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Recommendations

We both have an insatiable passion for travel and we want to share that information with other people who are also infected with wanderlust!  We love getting recommendations from friends and other travelers and we want to return the favor to our readers. This section of the blog is devoted to just that.  All of our recommendations including restaurants, accommodations and even things to do, will be found in this section.  For tips on preparing to leave, please scroll down this page.

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To see where to eat, to stay … and all the tips from a country,

click on the flag of this country.

Tips for preparing to leave :

So, you are planning on taking a trip like this too? Taking a year or two off of “life” to go really live?  Gap year, sabbatical, whatever you want to call it-GO FOR IT!!!  It’s one of those things that if you can manage to do, it’s highly doubtful you will regret it!

There are a slew (and I mean a slew) of things to do before embarking on a trip of this magnitude. Where do you even start?  I remember when we first made the decision, I had no idea where to begin.  It felt like so much had to be done. This is by no means an exhaustive list but more of a starters list. These are things you can and should start to think about to help you get going.

1. Come up with a plan

This may sound obvious, but it’s the first place to start. It doesn’t have to be a perfect plan, with every detail figured out down to the last minute of each day but instead it’s merely a rough estimate that will decide what countries you will visit and in which order (important for reducing transportation costs-read on).

An even better idea is to know which cities/parks/places you want to visit. Sure, you will meet people on the road who recommend this or that (and it’s important to leave some flexible time in your itinerary) but it’s smart to know places that interest you before leaving. The reason why this is so important is because transportation costs will be where most of your money goes. The best way to reduce these costs is to go from one point to another in a circular fashion instead of zig zagging all over the place. If you don’t backtrack too much, you can save money on these budget-eating costs.

2. Get your vaccines

This is a hotly debated topic and I’m not going to get into to it too much but in general, especially being a nurse, I encourage vaccinations. Check the countries you are planning to visit and see which ones are recommended. for those areas. You don’t have to get every single one but do some research and make an informed decision. Also, if you are visiting a country where malaria is present, be sure to take along anti-malarial pills since there is no vaccine. There are a few different ones to choose from. Do more homework and pick one that’s right for you. We will be visiting the Amazon region during this trip, so we are definitely carrying pills with us. Pills of choice for us? Doxycycline which also is handy for travelers diarrhea, which we are bound to get at some point. And which vaccines did I choose? Diptheria-tetanus, yellow fever and thyphoid. I opted against Hep A and I already have the Hep B series. I already have MMR and polio as well.

3. Travel insurance

Don’t travel without it. It can cover a wide range of things from healthcare, emergent dental care, coverage for your stuff if you get robbed and trekking/adventure activities, including our Antarctica trip. I did a lot of research on this one and it turns out I am going with one of the most popular for these types of trips. My choice: World Nomads.

4. Sell as much of your stuff as you can

Try to make a little money and decide what you really don’t want to save. Things you haven’t used in over three years are a good rule of thumb. I sold all of my furniture to my roomate. I am keeping my bicycle but I am even selling my car. That choice may not be for everyone but regardless, think about what is really important to you and what you might need in the future and get rid of everything else. Craiglist helped me sell everything from a dehydrator to my car.

5. Come up with a budget

This ties into coming up with a plan. Once you decide where you want to visit, you can come up with a rough budget. All the advice I read tells me that I need double the amount of money that I think I need and it’s probably true. We are currently doing the budget for our trip now and it’s a sobering reality. You can cut costs on food and lodging but transport will always be your number one enemy and there isn’t much you can do about it. You need to get from one place to another and you can’t really change the prices of the bus/airline tickets.

6. Right along with budget is saving money

This seems obvious but for someone like me who likes to spend a lot of their money, it was and still is very difficult. Put yourself on a strict budget. I had to get really honest with myself and face the reality of how much I spend and how much I really only need to spend. Work hard and put away as much as you can. I am sure that all the money I have socked away for this trip will not be enough! Remember the rule of thumb is that you will actually spend double of what you think you will spend!

7. Plan on packing light

I decided that I am only going to buy and bring a 50 liter backpack. Click here for the link to see it (you can get it for cheaper elsewhere).  I wanted to go ultra-light (with a carry on) but we decided to bring camping equipment and a 30-35 liter just wouldn’t be enough for that.

But I think the pros for going light and bringing something you can easily store in an overhead compartment on a bus or a plane outweigh the probably unnecessary stuff you will inevitably bring if you have a bigger bag.  If you are not camping, go with a carry-on bag.  I plan on not bringing any clothes with me other than underwear, thermals, my very good raincoat, rain pants and socks. All clothes will be bought on route in the different countries I will visit. Clothing in south and central America is cheap for the most part and I will fit in more, if I buy the clothes of the places I will be traveling.  Only bring what is necessary!  Make a pile and then cut it in half! Remember-the larger the bag-the more unnecessary stuff you will carry with you.

8. Decide if you want to camp or not

This doesn’t apply to everyone but for us, it was a major packing decision.  I write this after over a year of travel.  For the first half of the year, we carried the tent and thus, camping equipment (sleeping bag, mat, stove, pots, utensils, etc).  The second half, we ditched the tent because we entered cheaper countries like Bolivia and Peru where camping isn’t so common and it’s just as cheap to stay in a hostel there.

For Argentina and Chile (especially Chile), the tent was useful and during our time in the Carretera Austral (Chile’s Patagonia), the tent proved to be worth its weight tens times over. If you are not a camper or don’t like nature, a year long trip is not the best place to discover if you like camping or not.  But for campers/nature-lovers, bringing a tent can be a good idea to help defray costs and be closer to the outdoors. It all depends on the countries where you will be spending the most time.  Chile is an expensive country and if you love camping, you can definitely save money.  It’s a very personal decision though and one you should weigh carefully (literally!).  If you decided to do it, go ultra-light with your equipment.

TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

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TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

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TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

Back to the top

TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

Back to the top

TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

Back to the top

TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

Back to the top

TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

Back to the top

TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

Back to the top

TRAVEL TIPS :

WHERE TO EAT, TO STAY, …

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