Archive for the Category »Travel Planning «

Back home – but the journey goes on!

We`re back home again! After an 11 hours flight from Bangkok our plane arrived at Frankfurt Airport at about 7 p. m. today – and it`s been exactly 80 days since we left on 10 September, time shift considered! ;-)

Around the world...of beers! - Crown caps from every destination on our trip (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)So how does it feel to be back home in good old (and good COLD) Germany? Are we sad that it`s over, crying tears that we have to get back to normal life which will never ever be as good as the time we had on our trip? As if!

We made a lot of dreams come true on our trip: scuba diving with bull sharks, staying on a desert South Sea island, cattle mustering on horseback, shooting in USA, seeing Hollywood and the Universal Studios, a walk through the jungle, … awesome experiences we will never forget just like the great people we met (ok, I won`t try to list all of them here because I`d quite sure forget to mention some names!! ;-) ).

But life is not about sticking to your past it`s about looking forward to what comes next. Inspired by the countless new things we saw on our trip we came up with so many ideas and plans for the future. We just can`t wait to put them into action now! I`m also sure it won`t take long until we meet some of the guys from our trip again… 8-)

I was asked several times if 80 days are enough time to see the world. Looking back I can say that it was the perfect time for us to see and do what we wanted. If you expect to see EVERYTHING on a round-the-world trip you`ll probably be disappointed because that will never happen even if you`re travelling for years. Pick out a few important cities, islands, beaches to visit or things to do in every country, take your time to do it and you`ll be satisfied. Remember, you can always come back to spend more time in specific countries. For example, we could imagine to come back to New Zealand to spend a little more time there and visit the south island. Or see the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or more states of the USA, etc. But we don`t feel like we missed something on this trip.

The journey continues!

When I launched in summer 2010 the website was planned to get “frozen” after the end of the trip. But more than 1.600 visitors and over 7.000 clicks within 80 days speak another language. They seem to say: “Hey, it wasn`t that boring, we wanna see more!”.

So my current plans for the future of this website are as follows:

  • Another website of mine – the Diver`s Blog – is going to die, existing content will be moved to
  • I`m going to add further trips e. g. the Berlin trip Isabell & I did in spring 2010
  • Future trips will be blogged on including stories, travel tips, pictures and itineraries

What do you think – good idea or just a boring refill? What is it that made you visit our website in the past? Have you had fun to read our stories? To look at the pictures? Or did you find us via Google searching for travel information? Write us a comment with your opinion we`re looking forward to reading your feedback!

- Bernd -

It’s a final countdown…

Alright, it’s less than 24 hours until we’re heading to the airport and there’s still sooo much to do! If this was a 14-day-vacation we wouln’t mind leaving some stuff undone but 80 days are a lil’ different: there’s a lot to manage before if you don’t want to get in trouble when you come back. Therefore we packed this last week with, well let’s say, “activities” we’d normally do in the next 3 months:

- getting the TÜV- and AU-badge for Bernd’s car

- changing tires on both cars and preparing them for -20°C

- applying for a new ID card (4 German readers: If your ID card expires in the next 3 to 4 months apply for a new one now – you will save about 20 € as there will be a new kind of ID card which will cost 28 € instead of 8 €!)

- organizing university issues as well as business stuff

- raiding the fridge as cheese, milk and yogurt will get mad if we leave them unattended for that long….

You see, besides doing laundry, coordinating the trip, cleaning the house and cooking the last german meals there’s always something more to do….

Now get back to what you’ve been doing – I will too!

- Isabell -

The paperwork…

ESTAYeee-ha, our entry into the United States of America is confirmed! Isabell and I have filled out the ESTA form on the offical website today. I thought it would take a few hours to get the confirmation but after submitting the form we received it immediately. I think not being friends of Osama and the fact that we neither supported the Nazis in WW II helped us a lot ;-)

Other countries on our list are making it easier to enter, offering visa-on-arrival / tourist cards which are a few bucks (Indonesia; 25 USD for 30 days) or free of charge (Mexico). Sometimes we`ll just need an entry permit (Fiji, New Zealand and Thailand).

So there is only one more destination – Australia. No problem, right? As if!

If you think the United States have the most bureaucratic entry regulations then you have not yet been on the website of Australias Department of Immigration and Citizenship – they even have a wizard “Finding you the right Australian Visa”. The result is a list that still contains three different visas. Hmmm…do I need the “Tourist (subclass 676) visa” or the “eVisitor (subclass 651) visa”? Probably the first one – but enough for today, I`ll find out tomorrow :roll:

- Bernd -

EDIT: Btw, eVisitor was the right one!

A date with the doctor

The matter of traveling and health care are huge and in connection with each other almost frightening. But as it is with everything, cutting it down to a certain level helps a lot. So this is basically what I went through:

If you plan your trip with Lonely Planet travel guides just skim trough and you’ll find details about recommended vaccinations, what drugs to take and some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind (the relevant pages are mostly in the back part of the book). For up-to-date information we also use to check the website of the Federal Foreign Office – not only for medical advice but also for up-to-date political information, rules and regulations for immigration and security advice.

