Sunday, October 23, 2011

No Backing Out Now!

We are officially committed.  There is no turning back now!  We made Round-The-World (RTW) ticket purchases through AirTreks.  Our travel agent was most helpful in finding alternate routes, cheapest routes, etc. We were only able to make actual flight reservations through the end of September, since reservations are available one-year in advance.  We will have to make the reservations for our final leg at a later time.

After reviewing the various itineraries, our 6-month RTW ticket comes to ~$4800/traveler, which includes travel insurance and cancelation insurance.

Here is a rough outline of our flight pattern.  We will experience layovers in a wide variety of destinations; experience many different airlines we have never heard of; and basically plan on lengthy travel times.  Oh well.  That's part of the adventure!

(We are taking a major detour to Tokyo first, but will be back to the States to start our official RTW journey).  Layover spots in italics.  Atlanta, Georgia > Miami, Florida > Caracas, Venezuela > Quito, Ecuador > Lima, Peru > Santiago, Chile > Buenos Aires, Argentina > back to Quito, Ecuador > Madrid, Spain > Istanbul, Turkey > Riga, Latvia > Tel Aviv, Israel....That's all we've got booked so far.  Destinations past September will include Asia.

Airlines we will be flying: American Airlines, Air Baltic, Lan Airlines, Santa Barbara Airlines.

I must confess.  I have some butterflies in my stomach from two things: our first major purchase towards this trip, and the significance of the purchase towards making this more of a reality than ever before.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Rough Guide to First Time Around the World, by Doug Lansky

One of the most useful books to date on round-the-world trip planning is this one. We have read it multiple times already. It provides excellent tips, packing lists, prep checklists, and so forth. The information on health insurance, travel insurance, budgeting, safety and so on gives us a lot to think about. More than you ever thought you needed to think about...

The World Map

For inspiration, and to get familiar with some of the more geographically challenged areas in my brain, one of the first things we did was to hang this world map in out bedroom so it is the first thing I see when we wake up, and the last thing I think about before we go to sleep.

Setting the Itinerary

It seems premature, but one of our first tasks is to set the itinerary for our major round-the-world destination spots.  This is very important because we want our round-the-world travel agent that we are working with through, to have plenty of time to book the best available flight options.  The longer we wait, the best airfare and schedule may dwindle.  Some travelers may opt to purchase separate legs of air travel on their own.  We feel that going through an agency that specializes in round-the-world travel helps keep the airfare as economical as possible.

Up to this point, we've had a wish list of destination spots such as Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey, Morocco, Argentina, and so forth; however, it's an entirely different story when we need to commit to putting actual departure and arrival dates to these places.

So, we took advantage of the perfect weather on a Sunday afternoon by taking our laptop, iPhones, pen, paper, dog, and a bottle of wine outside on our patio and went to work.

6-Month Countdown

One of the first major decisions is to set an actual target date for when all of this is going to happen.  Setting a concrete date is helpful for not only planning, but also to start acting like this is "for real."  Back in July of 2011, we set our launch date for sometime in May of 2012.  That would give us almost 10 months to plan our sabbatical.