Start Planning Your Trip

  1. You’re Here

If you’re reading this, it means you’re interested in traveling enough to search for travel blogs and that’s a great start! We’re not experts by any means, but we’re learning along the way and we’ll teach you whatever we can. Here are a few important steps to take in order to start planning your trip:

 

  1.  Figure Out What You Want 

Ask yourself the following questions: Where do you want to go? What do you want to do and see? Why do you want to do and see each of these things? Do you want to travel solo? What can you afford? When can you leave? Write down the questions and answers and refer back to them during planning. Your answers will begin your long, exciting research process.

 

  1. Save  $$$

As soon as you decide that you want to travel, you should try to cut excess shopping, going out, drinking, what have you, and save all of that extra cash for your trip. We try to remind ourselves that the money we spend on a beer in Syracuse could buy us a beer in London. It’s our money-saving mantra.

I used a literal piggy bank to save up my money for a while and at one point had over $1000 crammed into it. Paul cashed each of his paychecks so he could split up his travel money, gas money, spending money etc.  Do whatever it takes to get the cash out of your hand and into your travel fund.

 

  1. Research, Research, Research

We went to the library (fortunately I was working part-time at a library in Syracuse so we had easy access) and rented dozens of travel guides. These really are your best friends when you want to learn about a new culture, budgeting tips, and what to see or what not to see. We rented guides for countries that we might not even go to, but there’s no harm in learning what you can when you have free resources at your fingertips.

We’ve also spent countless hours reading blogs by other travelers like us. Many are relatively new to travel, but some have been on the road for years. Blogs give you a great sense of what it’s actually like to be a new explorer from a relatable and reliable source. Travel blogs are also where we read about which gear to use for our trip – this is a crucial part of the research process.

 

  1. Commit

This is the hardest step. You know that you want to travel, but now you need to actually do it.Buy your tickets. Our first conversation about our trip was December 28, 2015 in our church parking lot and we bought our tickets just a few weeks later. We decided that this was the perfect time for us, so we found a super cheap flight and went for it.

You can do this. You just have to come to terms with leaving your job, family, friends, and comfy home life in exchange for the experience of a lifetime. It’s not easy, but all the stress you feel now will disappear when you hit the road. Go for it!    

The Monster: The Indian Visa Application

So it might not be as scary as zombies, but it’s pretty scary.

We’re leaving for our trip a month from tomorrow and we don’t plan on going to India until the end of the summer, but we had to complete our applications before we left. This application has been hanging over our heads as one of the major tasks on our to-do list for weeks. In true Paul and Olivia fashion, we waited until the last minute to start what is potentially the most stressful and convoluted process ever.

We had to submit three separate documents about our personal information, proof of address (which consisted of my parents’ water bill and my birth certificate), a US passport, a copy of the passport, a new passport picture (glued to the first document), a copy of the payment, and a copy of the checklist that explains all of these documents *sigh.*

It took about three hours to complete all of the paperwork online. We then had to pay $15 for new passport photos — we probably could have done this at home but we wanted to make sure they were done correctly. We then had to make copies of all of our documents – some of which we had to dig out of storage. All in all, we spent a week gathering information and paid $170.00 each for the Visa processing, new photo, and shipping both ways.

If you’ve ever completed a Indian Visa Application you’re probably reading this and thinking “HA! I feel your pain, dudes.”

We cannot wait to have that feeling. Hopefully soon we’ll be sitting on an elephant in India; laughing and thinking about how stressful this dang application was.

This morning I sent my application and successfully resisted the urge to jump on the FedEx counter to scream-cry. Paul, however, is waiting to hear back from the folks at Cox & Kings because he has a mistake on his application that he may or may not have to correct before sending it in.

We’ll refrain from giving advice until we know that we got accepted, but we’ll do an update if/when we do.

For those of you currently filling out an application and trying not to pluck your own eyes out: imagine yourself a few months from now, laughing about this moment on a beach in Goa. You can do this.