How To Travel The World: Part Four
This week marks the fourth and final part of my ‘How To Travel The World’ series.
How To Travel The World: Part Four
Organise The Little Things
Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
– My Dad (from his days in the Royal Marines)
So you’ve set your heart on seeing the world, designed a rough itinerary that suits you and are now saving up the pennies and counting down the days. You’ll find that in between making this huge, life-changing decision, and actually waving goodbye and stepping onto that plane, there’s a long period of, well, nothing. The important thing is to stay motivated during this time and remember that even though nothing incredible is happening right now, you are working your way towards it. You don’t need me to tell you that it will all be worthwhile in the end!
One way to stay focused is to put together a To Do list and work on the little things that need doing. Trust me, when you reach those final weeks before D-Day, you’ll wish you had made the most of that time. The following is the To Do list that I created for myself. Yours will certainly differ, however there are a few key things that we all need to work on.
• Pay off overland trip
This won’t apply to you all but in general you need to make sure your main travel fees are paid for before you go. This could mean airline tickets, tour group fees, etc.
• Get quotes for post – Ireland to Malta
What will you be doing with your belongings while you are away? If you are gone for a long period of time, you may need to organise storage through a company or ask a friend to take them in for you. I have whittled down my belongings as best I can and will be shipping one box to my parents in Malta.
• Buy backpack and sleeping bag
You’ll see a number of ‘buy this/that’ points on my To Do list. I gave these two priority as they are the most expensive items I had to buy in terms of travel equipment. There are hundreds of suggestions online regarding which backpack to get but what I would say is this:
• Try to go for a smaller pack. Remember that no one else is going to carry this for you (unless you happen to have a butler, in which case Ooh get you!) and a large pack could create some serious limitations. I wrote a post over a year ago about a suggestion to travel with a 35lt backpack; I wound up buying a 40lt with an attachable 15lt daypack, which is a decent size given the length of my trip and the fact that I will be camping for three months.
• Do your research. Buying a backpack online simply won’t do – you need to visit shops, try them on and get as much feedback as you can from the sales assistants, who should know what they are talking about.
• Order new bank cards
Check the expiry date on your current bank cards. I had a few which were due to expire while I am away and so ordered new ones in advance.
• Get all vaccinations
I wrote about this in my previous post. Painful, costly but important!
• Buy laptop/netbook
This applies to any electronics that you would like to take with you. I decided to buy a second-hand 12″ laptop so that I can store my photos and keep my blog going while I’m away. Some of you might not find this necessary.
• Organise farewell dinner
Might seem like a silly thing to have on a To Do list but when the last month rolls in and you are running around like a headless chicken trying to get everything sorted, you’ll be glad of the reminder 😉
• Sort out bank accounts / prepaid cards
This is a point which warrants a whole post to itself. As the saying goes: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If all your money is held in one account, what will you do if your card is lost/stolen, there is fraud on your account or the bank blocks your card? For this reason, I have spread my money over three separate accounts and have also applied for two prepaid cards, which I can load funds onto. It’s worth sorting these out quite some time in advance as you may need to provide proof of ID, etc.
• Cancel utilities – gas/electric, mobile phone, internet
Depending on your contract, you may need to give the companies 30+ days notice of cancellation.
• Apply for Indian visa
Any visa for that matter!
• Claim health insurance
Is there anything you can claim before you leave? Every penny helps!
• Organise permissions on bank accounts for third party
Before you travel, it is a good idea to designate someone you trust to look after all your accounts while you are away. That way, if something goes wrong there will be someone on the ‘other’ side, who may be able to sort things out much faster than you can. It is wise to leave copies of all documents, itineraries, policies, etc. with this person as well.
• Sort out tax rebate
This won’t apply to most of you but to the residents of Ireland out there – did you know that if you stop working mid-way through the year and don’t intend on going back to work for the remainder of the year, you can claim on the PRSI you have paid up until the point you leave? Nifty, huh? 🙂 I don’t know how much I’m getting yet but I’m looking forward to finding out!
• Organise exact itinerary for India
You already have a rough idea of where you want to go, now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Exactly how detailed you want it to be is entirely up to you but in general it is a good idea to know what there is to see/do in the places you are visiting and how to get from A to B.
• Buy anti-malarials and insect repellent
Another important purchase. How big a supply you buy depends on how long you will be away for and where you are going. I have decided to carry a 12-week supply with me and will pick the rest up along the way.
• Buy all other items for inside backpack
This one’s a bit vague, I know. To figure out just what you need, look up a few packing lists. I recommend this packing list by Leyla at Women on the Road. Also, Kristen at Hopscotch the Globe has just created another fantastic, short video about How to Pack JUST a Carry On for a RTW Trip. With only 10 days to go, I am still picking up things for my pack!
All the preparation before you travel the world can seem daunting but it will make everything work so much more smoothly while you are on the road.
Good luck and happy travels! 🙂