4 Months to D Day!

Eek! The ticker on our countdown has just moved from 5 to 4 months!

After scouting around for families who have written or blogged about their gap year experiences, I’ve been reading Elisa Bernick’s ‘Family Sabbatical Handbook’ and blog from her family’s 18 month adventure living in Mexico

– apart from providing excellent info on planning and undertaking an extended trip overseas, it makes for a great read of their own travel tales and those of families they met along the way.

Like other writers of family gap year adventures, there’s clear consensus that you could (should) spend a year in preparation. Well if you discount the years spent dreaming about it, we’ve given ourselves 5 months (and one gone already!)

I know we’ll have to renew at least 2 passports and I started checking on visa requirements this week… It was a relief to see most S American countries don’t require advance visas for stays of up to 90 days but then I looked at the 2nd half of our trip, we need advance visas for The Philippines, China, Mongolia, India…. Haven’t checked everything yet but I realised we had better firm up our plans fast or we’ll be spending literally hundreds of £££ and time applying for visas that we might not use and miss out on some we really end up needing.

Firming up on specific countries/route is partly defined by choosing a couple of volunteer projects. That’s just starting to take shape. Would love to hear from any families with younger children who’ve done any such projects or would recommend anything, meanwhile a useful trip to the Adventure Travel Show at Olympia a couple of weeks back led us to some interesting organisations who specialise in volunteer projects and are looking for suitable projects for us so watch this space, I’m feeling optimistic!

More confounding is how to ensure a follow-the-sun itinerary for a year, avoid winters, too hot summers and hurricanes – but follow a vaguely realistic route not hopping back and forth around the globe – easier said than done! Can anyone recommend an iPhone app to help me with this!?

We’re also keen to spend the first few weeks and possibly some other stretches on organised or part-organised overland trips with other like minded families… A look through some of the offerings from companies such as Dragoman and Explore, who offer some trips for families certainly whets the appetite – just take a look at the links, but trip ideas for families with young children are limited or non-existent.

That said, we talked to some of these companies at the Olympia show and one option is to find our travel companions and charter or own trip. So, we’d love to hear from any families interested in joining us for part of the overland adventure in Latin America? A few weeks, anytime from mid July to the end of 2012 – it could be a trip through Brazil or a journey through Central America or an adventure through Ecuador, Peru and Chile, we’d like to hear from you:)

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