Travel is our great passion and we love to discover new countries and places. And so at the beginning of 2014 we had the crazy idea to just take a break from our long-term jobs and go on a world tour for 6 months. So let´s do it. After a long planning and preparation, the adventure began for us on December 15, 2014 in Iceland and took us across the Caribbean to South America, Central America, Hawaii, Australia & New Zealand, the South Seas, on to Asia and finally to Africa. Our goal was to orbit the world in 6 months, seeing some of the most interesting and important places on the planet.
Making dreams come true!
The most important thing ahead: our world trip was magnificent! Absolute madness. The best we’ve seen so far. The journey of our lives ❤
Making a trip around the world is certainly the dream of many. We just wanted to take a break over a long period of time, forget the usual everyday life, no longer think in weekdays and weekends, travel far away countries, get to know new cultures and experience extraordinary places and dreamlike nature. Everything was right for us and we could not have found a better moment: we are healthy, independent, have no obligations and have worked out the necessary financial resources over the years to make our dream come true. A mad 192 days lay ahead of us – packed with dreamlike experiences and activities.
“We are gone and turn our backs on Germany for six months…” – To say that and to put it into practice is certainly not an easy decision. There are simply too many reasons to oppose it. Reasons such as work, family, housing and of course the cost. But a break and a trip around the world was our big dream – and we were able to realize it together. So why a world trip?
In keeping with our thoughts on the world tour, Focus has the title theme in october 2014 in issue 41, “I’ll get out of it… The Dream of the Sabbatical” with very interesting reports on different dropouts published. You can read the report here.
Once Around the World – Our Itinerary
5 continents, 28 countries and once around the world in 192 days – that was our plan. We wanted to see the fascinating blue ice caves in Iceland, spend New Year’s Eve at the Copacabana in Rio, climb the Inca site Machu Picchu in Peru, explore the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, marvel at one of the seven new wonders of the world chichén itza in Mexico, stand in front of an active volcano in Hawaii, experience the Ayers Rock in Australia at sunrise, , running a piece on the Great Wall of China, releasing baby turtles in Indonesia to freedom, taking a selfie in front of the Taj Mahal in India, watching wild animals in the Serengeti… and so much more. And in just 6 months. A tight plan – but perfect for us.
The itinerary of our world tour took us across all 5 continents to 28 countries and about 50 cities. We flew 57 times and covered a total of 108,000 kilometres of flight. This is certainly not the ideal ecological footprint! But otherwise, such far-off destinations as Bora Bora or Hawaii simply cannot be achieved in a meaningful way.
Planning our world trip
Packing your bags for 6 months and simply saying “We’re gone” is more than exciting, but it also requires a lot of planning. One of the most frequently asked questions about our trip around the world was, “Did you plan everything or do everything spontaneously?” And the answer to this was clear to us from the outset: Excel, Google, Swoodoo, TripAdvisor and voucher portals are our best friends: we are among the planners 🙂
There are certainly many different approaches to a (world) journey: some just want to enjoy the free time and see where it takes them. Without great preparation, without time pressure. Just live into the day without knowing where you might sleep the next day. Others, on the other hand, plan at least roughly the goals and then look individually on site, where they stay and for how long. This is generally a good approach and certainly works perfectly if you want to concentrate on a few countries or regions and then experience and explore them all the more intensively.
Our approach was completely different: our goal was to see as much of the world as possible in the 6 months. 2 weeks in the same city, in the same hotel, on the same beach is nothing for us. There are so many beautiful places in the world that we haven’t seen before, and we wanted to take as many of them as we could during this break. That is definitely a challenge. And that can only be done with good planning. From our first spontaneous idea of a world trip to the realization of the first flight, we had taken a good 8 months for all the preparations. Talking to the employer, route planning, hotel selection, insurance, vaccinations and so much more – there was a lot to do…
Such an accurate advance planning is a lot of work – but has many positive aspects. On the one hand, we did not want to deal with where we are tomorrow, how we get there and where we can spend the best place to stay during the world trip. This was too uncertain for us, especially during peak travel times. Some flights (especially intercontinental flights) are often booked out quickly. It’s good to know how to get from A to B beforehand. And another aspect is certainly the budget. If you spend a lot of time planning, you can also do a relatively good research on which hotel or which flight is cheapest at what price and with which services. There is a lot of time spent planning this kind of time. We started with the rough planning of our destinations a good 8 months in advance and refined our plan over the weeks more and more… a lot of time that we didn’t want to spend during the world trip. Because during the trip we just wanted to enjoy 🙂
We knew that the exact planning could make it stressful, because we were bound to a rather strict schedule. And there can always be something in between (flight failure, weather, delays, illness, etc.). That was our risk. But until now, such planned trips with the necessary buffer in the right places have always worked quite well. And having such a large schedule is – with the dream goals – rather positive leisure stress.