As both of us do have the “standard vaccinations”  (which are hepatitis a, typhoid, measles, tetanus, diphtheria, polio) there are only few additional ones that we would need:  bird flu,  rabies, japanese encephalitis and hepatitis b.  Thanks to our last year visit to Bali we already have the last one (two doses to be taken within 6 months, about 60 € each)  and as we do not intend to work on a chicken farm during the trip we eliminated bird flu and rabies.  We thought about getting shots for the encephalitis but as we survived Bali without it (and as we knew that it was another 160 € we would have to pay) we figured that it is not that necessary – but that’s something you decide for yourself. Anyway, if you’re not sure what do take or what not to take, go ask a doctor! That’s what we did as well to see if all our immunizations were still good. (BTW, it might not be wrong to take that little yellow book on our trip?!) ;-)

Well, while we’re at it, there are some infectious deseases we might encounter which you can’t be vaccinated against – like malaria or dengue-fever. For malaria there are pills you use as prophylaxis as well as first-aid medicine in case you get infected, like  malarone (about 62,00 € a box) which can only be purchased with prescription. Dengue-fever can be cured with paracetamol and plenty of fluids.

As I was saying travel and health are both never-ending-stories  and I’m sure there’s still quite a number of infections, drugs or preparations to be mentioned but this is the level of information I dealt with while planning our trip…

- Isabell -

Money, money, money

When we tell people about our travel plans, the most favorite question seems to be where we got all the money from. Well, I would be lying if I said a round-the-world trip is just a little more expensive than going on vacation. But it`s definitely not as expensive as most of us think!

Money (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)Depending on how long you`re traveling, which countries you are planning to visit and how comfortable your accommodation needs to be you can calculate a few thousands up to a few ten thousand Euros. As we are planning to come around as backpackers most of the time our travel budget will be somewhere between 5.000 and 10.000 Euro per person. The budget includes the round-the-world tickets, visa and tourist cards, overnights stays in hostels and cheap hotels, food, transportation by motorcycle, rental car or bus and a few specials we will not yet tell you about to keep it more exciting 8O

So if you would like to travel around the world but the money is your reason to stay at home, there are some tips I got for you to beat down the price:

  • Search the Internet for other kind of tickets, e. g. RTW tickets with a fixed route or fixed dates are cheaper than individual ones
  • Living one week in cheap countries (Asia…) can be as expensive as living in other countries for just one day. Check out the list on to get an overview of daily budgets
  • If you don`t mind earn the money you need ON your trip Work and Travel could be a possibility

Last but not least: Where there`s a will, there`s a way! If you really, really want to do it, nothing will hold you back. And if you don`t…you know, then you`ll always find excuses like you don`t have the money…

- Bernd -

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

… or in our case: with a single click!

After the decision was made thoughts were going crazy: HOW are we travelling? WHERE do we want to go?  WHEN are we going? HOW LONG are we going to travell? WHAT about the costs? …

So, one thing at the time:

HOW to travel: Okay, let’s face it – anything else than plane didn’t come to our mind. But instead of booking every single flight there is a great way to get around the world: Round-the-world tickets ! ;-) There are several united airlines like Star Alliance, OneWorld Alliance and SkyTeam that provide different around-the-world programs: Whereas SkyTeam only offers booking via telephone, OneWorld does have difficulties with crossing the Pacific. Star Alliance seemed to have it all:  Great deals, easy booking, friendly support – need I say more?!

WHERE to go: The world, of course! Ahw well, some countries have been on our list for a long time: Australia, USA (continent), USA (Hawaii), Thailand and the Fiji Islands – we have to visit these countries! And then one thing led to another: hey, if we’re on the Fiji Islands we could also go to New Zealand. And before we go to the States we could make a stop in Mexico. And why not go to Bali right before Thailand?! Can we do this within 29.000 miles – YES, we can!

So this is the actual route:  Frankfurt/Germany – Mexico City/Mexico – Los Angeles/USA – San Francisco/USA – Honolulu/USA -  Nadi/Fiji – Auckland/New Zealand – Sydney/Australia – Denpasar/Bali - Bangkok/Thailand – Frankfurt/Germany

WHEN to go: Due to a little trip with friends end of August we set the date of departure on September 10, 2010.

Travel planning with Poker chips (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)

HOW LONG are we travelling: According to the novel of Jules Verne our trip will take 80 days. (There is no bet going on, we know that it’s possible!). As easy as it was to set the 80 days the harder it was to choose how many days to spend in each country: First put a minimum of days on each destination, then spread the remaining ones and finally flipping one or two. (Hint: Poker chips are perfect for that!)

WHAT about the costs: Well, nothing’s for free. There are two aspects: The ticket and the trip itself.  As I said before, the ticket price depends on the miles, the stops and the countries you travel to – 29.000 miles are cheaper than 35.000 miles, the entrance fee for one country is more expensive than for another country…. I think we’ll have an extra post for this topic!

Okay, these were the first steps we took on our journey around the world… but be sure, there’ll be A LOT more! ;-)

- Isabell -