What is important if you go away for a long time? – Practical problems and tips when planning a long journey
When you are going on a trip for a long time, you can run into different problems. In this blog we’ll explain some of the problems we encountered while planning our trip and … the solution 🙂
Our first idea was to go to America and Canada for a year. We like to travel slowly so we have lots of time to explore an area, go to specific places and not just visit the highlights in a flash. We saw ourselves exploring this continent for a year, but that wasn’t as easy as we thought. Actually we had to change our plans immediately in the beginning.
It ‘s not so easy to obtain a visa for America. As a resident of a number of countries, including the Netherlands, you can apply for an ESTA and this allows you to stay in America for 90 days. Not that an ESTA guarantees that you can actually enter the country, because the customs officer has the final decision.
You can also choose to apply for a visa for 6 months. When you apply you are invited for an interview at the American embassy (in the Netherlands, in The Hague) to be “approved”. If they have the slightest idea that you want to stay in the U.S., you will not get this visa. Now we have absolutely no intention to stay in there, but we ‘quit’ our jobs and we will rent out our house. These two things can be “suspicious”, they might think you do want to stay in the U.S. and this will result in not getting a visa. We have read a lot about it and if your visa is rejected, you can’t apply for an ESTA anymore. We don’t want to take this risk, so instead going to the U.S. for 6 months, we will go for a maximum of 90 days.
So our new plan was to start in San Francisco at the end of February, to start in a warm California. We wanted to buy a car there and then start travelling. But also this plan was only for a short time.
Buying a (camper)car
So we found out that you can’t insure a car if you are a foreigner visiting the U.S. and an insurance is mandatory. Renting a car for such a long period is expensive and there are also restrictions where you can go to with this car. We need a car, not only in the U.S. but also in Canada. So we came up with the idea of possibly starting in Canada, buy a car there and then drive to America.
Again we had to do a lot of research, because in every province of Canada there are other rules. Eventually we found out that it’s easiest to buy and insure a car in British Columbia. As a tourist you are allowed to, the only restriction is that you need an address. We are told that the address is just for administration purposes. Many people have done this, this way, so we’ll figure it out once we are there.
Extra stops – Cook Islands
We also had the wonderful plan to go to the Cook Islands between Vancouver and New Zealand, since we fly right over them. Unfortunately you can only fly to the Cook Islands through LA, and after 90 days we cannot enter America again. I can hear you thinking now, ‘but if you leave America, you can go back in for 90 days with the same ESTA, right?. Well, yes and no. ONLY when you have left the continent you can re-enter and Canada is still the same continent. There are so many rules….. So unfortunately no Cook Islands for us (but given our great adventure that’s a luxury problem and not a disaster).
When we had an idea of what our itinerary would be, broadly speaking, it was time to look at tickets. We’ve always booked our own flight tickets, which is easy and often cheaper, but we also ran into a problem right away. A return flight Amsterdam – Vancouver costs about 650 euros, but a single trip is twice as much! Yes you’ve read that well … Because they also want you to leave the country, they have made the single journey very expensive. It would have been cheaper to have booked a return flight. Then I took a look at Vancouver – Auckland and I came to 900 euros for a single journey. So we were already at 1550 euros per person.
Someone gave us the tip to take a look at a world ticket and yes, it turned out to be much cheaper. We now have a world ticket twith KLM and flights from Amsterdam to Vancouver, from Vancouver to Auckland, from Christchurch to Singapore and from Singapore to Amsterdam for 1725 euro per person and 1345 euro for Liv. A lot cheaper than single flights in our case 🙂
When all the tickets were booked we dove into the world of insurances. This will be different in every country, but in the Netherlands you need a special insurance if you are travelling for a longer time (most insurances only cover 90 or 180 days). My travel insurance has been with Allianz all my life. A continuous travel and cancellation insurance which I am very satisfied with, but this travel insurance is not suitable if you want to travel for a longer period of time. The last time I left for a longer period, I chose the Globbetrotter insurance (also from Allianz). We wanted to take this insurance again (because it has never left me down), but it turns out that Liv also needs to have her own travel insurance and for almost the same price. Because it was so expensive together (€ 1391.81 per year to be exact for the three of us), we kept postponing it.
By chance, I chatted with a friend on Facebook messenger and she is going away for half a year. She wrote that she was insured with theFBTO and that it wasn’t expensive at all. I thought well: nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I took a look at their website. I found out that with theFBTO insurance you can turn on a module that’s called “long term insurance” and then you can insure yourself for a maximum of 365 days. The best part is that the price is unbelievable. Do you know what you pay for 3 people?!??!! € 288.18 per year!
We couldn’t believe it so we checked everything, but all that we find important is covered. The only thing missing was legal aid (and in America, Canada and New Zealand every traffic incident goes to court, another fact we found out), that will cost us an additional € 4.00 per month extra, so in total the whole insurance will cost us € 336.18 for a year for all 3 of us! This insurance therefore saves us more than € 1000 per year. So for anyone who is traveling for a long time: I can wholeheartedly recommend this insurance and –even better- there is a cancellation insurance included as well! I’m so glad that I just happened to talk to my friend about this. Thank you for the great tip Doete!
I think we have solved all the problems we ran into so far, we are ready! In the next blog we will tell you how we think we are going to pull it off financial 🙂
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