The budget for our world trip
In the run-up to our trip around the world, we had of course thought a lot about how much money we would like to spend and what we would then have at our disposal (calculated per day) in terms of budget. We have learned, for example, that we belong to the so-called flashpackers. “Flashpackers” are all those individual travelers who have a larger budget at their disposal, but often spend less time and more money on comfort. All in all, we ended up with a sensible bill for us, with which we then planned our trip around the world.
We had planned a common daily budget of 200 EUR for hotels, food, rental cars and excursions. However, flights were excluded.
200 EUR per day sounds a lot at first, but in some of our destinations such as the Serengeti, Bora Bora, the Galapagos Islands or Rio de Janeiro on New Year’s Eve. Also certain activities such as day tours, sightseeing flights and also diving can quickly exceed the daily budget. On the other hand, you can already find really attractive hotels in Southeast Asia for less than 20 EUR per night. In the end, you simply have to find a healthy mix that you can live with in the end. All in all, you should be able to plan quite well with your fixed budget and in the end it was a mix of “sometimes super cheap days” and then again “ohh, today it gets really expensive”. But it was also important to us to enjoy the time on the ground and to take everything with us – because in the end we might have regretted not having done this or that for financial reasons. After all, who knows if you will be in this place again at some point to make up for it?
Our travel arrangements
If you go on a world tour for half a year, there are a lot of things to consider and clarify in advance. Luckily, there are now a lot of helpful tips and testimonials in many other blogs and forums. Here, too, we have collected the most important questions that have occupied us in our travel preparations.
How long do we want to be away?
Which countries do we want to see?
How do we plan the itinerary?
What is our budget?
What does our employer say?
How are we insured abroad?
How can we be reached?
What about running costs?
Who takes care of our mail?
Do we still need special vaccinations?
What are the entry requirements for each country?
What else do we have to do before then?
Which suitcase is best?
What do we take with us… and how much can all this actually weigh?
After it was clear that our employers would approve us a pre-funded sabbatical for 6 months, we first went to the rough planning of the route. If you have a world map in front of you and can simply draw a desired route for 6 months, it’s really fun. So just open Photoshop, load a world map and draw wildly on it 🙂
But as beautiful as the route on the map may sometimes look, it doesn’t always make sense. Our original plan was to travel first from Frankfurt to the east to India and from there on via Vietnam, China, Japan, etc. But after looking at the climate tables of the individual countries, these destinations were not the perfect solution at this time of year. Then we were looking for a way to get from South America to the South Seas and on to Australia. But there aren’t that many flights and a one-way flight can easily cost 1,200 euros per person. And although we would have liked to have seen the Easter Islands, this route was out of the question at this price. At the end of the world tour we had planned a longer tour through China to Tibet and on over the Himalayas to Nepal. But also this tour we had to take out of the planning, because this is not so easy with the visa for China (if you are travelling in the world).
So you come across some obstacles, which you should definitely consider in the planning of the world trip, so that you do not experience any nasty surprises afterwards. Apart from the 3 days of Iceland at the beginning, we had an average temperature of more than 25 degrees in the remaining selected countries – which is quite pleasant for 6 months. Funny here was the fact that the coldest place on our trip – according to climate tables – will probably be Las Vegas in February. We didn’t necessarily expect that now. It can get really hot in Delhi in June at almost 40 degrees.
Vaccinations – Precautions in good time
Before our trip around the world at BAD Health Care in Darmstadt, we received extensive advice on the necessary and meaningful vaccinations. Luckily, we’ve had some vaccinations through our previous trips. And what we still lacked, we have added. And the best part is that our health insurance company has taken over the (not quite cheap) bill without any objections. In the end, we had the “we-are-ascare-against-everything-vaccinated” package: yellow fever, rabies, hepatitis A, cholera, Japanese encephalitis, meningococcal, typhoid. In addition, we have equipped ourselves with malaria prophylaxis tablets.
In the BAD Health Center we have seen a very good travel vaccination card, which we do not want to withhold from you:
Packing suitcases for the world trip
Shortly before the world tour, the exciting topic “Packing suitcases for the world trip” begins. Living out of a bag for 6 months was very unusual for us and we had of course asked ourselves the question in advance: What does an ultimate packing list look like for such a long time? What do we not want to do without? And how much can everything weigh?
One of the first questions for us was: suitcase, backpack or travel bag? A suitcase is usually very robust and practical – but because of the size and weight, we ruled this out relatively quickly. Then we had a look at an Osprey Sojourn 80 travel backpack with wheels, which is in itself very well rated. But since we didn’t want to do classic backpacking and also had our normal backpack with us, a travel backpack didn’t really make sense. In the end, we opted for a Samsonite Univ-Lite roll travel bag. It has a volume of 94 l and weighs only 2.8 kg. Practically, we found above all the “double deck” construction with the division of the interior with individually separated compartments.
