top of page

Our first long-term trip: Caribbean, Central and North America in six months

Many couples start arguing on vacation. We grow closer together year after year.

In 1983, the average travel time for our so-called "main vacation" was still 17.4 days. Since 2008, this duration has leveled off at 13 days. This means that people in this country are taking fewer long trips than they did 40 years ago. We are very happy to swim against the general trend.


Ever since we took our first 14-day trip to Egypt together in 1999, we've been bitten by the travel bug. On every return flight, it has become a running joke to ask each other "Where are we going now?". The answer to this question is never actually: "Home".


In the following years, some of our trips have become longer, but we have never gone longer than five weeks. Our commitments at home were too great and our family account at the bank was too empty. Taking out a consumer loan for a trip was never an option for us. The very idea of having to pay off something over a long period of time that has already passed is absurd in our opinion. So for the next 24 years, we stuck to the standing rule: "When we don't have any more dogs, the children are old enough, we can do it professionally and we have enough money, then we'll go on a long-term trip." We didn't know whether this would ever happen, but we worked on it.


The decision has been made

... or the die has been cast. After our dog Jagger passed away in 2020 at the ripe old age of 17, our beloved Labrador Polly left us in January 2023 at the age of almost 13. We were heartbroken, but we also realized that a huge responsibility had been lifted from our shoulders. For 24 years we had always had at least one dog and sometimes other "pets" such as cats, chickens, ducks and alpacas. Since the sad day at the beginning of 2023, we were "pet-free" as a family for the first time. After a few weeks, we became more and more aware of this fact and began to think about our new living situation. The "long journey" came up for discussion for the first time.

The last few days before departure we were about as excited as in this picture.


Thanks to our professional independence and the right financial decisions in recent years, there were already two points in favor of this major time- and cost-intensive decision. The only big question mark hanging over our heads was the children's compulsory schooling. We researched this and applied for an official exemption for both children from the Education Directorate. Now we had to wait and see and after just a few weeks and with the support of the class teachers (thank you very much for that!) we got the go-ahead. The children were allowed to stay away from school for a whole summer semester. What great news. We could finally plan our first really big trip! The only question was where to go?


Traveling yes, but what an effort

Thanks to the leave of absence, we knew immediately what time frame we had available for this gigantic family trip. Only the destinations were still in the dark. We love traveling and the planning that goes with it, but a six-month trip through faraway countries is very different from a three-week summer vacation. We quickly realized this and the following questions arose:


Should it be a round-the-world trip or would we rather concentrate on one continent?


How expensive is such a long trip and is it all worth it?


Where do we start the trip? 


Will we pre-book flights and accommodation or do we want to travel at random?


Do we want to cover intermediate stages by plane or will we travel by bus, train or rental car?


What will it be like to leave our comfort zone for a longer period of time or is a trip like this our new comfort zone?


... and what do you actually pack for such a long trip?


Believe us, these and many other questions have kept us on our toes over the last 11 months. The next six months will show whether we have thought of everything. In the next blog, we would like to take a closer look at some of these - which should also help other long-term travellers.


Where should we go?

The second important question after the travel period, which was already fixed at the beginning of February to the end of August, was where to go. We have had a wish list of countries and places for over 20 years now, which we are gradually ticking off and adding to. It feels like this list is getting longer rather than shorter. We quickly agreed to cross the pond again for our trip. We wanted to go to the American continent. We wanted to start our trip with a few relaxing weeks somewhere by the sea. But where?

Afilliate Link - bezahlte Werbung


We had a number of ideas and suggestions until we came across the report of a fellow blogger who had taken her honeymoon to Guadeloupe a few years ago. She raved about the Caribbean island, which belongs to France, and really whetted our appetite. We had never been to the Caribbean before, but it had been on our wish list since the beginning. Just two weeks after deciding to go on this trip, we had found our starting destination and booked a flight to Guadeloupe via Paris. The rest would surely take care of itself, we thought.

Intensive planning phase

At the beginning of March 2023, we started to plan the rest of the trip and it wasn't that easy. We quickly realized that planning a trip lasting several months is a lot more work than a three-week summer vacation. However, as we love this kind of research almost as much as being on the road ourselves, we were quickly in our element. We've already suggested to our friends and family that if you're planning a trip, we'd be happy to help. We are now, without exaggeration, really good at it. For us, planning is part of the fun and around four weeks later, our provisional itinerary was finalized:


1. February 4, 2024: flight with Austrian Airlines from Vienna to Paris. Overnight stay in an airport hotel and sightseeing in the "City of Love" - a good start.


