Before You Board: 8 Insider Tips for Preparing for Long-Term Travel
If you feel chained to your desk working a tedious, uninteresting 9-5 job and dread each upcoming workday, you may be long overdue for a vacation. Though many take short trips, jetting off for a weekend or seven-day excursion, brief getaways often aren’t enough to satiate overworked adventure-hungry individuals.
Instead of wasting your hard-earned money on a short-lived, ultimately unfulfilling vacation, consider planning a long-term trip to experience life abroad to its fullest. Though you may have to secure extra PTO or settle for an unpaid leave-of-absence, it’ll be worth it once you come back refreshed and satisfied with your recent travels.
However, before you leave, you’ll need to dive deep into planning efforts to ensure a smooth sailing trip. If you’re unsure where to begin, read on for five travel preparation tips that will keep you on track and stress-free during your time away.
Make arrangements for your mail
Before you take off long-term and leave your home life behind, you need to square away any incoming packages or mail that may arrive while you’re off exploring the world. Though you can enlist the help of a trusted neighbor to watch out for any arrivals, their busy life may interfere with 24/7 vigilance, resulting in potential thievery. Instead, consider investing in a virtual mailbox so you can easily track important mail and schedule a pick up at one of the thousands of distribution centers worldwide.
Solidify a budget
A critical step on your travel to-do list should be creating a reasonable budget to carry you through your employment hiatus while on your prolonged destination vacation. It’s wise to begin saving early, implementing frugality by cooking instead of eating out, and minimizing expensive outings. Additionally, you’ll need to scan your itinerary for costly activities, creating a spreadsheet of expenses you’ll incur during your travels. However, there will likely be unexpected costs along the way, so make sure you plan a bit of wiggle room to account for hidden fees or once-in-a-lifetime surprises.
Build your travel itinerary
Once you have a somewhat firm understanding of your financial restraints, it’s time to begin building an itinerary for your travel adventures. Though there are several ways to create a vacation plan, sorting out the basics, like boarding facilities, must-do activities, and public transport restrictions, will give you a solid foundation to build off of. With a tentative outline, you can decide if you want to plan down to the last second or provide yourself with leeway to explore unexpected routes along the way.
Contact your bank
An unfortunate situation many inexperienced travelers encounter when abroad is banking complications resulting in frozen accounts or steep charge-up fees for foreign use. Besides putting a dent in your carefully planned trip, neglecting to inform your bank of your travels can leave you stranded, scrambling for cash. By talking to your credit union beforehand, you can bypass shutdowns and take advantage of potential savings offered in foreign states.
Write up a detailed packing plan
As your trip approaches, begin pinning down a packing plan, writing out essentials, and purchasing any travel necessities. That way, you can circumvent disorganized last-ditch efforts to sort out your luggage. When you procrastinate, you run the risk of forgetting essential items, which can end in unneeded stress once you arrive at your unfamiliar destination. Additionally, employ light packing methods to avoid lugging unnecessary items from destination to destination.
Though it can feel overwhelming to plan a long-term trip, breaking down the steps and keeping track of essential to-do items can ease your stress during critical preparation periods. By building a detailed budget, solidifying your travel itinerary, and contacting your bank and mail carrier, you can dodge common mishaps and delve into adventure free from major roadblocks.
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