The thing with the “How much can our luggage weigh?” is certainly the easiest to answer. With more than 50 flights, we are more or less guided by the airlines and their permitted baggage allowances. Many airlines offer 23 kg, but especially with the low-cost airlines you have to be careful. Here, the baggage allowance is sometimes only 15 kg, which is really not much. In the end, we packed with the goal of getting below 20 kg, which we did well.
Our packing list
The following things went with us for 6 months on a world tour:
Photo equipment: SLR Camera, Canon EOS 70D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, Polarization Filter, GoPro Hero 4 & a Nikon Coolpix for underwater photography. Since the equipment was not quite cheap and a lot can happen in six months, we decided to take out a camera insurance from The PHOTO-ASSekuranz from P&P. For a whole year, this cost us just under EUR 67.
Documents: Passport, identity card, flight and train tickets or vouchers, PADI diving card & logbook, international and national driving licence, certificate of international health insurance, copy of the yellow fever vaccination, credit card, extra passport pictures (for visa-on-arrival), US dollars in cash, list of important telephone numbers
Utensils: Pillow, Travelsafe 12L, sunglasses, earplugs, padlock, suitcase strap, suitcase scale, neck pillow, sleeping mask, notebook and pens, sunscreen, cube cup, detergent, sewing gear, snorkeling equipment
Clothes: compression bag/vacuum bag, quilted jacket, sweater/cardigans, fabric pants/jeans/short pants, t-shirts, dresses, socks, underwear, bikini/bathing pants, cappy, raincape, sneakers/sneakers/flip-flops, wash bag
Travel pharmacy: Disinfection spray and wipes, disposable gloves, dressing material (mull compresses, patches, wound strips), antibiotics, pain pills, tablets for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever, sleeping pills, malarone, grippostad, ACC acute, ointment against mosquito bites (tiger balm), fenistil gel, pain gel, thermacare heat condition
Technique: Camera bag, charging cable, memory cards, battery, spare battery, USB cable, laptop, smartphone, dive computer, external hard drive, iPod & headphones, power adapter, headlamp
Here’s a little time-lapse video of how we packed our two travel bags for the world trip.
Our travel reports
In total, we have written 171 travel reports about our trip around the world. From the start of our trip in Iceland to the end of the trip in Tanzania. You can view all travel reports here.
Our 360° Selfie Video
Every new destination was super exciting and exciting and captivated us. We have seen insanely impressive nature, got to know great architecture, new cultures and people and can observe many animals up close. With our travel blog, the many photos and videos, we not only wanted to share our experience with other people, but also to create a wonderful memory of the trip. Not a day goes by to this day when we don’t talk about individual anecdotes of our journey or look at a few more photos. They are memories that have been so deeply imprinted that we will hopefully never forget them.
We had already seen some cool 360° selfie travel videos before our trip around the world and wanted to have such a memory for us as well. So we planned to unpack our GoPro Hero 4 with selfie stick and shoot a round video in every special place. Sometimes it’s not that easy, but the result at the end is just an incredibly great memory that we still like to look at today.
The conclusion of our world tour
We have had a six-month world tour. After we had slowly got used to our everyday life again, it was time to draw a small conclusion. And, what was it like? What was your highlight? And did you get along with each other? These are the most common questions we have often been asked after our return.
The most important thing ahead: it was terrific. Absolute madness. The best we’ve seen so far. The journey of our lives. Making a trip around the world is certainly the dream of many. We just wanted to take a break over a long period of time, forget the usual everyday life, no longer think in weekdays and weekends, travel far away countries, get to know new cultures and experience extraordinary places and dreamlike nature. Everything was right for us and we could not have found a better moment: we are healthy, independent, have no obligations and have worked out the necessary financial resources over the years to make our dream come true. A mad 192 days lay ahead of us – packed with dreamlike experiences and activities.
What was the most important thing our journey taught us? We were particularly impressed by the many people we met on our journey. No matter how poor they were, whether they live in a corrugated iron hut, keep themselves alive with 2 euros a day or don’t know how to feed their family. These people have so often radiated pure joie de vivre and have always been friendly. We often bring little things to the palm tree, be it the queue at the supermarket checkout or a delayed train. There are so many more important things in life and we can be so happy. And yet it is often difficult for us. Why, in fact?
The privilege of travelling the world is priceless. Although we have also noticed during our trip how many others are fulfilling this dream. No matter where we were, whether in the Amazon, Tanzania or Fiji – everywhere you met German travellers, who also took a longer break. We love travelling. Our world is so incredibly diverse and although we have experienced so much now, there are still so many wonderful countries and places for us that we would like to see.
It is therefore clear to us that we would definitely do it again 🙂