Preparations for world trip 2002 & 2003

Funny, to decide you're going to travel around the world, but the real work only starts then! Fortunately there were many others who did the same before us and added their experiences to the web. In order to support future travellers and others who are interested, we decided to do the same. Below you will find details on our preparations for our trip.


When you read all those websites of people who do a "world trip", it is obvious that most only do it with a kind of guarantee to the same lifestyle when they do return home. Travelling: yes, but only when one still has a house upon return, a car and at least a job. So a lot of people go for the option of unpaid leave. And than one goes for a "world trip to Asia". Contradictio in Termine. Which is fine if you go for one year. But in our case we were aiming for about 1,5 year. Which turned out to be about 2,5 years. Right now (2008) we have left Holland about 6 years ago. Our travels would be all about absolute freedom. No strings attached. And absolutely no little rules and laws like we have so many of in Holland. So basically we only had one option: to quit our jobs and hoping we would find another job upon return. By the way, we did not plan to work along the way. There was no necessity to it. In the end we did some work along the way but it was all for good causes or to help friends out. We worked for about a month for the Jane Goodall Institute in Entebbe, Uganda; we also managed Mukambi Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park in Zambia for about 1,5 maand to help out friends. And we also managed the bar of Fatima's Nest in Tofu, Mozambique until early in the morning for a week or so, just to help out Fatima. The volunteering at animal rehabilitation centres in Guatemala en Bolivia which we settled up front, did eventually not take place. And also the valuable contacts in Kalimantan with several urang utan centres we haven't used (yet). To cut a long story short, we never returned to Holland. We ended up in Zambia after 2,5 years of travelling. In Zambia we helped in the management of Mukambi Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park for almost 3 years. After that we started as managers at Stanley Safari Lodge in Livingstone (also Zambia). Up until now we are still living and working there.

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House and furniture

If you go travelling for a longer time and you rent or own a house you've got 3 options. First, you keep your house but leave it for what it is and you trave while paying rent or mortgage. Which is an option if you have too much money so the worst one for us. Second, you can rent out your house so you are sure you have a house when you return and you have some income while travelling. The third option is selling your house or, in case of rent, discontinue the rental agreement. We chose for selling. We didn't like the idea that we had to come back to Holland just for a house (for instance when the rental agreement with a 3rd party was finished) which might have meant that we had to finish our travels sooner than we really wanted. So we sold our house in Rijswijk and we would just see where we would go and live upon our return. Another (not unimportant) advantage of selling your house is dat it gives you money to travel! After that we had to go to City Hall to let them know we no longer lived in Rijswijk. There they asked where we would go and live, because it is impossible to be a Dutch citizen without a permanent address. Since we would be leaving Holland they asked us our address abroad. Were we about to emigrate? No, we go travelling. Ah, so you will come back after that? Well, that's the plan, but then again, maybe not. Future will tell. I can tell you, in 2002 the computer programs of the Dutch government did not allow any Dutch citizen to leave Holland and NOT have a permanent address elsewhere. The programs crashed. We kept on getting phone calls about the matter. We got fed up and ultimately just said Paris, since it would be the first stop-over on our flight to Tanzania. We did however gave a postal address with the municipality, but this is not the same as a permanent address (where one lives). For a permanent address local government wil still let you pay all kind of taxes, which is not the case with a postal address. However, if we would have returned to Holland it would have been very difficult to get a medical insurance from the start because we wouldn't have a permanent address. And since we returned to Holland only once Marieke was pregnant we desperately needed a medical insurance. Usually in Holland the insurance companies only cover pregnancies when you have been covered by them half a year to a year BEFORE pregnancy. We were however very fortunate. Holland was just in a transition phase regarding medical insurances so we could immediately apply and admitted. Our belongings (incl. furniture) we stored as much as possible with friends. The result was 260 boxes at 3 different addresses. Only recently we got everything together in just one place and also the number of boxes got a bit less. Funny though to find out that we never really missed anything in these 260 boxes during the last 6 years! By the way, you can also decide to store your belongings at commercial storage companies but it will cost you. So better to go for a cost-free option. Mind you, if you go travelling and you don't know for how long, storage with family and friends in not always the best option because it might last longer than they expected which might eventually result in annoyance!

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Car and motorcycle

Because we sold our house it was no point keeping our cars. Rick's lease-car went back to its rightful owner. The Volkswagen Golf of Marieke we sold (for which we bought a Landrover to go to Africa). Our motorcycle Honda Magna 750 we kept because we couldn't say goodbye to it. Its still waiting for us!

