Long term travel
Setting out for the open road, leaving it all behind and living the dream of telling your boss you won’t be in on Monday… is that you?
Thousands of us do exactly that at some point in our lives, breaking the mould, looking at life differently and escaping into our dreams before it’s too late.
Long term travel can be incredibly rewarding. But success depends on proper planning.
The big adventure that lies before you, the travelling, the exploration, visiting new places, meeting new people and feeling the freedom… they’re all the fun part. But there are a few vital ducks to get in a row first. Here they are.
Check your passport is up-to-date and will be valid all the time you’re away. Remember to keep a photocopy.
If you intend to stay or work in a particular country for more than 30 days, you might need a specialist visa. Find out what visas might be required for the countries on your itinerary, arrange them and make copies.
3. Travel insurance and health insurance
Do you have travel insurance? If so, do you have enough cover, and do you have specific cover for the places you’re visiting? You might not know, but you need to find out. If you’re not sure, call the insurance company and make sure you’re properly protected.
Make sure your insurance includes all the activities you’ll be enjoying too, since some extreme sports and dangerous activities are not covered under standard travel insurance policies. You might have to pay extra for protection against specific, extra-risky activities.
It’s also important to check your policy is full and comprehensive, including emergency medical evacuation. If not, extend the cover for the period you’re away.
Bear in mind some travel insurers provide specialist backpacker and gap year travel insurance policies.
4. Home arrangements
Make arrangements to let your house or flat while you’re away and arrange things in good time.
Store any items you want to keep safe from your tenants. You can always sell the stuff you don’t need and avoid storage costs.
Make sure you tell your bank / building society where you’ll be, so they can provide banking services abroad.
If you’re letting your home to a tenant, tell your home insurer. If you don’t inform them it will invalidate any claims. In other words if your place burns down while you’re away, or some other disaster happens and you haven’t told them about your change in circumstances, they won’t pay claims.
Don’t forget to nominate someone sensible to look after your home and/or tenants while you’re away, whether it’s a letting agent, family member or friend.
5. Travel vaccinations
Book an appointment with one of our Travel Clinics in London at least six weeks before you travel. We’ll advise you about the travel vaccinations or medications you’ll need to stay healthy abroad.
6. Visit your doctor
Book an appointments with your GP for a full health review, and get any essential prescriptions renewed.
See your dentist for a check-up before you leave, since some countries have limited dental facilities.
7. Certified letters
If you need to take prescription medicines with you, ask your GP for a letter certifying they’re necessary. Most surgeries charge a small fee for this.
8. Spread the word
Tell everyone you know about your plans. And inform services like gas providers, electric, telephone, TV, internet and water, suspending their services and stopping automatic DD payments if you need to.
9. Organise your post
Advise the post office you’ll be travelling and pay them to hold or forward your mail.
10. Pack light
Pack light. Take three or four changes of clothing and only two or three pairs of shoes.
Apart from essentials like medicines and items you need on the journey, buy supplies en route.
Use the hotel laundry or a local laundry service.
Keep all your important papers, credit cards, passport, medications and so on in in your hand luggage.
Just one more piece of advice: pace yourself. Don’t try to pack too much into your suitcase or your itinerary. Take time to enjoy each place you visit to the full rather than worrying about when your next flight is. Plans can always be changed, flights can be re-scheduled, things go wrong and adventures happen… so go with the flow!