We're asked lots of questions about the trip. Here are our answers to some of the most common questions we're asked.

How do you start when planning a trip around the world?

How did you decide where to go?

How long are you going you to be traveling?

How long are you staying in each place?

How many countries are you visiting?

How long did it take to plan the trip?

How much did you book in advance?

How did you book all the transportation and accommodations?

How did you find your travel agent?

How are you going to travel with three kids?

How did you prepare your kids for this trip?

How are you going to handle their schooling?

What are you doing with your dogs?

What are you doing with your house?

What are you doing with your cars?

What are you packing?

Did you have to get a lot of shots?

Are you sailing around the world?

What electronics are you taking?

How did you create the website?

How do you start when planning a trip around the world?   Top

We started by thinking big picture. You can save a lot of money on airfare with "around the world" tickets, but you must continue traveling in the same direction. We decided to start in England since it's the least "foreign" foreign country, so that meant we must continue traveling in an easterly direction from there. There are times when we'll take small steps backwards. In those cases, we have to get separate plane tickets.

We decided to follow warm weather as much as we could, so we could pack light. The idea is to cross the equator when the Northern Hemisphere is in the late fall and winter and then cross back during the spring. The exception is our visit to China where it will be pretty cold when we're there. We may need to get some heavier clothes and leave them behind when we leave.

How did you decide where to go?   Top

We began by reading big books, like Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die. For Europe we loved the book, Take Your Kids to Europe. We also checked out blogs of other families that have gone on around the world trips to see what places they enjoyed. Visit the resources page to see more links to books and web sites.

The hardest part was taking places off the list. We decided to save Greece, Turkey and the Middle East for another time when the kids are older and could appreciate the history of the region. We took a few places off the list due to terrorist threats and will be keeping an eye on the US State Department's International Travel website. We took some other places off the list because the time of year we would be there isn't a good time to visit.

How long are you going to be traveling?   Top

We decided to travel for 9 and a half months, so we're home for the summer before the trip and the summer after the trip. That way we can finish up any homeschooling we didn't get to on the trip. We got through almost a third of their homeschooling the summer before we left.

How long are you staying in each place?   Top

Nine and a half months is a long time to travel, but the days and weeks added up quickly when we started planning. We decided to move pretty quickly through Europe, staying in each country for an average of a week or so. After Europe we'll slow things down a bit and spend three weeks or more in several countries. Some places we're only visiting for a day, while we're staying a full month in Australia.

How many countries are you visiting?   Top

30 to 35.

How long did it take to plan the trip?   Top

We decided to go about two years before we left. We spent a year just reading and exploring our options. It took us another year to make all the specific arrangements.

How much did you book in advance?   Top

At first we thought we'd book accommodations only through the busy tourist season in Europe. As we researched, we decided to go ahead and book accommodations in all the major European cities. We didn't want to waste half a precious day wandering around with the kids, trying to find a place to stay. For most smaller cities, we'll keep some flexibility by either finding a spot when we arrive or booking a place a few days out. We booked most of our accommodations outside of Europe with the exception of Australia and New Zealand where we'll try to keep some flexibility in the schedule.

How did you book all the transportation and accommodations?   Top

We worked with a travel company that specializes in custom global travel, Blue Charm Expeditions. Jesse and his team are fantastic. They booked all our flights and rental cars. In Europe, Australia and New Zealand we booked most of our accommodations and the rail and ferry travel. Blue Charm took care of the rest of the world.

How did you find your travel agent?   Top

The Internet. We came across an article about a family who traveled around the world. The article mentioned Blue Charm Expeditions as the travel company that helped them book it all. We gave the agency a call, discovered Jesse, and have enjoyed working with them ever since.

How are you going to travel with three kids?   Top

With a sense of humor and adventure. G.K. Chesterton provided the quote used to name this website. In another travel quote he said, "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered." We know the trip will be filled with lots of adventures.

How did you prepare your kids for this trip?   Top

We started talking about this trip with the kids almost two years ago, as soon as we were sure we were going to do it. We bought world map placemats for everyone so we could talk about the world over dinner. We read and discussed many books about world history, countries, people and cultures. We've prayed and talked about it so much with the kids that it's now a part of their lives: the Big Trip.

How are you going to handle their schooling?   Top

We are homeschooling the three kids this school year. Clay does the math, while Meredith does the grammar and writing assignments. They each have a journal (we write what Benji dictates since he's only 6). We hope to re-enroll them in the school they've been attending when we return to Austin, so we are following the curriculum they would have received if they were attending this year. The teachers and staff at their school have been very supportive of the trip.

What are you doing with your dogs?   Top

Meredith's kind sister and her husband agreed to watch them. Their three kids are very excited, they have a big backyard and a friendly old dog. Molly and Maggie will be well cared for.

What are you doing with your house?   Top

We're renting it out for the time we're gone. We found someone who will take great care of the house, and we're able to leave almost everything where it is (dishes, furniture, etc.) We'll pack up the clothes and things in our closet and drawers, that's about it.

What are you doing with your cars?   Top

Selling them.

What are you packing?   Top

As little as possible. We managed to get everything in two rolling duffels and five carry-on backpacks. Take a look at the packing list if you want the details.

Did you have to get a lot of shots?   Top

Yes! Clay traveled to Rwanda in 2005 so was pretty current on shots. The kids already had many of the required shots from routine vaccinations, but we all have to be current on vaccinations for hepatitis A & B, meningitis, typhoid, yellow fever, tetanus, diptheria, measles and polio. We'll be taking oral malaria medication before, during and after traveling to areas with a malaria risk.

Are you sailing around the world?   Top

No, but it sounds amazing. We're taking more conventional means like airplanes, cars, trains and the occasional ferry.

What electronics are you taking?   Top

We're taking a small laptop, pocket digital camera, quad band mobile phone, and a cool GPS device that plugs into the laptop and turns it into a turn by turn navigation system.

How did you create this website?   Top

Clay created it. He was a software developer a long time ago and dusted off some of those old brain cells to make this site. He used the Google Maps API for the map. Our video and photo hosting site, Phanfare, has an API for pulling in the photo thumbnails. His friend Chris Glass helped with the graphic design.


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