My husband and I travelled for almost two years across the world, and when we prepared to leave Australia we had to do a million things before we left. To help you out here is my travelling checklist for things to do before you go. If you still live with your parents then you won’t need to do as much before you go overseas than a renter or someone with a mortgage. Just cross the things off this list that don’t apply. And if you think of anything I’ve missed, why not post a comment below?
- Get travel insurance. I cannot stress this enough. You can read lots of horror stories of people who travelled without insurance on the Australian Government site. There are many cheap online providers who offer reasonable rates for year-long travel. Make sure you read the fine print and check that it is right for your needs.
- Scan copies of your important documents and put them on a USB stick. Give a copy to a trusted family member or friend. i.e. Passport, credit cards, itinerary, travel visas.
- Make sure your passport is well in date. Some countries require that you have at least six months remaining on your passport before you can enter the country.
- Check the visa requirements of the countries you wish to visit. For example, you need a preordered visa to enter Vietnam, whereas in many other south-east Asian countries you can get them on the border.
- Visit your doctor 6-8 weeks before departure and make sure all your vaccinations are up to date.
- Check your first aid kit for any missing pieces and replace them if they are not there.
- Make a copy of your prescriptions including glasses.
- Go to the dentist and get your teeth checked. You don’t want to get a cavity in the middle of Siberia.
- Pack any prescriptions or doctor’s certificates – some medication requires a doctor’s certificate to clear customs.
- If you are taking your toiletries in cabin baggage make sure that they conform to the current liquid baggage standards
- For renters, contact your landlord and give notice of intent to leave.
- For home owners, arrange for someone to rent your house while you are away, or if you are only going for a short period, get someone to look after it.
- Arrange for mortgage bills to be paid from a separate account automatically so that you don’t overspend.
- Divert your mail
- Contact utilities providers to cancel services i.e. phone, electricity, gas
- Arrange for mobile global roaming if you so wish, although a better alternative is to often buy a cheap sim card when you get overseas. Watch out for roaming data charges!
- Pack your belongings into storage boxes and put them away. A storage unit will cost you over $1000 a year, so it might be a good idea to see how big your parents’ garage is.
- Turn off all power points and electrical devices.
- Contact the electoral office and tell them that you are moving overseas.
- Apply for an international drivers license. You can still get these even if you are on your P plates.
- If your driver’s license will expire when you are travelling, arrange for someone to act on your behalf to renew them when the time comes.
- Notify your friends and family that you are going overseas.
- Clean out your fridge (some people I know forgot to do this then gave me the fridge to sell on eBay… eek!)
- Contact your bank and tell them that you are travelling. Often overseas transactions will be flagged on some credit/debit cards and can freeze your account if the bank finds them suspicious.
- Check the charges for ATM withdrawals overseas for your bank and see if you can get a better deal.
- Some people may wish to buy a Cash Passport or Traveler’s Cheques for peace of mind. I’ve never used them, however the cash passport is useful if the exchange rate is particularly high for a specific country, and you think it may drop before you get there.
- Exchange some money in the currency of your first country. Occasionally it is good to also take a small amount in US dollars, particularly if you are travelling in South America.
- Check your credit card expiry dates.
- Make sure that your last will and testament is in order. Although it may sound morbid, it is far better to be ready, even if you are a young person.
- Check your gear for any damage if you have not used it in a while
- If you are taking a tent, check that all the parts are there before you leave the country.
- Check your packing list
- Look at the baggage restrictions for your airline and weigh your bags. I moved overseas with a girl who packed double the amount of allowed baggage. It’s not fun having to repack your bags at the airport, especially if you are travelling alone. She had a rice cooker in her suitcase…
- Make sure you have the correct adapters for each country, and that they have the correct number of prongs for your gadgets. I once got stuck in Japan without the ability to charge my laptop.
Many people leave their jobs to travel for long periods of time. While you might think it is a great time to tell your boss to shove it, remember that you may need them as a reference when you get back. So don’t leave on a negative note. Try to be helpful and train the person taking over your job so that your colleagues will remember you in a positive light.