It’s been 5 years since I retired early and it’s time to plan for my next big project. That’s to take a year off to travel around the world. This trip is a few years away so we’re not in a huge rush. However, I’ve been thinking about it quite often so I might as well start the planning process. This trip sounds like it will get more difficult as we get older so we really should go as soon as we can. If we keep putting it off, it probably won’t happen. Anyway, this is the first draft of our plan and I’ll update it periodically. I’m sure new issues will come up as we think about it more.
For now, I’ll just write down all the logistic issues I can think of. We have plenty of time so we should be able to find the solutions before we go.
- Work – This one should be relatively easy for us. Mrs. RB40 plans to retire by 2020 so she doesn’t have to worry about a job when she gets back. As for me, I’m a blogger so it shouldn’t be difficult to transition to a digital nomad lifestyle. I plan to continue to post twice per week. One post will be about our travel and the other will focused on personal finance. I don’t know if this format would work out, but we’ll try it and see.
- RB40Jr’s school – This one seems daunting. We’ll need to “road-school” our kid and make sure he keeps up with his classmates academically. I have no idea how to do this right now, but I’m sure there are plenty of resources online. We probably can join an internet based curriculum. I’ll also set up a blog for RB40Jr and he can write about each location we visit. I think this would be a great learning experience for him. Currently, I’m planning to take him out of 5th grade, but it could be 4th or 3rd if the planets align.
- Health – We all have some kind of health issue so we need to figure out how to get prescriptions when we’re on the road. I don’t know if we will need health insurance so I’ll need to research more. I’m not sure if we’ll need vaccinations, either.
- Finance – This one is simple in theory, but I’m not sure how it will really work out. In 2016, we spent about $55,000. If we could keep it at this level, our year long trip would be a great success.
- Housing and stuff – To keep our budget under $55,000, we’d need to sell or rent our primary residence. I’m leaning toward just selling it. This will make life much simpler. We’d also need to rent a storage unit to store our stuff. I plan to sell off as much stuff as we can, but I’m sure there will still be a ton of things left. This is hard because Mrs. RB40 is attached to stuff. Maybe we can leave some stuff at my brother’s house. We probably should sell our car as well. We’ll move into our duplex when we come back.
- Mail – We’ll probably need to get an internet PO box or something like that.
- Visas and passports – I’m not sure how visas will work. Most visitor visas are valid from between 14 days to one year so we might need to apply for some while we’re on the road. Before we leave, our passports need to be valid for over a year.
- Communication – I need to figure out how to keep in touch with my Republic Wireless cell phone while we’re traveling. We might need to get a different phone for this trip. Google fi cell phone plan?
- International driver license – Do I need to get one? I usually don’t drive outside of the US.
- Camera – I want to take some awesome photos on this trip. I should take a photography class and may need a new camera.
- Parents – Our parents are getting older and probably will need more help soon. This is why we should go earlier rather than later.
- What else? – I’ll add new issues here as I find out more.
Okay, now we get to the fun part. Where should we visit? This is just a draft and it will most likely change over the next few years.
The current plan is to travel relatively slowly. Many travelers like to maximize their time by staying only a short time and moving on to the next location. These “16 days, 5 countries, 15 cities” tours aren’t appealing to us at all. We prefer to take it easy and get to know a location better. We’ll probably stay at least one week in each location. This will give us time to relax and blog about our experience. Also, schooling will be impossible if we move around too much.
Part 1 – Portugal, southern Spain, Morocco (1 month)
I’m not sure what’s the best route here. I’m not enamored with Madrid so we could just skip that and concentrate on southern Spain. Maybe we could fly into Portugal, then head to Spain and Morocco.
Part 2 – Italy (2-4 weeks)
Fly to Rome and explore Italy. We’ve been to Florence and Venice, but didn’t make it down to Rome last time.
Part 3 – Eastern Europe (1 month)
Make our way overland from Italy to Eastern Europe. We’ll go counter clockwise like this – Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and end in Czechia. This segment will be very open and we’ll wander a bit.
Part 4 – Thailand (6 months)
Fly to Bangkok. The plan is to rent an apartment in Bangkok and make it our home base for 6 months. Mrs. RB40 and RB40Jr can take some classes and learn how to speak Thai. We’ll explore Thailand more this trip. I never had time to see the country much because I needed to visit all my relatives. A longer stay would give us time to visit the less touristy parts of Thailand. While we’re here, we’ll take short trips to Japan, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and Bali.
Part 5 – New Zealand (3-4 weeks)
Rent a camping van and drive around New Zealand for a few weeks. I’ve done this on the North Island, but didn’t have time for the South Island last time.
Part 6 – Australia (1 month)
Visit my aunt in Melbourne and relax for a while. We may visit Sydney and Uluru.
Part 7 – Pacific Islands (1 month)
We’ll stop and visit a few islands on the way back to the US. I want to revisit the Cook Islands. Mrs. RB40 wants to visit Tahiti. I need to do more research here, but it’d be great if we can stop by Fiji and Vanuatu as well. If we have too much money left, we’ll head to Bora Bora for 3 days of luxury.
Part 8 – Hawaii (?)
If we have extra time, we’ll spend the rest of our trip in Hilo on the Big Island. I want to see if we’ll enjoy a low key island lifestyle.
Whew, that’s a lot of traveling. I’m sure this itinerary will get refined once Mrs. RB40 has a chance to go over it. The itinerary is flexible and we could even change plans along the way. For example, if we really like Eastern Europe, we’ll spend more time there.
I particularly look forward to our stay in Thailand. In our previous visits, we mostly spent time with relatives and didn’t have enough time for much else. It’d be great to visit other parts of Thailand to see if retiring there is a realistic option for us.
So what do you think? Is there some place we really need to visit on our RTW trip? Let me know if you have any tricks and tips to help us plan this trip.