How to prepare for long term travel

Congratulations! You have decided it’s time to take that long-awaited trip you have always wanted to, now what?

1. PICK A DATE

To make sure you do not back out pick a date or a month. Say to yourself “in 6 months or on June xx, 2018 I will start my year long around the world trip”. If you are not ready to do a year’s worth of traveling, whatever the duration just pick a start date. Then put that date on your calendar, on your phone, wall calendar, dream board, write it on your mirror. Whatever you do, put it where you will be reminded daily.”

Without a date, it is just a dream.

 

2. PICK YOUR FIRST DESTINATION

What country that keeps popping up in your mind? What is your favorite movie and what country was it based on or filmed in? Do you want to EAT, LOVE, PRAY your way around the world? Do you want to do an organized travel group trip? Or do you want to travel individually? If you have been thinking about travel you will have an idea but if you are not too sure, think about the things you like and where they are from.

You can choose your first destination based on logic or you can choose your first destination based on budget. I did the latter. I used a website to enter in my departing city then typed in “ANYWHERE” as the destination, select the date from step 1. or the month then hit SEARCH then BAM selected the first country outside of Canada that was cheap enough for me to swing two ONE WAY tickets, one for my son and myself. Oddly enough, it was cheaper to fly to Iceland that than a domestic flight within Canada.

 ps, I love Joseline from LHHA so expect more of these…lol

If you are not ready to purchase they are many websites that allow you to set up a price alert so you can receive emails when the price decreases or increases. But if you bold and a little crazy go right ahead and book that ticket. Booking that ticket will hold you accountable. There is no backing out now …well there is but it is pricey 🙂

List of websites with price alerts:

Skyscanner

Orbitz

Travelocity

This is just a few, every day more and more sites are popping up but you can always start with a generic Google search.

If you want to travel with a group there are many travel groups based on special interests or age or demographics again you can do a Google search to get to the travel group of your preference.

3. DO YOUR RESEARCH

VISA’s

Do you need an entry visa for the country you have selected? If you are not sure, visit the destination country’s website they have will have all the entry requirements listed there and in some cases, you can even apply for any required visa’s online.

PASSPORTS

Is your passport valid? Will your passport be valid throughout the duration of your trip? Some countries require your passport to valid for a specific time after entry. The best advice I can give you is if your passport will expire in less than a year just renew it. Yes, right now.

Passport Renew Tip: If you have already purchased an airline ticket, you can use that ticket to expedite the passport renewal process. This is true for Canada and the United States if you are from any other country you will have to check the expedition process with your local passport office.

VACCINES

Are your vaccines up to date? If you are not too sure what vaccines are required please visit the destination country’s website it will have the most up to date information. The countries website will have the most updated to date information. There may be some books by the time that book hits the shelves the vaccine information would have changed.

4. WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SLEEP?

Depending on your travel style you will want to do this right away or wait until a few weeks prior to your departure date. Another important factor is your budget. Here are some options:

Airbnb

Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. The types of accommodations could include homes, apartments, cottages, villas, castles and I have seen tree houses. On this website, you can search by price point, see pictures and read the reviews from other travelers.

Couchsurfing

This website allows you to meet and stay with locals for free. The accommodations can include a couch as the name suggests or it could be a shared or private room. I have hosted a family from this site, I provided a private room but I have also used this site to meet up with people in my area not just local other travelers as well, I love it. Find me on Couchsurfing and add me as a friend.

Workaway

Workaway website connects you with a family or a small organization where you can volunteer a few hours a day in exchange for food and board, this can also be used to completely immerse yourself in a foreign culture to learn the language. There is a small yearly fee depending on if you sign up as a couple or a single, but it is completely worth it!

House Sitting

There are several house-sitting sites, these sites connect you with other travelers who need someone to stay at their home usually because they have a pet that requires so sort of care or they need someone to collect their mail whatever the reason. I use Trusted House SiSitter’site. If you do not like pets this might NOT be the option for you. This option is perfect for me because my son has always wanted a dog I just could not see how that was possible with our lifestyles with this site it allows us to find accommodations and Aiden get to bond with a pet that I do not have to maintain for long-term, win-win.

Home exchange

This option is perfect for those who want to travel but do not want to sell their house, instead, you can sign up on one of the many websites and do a home exchange someone stays at your house while you and your family stay at their home.  I have not tried this option as I decided to rent my home but I have heard good things.

Hostels

Hostels are dormitory style accommodations you can rent a bed in a shared room there can be up to 12 people in one room. These rooms can be co-ed or female or male only. I am now starting to see more hostels offer private rooms which are a cheaper alternative to a hotel room. I stayed a hostel in Iceland and the front desk attendant went out of his way to book my son in a male-only room across from me with only one other person in the room. To be honest I am not that type of mother I was so exhausted I could have cared less. The way I see it the soon Aiden become accustomed to sleeping across from strange people the easier first-year university will be, trust me I had a hard time with this concept my first year. This hostel in Iceland was 15 minutes from the airport and just beautiful, clean showers and they provided full breakfast also had a kitchen where you can cook your own breakfast with the items there. I ended up leaving behind a bunch of food items for other families to enjoy. The website I use to book this hostel is called HostelWorld but you will notice that most hotel booking sites now include hostels which is great because you can now compare hostel vs hotel prices in one place.

