Formalities [an error occurred while processing this directive]
<< full screen



Health insurance

Because we are leaving for more then a year, our normal health insurance is not valid anymore. Normal holiday insurances are only valid for a maximum period of 3 months put of the country.  So we had to look for something else.

We made a comparison of different insurance companies:  Centraal Beheer, De Europeesche, Zilveren Kruis, OHRA, Elvia and Isis.

Finally we choose for Elvia Globertroter insurance, because they have a so-called ‘home-coming’ health insurance for the first 2 months back and the possibility to add a mountaineering insurance. Further more they cover the extra spending or return in case of illness or an accident of the fellow traveler.

Some equipment was robbed from our rented inattended car in Chile. We couldn't get money from the insurance, because we were not on our way to our travel destination or to home!? The only possible senario in which a brokenopen car is insured. 

We decided to stay longer in South-America then planned. But as our travel extend the 18 months, the Elvia insurance gives problem. The maximum periode is 18 months and for a new polis you need to be in the Netherlands!? At the moment we are in discussion with Elvia about the possibilities.

Elvia changes their rules and now a insurences up to 24 months is possible!

Bike insurance

The luggage part of the Elvia insurance insures only 300 Euro. Normal bike insurances (like Unigarant) offer a worldwide covering. However, for bikes that we have (i.e. mountain bikes older then 3 year), a 25% extra premium is needed and one’s own risk is 20% of the insured amount (which has a maximum of 1100 Euro).

So for 210 Euro we will only get 900 Euro back in case of a stolen bike. We decided not to insure our bikes for the whole trip. The first 2 weeks we take an ANWB short term travel insurance, with a bike extension for 14 Euro. The bikes are now covered for 1590 Euro. We will also take this insurance for the way home.


From our previous trips most vaccinations are still valid. We decided to take also the Rabies vaccinations. This is advisable because bikers are under more risk then normal travelers. Besides that, we will be in remote areas were it will be more difficult to get the first antiserum vaccination, needed when no pre-injections are taken.

We have become a member of IAMAT. This an organization that stays in touch with a group of English speaking doctors all over the world. Besides the English language they are also aware of the difference between European and Latin people. We received a lot of specific information about South-America.

We followed a Medical Course at Alpintreff about Medical First aid and Outdoor EHBO. It was a great course and we feel a lot safer now.

We checked our blood group.

Besides the normal First Aid kit we take some extra strong sedative medicines and some broad spectrum antibiotics.

We won't take malaria tablets as prophylaxis, but instead take Malarone with us as medicine.

A friend (medical student) gives us advise on small problems during the trip.

We bought altitude medicines in Argentin, just in case. They can be bought without a docters recipe. We chewed several times coca and drank loads of coca-tea.

Home front

Bank accounts

We have made our parents fellow-owner of our bank accounts. I this way we can always get new bankcards without personally picking them up. We regularly transfer money from our saving account to our running accounts via internet. We have an extra bank account with money for the flight back and money for the first time at home again. In this way, our first account may be empty at the end of our trip.

Beside our bankcards we take our credit cards (VISA and MasterCard), travelcheques and cash American dollars.

In case of an accident

On the Internet we have made a secure page with all the important information about us: e.g. insurance numbers, telephone numbers, addresses, ... On that site we can also find copies of our passport, donor codicil,  insurance conditions, medical information leaflets, ... This page can be accessed by us and also by the people at home.
Very usefull.


Dutch people don't need a visa to enter Argentina. However, we only have a one-way ticket and this makes things quite difficult. Our travel agency (StarTravel Renkum) called a special embassy telephone number >> impossible, we need a return ticket. We call the embassy >> no problems. We call the representatives of Aerolines Argentina (the flight company) >> no idea. We call the embassy another time >> it will give problems, but if you can prove you will leave Argentina or are able to buy a return ticket it should be fine.
So, we will bring copies of our bank account, our credit card and addresses of people in Chile (and maybe even letters from them). Must be enough!!??
It was not enough. Aerolines Argentina international went bankrupt just before we left, but with the effort of our travel agency we got one-way tickets of United Aerlines. But as we arrived at the airport, they refused to take us with them. So we had to buy a return ticket on the spot. Our travel agency did more work and luckely we got our money back. 

In South-America a visa is given for 3 months at each border crossing. An exit stamp has to be collected before leaving the country, otherwise is impossible to collect the entrance stamp at the other side of the border.
Bolivia gives 30 days at the border and an extension of 60 days is given for free in the main cities. But the second extension in half year costs 160 bolivianos for 30 extra days (after half a year extension is again for free). Crossing the border is often a lot cheaper. It is possible to enter en leave Peru in the same day. 
Peru gives depending on the cusome officer (no discussion possible) 30, 60 or 90 days. It is possible to cross the border and get new stamps. Buying a visa cost 30 dollar for 30 days. This is only possible 2 times in a year (starts counting at the time of entering Peru) or 3 times if you have an onward ticket.

We made a color copy of our passports and sealed it. This card we will use as deposit at hotels and can even be used at bank offices. In this way it is not necessary to use the official passport that much.
We use this card very ofter, at checkpoints in Argentina, as ID-card in Bolivia (need to carry always an ID-card) and as register card in hostals. This card can be made every were in Bolivia or Peru at copy laminate shops.

House and furniture

All our 'nice' stuff (e.g. racing bikes, computer, ergo-meter, refrigerator) will be given to friends of us. Our normal stuff (e.g. beds, bureau, books, clothes) will be stored in a rented wooden box of 8 m3. The rest of our stuff will be thrown away.


We didn’t have to think very long to decide what to do with our jobs. We will resign. Both of us are working as physicists. At the time we are leaving Iris worked for 4 years in two different companies and Tore worked for 3 years in one job. This should give us enough experience to get a new job when we come back. One big advantage of quitting, is the compete freedom to start all over again. A new job, a new city or maybe even a new country. Another advantage, but at the same time it can also be a disadvantage, is not having a strict come back date. If you have a sabbatical year, you should come back at the agreed time. The social insurances and pension fund contributions should still be paid. Not only the normal part, but also the part of the employer.  

On the internet we put our CV (just in case), if we like to send it already to some employees before we come back. 

The language

While we won’t visit Brazil, the only language we have to speak is Spanish. Besides the word mañana we don't speak any Spanish at all. So, time to take some lessons. In November 1999 we started with a Spanish course at the University for adults. But most of it has to be learned during the trip.


StarTravel Renkum, an excellent travel agency in Renkum (the Netherlands) gave us a discount on our flight tickets. They took all the hassle of changing flight companies (Aerolines Argentina canceled their international flights. Now we fly with United Airlines) and changing flight schedules. Thanks. From our side, we have T-shirts with their logo on it and will send some pictures back to them.
Some pictures of us will be shown in the agency in December 2003.

Knoops, a bike shop in Mierlo (the Netherlands) gave us discount on material and a bike course. Now we can tune and repair everything our self. Besides that they put a lot of effort to trace the 'world proof' bike material we required. Thanks.
We order also parts during the tip and because they know our bikes we always got the right stuff.

Home | Travel stories | Photos | Statistics | Off the map | Recipes | Preparations | Previous trips | Links | Notes | Search | Contact us

This page was last updated on Friday July 29, 2011