2. February 5, 2024: Flight with Air France from Paris to Guadeloupe. We wanted to spend three or four weeks there. The upcoming stops were partly determined by the possible flight connections.


3. Dominican Republic: As we wanted to continue to Central America after Guadeloupe, we had to make a stopover in the Dominican Republic. We quickly agreed: "If we're already there, we might as well stay for a while. Result: 2 weeks in the Dominican Republic.

4. onward flight to Costa Rica: We already drove through "the Switzerland of Central America" in a small off-road vehicle over 15 years ago, but without children at the time. Still enthusiastic, we want to get to know this wonderful country for the kids too and will be doing a short 12-day rental car tour. We are already curious to see if much has changed.


5. Panama: Panama has also been on our wish list for a few years now. We will fly from San Jose to Panama City with Copa Air, spend a few days in the capital and then travel the country by public bus.


6th West of the USA: Anyone who has been following our blog for a while will have noticed how much we enjoyed our four-week trip to New York and Florida in 2022. The land of opportunity is truly amazing and has captivated us. After the East, this time we are drawn to the West, with all its cities such as San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle and the great state and national parks. For the very first time, we want to rent a motorhome there and drive from Los Angeles to Seattle.

We're driving through the western USA for seven weeks in an RV C30 from Cruise America. What a huge thing!

7. by train to Canada: After a final week in Seattle, the former capital of the Crunge, we will take the Amtrak across the nearby border to the wonderful but expensive city of Vancouver, where we will also spend a week in local AirB'nB accommodation.


Now I'm sitting here writing this blog and I'm incredibly excited. The countdown app on my cell phone says "1 day, 22 hours and 30 minutes" until our departure to Paris. The almost year-long wait will soon be over and the day after tomorrow, on Sunday at 4.30 in the morning, an airport cab will pick us up. We probably won't get any real sleep until then anyway, because the travel bug has us fully in its grip.


Almost everything pre-planned

We have now booked all our accommodation, flights, train tickets and the motorhome and planned our trip from February 4 to June 27, 2024 (Vancouver). We are only keeping the 7-week motorhome trip and the time after Vancouver open. We will probably fly on to Toronto afterwards and take another tour of eastern Canada. Originally, we also wanted to go to Hawaii, but we decided against it because of the flight time and the additional costs. If we were still traveling as a couple, we certainly wouldn't have pre-booked so much, but with two children it is usually much more difficult to find and reach suitable accommodation quickly and easily.

The suitcases are packed, we have given our friends and relatives one last big hug and today we are returning our license plates. We are aware that we will be leaving our comfort zone over the next six to seven months, but one thing is certain: the upcoming experiences will provide our children and us with unforgettable memories that no one can take away from us. That alone is worth sacrificing our savings. You only live once.


We would be delighted if you followed our journey on Facebook, Instagram and on our website. We'll be happy to keep you up to date.


Best regards, Steffi, Manuel, Lilly and Max (Author)

Tips for long-term travelers

Afilliate Links - bezahlte Werbung

  • All in one international socket adapter: this universal travel adapter worldwide has an EU, UK, AU, US plug. With this travel adapter, you can travel to many countries, such as Europe, USA, England, Germany, Asia, Thailand, Australia, China, Japan, Israel, Italy, Colombia, etc.

  • Travel adapter worldwide with 3 USB 1 USB C and 1AC: 3 USB A ports (total USB output 5V/2.4A MAX) 1 USB C port (total output: 5 V/3 A) and 1 AC socket (supports 100-250V, 50/60Hz, max. Charge 10A. Max. Power 2500 W at 250 VAC, 1100 W at 110 VAC). With this international socket adapter, you can charge 5 devices at the same time.

  • Compact size: thanks to the size of 7.15 x 5.5 x 5.35 cm, this international power adapter is compact and portable. The all-in-one entrance concept meets the diverse requirements on your trip and saves you a lot of luggage space without having to take additional adapters or sockets. It is also a USB home charger, even when you are not on the go.

  • Double fuse: this travel adapter comes with two overload fuses (10A). If the fuse is damaged, you can replace it with a replacement fuse. Double protection makes your journey safer.

  • Please note: this is not a converter. This universal adapter is only suitable for devices with two voltages or global devices with an input voltage range of 100-240V. Voltage conversion (transformation) or mains frequency change is not done via this socket adapter.

1 view0 comments


bottom of page