Route Planning: The Deep Dive
We’ve recently spent quite a bit of time figuring out a more detailed route and have sorted through some of the big details.
Here’s the plan:
- Fly into London; Spend 5.5 weeks hopping trains towards Istanbul.
- Fly into Dar es Salaam; Spend 5 weeks moving overland to Johannesburg routed through Etosha National Park and Cape Town.
- Fly into Bangkok; Spend 10 weeks moving to Kuala Lumpur rounded through Chiang Mai, Laos, Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, and Siem Riep.
- Fly into Sydney; Spend 3 weeks campervaning up the coast and another two weeks from Christchurch to Auckland.
- Back to the states in mid-March.
Now that’s about as detailed as we are going to get for awhile. Next up on the list of things to figure out is routing the stops through Europe. This one’s tough though with so many options so there will likely be much debate.
I’ve also found some great deals on flights along the way with a few of them booked. Los Angeles to London, Istanbul to Dar es Salaam, and Johannesburg to Bangkok goes for $1,400 flat.
Travel / Medical Insurance
I plan to keep my medical insurance and we’re hoping that Kris can keep hers as well. If necessary, I’ve heard good things about World Nomads and we can get covered for less that $50 / month. I’ll explore that option in the future if necessary.
One of the biggest wastes of money on a trip abroad would be giving money to the bank just to access your own cash. While I avoid some of it with current set up with USAA, they still charge a 1% foreign transaction fee for use of the debit card and do not refund ATM fees internationally. So, Kris and I are setting up a joint checking account with Charles Schwab which is consistently recommended by worn travelers. No ATM fees and no foreign transaction fees. I also have my Marriott Premier card as a credit card option which does not charge a foreign transaction fee. Kris is on the search for a new credit card, but she’s leaning towards the CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards.
Cleanings and Check Ups
Gotta keep my body and teeth in working order for the trip so I’ll be visiting a doctor and dentist for a checkup here soon. A good cleaning is in order as well so I’ll be sure to get this done as close to our departure date as possible.
Handling mail while we are traveling might be as simple as having mail forwarded to friends or family, but I do not want to put the burden to handle anything that might come through. I’m also expecting some checks for work to come in after we leave so need someone that can handle a deposit for me. There are commercial mail handling services out there that will scan mail in and let you read it online so I’ll be doing some research on these coming up here soon. Stay tuned.
Get Some Extra Passport Photos
Additional passport photos might be necessary for visa applications as well as to make it easier to replace a passport should we need it. Local drug stores charge an arm and a leg so we’ll be taking some of our own based on these guidelines.
The Global Road
While it is not strictly required to have an international driver’s license to operate a vehicle abroad, the cost is cheap ($15) for an added layer of security. You are legally allowed to drive in any country with a license from your home state. An international driver’s license is simply a universally translated document recognized by nearly every country. We’ll be taking our own photos for it and applying at a local AAA office to pick one up before our trip.