We have just passed our two week mark for our adventure. As we creep closer, the things we needed to take care of have been slowly being checked off a list. Leaving for more than a month or two requires a lot of prep work. Below I will highlight some of the things we went through [almost forgot about] and the timeline we used.
TWO MONTHS OUT
Schedule any appointments you need before the trip: If your doctors/dentists/hairstylists are anything like mine, they book up far in advance. I would’ve saved myself a lot of aggravation if I would’ve booked these two to three months out. I had to put myself on cancellation lists for two appointments.
If you need prescriptions, call your insurance company to ask about "vacation refills": After many calls, I found out that most insurance plans offer “vacation refills”, meaning you’ll get a few months supply of your prescription. I can only attest to this working for birth control and for my high deductible plan, so this may vary. But it is still something you should contact them about sooner than later. You don’t want to be stuck in one city for two weeks on your trip waiting for a shipment of a prescription to come in (if that's even possible).
Arrange house-sitting/subletting/storage options: We chose to find a subtenant, who just happened to end up being Brandon’s little sister. Part of this plan involves getting our house ready for a temporary tenant; organizing, moving stuff upstairs and out of the way. We still have to contribute slightly to our monthly rent at home. A small price to pay for having someone take care of our house and cats the whole time we are away. Making sure everyone is on the same page early is crucial and will likely help you to avoid conflict right before your trip.
Consolidate payments and set up auto-pay: No one wants to worry about bills while on vacation, but we all know sometimes there are things that need to be taken care of. To make it easier on myself, I consolidated two credit card payments to one no-interest card. I am in the process of setting up auto-pay for the few bills I will have to continue to pay while we’re gone. The money in my checking account is budgeted and my auto pay will avoid me having to remember/having to arrange a way to pay the bill.
Start selling everything that is unnecessary: I used this trip as an opportunity to take a critical eye to the stuff [crap] in my life that I didn’t need. The first category I focused on was clothing. To date, I have sold about $90 worth of clothing on Poshmark (including a trade of about 6 items for a great dress I needed for the wedding I’m attending this month, and I never opened my wallet for it). It’s an app for your phone and is super easy to use. There are some tips and tricks for selling more, but I’ve been pretty happy with my results! I also listed things like old camera equipment on Craigslist and ebay, got rid of furniture, and did major simplification throughout the whole house, which will be SO nice to come home to.
ONE MONTH OUT
Check on flights/visas/travel plans: We are maxing out our visas while we are in Thailand (90 days at a time). We needed to make sure we had everything figured out about when and where we can obtain the visas we need. It’s important to make sure you’re following visa laws for whatever country you are visiting. Our overall itinerary is flexible, so we used Google maps to plot locations but will only use this as a reference. It has been a great tool to see your trip visually on a map. Brandon has been to a lot of these places, and I have not, so I had no clue.
Vaccinations: Fortunately, Brandon and I are up to date with all of our vaccinations so we didn’t need to worry about this. Things like Hepatitis, Tetanus, and Typhoid are all important to look into. Some areas have travel clinics that can get you a better price for some of these so make sure you shop around.
Arrange transportation to the airport/train station/etc: Don’t forget to find someone to drop you off! It’s just good manners to arrange this ahead of time.
ONE WEEK OUT
Empty your damn fridge: Don’t leave that horror for someone else.
Put away items that are not (or are not going to be) packed into storage: I plan on boxing up a lot of my clothing, especially the winter clothes that I [hopefully] won’t need when I get back in March. It’ll keep everything in better condition and leave more room for Brandon’s sister Brittany while she’s living here.
PACK: I'm genuinely excited about the challenge of packing for this long. Check back next week when I show you how I, as a 26 year old female who enjoys looking nice (even on an adventure), packs a backpack for 4.5 months that will be a carry-on! It is possible!
"To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice"