Todo list to go

A year-long cycling trip around the world cannot be prepared in two minutes. Lots to think about! A brief summary of our preparations over the last few months…

Choose a departure date

Initially, we planned to leave in April 2015; so we thought quietly about this trip. And then one evening at the beginning of May, we realized that a lot of things would work better if we left... in September, we only had 4 months left! Come on, here we are, posing availability for one, and resignation for the other (about a fifth of world travelers quit for their trip – according to Things were a bit rushed, especially since at the same time we had to finish organizing our wedding; but no matter: we were going to be ready by September! We first started with…

Vaccines !

Meet at Air France international vaccination center (next to Les Invalides, in Paris). In the program :

  • Hepatitis A (for Thomas, as already done for Estelle in 2006): 1 injection – 45 euros (plan a second injection on return to be vaccinated for life)
  • Typhoid – 1 injection – 50 euros
  • Rabies – 3 injections – 45 euros each (ouch!)
  • Japanese encephalitis – 2 injections – 97 euros each (ouch!)

At the vaccination center, they were very friendly, efficient, and gave good advice. It can be seen that they are used to taking care of people who are traveling around the world! That's how we came out, the two of us, with 800 euros on our shoulders. Ouch!

In addition to that, anti-malarial treatments must be planned for 3 months in Asia. Fortunately, the vaccination center advised us to take Doxycycline as it is a long-term treatment, to hurt our stomach less... and our wallet! And then you also have to bring the first aid kit. You will find it with the gear we take.

them visas

We had to find out a little about the countries: things to see, things to know, and above all, the conditions for obtaining visas. For visas, here’s what we can tell you:

  • From France to Turkey, no need for a visa. Only a passport valid for more than 6 months after entering the country
  • Thailand, it is the same thing for a stay of less than 30 days, if you enter the territory by air.
  • Cambodia : visa to be done at the border post, 1500 bath (37€) – valid for 30 days (prices changed in October 2014)
  • Laos : visa to be done at the border post – $30 – valid for 30 days. Customs officers have the annoying habit of asking for bribes, $1 here, $2 there. How to avoid paying? First of all, make sure you have a full stomach when crossing the border, as it can take a while and will help you keep calm. Then, you have to be patient: stay in front of the counter (it bothers others to pass and therefore the customs officer from receiving his next bribes), ask for an invoice (“no receipt, no money!”), and not give in. Explain to him that you have plenty of time. He will eventually give in. On the other hand, don't declare victory too early: between Cambodia and Laos, you go to two wickets; you have to start the same story again each time.
  • Vietnam : we did it in Phnom Penh (Cambodia – January 2015) – it costs $60. You must give an entry date and it is valid for 30 days from that date. We did it at the Capitol agency (which is also a restaurant) on the O’Russey Market square, between 111 and 113 streets; It takes 4 working days and it's the same price as going to the embassy.
  • China : done in Hanoi in March 2015. We followed this very good description (we added some comments at the bottom of their page) and everything went very well. In 4 days, it was done! No need to go through an agency. Visa cost: $30.
  • Chinese visa renewal : is done in the PSB (Police Security Bureau) in the cities that are county heads. The conditions can be very different depending on the location. A Kangding : run away ! They ask hotels to have us registered at least 3 or 4 times at the police station while most hotels don't. They obviously put a spoke in our wheels for renewal; perhaps this is due to the proximity of Tibet? We spent a day tearing our hair out so if we can save you the same hassle... we share!
    A Chengdu : a priori it takes at least 5 working days, so with weekends, it quickly becomes long…
    A Leshan : much easier ! A page that explains everything: Done for us in 48 hours (April 2015) – Cost of renewal: ¥160 (approx €25)
  • Mongolia : we did not need a visa for Mongolia in May 2015. In fact, from July 9, 2014 to January 1, 2016, it was no longer necessary to apply for a visa for French people, for a stay of less of 30 days… Unfortunately, backtracking, you need to have a visa again to enter Mongolia!…
  • Russia : in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Everyone assured us that applying for it yourself was very complicated and did not guarantee you would get it. So we had it done by the agency Legend Tour : in the end, we got it in 12 working days (we were able to go for a walk in Mongolia during that time without any problem) for the sum of €126.50 each (yes, it stings!). You need 1 photo, the insurance certificate and a form to complete on site. The visa is valid for 30 days.
  • For the following countries, it is the Schengen area; so no more stress for visas! Phew!


We had certainly already spotted the gear we wanted, but we had to deepen our research and start shopping. The sellers of the old camper were also a great help in the choices we had to make. See the page dedicated to our great gear !

The bank

Traditional banks remain very expensive for a trip like ours: cost of withdrawals, bank card, etc., it's not cheap! We followed the advice of the site ““. This site, created by and for world travelers (yes, yes, that's a real word!), seems to have studied the question well. So we subscribed to Boursorama, and during our year of travel, no worries – they instantly notify you by SMS as soon as a debit of more than €200 is detected, I like it. If Boursorama tempts you let us know, we can sponsor you ! At Fortuneo I had an advisor on the phone who clearly told me that they didn’t want world tourers (!) “Okay, well I’ll go to Boursorama then!” "Good day." ! And then we still kept our account with the BNP (to cover our backs in the event of a problem with this credit card), which was kind enough to give us a good reduction on the account fees for this year abroad where we We were going to use the card very little.

Insurance around the world

Adventurer, yes, but not a hothead. You have to think about insuring your behind too, you never know! Once again, we relied on the site’s opinion ““. He also seemed to give us good advice. After a study of the different services offered by insurance companies, we chose Chapka. The few times we needed it, we had no problem: after opening the file by phone or email, we took a photo of the care invoice, sent it to them, and we were reimbursed in less than 'one week !

The bikes

For my part (Estelle), my B-twin, a faithful companion for going to work every day, risked suffering too much and was too heavy for such a trip. So I decided to give a second life to a bike dedicated to cycle touring. I found a second-hand specialized bike with a frame from the “Surly” brand: the “Long Haul Trucker”. This brand is really famous for long-distance travel. It's already fully equipped, I just had to give it a good cleaning and replace a few parts to get it ready for the trip. As for Thomas: he already had a good mountain bike, he just had to improve it.

What elements do we think are essential on a bike for a long trip?

  • solid and easily replaceable components, avoid plastic in transmissions
  • tires Schwalbe Marathon, recognized for their longevity.
  • butterfly handlebars to be able to change position regularly, with bell and rearview mirror
  • a Brooks saddle: tested and approved! You should remember to re-grease it regularly: with the grease provided or shoe grease, it does the job very well (and it is easy to find everywhere in the world). And gradually tighten the screw underneath: Thomas hadn't done it enough, and after 15,000km, the screw broke; obliged to recommend one on the internet because it is impossible to find in stores, even in Germany.
  • good luggage racks, with front and rear panniers, but also one on the handlebars.
  • a strong crutch, because they weigh their weight, our companions!

Then, on my bike with a hub dynamo, Thomas installed a USB converter, in order to recharge your phone, headlamp, e-reader, etc. while pedaling! Ingenious, right?!


We have a partnership with a primary school. The teacher of a class will follow us with her students, and will integrate our trip into their program for the year. We have created a category on the blog which lists all school visits around the world during our year; and thus introduce French students to examples of schools on the other side of the world.

…the cardboards

Well, now that the most important thing is done… we have to think about emptying the apartment. After collecting boxes from right to left, we put our things away. You have to organize the boxes well and, above all, write down what's inside: we won't reopen them until more than a year from now (time to go back, find work and settle down in a city, and all that). move again)!