Prioritised To Do List
Planning a trip around the world for an extended period of time means keeping track of and remembering a lot of things. We've consolidated these into an easy to use checklist of what needs to be done and when so you don't miss any key deadlines. Trust us, you'll refer back to this often!! PRINT OR SAVE A COPY OF THE CHECKLIST HERE.
For these first months, make your dream journey into a tangible plan.
- Decide on destinations: do your research, make a list and prioritise. Think about what you want to do in each location.
- Choose rough dates and a general route: again, more research… but not the boring kind from school: this research will get you excited! See our page on choosing dates for what to look out for.
- Think about what you'll do with your stuff when you go. If you plan on selling your house, you need to start looking into this at this point.
- If you're hoping to work abroad, determine the rules regarding this and find out when you need to apply for work permits.
- Start researching visa and entry requirements for the countries you wish to travel to. Visas can create complications with your desired itinerary so understanding the rules for each of the countries is important. Some countries will only allow you to travel on a visitor visa for a limited amount of time. Other visas can only be issued within a period of time before entry into the country which might affect your route. If you will be planning to get visas while on the road, make sure you leave yourself enough time for them to be processed. Check when you will need to apply for visas.
- Use our quote tool and start discussing your itinerary with one of our agents and refining based on your personal travel style and priorities. Ask questions, tweak and make the tough decisions to get your itinerary to a point where you're happy with it.
- Set up frequent flyer plans
- At this point, budget should be becoming clearer. Your research to this point should give you a rough idea of costs of travel and an idea about daily budget in each of your destinations. See our page on Budgeting for help with this.
- Create a savings plan to ensure you have the money you'll need.
- If you intend to travel to any areas hosting big global events like the Olympics or World Cup while you're there – start booking for these sections of your trip as early as you can, starting now where possible.
- Continue to research for your trip – pick up travel books, talk to people who have done the trip, read blogs and forums and local online travel guides, check out TripAdvisor. It is good to keep track of your research and write notes of key points you discover. You will be researching many places and it's hard to keep it all in your head.
- If you don't have a passport, get one. If you do, check that your passport is valid at least six months past the last date you intend to travel. If not, renew it.
- Look at your travel insurance options and talk to your agent about insurance.
- Book your tickets for the first leg of your journey and pay for your travel insurance. You will want to take out your insurance as soon as you start paying for things.
- Start filling in the finer details of your trip. You may want to put your itinerary into a calendar and jot down things you'd like to do in each destination. No need to get too specific with dates.
- People who like everything booked before they leave should start booking accommodations and tours. Any overland travel not booked through the agent should also be looked at, such as car rentals and train tickets. Some of this stuff can be done from the road for those who like to travel a bit more freestyle, but you should at least look into these things as some things might not be available to book at the last minute. You also don't want to spend all your time in one destination booking things for the following destination so having at least a few details determined before you go can save you time for the fun stuff. At the very least, you should book your first night's accommodation in each new country you travel to prior to your arrival as most border crossings will require the address where you'll be staying. Some visas might also require information about accommodations and travel within the country.
- Begin applying for Visas
Check that you can access everything you'll need from abroad. If something won't work, find something that will and change over.
- Online banking
- Cloud storage for photos
- Cloud storage for documents
- Skype account
Sort out your home life for being away for an extended time
- Inform friends and family of your plans and provide them with your itinerary
- Make sure your address book is up to date with current addresses, phone numbers and emails. It's a good idea to even get skype details if you'll want to skype people from the road. Be sure it's not just all the important people you'll want to send a postcard to, but also with important numbers in case of emergencies. You'll probably want your bank in there as well as us!
Start planning what you will do with anything you're leaving behind:
- Personal Belongings
- Inform friends and family abroad of your itinerary to let them know your coming and when.
- Research how money works in the places you'll be going. In some countries merchants often won't accept credit cards or they don't have ATMs that will work with your bank card.