Friends and family

Stay with friends and family abroad, I love this option and it is free. Look through your list of friends on Facebook and reconnect.

Camping

Camping or Glamping. We did this in Iceland which is funny because I am not a camper but Iceland is the perfect place for this. Just the nature of the country you can simply pull to the side of the road and setup up a tent. Look at me, I am using camping terms..lol. If you do not have camping gear which you probably don’t, not to worry there are companies that rent everything the tent, sleeping bags, sleeping bag liners, pillows, foam and in some cases outdoor cooking items. Some countries do have rules on where you can pitch a tent you might be restricted to camping grounds only and if you are on a budget you will need to factor in the cost for a camping pass or campground fees.

Camper Vans, vehicles, RVs

You can rent camper vans, SUVs, RVs drive around the country and sleep wherever you choose again being careful so countries have laws against just parking to the side of the road, so wherever you choose just double check. The rental company will also have information as well.

Traditional Hotels

Last but not least traditional hotels, again with a little research you might be able to find a reasonable price hotel. There are many websites that offer email alerts should the price drops. I am a point collector so I like using sites like Hotel.com, after 10 stays you can earn a free night. A free night is awesome. There are many other sites that tie in you’re your travel card so you can earn miles or use those miles to book hotel stays, there are many options.

5. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR CURRENT ACCOMMODATIONS

Before you leave you to need to decide what you will do with your current accommodations.

Renters

If you are renting you have a few options: Give your landlord sufficient notice and move out. The keyword here is sufficient, do not just move out without notice unless your landlord is an asshole then do whatever. Otherwise, keep it classy abide by the rules of your tenancy agreement.

The second option for my renters is sublet. Depending on the rules within your tenancy agreement some landlords will allow you to rent your unit to another renter. If you are not sure read your tenancy or lease agreement or you can just ask your landlord. Whatever you do be honest and open with your landlord if you are caught illegally subletting your landlord may have the right to evict and end your tenancy agreement.

Homeowners

For my homeowners, you have some options too.

To Sell or Not To Sell? that is the question. If you are going to be traveling indefinitely then SELL. Selling your home can take up to 6 months or more so if this is your decided jump on it and get started.

If you are not selling you can rent your house. Be very very very careful with this option. There are pros and there are cons to this option.

PROs

  1. You have a place when you return
  2. You can store your things in your house.
  3. You can use the rental income to travel.

CONs

  1. You will need to manage your tenants this includes repairs, damages, non-payments, etc
  2. You can subcontract the property management to a company that specializes in this, this is a pro and con because there is a fee attached to this service.
  3. In Canada when it comes to tenant-landlord issues the law favors the tenant. I do have some horror stories but that will be a later post.

Whatever you do DO NOT rent to friends OR family you will only get burned.

6. WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR CAR?

To sell or not to sell here is the questions again. I am going to briefly list some options and you will need to decide what works best for you.

 SELL IT

This only makes sense if the car is fully paid for or if the remaining balance on the lease or finance is LESS than the current value of the car.

Example 1:

Car Lease or Finance Balance: $4,000

Car Market Value: $10,000

Decision: SELL possible $6,000 profit (less any transfer ownership taxes, etc)

Example 2:

Car Lease or Finance Balance: $21,000

Car Market Value: $17,000

Decision: this is tough if you sell you will still own on your car loan and you keep it, you will have to continue with your car payments. This is the boat I found myself in. In Canada, there is a used car package, with pages and pages of procedures and requirements for privately selling a used car. Just looking at it gave me a headache but I still tried to list my car for sale and the stupid questions I got made me want to give up on humanity. Unfortunately, I am making car payments on a car I am not using. The lesson here is never to buy a new car as you never know when you want to drop everything and travel the world.

LOAN IT

In Canada, we do not have any apps that allow you to rent your car.  In my opinion, this is a business opportunity if you are looking for one. Airbnb style business for your car. AirAuto…Carbnb okay I am horrible with titles but I am sure you can think of something catchy and creative. If you live in US there are plenty of the sites that allow you to rent your car. You can always loan your car to a family member but beware you know your family better than anyone. Will they continue the maintenance regime? Will they keep it clean? Will they pay all their parking tickets they accrue? How is their driving record? There are many things to considering when loaning your call to a stranger or even a family member. Regardless carefully weigh the consequences.

PARK IT

I could not sell my car, I tried to loan it to family members who missed every single oil changes amongst other maintenance checks, #annoyed. Either way selling or loaning did not work for me. Parking my car is my favorite option so far. I have a friend who was not using their underground parking spot and offered to loan it to me free. The parking spot is monitored by cameras so even better. If you do not have friends in high places like I do there are paid parking options you can look into nevertheless you need to make sure it is worth it.

7. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR STUFF?

You obviously can not bring all your household items around the world with you, so you have yet another decision to make. For me, this was the hardest decision to make but the most therapeutic. We as humans naturally tend to hold on to too many materialistic things. If you are going to be a long-term traveler you need to become a minimalist.  When I was done with this step I was able to fit my entire contents of a 3-bedroom house in the corner of my basement.

