In April, Will and I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Australia and New Zealand.  Last November, we were discussing and planning out our finances for 2012 and, after much thought, we decided to set aside a good amount of money to travel. 

This decision was really tough because we’ve been trying to save up for a down payment on a house since we got engaged.  We’d been slowly saving up, but for the type of house we want, it’s just not accruing fast enough.  We made the decision then to use most of it to pay off two of my high interest graduate school loans and ear mark some of it for our world travels.

One major reason to go was that we are not yet tied down with children or a mortgage, so we figured this would be a good time to see the world (or at least one continent).  Everyone we talked to who are parents told us this was a good idea!  I guess it’s either now or in 25 years.  😛

As the planner of the family, I took our budget and figured out the details.  I emailed and talked to a few friends who had gone before and got their recommendations.  TripAdvisor was my travel agent and found me the five places we’d need to stay and exciting excursions to book.  I definitely recommend TripAdvisor!  I filled a binder with dividers of the cities we’d be visiting and 3-hole-punched our hotel reservations, excursion plans, flight itinerary, copies of our passports, etc.  (I’m very proud of my binder.)

It was a relatively easy trip to plan.  It helps that Australia and NZ are English speaking countries.  They are developed countries, so no worrying about vaccines or pick pockets or clean drinking water.  The only nuisance was that Australia is 14 hours ahead and NZ is 16 hours ahead, so if I emailed hotels or excursion companies at 10am, I had to expect they would not get back to me at 12 midnight.  So I usually had to wait a day (which is tough for this travel planner!  But I got through it!)

I started planning this trip in the beginning of January, so on April 15, it was very exciting to see the trip become more than online pictures and printed pieces of paper!

And April 15, 2012 marked 6 yrs + 10 mo since Will and I started dating and 1 yr + 11 mo of us being married!  What a way to celebrate our relationship and all the blessings God has so graciously given us!

Stay tuned for more posts about my recap and reflections of this amazing trip!