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Itinerary and finances
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-03-09 19:39:19 | Lachine, Quebec, Canada
Keywords: budget, finances, Itinerary, money, preparation
These past few weeks were occupied by working on itinerary, building Web apps to allow me to plan wisely (geek style)... I also planned on lodging options. On the finance side, savings kept on piling... and I made some reservations to secure some parts of the itinerary because of limited availability.

Itinerary

After I decided last month to change my method of travelling and abandoned the idea of the walking, because of speed and long distances between places, I had to revise my itinerary.  I had a few elements to factor in.  The first of those is not hitting Mexico until October because of the heat and rain season.  Then I had to factor in the maximum of time I'm allowed in a given country, without requiring special permission.

As Canadian, I will need a real visa only for two countries in the Americas... Paraguay and Brazil.  For many other countries, I will need to buy a “tourist card” at the border.  Time in the country varies from one to another.  In some, I'm limited to 30 days... others allow me up to 6 months.

Because I'm decided to leave in mid-June, that leaves me almost 4 months before entering Mexico... so I will use that time to roam all over Canada and USA.  I'll visit many UNESCO sites I haven't been to and I will revisit cities I love.  I won't spend much time at each spot... and it will be quite a race.   I'll cover close to 20 000 km in those few months... visiting both coasts of Canada and US.  I did similar races in the past, for a few weeks at a time... now it will be for a few months.  I don't mind not spending too much time in each city because I'm familiar with most of those cities and I know their culture.

I'll give you an idea of my stops later.  Yes, I'm a planning freak but I mostly plan my housing and my way in/out of a location.  This is the most important.  I also research the things to do and see... but I rarely schedule these unless I need to get tickets ahead of time.

Once in Mexico, I'll slow things down and spend about a week in each city, taking more time to learn about the local culture and resting more.  I'll be two weeks or more in the world largest cities.  Most full-time travelers stay at the same spot for many weeks or months.   Will I go to that speed later on?  I might do that later down the road... but considering the number of sites I want to visit and time allowed in each country, I don't have that luxury at the moment.    In travel, I'm usually the very active type... not the contemplating type.  Will that change over time?  Perhaps.  I'm not taking anything for granted now... understanding I'm going into uncharted territory for my personal travels.

I've built myself a good database to hold my travel plans, which will also feed my Web site once I'm on the road to let you know what my next stops will be.  For each stop, I've identified a paid lodging option, the transportation in and out of the city (by bus, train or boat), etc.  This allowed me to confirm my plans were within my budget, my time allowed in country, etc.  Using Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface), I've automated the creation of customized map, as you can see with the header image of this post.  Using the API from a weather Web site I did connect to get the local forecast for each stop, etc. 

I'm a bit over-budget in the US because of expensive travel costs in the middle of the country and because of a tour I'll take to Yellowstone.   I already booked that tour and a few hostel nights (which I can cancel if I find another option).  I plan on saving on my lodging costs through couchsurfing (including other similar resources like Hospitality Club and the SIGHT network within Mensa).  For some transport legs, I will also look for car pooling, etc.  This is to save me money, yes... but also to force myself to meet locals.  I want to meet with locals in order to get more in touch with the culture.

So far, only my closest friends know about this trip... I'll wait until early May to announce it at large.  I will plan a gathering late May to see my friends one last time before departure.  That's also part of the preparation.

Finances

Savings are still piling up as planned.  After a few months rest on the eBay side to concentrate on some of my Web sites and my itinerary... I've resumed my selling activities.  I still have lots to sell... so I'll give it a boost in the next few weeks.  I also realized it has been a while since I unloaded some of my stuff.  So, I will prepare a few trips to the charity store to empty my apartment.  I have gotten too comfy with the stuff I have... like I was holding on to it, forgetting the big picture.

I've spent a bit to get some goodies for my trip, like locks, a razor/trimmer, some cables, etc.

I still have some major expenses to cover before I leave.  One of these items is a new rugged compact camera to replace my old waterproof camera I sold some time ago.  I will also have to buy my travel insurances (one for the Canada/USA segment, another one for the rest of the world).  Finally to be on the safe side, I'll go see my dentist one last time... and make sure everything is in perfect shape.

On the brighter side, I've begun to prepare my taxes with the papers I have received so far... and the outcome is much better than I thought or was expecting.

Health

I just did my last blood works before my departure. I'll have the results in 2 weeks when seeing my nephrologist.  I will then meet with my family doctor to have her prepare  a health summary and a standing prescription for the one medication I need at the moment (although I will leave with about a year supply).

Another last before departure will be a last blood donation this week.

It's been a rough winter here.. with lots of small snowstorms (and a few big ones), and with lots of computer time for me to get ready.  So, I'm out of shape and I have gained some weight in the last few months.  I can't wait to get out and do long walks.

All and all, I still have lots to do in the next 3 months before I leave.  But I'm really excited.

Related posts:
First year of savings
Spent more, produced less
Totally debt free!
Almost debt-free
Five weeks on the road

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