How to prepare for an Around the World trip: our checklist
Now that we are well on our way on our trip, I thought it would be fun to show you our world trip preparations. It’s actually quite funny how the weeks leading up to our departure went: one moment I got panic attacks when I saw how much still needed to be done, the other moment I thought: there’s not much left to do. Over the exact same to do-list. Perspective, eh?
Roughly, there are just three parts of preparation for a big trip: all the administrative stuff, the move, and the actual journey (and planning). Being the control freak that I am, I make checklists of everything, and it feels great when I get to check so many things off my list. Let me take you through the preparation we went through when planning our world trip. Hopefully this checklist will be helpful to you for your world trip preparations :)
The first step of planning a trip is of course setting a date and destination. We wanted to leave late September, and decided to randomly pick a day in that week. One that was cheap. Simple as that. We wanted to spend the holidays in the Netherlands with our family, so that meant that we had at least 2.5 months at our disposal for the first part of our world trip. Choosing the destinations wasn’t very difficult. India was already set, as we have a wedding there at the end of November. That we would end in India was clear. Joris wanted to go to Thailand, and since I have heard nothing but amazing stories for years about that country (and the travel comfort), I joined his idea. Then we started looking for cheap options to fly to: surprisingly, Singapore was one of the cheapest options. Because the city appealed to both of us, that is where we went. As you can see, choosing destinations wasn’t the biggest obstacle. After our visit to the Netherlands, everything is still completely open in January. That we are going is for sure, but have yet to see where to!
I think this schedule is fine. I prefer leaving the planning open, but because we want to be back in time for the holidays, the first part is going to be pretty busy. Starting in Singapore seems like a great place, since it’s going to be my first time in Asia (not being a press trip). It seems like a good beginner-destination. After that comes the popular Thailand, then to India’s chaos, where we will most likely do an organized trip for a part of the trip.
Vaccinations and visas
It wasn’t fun, but I have received every vaccination that is needed. The injections weren’t too bad by the way, but I got some side effects from the rabies vaccination (a big glowing red spot) that got me worried. But in the end, it just went away. Start your vaccinations at your travel clinic well in advance (preferably about three months). They also give you advice on which vaccinations you will need depending on what countries you are going to visit. I always say: when in doubt, just do it. We also need to take malaria medicine with us, but we don’t have to take them preventively, thankfully. Besides, all of my vaccination (except the one for rabies) and malaria pills are covered by my insurance.
As for the visums, it is quite simple. For Singapore we don’t need a visa, and for Thailand you will automatically receive a visa for a trip of less than 30 days when you enter the country. For India, we applied for an e-visa that was granted the next day! Yay!
It’s a bit too private to just talk openly about the move and administrative situations regarding my finances on here, but no matter how you take care of it: administrative things will need to be arranged. Especially when you own a business. So make sure you check out on how to take care of everything. Are you going to sell your house? Cancel your rent? Do the authorities know about the address changes or cancellations? Are you going to quit your job or can you take a sabbatical from work? Do you need to renew your passport or bank cards? Arrange everything well in advance.
Please note that in most countries you visit your passport must be valid for at least six more months after entry. And make sure your bank cards have global coverage. Create a list of everything that needs to be arranged, concerning the administrative things, so that you have a clear overview. We keep a shared file in Google Drive, and a shared checklist in Wunderlist.
Newspapers, magazines, gym subscriptions: just get rid of it all. This is an easy step that you can start working early on.
How you handle things with your insurance depends on your situation. If you are traveling on a temporary basis, it is probably best to keep your health insurance. Together with a travel insurance you’re covered for pretty much everything (but always make sure to double check your coverage!). Think about whether or not you are going to work for your online business, because you might also need to get a business travel insurance. If you completely leave The Netherlands you don’t have to pay any health insurance. I’m not sure what’s that like in other countries. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to be insured. WorldNomads is a very popular option for world travelers.
Pre-selection items + Storage
We rent a small storage for our stuff, but 90% was either donated or thrown away. To determine what we wanted to keep we made a list of items that have emotional value, stuff that we wanted in our next home, or which could be useful when we quickly needed a new house again. It all fits into the space of a small bedroom. In addition, I have some winter clothes and souvenirs that I have put in my parent’s guest bedroom. But it’s quite a strange idea that everything Joris and I own, soon fits into just a small bedroom. Storage doesn’t cost much, I think it costs us about sixty euros a month. If you take into account that we will be working while being on the road, it’s not a problem.
Selling your stuff online
Then there is the stuff you want to sell. We didn’t sell that much, just some furniture that was still in a good state, and that’s worth some money. We put these on an online marketplace. We donate the rest to the thrift store, or bring it to the dump. A large part of my clothes, shoes and bags are donated in big bins at the local mosque. No idea what’s going to happen to it, but there’s undoubtedly someone walking around in a cute glitter dress from my teen years somewhere.
I did not find it very hard to get rid of the stuff. If I have not used it at least 1 time in the past year, it’s gotta go, unless it has a lot of emotional value. It helped that I have lived in London for half a year, and all of my belongings fit into two big suitcases. That way, I could easily see what I actually used, and what I haven’t used at all.
This is also the perfect time to stop fooling yourself and to make peace with who you are: pants I no longer fit (for ‘later’), beautiful high heels (that I have never worn, because they are uncomfortable and kill my feet) and bags full of hair products (I’m too lazy to straighten my hair every single day) all need to go. Yes, it’s painful if you donate clothes that still have a price tag on them, but there’s a reason you never wear it, and you’re better off giving it to someone else, rather than saving it like some kind of monument for those fifty euro you ever paid for it.
I bought a backpack before the trip and I made a quick list of items in advance with stuff that I wanted to bring with me on our trip. That has helped a lot when making a selection of the items that I want to keep, store and dispose of. It does not make sense to have fifteen summer dresses, if I only take a handful of them with me. If they are not cute enough to take them with me, then there’s is no place for them in the storage either.
Moving Day! The day before we actually moved, we made sure all the stuff was picked up, either by buyers from the online marketplace or through the thrift store, so that we only had to focus on the items that we want to keep (which isn’t a lot). We arranged a moving van, and moved everything in one day. The next day we fully cleaned the house, and then a few days later we returned the keys.
Preparing travel details
We then had a few more days before our adventure really started, in which we prepared for our trip. Just the travel details of course, because the big picture and most important tickets had already been set. Booking hotels our apartments, finding things to do, that kind of stuff … we kept it pretty flexible. We don’t plan too much and we’ll see what comes our way. If you do not have that kind of time right after your move, you can also do this step much earlier, of course :).
As you can see, planning for a trip around the world when you don’t have kids or a mortgage is pretty doable. You end the contract for your apartment, sell your items and go on adventure. Simple as that. I hope this planning has helped you a bit, and hopefully you will continue to follow our trip here on this blog :-).