Preparing to Leave for Long-Term Travel – One month out!


When people go on big trips, they often prepare for a year or more. During that year you might not be going out much or buying anything new, because you’re saving and preparing. In the last month before you go, the fun begins. You’re just about ready to leave your job, and you’ll want to have a work send off, and see all your friends one last time.

Here are some things to do to prepare, when you get to the one month to go mark.

Passport 101

At least one month before you leave make sure your passport is valid and has at least 6 months left on it.
Check &/or organize any visas you will need, even for stop-overs.

Sell stuff you don’t need.

Don’t try to do all this at the last minute. Taking photos and putting up your listings, emailing back and forth potential buyers, and coordinating with buyers to pick up items does take time. Having a garage sale can be a good idea. Some items will sell best at a garage sale, whereas you’ll often get better prices for more specialized and valuable items by listing them online.

Keep a tidy calendar.

You’ll likely get a lot of invitations in your last month at home. Make sure you’re keeping track of these so you’re not saying you’ll show up and then not following through. Consider blocking off the last 2-3 days to spend just with your family. Things will get hectic and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation of regretting you weren’t able to have a little bit more quality time with your Mum!

Ask people not to buy you going away presents.

You’re trying to get rid of your stuff, and no matter how well intentioned people are, their gifts are often not going to be exactly what you need. People will often try to give you small items, like a small piece of jewelry, as a going away present. Think about whether you’d like this as a reminder of home, or whether you’re really wanting to be as hard core minimalist as possible with your packing. Other than the essential phone and laptop/tablet, taking anything of value when you travel often ends up being more stressful than pleasant, because you end up worrying about losing things or them being stolen.
Figure out if you need a separate camera or if your phone will do. If you’re going to use your phone camera, you can always get some clip on lens for wide angle or macro. Lugging around a big and expensive DSLR is a major commitment. It’s important to some people, but not to others.

Do a Practice Pack

A few weeks out from leaving do a practice pack. Put EVERYTHING you’re thinking of taking in the backpack or suitcase you’re going to be using. Invariably, you’ll find some things you can leave behind. You may discover that your bag is not the right size and need to change it. Finding this out early means you can put those things in storage, give them away or sell them. Try to avoid starting your trip with a heavy bag which may later put you in the position of needing to pay to mail stuff home or throw it away on the road.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Chamberlain under Creative Commons license.

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