We get asked a lot: So, where are you travelling to?
The world is a BIG PLACE...
THE WORLD IS A BIG PLACE.
This is about the time when it starts to really settle in that there's a seemingly infinite amount of things to do and we only have one year to do it.
As someone who has traveled before you might be wondering why this is starting to become stressful. Well first off, Greg and I have very different travel backgrounds and expectations. I lived in Europe when I was 22 on an international exchange in the Netherlands, so I have seen parts of Europe and know what to expect. Greg, on the other hand, is leaving North America for the first time and has a fresh perspective on the whole adventure.
"The first time I traveled, I knew nothing."
I'll admit I've been over confident with the whole "planning" portion of our trip and initially did not put a whole lot of thought into the details. I was lucky that my last experience went so well, even though I knew so little about where I was going. I keep forgetting though, that six years ago I was traveling going to go to school and had friends to help me plan my weekend adventures.
The first time I traveled, I knew nothing. I never even researched the weather in Holland before I left and was shocked at how much it rained (which is hilarious because it rains a LOT there)...
Preparing to travel somewhere for a year, that's unrelated to work or school, is different. We have a strict budget and need to know what to pack, what vaccinations to get, and how long to stay.
At this point you might be wondering how the heck we decided where we are going and when.
Let's dissect this a little!
As mentioned in a previous post, we used our network a lot to help us decide our destinations. However, regardless of how we acquired this information (via informational interviews with friends or from good ole Google) we used the following questions as guidelines:
What is this place known for?
When is there tourist season? (We wanted to avoid it like the plague)
Are there any customs or traditions we should be aware of? (We wanted to be respectful)
What should we avoid? (What are the tourist "traps"?)
"We had to come to terms that some of those experiences will have to be saved for a later time and be okay with that."
Once we had the answers to the above, we also considered the following factors:
Is it expensive for the Canadian dollar?/How much should it costs to stay there per day?
How warm will it be during certain times of the year?
What things will we miss if we don't go during "peak" season?
What is the cost of a flight/transportation when we get there?
This helped us narrow down what we wanted to do in our year abroad. Yes, we realize that there are XXXX number of other beautiful and life changing places to see in our magical world. We had to come to terms that some of those experiences will have to be saved for a later time and be okay with that.
At this point you might be interested to know exactly where we are going. Those are fun details we want to keep to ourselves (check out our instagram for more details), but here are the continents we'll be exploring:
For #flights and #destination decisions, we decided to visit places in what are called "shoulder" seasons. These are times of year that are warm and still "ideal", but aren't as touristy because they're not in a prime time, so you'll still get to experience the glory that place is known for but at a cheaper price and without the crowds.
Some great flight resources that we'd recommend include:
When you're travelling, it's also important to visit your local travel clinic to determine what #vaccinations you'll need. Some of them might be covered by your health insurance, so consult your physician and employer benefits before you commit to any vaccinations. As Canadians, for our travels we needed:
Tetanus (recommended every 5 years)
Malaria (pills as needed)
*Krystal's reluctant, but important message:* While sponeantuity is fun and important for any adventure, there are some details that need to be accounted for, so that:
You don't get sick
You don't spend money you don't have
You don't regret not seeing something amazing you didn't know about
Another big factor we had to consider was that we are traveling to these continents without a travel VISA. This restricts how long we can stay in certain places such as within Europe. What we've learned is that there are countries in Europe grouped into what is known as the Schengen area where you can only stay in those areas for a total of 90 days in a 180 day period without a VISA. This is one of the major reasons why we're only staying in Europe from the end of September until December and then heading to Southeast Asia.
So, if you're planning a longer adventure like were are, it is possible on a budget! Be prepared to ask questions to help you make informed decisions and so that you don't come home with any travellers' regret.
We know: the world IS a big place, and this is how we're planning to see a little piece of it.
P.S. Greg *does* know where we're going... I just like to tease him since it's his first time. Also, the above recommendations and links are our own!
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