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We made a rough budget for our 1,5 year travel plans. we divided this budget in the following categories: flight tickets new passport (business passport with more pages) first visa travel insurance cancellation insurance (for first flight) medical costs (material, First Aid course) other material (like new backpack) vaccinations & malaria pills clothing daily expenses Africa (75 guilders p/p/p/d=about 34 Euros at the time) daily expenses Asia (50 guilders p/p/p/d=about 22 Euros) daily expenses Oceania (100 guilders p/p/p/d=45 Euros) daily expenses Central America (75 gulden p/p/p/d= 34 Euros) daily expenses North America (100 gulden p/p/p/d= 45 Euros) daily expenses South America (75 gulden p/p/p/d=34 Euros) daily expenses Caribbean (100 gulden p/p/p/d=45 Euros) airport taxes transport Africa (with our own car (fuel) en costs for carnet de passage among others) transport North America (most probably rental) Galápagos Islands (at least one week, to be arranged in Quito) other costs The expenses per person per day were based on our own experience, travel logs/websites of others and an extra margin. Africa however was difficult: costs for accommodation and food did not need to be high (we would be camping most of the way), but fuel prices and especially the fees for national parks are very high. Looking back at it we can definitely say that our budget was not that crazy. We kept track of our daily expenses so we could see if we stayed within our budget. You really need to do that because it very much determines the last part of your travels! Mind you, our budhet was such that we could afford to drink a beer whenever we wanted or go partying once in a while. That's the way we wanted to travel: absolute freedom, no limitations. To be honest, there are not a lot of things we didn't do during our travels around the world. Of course all of you would like to know what we have spent in total. During 2 years travelling we spent about 20,000 Euro. This amount consisted of the following components: Round the world tickets Single Flight tickets Cost of living The purchase of our Landrover was extra. With regard to the finances in Holland: despite the fact that we left Holland, more administration matters than foreseen were left behind. As such we asked a family member to take care of this with whom we also instated our postal address. Mind you, if you want this person to be able to represent you officially (so he can also sign official papers on your behalf) you need this to be officially certified!

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Website and Newsletters

A special website (which is the predecessor of the current -this- website) was built to inform family, friends and other travellers. We could place texts ourselves by using Blogger (which was quite new at the time but which is very popular right now). To inform family and friends about our preparations and travels frequently, we sent out a monthly newsletter from January 2002. This newsletter was also published on our website. It helped a lot for family and friends, but also ourselves that we wouldn't see eachother for quite some time. The links to the abovementioned newsletters are as follows: 18 weeks before departure (Newsletter I) 15 weeks before departure (Newsletter II) 11 weeks before departure (Newsletter III) 5 weeks before departure (Newsletter IV) 1 day before departure (Newsletter V)

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Our passport at the time was not about to expire soon, but because the planning was to visit about 30 countries the available space for visa and stamps might not be enough. And with the knowledge that some immigration officers refuse to put a stamp on any other than an empty page, a business passport was th answer. It has got twice as much pages as a normal passport.

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Flight tickets

For world trips RTW's or Round-The-World-Tickets are very popular. More information on these you can find on: Mind you, RTWs do have a number of conditions: they are for only one year, you are either limited to a number of stop-overs or to a maximum mileage, you can only go one-way around the world and as such cannot backtrack, you can only change the dates but not the destinations without extra payment and you have to return to the country where you started (can be different airports though). This meant too many limitations to our desired freedom, so we just bought a one-way to Dar Es Salaam and planned to buy separate tickets afterwards. However, after a year travelling in Africa we bought a RTW after all in South Africa. The ticket would bring us to North-America (via Europe), South America, Central America, Carribean, Pacific and Oceania. And back again to Africa. We choose for Star Alliance, which is one of the best suppliers of RTW's to our opinion.

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Travel Insurance

In 2002 were not many insurances to be found which would insure you sufficiently for more than one year. We eventually chose for ISIS Insurance which was the only company that would insure us for 1,5 year or more (Elvia, the other company that would offer medical insurance for world travellers in Holland, only did so for maximum 1 year). ISIS also offered some months insurance after we would return to Holland and besides that we read positive reports on them from other travellers. In the meantime many medical insurance companies discovered the lucrative world of world travellers and as such it is quite easy to find an insurance company that would insure you for a longer time. Mind you, these insurances are very different (at least in Holland) from the "normal" travel insurances. The latter are usually only for short periods and do insure you ON TOP of your normal medical insurances. The long term travel insurances also have to cover your normal medical costs because when you leave the country you won't be insured the "normal" way anymore.

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We went for consultation to the Travel Clinic in Rotterdam and we were told that we needed the following vaccinations for the countries we were planning to travel: DTP hepatitis A + B yellow fever malaria typhus. rabies Japanese encefalitis meningitis tuberculosis We already had these vaccinations from previous travels except for Hepatitis B. The vaccination for typhus was expired so we had to get a new one. Furthermore we were advised to take vaccinations against rabies, japanese encefalitis, meningitis and BCG/tuberculose, but the chances to get these diseases were so limited and the prices of the jabs so high that we decided to run the risk. As a result we ended up in a fierce discussion with the doctor who was telling us the most ridiculous things (he told us to take a stick to hit dogs whenever we would enter a local village in order to prevent us from getting bitten!) so we fled the hospital. For Tuberculosis we took the Mantoux test which determined if you have TBC before departure, and after return you have to take the test again to prove you're not effected. Note: if you choose for the vaccination, the Mantoux test will be impossible to prove anything which means it is only harder to prove the disease! For Malaria we started to take pills but stopped after 2 months. Especially Lariam is a medication with lots of serious side-effects and we were willing to take the risk. Rather have malaria once than to take those pills for more than a year. By the way, Malarone is much better but very expensive. Paludrine/Nivaquine is only reliable in Asia. We are certainly not down-playing malaria as a serious disease but locals look at it as we did regarding the flu 200 years ago!

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Klik voor de Nederlandse taal © copyright on all pictures by Rick Versteegh. No picture or image may be copied, printed or reproduced without written permission