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There are so many things you need to consider if you are thinking of leaving home as a long term traveller. With there being so many things a traveller must do before they do we decided to compile them into an extensive, yet handy, list to help you get prepared before you go.
Traveller must do list
1. The first thing a traveller must do is check the expiry date on your passport. A lot of countries require that you have at least 6 months until your passport will expire when you enter their country. If you are leaving for more than a year, make sure your passport is going to last the whole time you are gone.
2. Check if there are any visa requirements for the countries you want to visit. Find out where you are going first and what visa you might need. Get it sorted well in advance (remember you cannot usually get a visa more than 3 months before you plan to enter the country, so plan it well.) If you are going to more than one country where you need a visa, research where you can get the visa for the next place before you go and put time aside to go there.
3. Plan. In regards to the above make sure you plan where you want to go, even if it is a loose plan. This means you can research certain laws and visa requirements for places you want to go, before you go.
4. Check the dates on your bank cards. If they are going to run out while you are gone, order new ones. Any traveller must do this to be able to get cash any time they might need it.
5. Let your bank know you are leaving the country. If you are going to one country this is simple. If you are going to more then they can make a note on the system but it still may cause an issue on your travels. If the bank know you are due to go to a country and see money being used there it means they usually will not block you card.
6. Check what vaccinations you need. If you are in the UK you can use Fit For Travel and it will tell you everything you need to know.
7. BONUS: If you have a child under two you cannot order them vaccinations. This can be an issue. If you have a child over two then they can follow the information on Fit For Travel. What a lot of NHS nurses and doctors do not know is that a child can be given a second dose of MMR and also need a BCG (TB) vaccination for certain places. Look into this for the countries you plan to visit.
8. Get a health check up. Make sure everything is in order and that you are fit to travel.
9. BONUS: If you have a child in the UK there is a new 27-month developmental check. If you are going to miss this then you can contact the health visitor and have the check early.
10. Pack you bag in advance and make sure you have everything you are going to need. Check packing check-lists online and asks questions in travel groups to make sure you are prepared.
11. Get a travel adaptor. We love the USB travel adaptors that offer multiple charging points from one plug.
12. If you take regular medication make sure you get enough to take on your trip. If you can then also get a note from your doctor or keep it in the box with the prescription label so that the authorities know it is yours.
13. BONUS: If you are travelling with a child bring some Calpol. We had an emergency visit to the ER in Barcelona that could have been avoided by having Calpol to bring down Travis’ temperature. Do your research a little too because here in the UK you can get Calpol in supermarkets – this is not the case in Spain!
14. Go prepared with some anti-diarrhea tablets. Travellers tummy happens to most people when they start experiencing new foods.
15. If you are leaving behind a home then you need to make sure to cancel all of your accounts before you go. We managed to cancel some through our bank, and some by logging into the accounts. We managed to reduce our monthly outgoings dramatically so that our extra pennies would be used on travel fun only.
16. Get good insurance. It is a huge mistake to travel without insurance. Did you know in the United States and air ambulance would set you back around £40,000? Get insured.
17. If you plan to drive on your trip then get an international drivers licence. It costs less than £6.
18. Think about how much luggage you will need. Always get a backpack slightly bigger than the amount of stuff you plan to bring with you. This means you can buy yourself some goodies and be able to bring them on the rest of your travels. For a nine month trip in Asia we are taking one 60L backpack and one 50L backpack for the three of us.
19. BONUS: If you are travelling with a smaller child you should consider which travel stroller is best. We recommend the GB Pockit stroller which folds down small enough to be hand luggage.
20. Be aware of culture shock. Prepare yourself for it and understand how it might affect you. Too many people spend thousands on flights to later find out that they cannot handle the huge differences and they end up paying to come home.
21. Get some travel money in advance. Some countries (e.g. Thailand) have a requirement now to stop people coming in and ‘begpacking.’ Check this out before you go and take some cash so you are prepared. We highly recommend Travelex.
22. Planning to take your phone abroad? Another traveller must do is to make sure you take all the steps to unblock it so you can use a local sim. If you want to keep your number try upgrading to an international plan or at least cap your spending in your contract so you are not faced with pricey phone bills.
23. You can actually make friends to meet before you go. There are backpacking groups on Facebook for most places in South East Asia and there is a great app called Backpackr.
24. Another traveller must do is to make sure to cancel or halt any regular deliveries or services you pay for. Consider paying to get out a phone contract, car insurance or anything else you might never use again for a while.
25. Research cards that have no fees for using them internationally. This is a traveller must d for anyone who will be travelling on a budget. You do not want to be paying a hefty fee every time you withdraw money.
26. Google to find free ATMs near your location. This is not a traveller must do will help you save some money and avoid costly fees. You can find ATMs this way that do not have extra fees for taking out money. Consider going into a bank to withdraw, it may take longer but it saves you on ATM fees.
27. Book at least the first nights accommodation. You want to be sorted when you arrive for the first day in a new country. Book a hotel and get some plans in place so you know where to go. (Also some visa on arrivals require a hotel address for the visa to be approved so booking at least the first night helps avoid any problems here.) Save £15 on Booking.com.
28. Traveller must do number 28 is to check the weather before setting any plans. You want to avoid monsoons and other extreme weather so know where they hit and when and plan your trip around that.
29. Download a weather app on your cell so you are always aware of what you need to dress for each day.
30. Use Rome 2 Rio to plan your airport transfers (or book private.) This gives a good idea of how long travel will take and which different types of transport you can use.
31. Update your AirBnb telephone number if you get a new sim. Your host uses this to contact you. Save £30 on your first AirBnb.
32. Sign up to your local Governments alerts for travel. You can sign up to the UK Governments website and they will send you alerts about every country you pick to be notified about. You will know in advance if there are terrorism warnings, extreme weather conditions and other threats.
33. No WiFi when you land? Write your hotel name, address and telephone number on a piece of paper or screenshot it and save the picture. This helps show the taxi driver exactly where to go. This is an essential traveller must do if you want to get to your hotel quickly and safely.
34. Decide between a backpack or suitcase. If you are travelling long term a backpack will likely be easier to move around with. You can always go for a hybrid of the two – a backpack with wheels.
35. Scan copies of your passport and driving licence. Email them to yourself and a family member you trust. This will help if yours gets lost.
36. Save copies of your insurance information and save the telephone number of your insurance company and their emergency medical line.
37. If you are planning to travel with a camera make sure you have extra memory space and batteries. You do not want to miss a thing!
38. Plan on keeping everyone back home up to date with your trip? Set up a blog or YouTube page and keep them up to date.
39. Download the Kindle app and get some books to read while you fly or relax on the beach. You can use the price low to high option to find free books to read. The Kindle app is totally free too!
40. BONUS: If you are taking the kids then another traveller must do is to download a movie or two on to their iPad or tablet. This will keep them amused outside of WiFi zones.
41. Can’t live without your phone? Traveller must do number 41 is to get a battery power pack that can charge your device without connecting to the mains. This is useful if you take lots of pictures and video too.
42. Prepare for jetlag. You CAN beat it just find out how to beat jetlag here.
43. Bring baby wipes on the plane to freshen up before landing.
44. BONUS: Baby wipes will help clean up any mess your little one happens to make.
45. Staying in hostels? Another thing a traveller must do is bring padlocks incase you need to provide your own for the lockers. Your own ones will be much safer too (no extra keys hidden anywhere.)
46. Check out some vlogs on YouTube of the places you want to go. Getting to know a place in this way can help to avoid culture shock and give you more of an idea what it is really like.
Can you think of anything else a traveller must do before leaving for long term travel?