Passing through her native Abitibi, the magnificent North Shore of her maternal family or the Magdalen Islands and the essentials of the road to get there, discovering new horizons is part of Marie's DNA. -Eve D'Amours, our travel blogger. Her backpack is filled with learnings and travel tips that she shares with us in this article so that in turn, the experience is simply memorable!
Text by Marie-Ève D'Amours
1. Plane ticket
Booking tickets 10 to 12 months in advance will allow you to take advantage of the best prices. With the new artificial intelligence that controls the algorithm, a bit like show tickets or supply and demand, being the first to arrive will allow you to pay less.
We were able to test everything with our family trip to Spain (2 adults - 2 children) at $3000 booked 1 year in advance (Yes, in the midst of Covid! We were optimistic :)) for July 2022. If we had booked 6 months in advance, the price would have been over $4,000. On a family travel budget, it's HUGE!
As for Bolivia, our family trip (3 adults (Émilio, 12 years old is considered an adult) - 1 child) amounted to $4,600 for a reservation 10 months in advance. We did the same test 3 months in advance and we were then at $5,800 in fees.
To be foreseen, as far as international and domestic flights are concerned, it is preferable to entrust this mandate to a travel agency because with all the fluctuation of flights, in the event of an unforeseen event, it is this key person* who will follow up. (* For us, this is theAgence Nadeau - Rouleau, L’autre Voyage inc. our key person!).
Learn more about the Roy D'Amour family, Ambassador Chlorophylle.
What kind of trip do you want? Expressing expectations and directing actions according to priorities is an asset! Of course, when traveling as a family, it is essential to be well organized and to have done your reading and homework to fully understand the places visited.
On our side, the “wild” aspect, tranquility and secret places are a “must”… We want to prioritize human encounters in the big city center like Barcelona for example. Of course, you shouldn't have too many expectations, but be open to the adventure ahead. In short, after gathering information, we like to take the time to decant and see the possibilities before booking the stops on our route too quickly.
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On the accommodation side, our goal is to have the best prices and to find ourselves in center. It is always the first privileged places that leave in advance. Booking early is the secret! Coach, the nickname of my darling, says he saved hundreds of dollars on this point. Luckily he is in the project, because I too often find myself in the present moment, which can represent a major challenge in such a project!
To do this, my boyfriend, knowing the maps of the places visited by heart, has a Sunday ritual of reviewing all reservations to make sure there is no better “deal”!
I repeat myself, but not having too many expectations is a mantra to always keep in mind! In the heat wave, during our trip to Spain, 2 rented apartments were supposed to be equipped with air conditioning… But in reality, they were only micro-fans. Believe me, we sweat our lives, even at night, which is part of the travel experience and the memories to be told. For example, I could tell you again one of these days about the feeling of sleeping with your feet covered in a wet towel to cool off!
Despite these small glitches, my boyfriend provides and promotes accommodation with lunch included. It's easy and quick to satiate little bellies at dawn.
I open a parenthesis in terms of on-site expedition reservations, only 2 major excursions were purchased in advance, all with local agencies that were referred to us.
4. To Do Lists
List of this… List of that, I'm a fan of writing lists because it allows me not to forget anything and above all, to take out everything that's simmering in my head, hihi! Here are the most important lists… on my list!
The to-do list before you go is essential to planning. I am thinking in particular of the update of vaccines and prescriptions that should not be forgotten. From experience, it is preferable to do business with your family doctor, the bill will certainly be lower. For example, your doctor can prescribe medicine for mountain sickness or an antibiotic in case of severe diarrhoea… On the other hand, for yellow fever or others, you will have no choice but to visit the travel clinic .
The backpack packing checklist is just as important for knowing what to bring.
We have always been in simplicity at the Roy-D'Amours. What differs from our last “carry-on” family trip where everyone took care of their luggage is certainly the temperature variation that we will face. Who says variation, says winter coat with bikini!
Lucky we are, the essentials Chlorophyll will be our “must” of this unforgettable trip…
It looks like gear will be hard to come by outside of the big cities, all the more reason to be prepared with lists and well equipped before you go.
Then, the list of things to pay before and during the trip allows for sound budget planning. Stay on the lookout for the reality of the country visited as well. For example, the Canadian government issued a warning for Bolivia recently that it is impossible to withdraw American money at destination. Although bolivianos are the common method of payment, the fact remains that some small hotels and excursions are paid in US.
5. Hola, technology!
Unsurprisingly, we get used to technology a lot these days. Often in Spain, we searched in the Google translator what we wanted to say or order. However, the cellular network will remain to be desired in Bolivia. There will be no network but, also, no electricity for 5 days on the excursion. It will be quite an experience! I look forward to hearing our discussions during our 6 to 7 hour Jeep trips.
Speaking of lists in the previous point, thank you Emilio for making sure that we can express ourselves on the spot thanks to your lessons on Duolingo... Fiston has created lists of common words that we will need on a daily basis, among other things, to feed us on our journey. In Spain, Google translation helped us out on several occasions. Let's say that the Bolivian network will be surprising at this level...