling down’, we both wanted to do something special, something that would help us grow, and something that would become harder to do as more responsibilities came upon us in the future. As we both loved traveling (and not liking to work too much) we decided taking a ‘gap year’ would be our most fulfilling choice. When we have traveled in the past, we have been conscious about spending money but never followed a budget strictly. We hope traveling for a long period of time will provide us with a challenge and provide us with a lifetime of memories. After our trip we don’t plan to stop traveling as there will be so much of the world left for us to explore. We hope to inspire others to travel and help show people that traveling can be very affordable, no matter how long your trip is. We hope this blog will provide very useful information for you and everyone that checks in.
How Long Did It Take To Plan?
The idea of this trip was planted in Eric’s brain after his friend David embarked on a bicycle trip from Beijing to Istanbul 3 years ago (you can follow David’s Instagram at buntiebfree) . Once Eric met Claire, the two hit it off and began traveling together. Still thirsty to travel, Eric brought up the idea to Claire and the idea became a possibility starting back in February of 2016. After discussing the idea for several months, we began seriously planning for our trip in March of 2017. The hardest part was choosing a logical route. This may seem straight forward, but many regions we wanted to visit were only accessible during certain times of the year (due to mountain passes mostly. We finally concluded that it would be best for us to move from West to East given the time our trip was starting. We do not have a strict schedule and do not even know exactly where we will go in each country, but we would like to reach certain countries by certain times of the year. We kept the idea to ourselves until we became 100% committed to the idea two months later.
Once we told everyone of our plans, we knew we had to do it. If we backed out now, we would have been pretty embarrassed. After figuring out finances, a budget, a travel plan, and what to pack. To see what we packed for a 14 month trip, Click Here
We began to plan for our month in Morocco in detail. We do not plan to do any more planning until we hit the road. This allows us to remain flexible, and removes the stress of trying to adhere to a strict schedule. We also plan of spending a lot of time on buses so planning (and blogging) will give us plenty to stay occupied.
What Are Some Things To Consider Before Traveling?
As a Spanish Saying goes, “On a long journey even a straw weighs heavy. We are firm believers in packing light. The less you carry, means the less you have to worry about and the less weight on your back. This doesn’t mean you have to toughen up and suffer without your iPad. It just means cutting all of the unnecessary items you can live without (like that 5th t-shirt). It is amazing how little you actually need to travel. We are reminded of this every time we travel as there is always a few things we didn’t even touch during our trip. It is a learning process, and even after four years of a lot of travel, we are still finding ways to reduce the amount that we bring on trips. For details about what we are bringing on our trip, click here:
Another big ticket item on our mind was getting travel insurance at an affordable price. After traveling for four years without it and testing fate, we thought it was best to pay the price for peace of mind. After some research, we found that we could cover ourselves for most medical expenses and emergencies for a very low price. For details about our insurance plan, follow the link in the paragraph above.
Meeting with the people we loved and cared about was also important to us. Being an expat, I already experienced the difficulties associated with living far away from home for long periods of time. When planning a long trip, make sure to spend the time with the people you care about. Your trip will be wonderful, and unforgettable, but never forget where you come from. Time is always short, no matter how much you have.
Visas….visas, visas, visas…. Wouldn’t it be great if the whole world was just open doorways? Unfortunately, this is not the case and we have to apply for those time consuming and sometimes dollar consuming visas. Be sure to see what each country’s policies are regarding entry and exit for citizens from your home country. This is crucial as sometimes visas are only granted within your home country or take several weeks to process. Being from the United States, this was not a difficult process for me. As for Claire, having a Chinese passport proved much more restrictive (and a much larger headache). With careful planning, we were able to adjust our trip to meet visa requirements for both of our passports.
Look at the weather and climate for where you are going! Not all places are accessible all year round. We did some research for some of the points of interest we would like to reach during our trip and tried to set a flexible schedule to be in these areas when they are open. There is no worse feeling than traveling half way around the world to find out the place you wanted to visit is closed. Planning ahead helps avoid these headaches.
Have you ever taken a year long trip before? Have any more ideas on what to plan for before a trip? Any Questions? Feel free to comment below!