After deciding to take the plunge you may be feeling ecstatic about your forthcoming adventure. However, your feet should remain firmly on the ground until you have made all the necessary arrangements.
Jetting off without organizing your life and belongings could have dire consequences. You may not be contactable in some regions, but dealing with domestic or financial issues could spoil your fun if you are. To enjoy a carefree trip, you need to carefully consider your home, bills, belongings, insurance and wills.
There are a range of options regarding your home and belongings. Payment of bills is easily arranged with the bank, and online accounts can be set up so you can monitor your accounts on the move. Travel insurance should be considered a travel essential, and you may wish to discuss a will with your solicitor.
Once you have crossed out all these things on your checklist, the more exciting preparations begin, including planning what to take.
What about my home? If you are a home owner and you are planning extended travel for a period of a year or more, you may consider selling your property. If you would rather rent it out, you will be an absentee landlord. This is an option, but you will need to recruit a property manager or reliable friend who can deal with any problems or emergencies. Alternatively, arrange for a friend to keep an eye on your property in your absence.
How do I pay bills from abroad? Leaving bills unpaid could mean you arrive home to no electric, water and telephone, or even worse a court order because you haven’t responded. Make a list of your monthly bills and set up a direct debit with your bank. Also, sign up for online banking so you can check if they have been paid and any irregularities.
Where can I store all my belongings? Storage services are available, but can be expensive so it’s best to shop around before you arrange storing your belongings. Make sure you have everything packed securely and back up the hard drive of your computer on a disc before you pack it. Alternatively, ask a friend if they have space for some cardboard boxes and furniture.
Do I need travel insurance? You can travel without it, but we strongly recommend you take out travel insurance before embarking on your trip. Different plans are available and their suitability will depend on your route. If you are traveling in a country with limited medical care such as East Timor, your insurance should cover the cost of a medical evacuation flight as well as treatment. Other types of insurance you may like to consider include baggage insurance, health insurance and cancellation insurance.
Should I make a will? If you own a lot of property, land or riches, you may decide to make a will before setting off. If you are traveling in a dangerous war zone, it may also be worth considering making a will.
How can I stay contactable? The easiest, fastest and cheapest way to stay in touch with friends and family is by using the internet. Sending emails or talking using Skype or another internet telephone service provider allows you instant contact. The availability of the internet will depend on your travel destination.
Do I need any vaccinations? Visitors to tropical countries require a number of vaccinations before traveling. Your doctor can advise you which vaccinations you need and also whether you need to take anti-malarial medication for a short period before travel.
What should I take? You should choose your luggage carefully, ensure it’s strong but doesn’t weigh too much. You should feel comfortable carrying it without help as it will soon become part of you. Layers are the key to a successful travel wardrobe, and all clothes should be washable and low maintenance. Don’t forget to leave some space for any goods or clothing you purchase en route.
Having photocopies of all your cards, passport and visas could be invaluable so pack a folder of paperwork in a tucked away pocket. Travel as light as possible, limiting luxuries and sticking to essentials such as guidebooks, insect repellent and walking shoes.