The title refers to how you will hopefully never feel when traveling with someone else.
One of the more important aspects to planning a joint trip (like our round-the-world trip we are currently figuring out) is equally dividing the work. Tara and I have always worked well together when attacking problems — we find a way to let each of our strengths shine, which prevents conflict over who is doing the heavy lifting, because we both are.
With our departure now only a month away, there is no down time. Instead, every second is spent researching, investigating and booking hostels, campsites, flights and trains. This constant pressure creates exactly the right conditions for me to work, but sometimes the fact that we’re just over a month away makes me feel like we have more time than we actually do. And that false sense of security leads me to want to procrastinate, only there is no time for it.
This is why our weekly goals list is something I cannot recommend more highly for those preparing for long-term travel. Each week, we set short- and long-term goals that require team or individual completion. We order them according to importance based on whether they impact other projects or deadlines. Then each day after work, we discuss the list and hunker down for a night of productivity.
A perfect example is our Russian visa. Getting a Russian visa is quite a time-intensive venture that requires you to hand over your passport to the embassy for a couple weeks; however, you can’t begin the process until you have an invitation letter and your entry and exit transportation sorted out. In our case, we booked a trip through a travel agency that provides us with said invitation letter, but until we decided when and through which transportation method we are leaving, we could not begin the visa process. Translation: If you’re the type to figure out things as you go along, Russia may not be the best fit for you. Overstaying your visa in Russia, even if it’s not your fault — such as a delayed plane or train — can lead to you being detained and fined.
Tara and I finalized our plans and applied for our visas this past week, but to return to the topic at hand, it is important to divvy up tasks like these. While I did most of the heavy lifting with the Russian visa, Tara dug deep into the fine print of myriad travel/health insurance policies for us. Without getting into the nitty gritty (I’m sure Tara could write several long-form articles on the search process and criteria we had when it came to insurance), by us divvying up time-intensive goals with hard deadlines, it created a general sense of accomplishment without the pressure that one person is taking on the planning alone.
From time to time, the reality of our fast-approaching departure hits, and it leads to marathon cleaning or research sessions, but overall Tara and I have avoided these frantic panicked moments. Hopefully, by setting smart deadlines and sticking to them, we’ll keep it that way.
Daniël Cronk says
ah yes, the woes of a russian visa… oh how i remember that process well. to date it has been THE most labor intensive and painful visa to apply for.
Cool article, Daniel. We’re a little worried about the Indian visa which we’ll have to get on the road.
That’s why I’ve paid the travel agency to do the dirty work!
We’re trying to keep costs down when we can.
WOW! You guys are so organized! Great job. Glad the Russian visas worked out, too!
There were some stressful times, but thankfully it’s all coming together.
Kate Morrison says
I greatly enjoyed this post, especially your tip on “weekly-goals” to accomplish. I’m taking off for an indefinite backpacking trip with my boyfriend in just under 2 months, and have been trying to organize how we’re going to organize getting everything … organized 🙂 . I’m definitely going to figure out some weekly-goals to help us get sorted, and I’ll be blogging about our prep for sure!
Mike Shubbuck says
That’s great news about your impending trip. Pre-trip prep is so important, once you hit the road, you will find yourself living in the moment. Doing any time consuming research now will aid you immensely (even just basic overviews of countries you will visit). Enjoy the next few months in your homeland!