Here are the options:

SELL IT

There are many ways you can sell your gently used items, there are many buy and sell apps specific to your geographic region (I used Carousell), websites (Craigslist, Kijiji), Facebook buy and sell groups and a good ole fashion garage sale. I did all of the above but I do not like to haggle so this task was not my favorite thing to do. My son, however, enjoyed all the money he made I had to remind him several times why we were selling…TO SAVE MONEY FOR OUR TRIP. Also, I must admit my son is also a much better salesperson than I am.

DONATE IT

Anything left over from the above option was dropped off at multiple donation centers for second hand or thrifts shops. In Canada, you can receive a tax credit for any donations but I just wanted to get rid of items and I was not concerned about receiving anything for items I didn’t even use anymore. However, I could not bring myself to throw out items my grandmother would always say “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

STORE IT

Once you have sold as much as you can, donated as much as you can, if after all that there is anything left over you can store it in a storage unit or if you have a secure space at your house. Emphasis on secure, again here is another WHERE IS THE BLACK GIRL mistake. As if renting to a friend was not enough I left my precious items in the basement of my house in a wide-open space un-secure space. My thought process was “…she is my friend, she will pay her rent on time, she will understand and my stuff will be safe”…WRONG. My items were damaged but thankful I had the ½ sense to cover my items with plastic so I was able to remove the plastic and vacuum the rest but I was #annoyed.

You will be happy to know that my items are now in a  secured 10 x 10 x 10 storage unit with plenty of space.

8. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR MAIL?

Unfortunately, not all companies are in this decade, technology-wise. They are still stuck in the early 1900’s and insist on sending actual paper mail. But there are a few companies that will give you the option of paper mail or electronic. For those companies, that gives you the option of electronic mail contact them immediately and change your mailing options. Do not wait, do that today, there is no reason you should be receiving paper mail whether you are traveling or not. Now going back to the other companies stuck in the early 1900’s you have some options:

HOLD IT

You can put your mail on hold, depending on the length of your travel this can be a pricey option. In Canada, it can cost $10 per week so if you are gone a year that is $520, in my opinion not really worth it. If you do decide on this option you can set this up online or in person at your nearest post office.

FORWARD IT

This is another option offered by the local post office, this automatically re-route your mail to an alternative address without having to contact each company individually. This option can be purchased online and the fee for this option in Canada is $83.15 for 12 months for an address within Canada. I selected this option however somehow Canada Post has switched the from and to address and I am still trying to get a hold of support to rectify the situation #annoyed

RENT IT

Rent a PO box and redirect all your mail there. You can use a Change of Address form at your local post office to have them contact all the companies your behalf.

LEAVE IT

If you are renting or subletting your place you have can continue to have your mail sent to that address there is a big BUT and no I am not talking about my booty. Allowing a stranger to receive your mail can leave you vulnerable to fraudulent activity especially since some of the banks still refuse to send electronic mail, a lot of information is on a simple bank statement.

CHANGE IT

Permanently change your address to a friend’s or family member’s address. You can do this individually or use the Change of Address form mentioned above at your local post office.

9. MINIMIZE YOUR CURRENT COSTS

Once you have decided to take that trip you should start to eliminate any unnecessary costs.

To determine what your unnecessary costs are, download your bank statement from the last month to an Excel or Google Sheets file. Open the document and start to categorize your costs. You can use colour to highlight your costs or add an additional column to type in a category. As you look at your monthly spending habits you will see areas where eliminate or reduce cost.

For example, if you watch all your shows and movies online what to do need cable services for? If you only use your cell phone all the time, cancel your home phone or get a VoIP line instead. Do you really need to go to McDonald’s every day maybe just once a week instead?

Once you start to travel you will realize that the cost of living is much cheaper than you expected and if you reduce your cost, in the beginning, you will be able to travel further and longer.

There are many apps to help you with this but my local bank TD Canada Trust has an app that does just that, it is called TD MySpend.

I selected the accounts I would like the app to monitor like my Chequing account and my TD credit card. Then when I use those accounts, the transactions are automatically put into categories. This app will tell me if my current spending is above or below the typical. I can even drill down and see the details.

If your bank does not have a similar built-in app, there are several available for download on the Google Play or the iPhone App Store.  I will do a blog post on this later.

10. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR CURRENT JOB

WAIT!!!! Before you send off your resignation email lets look at some options:

  1. You need to ask yourself can your current job be remote?
  2. Can you take a leave of absence? Sabbatical?
  3. Now you can quit but only after you have started your new remote job search but only after you have joined these Facebook groups which will guide you through that process.
  4. If you have saved enough to sustain you through your travels then go ahead and quit.

Explore these options and really give it some thought before you just up and quit, some employers are open the idea of a sabbatical or remote work but you will never know until you ask.

Whoa…… this was a really long post. If you made it to the end congratulations to you!!! I know this is a lot to take it and there is more to do once you have taken the first step but the key is to the TAKE THE FIRST STEP. Message me and let me know when you plan to take off.

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