What To Do Before Going Overseas On An Extended Trip

We are currently in final preparations for our next international adventure. We've been chipping away at our to do list for months but still seem to have a lot to do. We've chosen to finish at our jobs a full two weeks before departure to make sure we get everything done. This seems to have come as a bit of a surprise to a lot of people who are unsure of what it is we're planning on doing during this time after we finish work and before we get on the plane.

To give you some insight to what kind of preparation is required here is a rough summary of our to do list. This may also be useful for anyone else planning a similar trip and is presented in no particular order.

Ok, what's next?

  • Arrange storage (either with a storage company or with family).
  • Hire a property manager to rent out our home while we're away.
  • Set up a virtual mail type system so that your postal mail will go to your email. Click here to read about our experience of receiving our post online
  • Reduce the amount of mail we receive as much as possible. Cancel subscriptions, get removed from mailing lists and get people to email us statements etc if possible. Most virtual mailbox sites will charge you by the item they have to scan and email to you so the less mail you get the less you have to pay. Also, most mail you get isn't terribly important anyway so we'd rather not have it distracting it while we're seeing the world.
  • Change both of our addresses with the various banks where we have accounts. We're getting financial stuff sent to our parents instead of the virtual mailbox company. Financial information is sensitive so its better off going to a family member if possible.
  • Put in place a system to ensure our mortgage and any other bills gets paid while we're away.
  • Pressure clean our courtyard.
  • Visit bank to get credit cards replaced with ones with a longer expiry date. Go back to branch to pick up cards to be told they're actually not ready yet. Go back again to find the bank lost them. Go back again to finally get our cards.
  • Buy travel laptops. These need to be small, light and cheap. Cheap is really important as they'll most likely get broken or stolen at some point. This is not the time to splash out on that new macbook air.
  • Buy a new camera. Our old water proof shock proof camera finally stopped working so we need a new one.
  • Replace any travel clothing that is looking a bit too worn.
  • Tell our employers about our plans. Set in place a schedule for wrapping up our jobs.
  • Perform initial research of visa requirements for each country we may pass through. In particular which countries allow you to get a visa on arrival Vs which require you to pre-apply.
  • Scan important documents like passports, driver's licenses etc and put them somewhere we can access them online.
  • Replace the burned out light bulbs near our front door.
  • Have a going away party. Important!!
  • Either select a hat each or agree to buy one when we arrive.
  • Join helpx.net, couchsurfing.org and airbnb.com and write our profile descriptions.
  • Select video editing software and learn how to use it by making a series of, hopefully, progressively less crappy videos.
  • Migrate the posts we wrote for our old blog to this shiny new blog.
  • Sell motorbike 🙁
  • Clean everything out of the car.
  • Sell car or give it to a family member to look after.
  • Get driver's licenses reissued so they won't expire while we're away.
  • Check passport expiry dates and get renewed if necessary.
  • Get travel vaccinations.
  • Make up travel first aid kit.
  • Should we make a video to explain what we're planning on doing on this trip?
  • Make a video explaining how we're planning on going on this epic trip with only carry on luggage ie explaining how to take less stuff and how to jam the stuff you are taking into a tiny bag.
  • Get travel insurance for at least a few months.
  • Clear out everything important from our old laptops.
  • Sell or give away our old laptops.
  • Get international driver's licenses.
  • Get business cards for magictravelblog.com so we have something to give to anyone who is interested in what we're doing.
  • Cancel mobile phone contracts and switch to prepaid. Make sure we're on a plan where we only have to buy credit every 12 months to keep our phone numbers.
  • Sort out our superannuation. Not really related to travel. Just something that needed doing.
  • Sort out online storage to allow us to regularly upload photos and video so that we don't lose the lot if our bags get stolen.
  • Clean our place REALLY well. This includes washing the walls throughout and scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Get the carpets cleaned (required before renting our place out).
  • Eat the last of our frozen wedding cake.
  • Sell all major appliances and almost all of our furniture.
  • Give items including the statues from our courtyard, a laptop, the microwave, some folding chairs, a printer, our TV and a set of drawers to friends, family and a nice lady who lives in our apartment complex. This is actually a pretty big task as it involves lots of driving to other people's homes to hand over a single item.
  • Load a household worth of plates, glasses, cookware, surplus clothing and anything else useful to other people into the car and take it to the op shop (charity store). I'm not quite sure how many trips to the op shop we've made but I think we've pretty much stocked their whole store.
  • Out of whatever is left, put everything worth keeping in storage.

Andrew in front of everything worth keeping

  • Throw out anything left in our home that isn't coming with us on our trip.
  • Spend some time being tourists in our own home town. Not strictly required but worth doing.
  • Last but not least, spend time with our friends and families. We're going to be away quite a while so we're getting in quality time while we can.

 

The above is a rough summary of what we are trying to wrap up before departure. Far from having time off its been busy busy busy. Our place is almost empty now apart from our two bags. It's almost clean too! 12 days to go...

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