Itinerary Tips from The Blonde Wanderer
[singlepic=1528,250,,,right]Even though Bill & Cindy Peterson have a great deal of combined travel experience, the idea of taking a year off from their careers still terrified them. Like most Americans, the difficult thing for them to get over was the “work hard, save for retirement” mentality.
Still they knew that if they didn’t take this opportunity now to travel the world, they would regret it down the road. And they found their corporate experience to be very beneficial in planning a year of backpacking the globe.
“We used our previous travel experience and our Corporate America budgeting and Excel skills to plan an overall budget. Our budget was broken down into maintenance costs (storage, cell phones, etc.); time for ‘re-entry’ (into the work world), and actual travel money. Our travel money allowance allowed us to establish a monthly travel budget and pick destinations and activities that we could afford.”
Bill & Cindy are now more than half way through their trip, and even managed to extend it from 12 to 14 months by stretching their travel budget even further. They took time off from the road to share with us their favorite tips on creating an itinerary that works best for you.
[singlepic=1530,175,,,right]1. Don’t try to cram in too much in a short period of time. Three months in SE Asia may seem like a lot, but it’s not. It’s hard as Americans who normally have to carefully plan our limited vacation to just go with the flow; but you’ll find it will save you money and provide you with a lot more flexibility to experience the places that really speak to you. Plus the more you are on the move, the more costly it is. We learned this lesson the hard way our first few months on the road and had to readjust our mindset accordingly.
[singlepic=1531,200,,,right]2. Strive for as many authentic experiences as you can. Stay with local families, friends living abroad, or home stays when you can find them. Volunteer in local communities, especially those places you visit that need it the most. My husband and I volunteered in a Cambodian orphanage and schools in Indonesia, and are planning to do more volunteer work in South America later in the year. These experiences will turn out to be the best and most authentic of your travels, and provide memories that will last a lifetime.
3. Focus on the travel schedule that is right for you. For both of us, it was important to connect with our family and friends, so we planned a two-month US tour in the middle of our year of traveling. We saw a lot of new places in our own country and spent quality time reconnecting with the people we’d missed the most. As an added benefit, it gave us some mid-point reverse culture shock relief!
[singlepic=1529,200,,,right]We already know that our biggest lessons have come from our new perspective on our world and the most important things in life. So many Americans are tied down with too much debt, too many ‘things’ and the expectation to acquire more things! We have vowed to maintain a budget travel lifestyle and continue to strive for authentic travel experiences and the flexibility to continue to travel as much as we can in the real world. In the meantime though, we are just enjoying each other and new experiences every day.
You can follow along on their adventures at The Blonde Wanderer. And we look forward to watching them transition through the re-entry process when they return to the States in 2010.