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Four Months To Go!

Monthly Planning Update

The clock is ticking…

The trip planning is heating up and it’s time to revisit where we are on our main metrics:

Trip Planning Metrics

Budget

As stated in our monthly budget update for May Vicky and I have $40k currently saved and are saving more every month. Though we will likely be shy of our $65k goal, we feel comfortable that we will have enough money to fund our trip. There are no more major outstanding costs (non travel related) left so it’s just straight saving from here on out for the next 4 months. We save about $2k-3k per month. Furthermore, we have saved up a significant amount of rewards miles/points (combined over 100k) on various travel cards (Capital One Venture Card/ Chase Sapphire), which we hope to use towards our initial plane flight to Japan.

Packing/Purchasing

Frankly we haven’t packed a thing. We’ve barely even bought anything for the trip with the exception of a few small trinkets (sleep sac, camcorder, voice recorder, infinity dress). Luckily this is all baked into our budget so it’s nothing we haven’t planned for, but it’s safe to say that there are some major travel related expenses (backpack, electronics) in our future. We’ve done some research into travel apparel and it seems like specifically for South East Asia where humidity levels are high we will need to discard all our cotton clothes and swap those out for quick dry, sweat resistant fabrics. Instead of purchasing at retail price online or in sports stores we will be scoping out discount stores (TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack) for some good deals.

Route

Our route is about halfway complete. Vicky has been planning everyday and is just finishing up the Asia Tour. Soon we will have to discuss our Europe tour. Moreover, while we have a general idea of the order of the countries as well as transportation between them, we have not hashed out what we want to do in all of them. Luckily I work with many people from Asia and I will be going to them for some expert advice in addition to what Vicky already has done from various sites/research.

Vaccinations

We have just started thinking about vaccinations and are apparently off to a late start already (the first of two doses of Hepatitis A apparently needs to be started 6 months in advance – oops). As we have recently learned health insurance generally does not cover travel vaccinations so this has come as a minor shock to us considering how expensive the vaccines are (three doses of the rabies vaccine is $570). Fortunately we will be able to get the majority of our travel shots at the health clinic located at Dave’s office (what a relief). As for the others – yellow fever, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis we will have to seek out travel clinics in the DC area.

Visas

We haven’t even started the application process for any of our visas yet. Looks like we will need to have the China visa squared away before we go, but as for the others we shall be applying for those when we are abroad.

Travel Insurance

We have decided to purchase travel insurance for our trip but have yet to decide on a specific company. From most of the travel bloggers out there it seems like World Nomads is the best choice so we will most likely be purchasing a policy from them. Stay tuned for details.

Overall

As you can see we have a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in. With every passing day we make progress towards our trip, whether it be polishing the website, writing more articles, or clearly defining our route.

On an emotional note, the anxiety is starting to build up and a lot of questions are without answers:

  • How will we function as not only traveling companions but business partners?
  • Will we be able to stand each other for 24 hours, under potentially stressful conditions?
  • What will we miss out on while we’re gone? (two years is beginning to sound much longer than it used to)
  • Will we be able to deal with being separated from friends and family for long?
  • What will we do afterwards (re-entry plan)?
  • Will we be able to stay safe and healthy?

And more practically:

  • Will we have enough money?
  • Will the website be ready?
  • Will we be able make money while traveling?

In future posts we will revisit these questions and likely add more, but for now, back to work!

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11 Responses to Four Months To Go!

  1. I love when other travellers are as diligent for their pre-planning as I am! Makes me feel far less nerdy (or maybe just a bit cooler for BEING nerdy!).

    Be careful with World Nomads – especially when it comes to their electronics cover. We found we couldn’t get cover through them for anything over NZ$1000 which was basically everything we wanted insured anyway. Here’s a link to where I discussed our purchase- maybe it can help you guys. http://flashpackerfamily.com/travel-insurance-for-nomads/

    You really don’t need quick dry travel clothes in South East Asia. Cotton is definitely best. If you don’t need them in another country before you arrive, just pick up a few things here. I find long cotton pants, vest tops and cotton shirts the easiest things to wear here in Asia. They are all easy and cheap to purchase in Bangkok or wherever you hit first.

