The trip has been in the planning for 40 years, but raising children, paying for college and needing to eat have kept pushing the trip to the back burner. Here are some things I have learned during the four decades of planning and 5 decades of short trips. Check out every source where others travel and post (that's what I am doing here). Some of these places are Virtual Tourist.com, Horizons Unlimited.com, and of course, Lonely Planet. Find every catalogue that sells anything you even imagine you might need--get the best quality you can afford at the cheapest price. Never skimp! Quality pays, garbage doesn't. Next, learn languages. Of particular use are Spanish for most of South America, Mexico, Spain. French is useful in West Africa, Portugese is used in Angola, Mozambique, and Brazil. A few words of a native's language, no matter how poorly pronounced, will gain a bit more courtesy than just pointing at a map and repeating your questions in your own language.
Make at least three copies of all documents. Do your budget homework down to the bare bones then add 30 percent.
Check out the different forums that exchange sleeping quarters.
Not much learned for the number of years, but noone has accused me of being brilliant.
Our trip will begin in the very late winter of 2010. We have a 2003 Suzuki motor scooter equipped for long range touring and will camp out most of the time. Every country has a website that in one way or another will tell you where the campgrounds are located. We will ride from Oregon in the U.S. down through Mexico, Central America and then circle South America. Will ship from either Georgetown, Guyana, or Caracas, VE to the UK or France. Will cover about 40 countries in Europe, then into the 'Stans before going to Israel, Jordan, etc., then into Africa where we will ride down the west coast and back up the east to Livingston then out from Mombasa to Mumbai India to Kuala Lumpur to East Timor to Oz. Will come back through as many of the WWII Island battlegrounds as we can then Philippines before coming back home to Korea for a few months, then back to Oregon were we will finish out our lives stealing tomatoes from the neighbors. Should be two years and a bit, cost $25,000USD, and cover around 100 countries.
Wow, that's some trip! Looks like you've done your homework. I'll be very interested to read the responses to this - particularly with regard to your budget. US$25000 equates to about £16700 - or, for your trip, about £600 - £650 per month. Roughly £20 per day? Do people think that would be do-able with fuel and food costs, even with camping? Easier in India and the Far East maybe... but would it work out once you factor in the UK, the US and Europe?
The very best of luck to you, whatever. It'll be a fantastic trip.
Sorry Stantheman, I failed to mention two small, insignifcant points of no consequence. The $25,000 is what we have saved for the trip. I also have a disposable income of $900 a month that will be used, and have made arrangements to work in five different countries for one month each. Not that this extra money will make any difference since without it, I would just put the wife out to beg and she would only be allowed to eat one meal a day and only 3 days a week. As the driver of the scoot I would naturally require more food. In lieu of gasoline on the flat stretches I would assist her in keeping her waist line down by allowing her to push the scooter. Again, as much as I would love to help her, someone has to ride the scooter and steer it, being ready to apply the brakes should the need arise. I also have made arrangements to send articles and photos to a certain motorcycle magazine 4 times a year for $1200 each, provided of course, that my writing is worthwhile and the photos are acceptable.
We did the math, and came up with an average of $40 a day. In South America, Africa, India, and most of S.E. Asia, we can get by on less than $20, whereas in Europe, the Middle East, the 'Stans, and of course, the UK, Scandanavia, the cost will be much more. We will go through Europe very quickly.She will stand on the seat and take photos as we roar by Paris, Bergen, Oslo, and the other cities in Europe where a tourist is required to carry a sign saying "fleece me. I'm a sucker."
The scooter gets about 50mpg-and since we are sightseeing we figure the most we will cover in one day is 300 miles or 6 gallons of fuel. No hotels, nothing where the entry fee is more than 4 bucks, no luxurious restaurants. Well, once or twice in each country just to sample the different gastronomy. We have locations for campgrounds throughout Europe, and when we leave the States we will carry 60 lbs. of dried foodstuffs to be used in Europe so we won't have to pay the high prices for food as often as we would without preparing for them. I will post photos of the scooter when the pannier racks and top box support are welded in. Right now, the only unusual work are the support racks to keep Old Woman from falling off. After she had the stroke she lost most of the mobility of her right side and tends to fall off the scoot when I make a hard left lean. I got tired of going back and picking her up, or flinching when in desparation, she would sink her teeth into my neck to hang on.
Impressive trip and the planning it took to get to it.
It took 40 years but the time will make the trip even that more enjoyable to you when you start to experience it. Good luck!
Good to see you're taking a sense of humour with you, too. I take it the old woman shares it!
[ Edit: Edited on 06-May-2009, at 12:15 by MartianTom ]
Makings of a wonderful trip. You plan well.
You'll make it look easy - even if things go wrong.
Go for it.
I see I made a mistook witch aye neerly neavr do. The trip will begin early, not late 2010. It MIGHT begin as late as the end of March 2010, but the plans are for arriving back in the states in November, putting everything together, visiting the grandchildren, children and friends through Christmas and New Years, then having my brother-in-law truck us over the snow bound pass into warmer climes in California. We'll spend enough time riding around the states to see things we likely won't have another chance to see and then head for South America, rounding the tip and back up to Guyana.
For anyone who might not know, the best source of campground locations are the Roger's guides which you can buy cheaply on Amazon.
If you are planning to avoid cities for fear of getting ripped off you'll be missing a lot - and all for something that hasn't even happened. They can also be as cheap as you want them to be if you know what you're doing. Walking is best in most places with daypacks loaded with supermarket-bought food and water. If you need to sit down for a coffee break, there are plenty of places away from tourist spots that cater for the people who work there - or just eat lunch in a park.
I would also suggest taking the time to enjoy Europe in general rather than race round it, even if it means cutting some countries. Using 'B' roads for instance, you'll see more and meet people who will take an interest in you, especially if you stop and eat locally once in a while. It's often very cheap and you won't need 50 pounds of dried food. Lidls and Aldi food stores are everywhere if you want to keep the costs down and there are plenty of open markets with fresh local produce - probably some of the best you'll ever see.
One of the nicest places I visited was Bruges in Belgium. Beautiful, just strolling round.
Anyway - these are just my thoughts.
[ Edit: Edited on 17-May-2009, at 20:23 by fabyomama ]
I hadn't planned on avoiding the cities, but will avoid the touristy places like paying 16 bucks to see the Roman Baths, or 15USD to enter St. Paul's Cathedral. 45 to go on the Capri cable car--8 bucks for a glass of cola. Nope, been there, done that and learned. We camp near the cities, day trip in, avoid paying the huge fees, take pictures, stroll the open markets, eat in small cafes on the edges of smaller villages. We have both seen enough cathedrals, churchs, towers, to last a lifetime and what we are planning on is more of a historic or nature trip. I have made many trips to Europe and UK and seen the prices for everything go up 1 or even 2000 percent in the past 20 years. There are still a few places in England I would like to see, but we will not spend any time in London except to visit friends. Paris is the same. Kwang Hee would like to see the Louvre, Notre Dame, and a few other things because she hasn't seen Paris. We will do that and then hit some old historic villages on the way east.
I don't plan on being regarded as a money cow to the "attractions" of Europe.
Can understand being 'cathedralled out', unless you're a student of architecture of course. Just sounded like a bit of a mission to 'do Europe' and move on, which would have been a pity.
Anyway - epic trip! Good luck with your plans.