One of my favorite gifts this Christmas from my friend Adi. I will be wearing this during my travels next year. I also got many other travel gear and money from friends and family that will help me get by next year. Thank you all and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
Back in March/April I posted a list of Travel To-Do's, a list of things I needed to get done prior to my departure. Now that I am less than 2 months away, let's see how I've done!
1) To top the list I need to list my apartment for sale immediately. If I sell it sooner than I need great, I can find a short term lease somewhere and will probably save myself $300-$400 a month Well, I didn't have much luck selling my apartment (crappy market!), but I did recently rent it! I also refinanced for a lower interest rate, so my mortgage payment is less. Even so, I am unfortunately not able to break even on my monthly payment, so I will need to kick in about $50 a month while I am away. Not ideal, but much better than leaving it vacant for the duration of the trip. Another plus....I'll be staying on friends couches for the next 2 months, so I am saving a ton!
2) go through all of my stuff and decide what gets stored, what gets sold, and what gets tossed (I live in a tiny studio so this should hopefully not be too painful) I was forced into this as I vacated my apartment, moving all of my belongings back to my parents house in NJ. Lot's of junk I had saved up over the years was tossed, more was donated, and I am only keeping a few boxes worth of belongings, and a closet full of clothes at my parents. My goal moving forward will be to accumulate less stuff. The stuff in life is much less important then the memories attached to it.
3) Finances. I’ve already got a travel savings account set up but I need to get a basic plan together so I know exactly how much $$ I will need for travel (flights/rail/bus/hostels/etc). I have 1 credit card which will need to be paid down. My credit card was paid down, though I had to dip into my travel savings to do it. Bad planning on my part! Now I am working on getting my flights booked before I leave. This will lock me into a basic itinerary, which is both good and bad, but at least it gets the majority of spend out of the way before I leave.
4) Compile VISA info for each country I plan to visit and make sure all paperwork is in line at least 3 months prior to departure Dun-zo! Most visas I can pick up on arrival. The only one I need to apply to before hand is Australia, which I plan to do in the next couple of weeks. See my visa compilation here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhEea40w-Pr3dGdCVlNZZUlvTC05cG5fNnF5S3dBeFE#gid=3
5) I will need to figure out how health insurance will work overseas (whether I do something like Cobra, maybe somehow get put back on the parent’s insurance, or look into traveler’s insurance) Dun-zo again! I have chosen the TravMed Choice plan at http://www.medexassist.com/
6) Compile list of all US embassies in all countries to bring with me Still need to do this.
7) Talk with AT&T about costs of having a phone abroad for a year Still need to do this.
8) This comes a little later, but I will need to call banks/credit card companies and let them know I’m traveling for a year’s time to many, many countries Still need to do this.
9) Make sure my stock account is in good shape and give my info to my Dad so he can monitor it while I am away. To this end, I should be giving my parents all my financial info Getting this done now.
10) Complete all doctors appointments with necessary shots included. I should get Malaria pills and a Z-pack to take with me Dun-zo! 6 shots and 4 prescriptions later I am done. The only thing I am missing is a rabies vac, though I am considering if I should get it or not. I also need to actually pick up my prescriptions.
11) Buy List: Backpack, hiking boots, sleeping bag/sheets, lock, waterproof bag for important documents, items for a first aid kit, etc, etc, etc, This girl did some online shopping this cyber Monday! My pack, sleeping bag/pad, travel pillow, jacket, and a few other incidentals are purchased. I still have a few small things to get, but the big stuff is out of the way. See my packing list here:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhEea40w-Pr3dGdCVlNZZUlvTC05cG5fNnF5S3dBeFE#gid=1 12) I will also probably be shipping items home from time to time as I move into different climates, so I will need to find out costs to do so Still need to do this.
And a few more to add:
13) Get passport photos
14)check out volunteer opportunities abroad
15) Pack! I've learned a good tip about the process of packing: 1 - lay out everything you want to pack. 2 - Take away 1/2. 3 - Pack bag and walk away for a few days. 4 - Come back and lay out everything again. 5 - Take more stuff away. 6 - Pack whats left