And the idea was born

We don’t even remember when did the first spark come. We were already travelling for years alone, with friends or with the NGO where our positions required us to travel, for shorter or longer period. Then we met each other and since we lived in different countries for almost 3 years, Never a weekend home was ready to be born.

The idea to get to know the whole world was definitely a childhood dream, but I am not sure whether we actually thought about it seriously in the past. Some years ago our friends went on a world trip, they bought their ticket with Round the world flights, and suddenly the whole thing became real. Bea visited their talk in November 2016 during a Hungarian backpacker festival (where in 2018 we had the chance to talk as speakers) organised by the most travelled Hungarian, Vándorboy, more details were heard there, and the rest is… history? 🙂

Let us tell you how did we spend the last 3 years in order to be ready for this life changing experience!

Selecting the countries

This was definitely the easiest part during the preparation! Spin that globe and start to dream!

As step 1, we were collecting all the countries and festivals we ever wanted to visit, and wrote them down in an Google sheet.

Visa

Then we checked whether and how it is possible to enter those countries. Checking our country’s Consular Services, we collected information on conditions of entry, visa agreements, consular fees, and legal regulations.

In the abovementioned Google sheet, we added an extra column for the visa application process (whether we need travel authorisation – ETA or ESTA or similar -, on which website can we apply, can we get visa on arrival or we need to go to an embassy etc.) and the amount of days we can spend there with tourist visa.

Weather

Since our plan is to travel lightweight, only with one hand luggage per head, we try to bring as few clothes as possible.

For this reason, we have created a so-called weather matrix, based on the rainy months and expected period for cold weather in the given countries, which helped us to form an initial itinerary.

If you have no time to create such a matrix, Selective Asia can give you great tips when to visit the Asian countries.

Visit selectiveasia.com to find the best month to discover the countries in Asia

Packing list

Based on our previous travels and with the help of other world travellers, we collected a list of necessary travel items, which includes bags, clothes, shoes, gadgets, electronics, hygiene items, water filters, cards and so forth. We found it important to spend enough time working on this list since we needed to pack smart and we wanted to buy quality things for a good value.

Our aim of travelling lightweight – so not bringing more than a hand luggage – was very important to plan with the bare necessities.

We are writing a post and shoot a video about packing, stay tuned!

Vaccines

The balanced timeline of preparation requires thinking about the vaccines on time! We are leaving for India in November, but we had our first consultation with the doctor already in February. This gives us enough time to get all the vaccination necessary since some vaccines require a couple of weeks between the doses, or some vaccines cannot be mixed with other ones.

In Hungary there are public and private vaccination centers, and since in the latter you need to pay a fee for every visit (and an extra “vaccine fee” for every shot), we chose a public one, because we could save a handsome amount this way.

In some cases, only reminder shots were needed since we’ve got already some vaccines for Mongolia and Siberia, but in others, we got completely new ones – e.g. against yellow fever, which is needed to enter South America.

We don’t want to tell you which vaccines shall be taken, please check the consulate’s page and consult your doctor about this 🙂

Budget

This could have been easily the first step since it is the best to start to save up from day 0.

However, maybe it makes it easier if you know approximately how much money you will need during your trip, and for this, you need to check the countries, the packing list, the vaccines, etc. and their prices. As usual, we recommend you to write everything down in that Google sheet! 😉

What I did to calculate it was the following:

  1. Check the countries where you want to go
  2. Decide approximately how many days you want to spend in the given country (for this, you can use the maximum amount of days allowed with a tourist visa).
  3. Check www.numbeo.com and www.budgetyourtrip.com, and check the daily amount of money you need for your trip for food, accommodation, and local transport. I decided about my travel style (what you need to add to the formula) by checking a country I’ve visited in the past and I checked normally how much I spent there, so we knew that the budget traveller fits us the best.
  4. For plane tickets, check the approximate average amount you would spend travelling between the stops by wandering around on Skyscanner, Kayak explorer and Google Flights.
  5. Check your packing list and check what are the possible places you can get the items on it. We were looking for different discounts, seasonal sales, outlets, we bought the backpacks and hiking boots during Black Friday, we ordered some stuff from Amazon, I did a lot of research to find the best price for quality deals for electronics – for such a high budget trip every euro saving will count!
  6. Add everything which can be needed for a world trip: getting new bank cards, new passport, getting vaccines – all of these have some fee.

Timeline

Some world travellers left just months after they had the big decision, for us it took longer due to CV building, money saving and general preparation.

In this part, we would like to share some things which might come naturally when you do the planning, but it is better to make a check-list for the timeline, in order to allow ourselves to have enough time to finish everything.

Vaccines

We asked for appointment at the Vaccine center in February, this gave us more than enough time to get the vaccines which were recommended for our trip. As we mentioned above, keep it in mind that there are vaccines between which you may need to keep some weeks buffer, before you get the second one, or there are also vaccines where you get several doses and you need to keep 1-3 weeks between them.

Credit and debit cards

Check the expiration date and apply for a new one if it is expiring during your trip! It takes around 2 weeks to get a new card.

Passport, ID, international driving permit

In Hungary it takes up to 3 weeks to receive a new passport, so make sure that you apply for it on time. It is also tricky to get an appointment, especially during summer – I had a free slot for the following day and the next one was only in a month, so check the appointments also in time!

Working holiday schemes

If you spend some months in a country with a working holiday visa, don’t forget to prepare for the application period! For instance, the places for New Zealand visa for Hungarians can be filled within 7 seconds, so it is important to familiarise yourself with the process. If you speak Hungarian, check this website!

Unemployment support, checking out of the country

If you are taking some time for preparation before leaving for the trip, you can try to ask for unemployment support to get some money when you are not working. Besides, check the procedure of checking out of your country if you are leaving for a longer period of time, it may take some time to arrange it.

Quitting your job, cancelling your flat contract

In Hungary, the notice for leaving your job can be 1-6 months, cancelling the flat contract is around a month.

Finding the best self-storage for your items which are staying home

This is the moment when you realise that all of your stuff shall fit in one luggage. But what happens with the rest? If you are lucky, you can shove them at your parent’s place, but if you don’t have such an option, take some time to compare self-storage places, especially if you plan to travel for years.

If you happen to have too many clothes and items which may be unnecessary for you in the future, consider donating or selling them. (Check local Red Cross or the Facebook groups – e.g. Used stuff for sale in Budapest, or “Budapest minden ingyen” – in your area for the opportunities.)

Buying the first plane ticket

Depending on how far you want to start, it is better to start the plane ticket hunt half year in advance for continent jumps, where the prices tend to be the best. It took me couple of days to find the best ticket for India – the basic ticket cost only 130 EUR from Budapest to Kerala, South India!

Ready, steady…

If you have your checklist ready, packed your bag, you have nothing left to celebrate your last days with your friend, enjoy your own city as a traveller already and get ready for the best experience of your life!

Good luck, fellow travellers! 🙂