Before we left for the trip, whenever we talked to any of our friends and family about our upcoming departure, they always had a ton of questions. The more people we spoke to, the more we recognized a pattern to the  questions we were receiving. This page serves to provide answers that don't really fit into our blog posts.

How did you decide where to go?
A world map and tons of wine. We both made separate lists of the countries we wanted to visit and then compared the two to find similarities. We talked a lot of why we wanted to visit each country, researched what we wanted to do in each place and weighed factors like safety, cost and feasibility of getting to the country on another trip. For example, Japan was on both of our lists, but it is one of the most, if not the most, expensive country to visit in the world, so we decided to leave it for another trip when our budget isn't so tight. Easter Island made the list because we couldn't think of any other opportunity that would take us to such a remote place. With this kind of reasoning, we whittled away at our list until it was a more manageable number of countries to visit in one year.

Do you already know exactly where you will go and what you will do, or are you planning as you go?
We are very much planning as we go. We have our round the world plane ticket to take us from continent to continent, but we have complete flexibility once we are in each region. We have a general idea of which countries we want to visit (see Our Route), but we can always change that as we go. Once in a place, we decide on the spot where we will go next and what we will do once we get there. Our itinerary constantly changes, which is part of the adventure!

Are you doing budget travel or will you be staying in hotels?
We got this question a lot. We are doing mid-range budget travel, meaning that we are staying in budget hostels, eating cheaply and taking ground transportation, but are not always taking the cheapest option. For example, we are paying slightly more to stay in hostels that are safe and clean, and that allow us to have a private room instead of staying in a dorm. We eat mostly in cheap restaurants, or at markets and street vendors, and when we have access to a kitchen, we cook at our hostel. We are taking buses and trains instead of flights, but we will pay a little extra to take a more comfortable bus if possible. Basically, we are definitely budget travelers, but we are not always choosing the absolute cheapest option if it means greatly compromising our comfort or safety.

What are you bringing?
For a nearly complete run-down of my (Elissa's) gear, see this post. Vincent's belongings look similar to mine, only a little bigger (but unfortunately for me, no more masculine...). 

How did you decide what to bring?
Lots of research- namely on the sources mentioned on our Resources page. Our motto was to bring as little as possible while still bringing enough to be comfortable in all situations, climates and places. So far, we have been really happy with what we have brought.

What are you doing for insurance?
We both have international traveller's insurance that includes medical coverage. I am insured through World Nomads (www.worldnomads.com) and Vincent is insured through a French company called AVA (www.ava.fr). We went through different companies because our different nationalities caused the costs to vary wildly by company.

What are you doing for communications?
We have a small laptop with us for email and blogging, which is a godsend in hostels with in-room wifi. We also have an iPhone, which enables us to access wifi when we are out and about. Our iPhone has an international SIM card, allowing us to be reached by phone if necessary or make calls if we don't have internet access and are unable to use Skype.

How much is the trip costing? Do you have a budget?
We do have a budget, which we planned out a year before the trip and which directed our savings for the trip expenses. Full disclosure: our budget is around $25,000 per person for the year, including all of the pre-departure expenses such as gear, plane tickets and insurance. The budget is based on research we did regarding the amounts we can expect to spend per day in the countries we are travelling to, plus additional expenses like tours, gifts, transportation, etc. As we travel, we are keeping track of everything we spend and constantly comparing it to the budget. There is always flexibility, but we want to be sure we know what we are spending to stay within our budget.

What are you doing for money? Cash cards, credit cards, traveller's checks?
We are using a combination of debit/cash and credit cards. We use a debit card to withdraw cash (which is most often how we pay for things) and use a credit card for big expenses. We each have cards in case one gets lost or stolen.

What precautions are you taking for security?
We are using several methods to protect ourselves. First on a basic level, we both have locking systems on our bags to prevent petty theft from hostel rooms, bus luggage areas, etc. We also have money belts and hidden pockets to keep valuables on our bodies instead of in our bags when we are walking around. We have electronic copies of all of our important documents saved securely online so as to be accessible even if our computer is stolen, and we have encrypted the sensitive information stored in the computer and protected it with passwords. We have also installed an application on the iPhone that allows the content to be erased remotely in case of theft. This all sounds super paranoid, but it is important to us to feel safe.

What about medicine? Are you bringing a first aid kit?
We have both a little first aid kit and a miniature "pharmacy" with basic medicine and ointments such as ibuprofen, cold medicine, Imodium, motion sickness pills, antibiotic cream, hydro-cortisone cream, etc. What we have found though is that we can find almost everything on the road, so while it is really, really important to have small quantities of everything at hand, we will be able to replenish our supply as we go.

Are you taking anti-malarials? What about vaccinations?

We consulted a travel vaccination doctor for advice (see this post for what we learned) and got the vaccinations that we needed. We are not taking anti-malarials as we are not travelling in any high-risk areas. The doctor did prescribe an emergency anti-malarial which we have with us in case we come down with symptoms of malaria. We are carrying it with us and hope to not have to use it.

Elissa-specific questions:
What are you doing about beauty products? Are you bringing make-up?
In an effort to ensure that I can always carry my backpack on long-haul flights, I've limited my products to what can fit into a ziploc bag.  I've only brought the basics: lotion, toothpaste,  leave-in conditioner, a small bottle of hairspray, sunscreen, bug spray. I've cheated a bit and brought a weird organic stone deodorant that doesn't completely work, but which is considered a solid instead of a cream by TSA. Another way I've cheated (Thank you, Catherine Laverty, for the idea) is to get a solid shampoo bar with conditioner from the soap store Lush. The combo bar is a genius way for any traveller to free up some of that precious "liquids and creams" space in your carry-on. As for make-up, again, I've only brought the basics. I have learned very quickly to be lower maintenance and, frankly, I find that I simply care less about it when I'm on the road. This is a picture, albeit a super crappy one, of the toiletries I have with me:

What about female unmentionables?
I had read that tampons were not readily available everywhere, so I brought a small stash along with me in case I can't find them. When I can find them along the way, I will buy them locally, but when I can't, I will have my stash. Birth control (I know, shocking that we don't want to get preggo during the trip...) was a little more complicated. I prefer to rely on prescription birth control, so I had to get an entire year's supply in advance. As it is supposed to be refrigerated if not used within four months, I have a four month supply with me and the rest is with my dear sister-in-law, who will mail me the next four-month supply when I need it. (Un GRAND merci à ma belle soeur!!)

Let me know if you have any questions that I haven't answered here! 
Email me at ekiglehe@yahoo.com