A traveler we met once told us: “Your journey started when you started preparing for it.” Now we would like to take a step back and talk a bit about how to prepare for a trip across the continent. The planning stage was such a big portion of our experience, as it spanned 3 years leading up to the departure date.
Let's break it down. We knew we wanted a trip that would take the two of us through the US down to the southern tip of South America. That meant we had to figure out how much time we needed to cover it and how much money it would take.
Using that perspective and a little research we learned that we would be crossing 15 countries, driving nearly 20,0000 miles (one-way), 8 months on the road, and have to depend on our savings.
So how were we going to make this work?
We needed a plan to cover the costs of this trip. We needed a vehicle modified for camping and overlanding. There was also the logistics to consider in places like the Darian Gap, which is situated between Panama and Colombia and can only be crossed by boat.
We began saving for two years with a target goal in mind. We adhered to a minimal lifestyle and reduced our spending. Cuting down on restaurants and bar outings was also necessary. We started cooking more at home and inviting friends over to share a meal. In addition to this we also maintained a retirement plan and future savings.
For our trip, we budgeted for food, hostels, campsite fees, park entrance fees, tours, gear, amd souvenirs.
For transportation, we made a budget for fuel, car maintenance, bus, train and boat fares.
We needed a vehicle modified for the trip. After narrowing down our options, the VW Vanagon started looking inadequate for our needs. So we began looking at SUVs more closely, which made us realize that the Toyota 4Runner had advantages and met all of our requirements. The only downside was its lack of interior living space. We could solve this with a great rooftop tent solution: and that's when we found the Skycamp.
To be continued...