    The Hepatitis vaccination should be done six weeks out, not months so you’re all good on that front! Unless you’re going to some really off-the-beaten path areas you won’t need the rabies vaccination. Even if you have the vaccination you still need to get shots in the even of getting bitten. The Jap E vaccination is very cheap to have done in Thailand as they immunize all children against it so hospitals purchase it in bulk. You don’t really need that either though.

    Good on you for saving up SO much in advance! That is a brilliant achievement in itself.

    Bethaney - Flashpacker Family May 18, 2012 at 11:22 PM Reply
    • Thanks for all the tips – I’ll definitely check out your insurance article. From what I read the Hep A vaccine is given in 2 doses – the second dose 6-12 months after the first one so that’s what we’re definitely too late for. I think we’re going to skip the rabies vaccine (and hopefully not regret that move in the future)!. I have also read that vaccines are really cheap in Thailand, along with malaria pills – speaking of which — did you bring malaria pills with you – if so which ones?

      Vicky May 22, 2012 at 8:15 AM Reply
  2. My husband and I are planning to leave on a RTW rip in August, so we’ve been doing some investigating into vaccinations and the like as well. First, Hep A is a 2-dose vaccination, but you really only need to get the first one before your trip, as the second dose (which you should get about a year later) is to give you lifelong immunity. Might as well get the first one before you head out and get the second one when you get back (or somewhere along the way while on the road). Also, if you are only planning on going to Asia & Europe, there’s no need to worry about Yellow Fever. From what I have read, that’s only a concern if you’re traveling to certain parts of Africa and/or South America.

    Don’t know about the need for special clothing in SEA because we’re still in North America, but I think the benefit to buying those clothes is not just because they help keep you cool but they also dry much faster if you are hand-washing your clothing as you go (whereas cotton apparently takes much longer to dry). If you are thinking you want to go that route, definitely check out Target, because they have cheap moisture-wicking undies, and even “cool-dry” t-shirts for men (the ladies section is quite lacking, I’ve found). We also went to Academy Sports and found they had really great prices on utility clothing as well as other items for our trip (like cheap sleep sacks, stuff sacks, deet-based insect repellent, etc.,) so if you have on near you, I’d definitely check them out.

    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) May 24, 2012 at 11:29 AM Reply
    • Thanks for picking up on the Hep A typo – I meant to write that it was a two dose vaccine. We’ll definitely get the first dose before we leave and just get the second dose when we’re on the road. Think we might get the yellow fever vaccine while we’re here just in case we spontaneously decide to fly over to South America/Africa. Good point about the sporty clothes drying faster – I forgot to mention that in the post. Thanks for the tip on Target – I hadn’t even considering looking there but will definitely check it out now. Not sure if there is an Academy Sports in the area but will have to check. Thanks for checking out our site, taking the time to comment, and sharing all those tips!

      Vicky May 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM Reply
  3. Having gone through it my biggest piece of advice is not to get caught up buying expensive travel clothing and gear. You do not need special clothing to travel and inevitably youll buy stuff on the road anyway.

    But it is a very exciting time, I remember that feeling fondly.

    Ayngelina June 4, 2012 at 12:48 AM Reply
    • Thanks for the tip! I guess it really is a matter of figuring out which items to bring since we won’t be able to fit everything we want into our backpacks! We are definitely going to stay away from expensive travel gear and would rather use that money to get better electronics. We might have to splurge on shoes though – we both bought sports sandals before our trip to Israel in 2010 which happened to be poorly made and gave us horrible blisters so now we’re going to really look into comfortable sports shoes.

      Vicky June 6, 2012 at 7:59 AM Reply
  4. What an exciting time for you guys! I am at a similar stage myself, so look forward to following along on your progress 🙂

    Hannah June 6, 2012 at 9:41 AM Reply
  5. Brings back wonderful memories of my RTW. The planning for the trip was half the fun of it!

    Spencer June 6, 2012 at 11:43 PM Reply
    • Thanks Spencer – we’re certainly experiencing that as well!

      Dave and Vicky June 7, 2012 at 9:10 PM Reply
  6. Pingback: One Month To Go

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