Having Fun Right Now

Another Family Planning to Travel the World!

Money While Travelling

One of the concerns we’ve had while traveling is how to safely carry money and pay for things.  Looking into it, I think we’ve decided on a few rules:

  1. Pay everything with a credit card, which not only gives you peace of mind if it’s stolen, but also gets points you can use during the trip itself.
  2. Speaking of credit cards, we’re thinking of having two – an American Express Gold for  hotels and flights, since AMEX has always been great for travel insurance and other services, as well as a MasterCard or Visa.  Having a backup in the hotel/in your luggage will come in handy if your primary is ever lost or stolen.
  3. And speaking of getting stolen, we’re going to save our primary funds in a high interest savings account and only move a bit at a time into a chequing account so that if, heaven forbid, our card is skimmed or stolen, the thief can only get so much from the ATM.  We’re thinking of moving to HSBC for the trip since they’ll have ATMs in most of the places we’ll be visiting (to avoid withdrawal fees), though there ARE Canadian banks in some major foreign cities…  so maybe laziness will win out for this point.
  4. Mega Mommy also has a U.S. based account for her work, so we’ll actually have a third account specifically for emergency purposes.
  5. Some places we’ll be visiting will be cash only, and our bank will always offer a better conversion than currency converter kiosks.

There are a few websites we’ve found to try to get the most points and best credit cards for our travel.  They include:

One of the common recommendations we’ve seen is to get a good travel card where the first year’s fees are waived, then ditching the card when the travel is done.  Considering some of those fees can be ridiculously high for the average folk, I’ll be keeping my eyes open when the time comes.  (Though, in the end, a $250 year fee for something that offers amazing perks and peace of mind during  $100,000 trip is worth it).

How to Avoid Single-Use Plastic When Traveling

A helpful video from the National Geographic channel. Food for thought(but in a reusable container)!

Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid

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Wow! This one looks great! (Available in the fall)

Retired Grandparents Ditch Mortgage for Life at Sea

A fun little video from Alternative Living Spaces (Season 6, Episode 12).  This is one heck of a way to enjoy your retirement.

 

History of Global Living Conditions

A very interesting and must read article titled “The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it” by Max Roser that answers the question, “All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better nor worse?” by looking at the history of global living conditions.

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Where Have We Been?

Ever wanted to keep track of where you’ve visited?  You can use push-pins of course, but why not try a scratch-off map instead?  Apparently they can be hard to scratch, but it does look nifty!  There’s a few versions, but here’s one that I’ve found:

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https://globetrotclub.com/collections/posters/products/scratch-off-world-map

 

“Travel to Russia,” he says, “It’ll be fun!” he says.

Nope. Nope. Nopity nope.

Travel Locations: China

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Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

In China, this holiday is second to New Year’s in popularity. It has its origins in an ancient legend about a hero shooting nine extra suns with his arrow and being rewarded with an elixir of eternal life by the Queen of Heaven. He refuses to drink it because he loves his wife so much, an evil guy tries to steal it, and the wife drinks the elixir to keep it from the evil guy. The wife, Change E, then flies to the moon and lives the rest of her eternal life there. The holiday begins with the husband leaving special offerings to her, such as holiday favourite “moon cake.”  This holiday is similar to our Canadian Thanksgiving, in that it is a celebration of the harvest, there is a break from work and school, and many people travel to visit family. In fact, this is why I wanted to blog about it! So many people travel at this time that there is a saying to describe it –  人海,人山 – which translates to a literal “sea of people, mountain of people.” Maybe not the best time to travel to China!

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However, I am interested in trying the special “moon cakes” that are eaten during this holiday. They look delicious! Also, 2017 has a longer holiday as it coincides with the National Day, or the celebration of the founding of the PRC in 1949, as well.

I also wanted to mention that our 11 year-old has stared taking Mandarin lessons online via Lingo Bus. He tried a demo class for free because I work for the sister company VIPKID. He enjoyed the first class so much that we agreed to sign him up for more! I think it will be great as the whole family can begin to learn some Mandarin in preparation for our big trip.

The World Walk

Another great travel adventure, this time from Tom Turcich. He left the United States in 2015 to walk across seven continents over a five year period.  He writes,

The dream of walking around the world formed at seventeen after my friend AnneMarie passed. Since her death I’ve decided to make the most of each day. I walk the world to become immersed in unknown places and be forced into adventure day after day. In Texas I adopted a dog, Savannah, and we’ve crossed every border together ever since. I write and take photos, and am hopefully getting better at both with each passing day.

He has Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as a website called The World Walk with beautiful stories and pictures.  I first heard about him from his Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) titled, “I am Tom Turcich, 687 days, 16 countries and 9600 miles into my dream of walking around the world. AMA!”  The AMA, in particular, has a lot of great discussions that could help others like him begin their own journey.

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Crossing the Pacific by Freighter

Recently, my family had an idea that perhaps we could start our RTW trip by crossing the Pacific on a one way cruise ship (for example, from San Diego to Sydney). Admittedly, we haven’t thought too deeply of all of the challenges with this idea – costs, sea sickness (especially for the kids) and so forth.

While looking into this plan, I came across one of the most interesting travel diaries I’ve ever seen.  The writer (YVR Cockroach) talks about his 17 day voyage across the Pacific on the CMA CGM Libra from Hong Kong to Long Beach.  This definitely does not seem like a good idea for a family with young kids.  At most an adventurous couple could enjoy this trip, though there are doubts since there is practically no conveniences or entertainment to be had (other than what you brought with you).  Having said that, if I were younger, single, had time on my hands, strapped for cash but needed to cross the ocean, I would certainly consider this…

If you want to try it, check out CMA CGM’s website at https://www.cma-cgm.com/products-services/cargo-cruise or their blog at http://www.cma-cgm-blog.com/cargo-cruises-travel-shipping-cargo/.

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