Where are we going?

Where do we want to go? We’ve asked ourselves this question many times since we decided to travel the world. I honestly thought it was going to be quick and easy to decide. A few countries here, some more there, and BOOM, we’ve got our list. Oh, no. Turns out deciding where to go (and for how long) is much harder and more time-consuming than I ever would have thought.

Let’s make something clear: The world is HUGE and it has A LOT of countries. And OMG, does the cost ever vary from country to country. Not to mention the issue of safety. We are American-Canadian after all, so… in what countries do they NOT want to burn us in effigy?

How did we decide where to go? We did a ton of research. Read on for the details, but note, our questions didn’t go in any kind of neat order, as I’ve listed them below (and in some instances, we just said “F*** it, we wanna go”). We know our list will change over time but we wanted — and needed, for vaccination purposes, but that’s a topic for another post — to have a preliminary list.

1. Which countries are safe?

Did you know that there is a report published annually that ranks every single country in terms of its relative safety? Who knew?! It’s called “The Global Peace Index,” from the Institute for Economics & Peace, and that’s where we started our research.

Which countries are the safest? Iceland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Japan: all are in the top 10 for safest countries in the world. The U.S.A. is ranked 114 out of 163 and is considered only “Medium” in terms of safety. What’s in last place? Syria. As you might have guessed.

This ranking helped us eliminate several countries (including Venezuela, Egypt, and Turkey), but some stayed on our list anyway because of our desire to live dangerously. Well, just kidding, sort of — even though some countries are considered “Medium” safe, such as Thailand, we still want to go there. Our desire to see it outweighed the arbitrary line we drew in the sand, which was “nothing less safe than the US.”

And that leads me to our next question (or, really, three questions that are closely linked, at least in our minds).

2. Which countries are led by corrupt creeps or raving nut-jobs? In what countries is the US fighting wars or supplying “peacekeepers”? What countries systemically treat women as subservient to men? 

Okay, let’s face it: A couple of these questions could easily have eliminated almost every country on the planet. But you have to draw a line somewhere.

These questions eliminated several countries: China, Russia, North Korea (and South Korea, if only because of proximity), some countries in Central America, many in the Middle East, and Morocco, the last of which I was particularly bummed about. All of those places are out. I want to feel comfortable where ever we go.

3. Where have we always really wanted to go? 

For Scott, this is Europe. He’s been to several places in Asia and would probably be happy just traveling in Europe for the entire year. I, however, want to see South East Asia, the Pacific, South America, Central America, and some far-off parts of the U.S.A. — Alaska, anyone?!

Of course, Europe, Asia, and South America are still big places, so we then researched countries where other travelers (i.e., Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, books, blogs, etc.) highly recommend going. These reviews really helped. Think of it as checking Yelp, but for country recommendations instead of food.

Before you ask, we don’t have Africa on our list. It’s just not a place Scott or I feel compelled to visit (at least on this trip). We certainly considered it and went back and forth about it a few times, but ultimately we want to see other places more.

4. How much will it cost?

Another cool find in our research was a number of websites (like this one: budgetyourtrip.com) that list the average cost of travel per day in various countries. These costs include most things you’ll encounter, like hotels or other accommodation, meals, drinks, activities, etc.

For example, we found that, on average, it will cost you approximately $163 per day to visit France, $75 for Albania, $28 in Nepal, $34 in Cambodia, and $250 in Japan. Such a range! Since we can’t roll like ballers (however much we feel like we should), we had to factor in a mix of expensive countries with cheaper countries so that we stay within our budget (which is the topic of another post at a later date).

So, finally, where are we going? Using all of the questions above (including the overriding “f*** it” factor), we’ve come up with the list below. 

Avg Daily Cost

Safety
(H=High, M= Medium)

Europe
Portugal

$109

H

France

163

H

Switzerland 

$140

H

Greece 

$123

M

Bulgaria 

$51

H

Romania

$88

H

Serbia 

$75

H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 

$71

M

Croatia

$80

H

Montenegro 

$150

M

Albania

$75

H

Hungary 

$100

H

Slovakia 

$100

H

Austria 

$118

H

Germany 

$121

H

Czech Republic 

$87

H

Germany

$121

H

Denmark 

$153

H

Netherlands 

$141

H

Italy 

$144

H

SE Asia 
Nepal 

$28

M

Thailand 

$65

M

Vietnam 

$41

M

Laos

$29

H

Cambodia 

$34

M

Taiwan 

$45

H

Japan 

$250

H

Pacific
Australia 

$194

H

New Zealand

$175

H

Fiji

$99

H

Central America
Costa Rica

$77

H

Panama

$60

H

South America
Brazil 

$67

M

Uruguay 

$71

H

Peru 

$42

M

Ecuador

$34

H

Chile

$105

H

Argentina 

$23

H

North America
Alaska

?

H

Hawaii

?

H

If you see a place you’ve always wanted to visit, why not plan to meet us abroad!!

—Connie (and Scott)

15 thoughts on “Where are we going?

  1. Kevin Waits

    What an awesome list! I am going to Thailand in November. Most people do Alaska in the summer but I went in Feb to see the aurora borealis. It was amazing! When are you planning to be in Thailand??

    Like

  2. Leta Thomas

    This is awesome!!! I am so jealous and want to live vicariously through you. Laverne told me about it and I had to hunt you down. How do I follow you to get updates? We just got back from Iceland and saw the Aurora it was great. I recommend going to the Northern lights center http://aurorareykjavik.is/ in Reykjavík if you have a camera to take pics. They will help set it up properly to ensure you can capture the colors.

    So excited for you!!

    Like

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