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RTW Itinerary Update

As Ash and I wrap up our tour of South America (how time flies), we spent a day revisiting our itinerary and made some adjustments.  Input from fellow backpackers, Dutch diplomats, and otherwise informed travelers provided incredible insight.  This will change again no doubt!

The big shift resulted in skipping Scandinavia for two reasons.  First, we met loads of people from Sweden, Finland, and Norway whom directed us away from their countries saying, “you might be a tad bored.”  Second, this part of the world is a bit too expensive for budget backpackers.  We shall leave this corner of the globe for another day.  Thus, Scandinavia was replaced with twirling pasta in Italy, more time exploring the Dalmation Coast, and history lessons in Turkey. 

We plan to purchase RTW plane tickets in New Zealand at which we will have to solidy many of our destinations.  So if you take a look at our itinerary and believe we left out a must-see destination, please direct us in the comment section!   

At the top of the FOF homepage, you will see a link to our RTW Itinerary.  Follow this link and discover a renovated Google Map and step by step itinerary.  You may zoom in/out and change the map settings to include satellite images/terrain.  If you are feeling really crazy, there is a link directly below the map that will take you to the actual FOF RTW Itinerary Map.  Here, you may see our route in more detail and our mode of intended travel.


Greg & Ash

RTW Preparations – Overview

So how does one go about going from a permanent address, a leased car, and an apartment full of “stuff” to a 50 liter backpack and a passport? Lots of work.

Weekends/weeknights, dreams, road trips… our pursuit to see the world enveloped our lives. Fighting the urge to splurge, finding the proper gear/clothing, and building a web of bank accounts were among the daily tasks. And to do it all on a tight budget took some tough choices and LOTS of research.

We consulted blogs, long-term travel websites, and had countless discussions to come up with a comprehensive packing list. Many of the categories below will have a detailed blog entry for those interested in how we reached the summit of Preparation Mountain.

Without all the gory details, below is a consolidated list of what we accomplished with August 31, 2009 circled on our calendars:

  1. Backpack – type (top loader vs. side loader), brand, size, daypack.

  2. Clothing – shoes, flip flops, socks, shirts, shots, pants, dresses, jackets, bras, underwear, hats, etc.

  3. Electronics – iPods, headphones, cameras, photo storage, netbook, external DVD player, bluetooth earpiece, travel charger adapters, battery charger, rechargeable batteries, etc.

  4. Lighting – headlamp, torch.

  5. Sleeping – sleeping bag, ear plugs, sleep sacks, alarm clock, sleeping masks, etc.

  6. Security – moneybelt, decoy wallet, backpack locks.

  7. First Aid Kit – case, materials (bandages, Imodium, tweezers, moleskin, thermometer, pain reliever, cold medicine, etc.).

  8. Prescriptions – case, pills (malaria, diarrhea, altitude sickness, pain reliever, birth control, antibiotics).

  9. Dopp Kit – case, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, bar of soap, razor, shaving cream, deodorant, face wash, lotion, vitamins, etc.

  10. Sanitary Items – travel detergent, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, travel towel, etc.

  11. Bite Avoidance – DEET repellant spray, permetherin.

  12. Useful Items – Sunscreen, pocketknife, Ziploc bags, resistance bands, sewing kit, sunglasses, notebook, dive masks/snorkel, cards, etc.

  13. Banking – close unnecessary accounts, research banks with favorable international transaction policies, link up accounts, traveler checks, notification of foreign travel, etc.

  14. Paperwork – backup (hard copies, copies for family, email backup), immunization records, blood type, flight serial numbers, passport, visas, power of attorney, drivers license, etc.

  15. Immunizations – yellow fever, hepatitis A/B, meningitis, typhoid fever, tetanus, polio.

  16. Unwinding Your Life – change of address, pay all outstanding balances, unload car lease, storage of personal items, etc.

- Greg


1) Begin your preparations 6 months before your targeted departure date.  This will significantly reduce your anxiety.

2) Before purchasing anything, come up with your Packing Checklist, your game plan.   Again, this will reduce anxiety.

3) The best way to save $$$ on RTW preparations is to only purchase necessary items.  For example, if you aren’t going to be camping every week, don’t buy a sleeping bag!

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