- Speak to your bank about your best options for getting money while abroad. Order no fee international credit cards and spare debit cards. Be prepared for loss or theft. Check whether they will need to order in any currencies you're hoping to take with you and find out how early you need to do that.
- Check your luggage allowances on all flights and trains that have been booked. Often smaller airlines or trains will have more strict luggage allowances and you don't want to be caught by surprise.
- Pick up any gear or clothing you might need for your trip. If you buy a new camera or a She-Wee, make sure you practice using it so you're comfortable with it on the trip. Check our What to Pack page for a complete list of things you might need.
- Inform your work about your plans. This may be later if you're not able to take it as a sabbatical or don't have a long notice period. Just be sure to give the required amount of notice.
- Get extra passport photos. Your research into visa requirements should give you an indication of how many you might need and then be sure to have a few extra just in case.
- If you're a student, get an international student card.
- Set up online bill payments where necessary. This will give you a few months in case something goes wrong.
- Unlock your mobile phone.
- Plan how you'll see all your friends and family before you go away. Don't leave this to the last minute as it can become very stressful. Get things in the calendar early.
- Learn how to be a tourist. Take some short trips if you can, or watch travel movies or TV shows. Started getting your head into travel mode and make decisions about how you will carry money and passports. If you use a money belt, it's good to get used to it before you leave so you don't draw more attention to it.
- Make sure your immunization records are up to date, figure out which vaccinations you'll need and get them booked in. Some vaccinations need to be done over a period of several weeks or with a specific amount of time before you travel so make sure you leave yourself enough time to get these done.
- Get an international drivers' license if you think you'll need it. Bear in mind these are often only valid for one year so be sure to do this as late as possible if you think you'll need it right to the very end.
- Set up a travel blog if you plan to write one. Make sure you can access it from a web browser or whatever you're travelling with while abroad.
- Download handy travel apps
- Finalise accommodations. At the very least, make sure you have the first few booked.
- Go to the doctor or pharmacist for any medication you think you might need for travelling.
- If you plan to sell any of your personal belongings off, start this now. Book your car boot sale or list things on eBay.
- If you're subletting, start making arrangements.
- If you're selling your car, list it.
- Double check dates on itineraries and bookings. If you have overnight flights or are travelling over date lines, be especially thorough in checking the dates are accurate to your arrival and not your departure. Keep an eye out for overlaps or errors.
- Think about each of the places and what you're hoping to do. This can remind you of any last minute things you wanted to book or bring. It will also start getting your head into travel mode.
- Copy or scan in important documents and make sure your friends and family have any revisions made to your itinerary. Upload your documents to a cloud so you can access them online from abroad. Also provide a copy to a friend or family member back home in case of an emergency.
- Do a test pack. Make sure things will fit in your bag and double check you have everything on the list. Weigh your bag and make sure it will within the weight limits on all flights and trains that have been booked.
- Check your checklists. Visas sorted, packing okay, everything above here finished. You still have a week to do any last minute running around. Consolidate your to-do lists to one final pre-departure list.
- Stop or redirect your mail.
- Call your bank to inform them of your travel plans.
- Check your first flight online to ensure no last minute changes have been made (or that you haven't got the date wrong).
- If you want, set up an out-of-town rule on your email so people understand if you don't respond immediately.
- Because you've followed this list, you won't be stressed. Everything is under control. You might even be bored so go visit your home town and check out the things you'll miss. Make time for something that relaxes you if you are feeling some pressure.
- Put your stuff in storage and invite your friends around to clear out anything you're getting rid of. If noone wants it, take it to a charity shop.
- Do an inventory of all the stuff you're taking with and then do your final pack. Keep the inventory on you when travelling so you know immediately if something's missing.
- Pick up any currency you want to travel with. It's often good to have some USD with you, depending on where you're travelling, and you'll definitely want some of the local currency at your first destination.
- Do your last laundry at home so it has time to dry before you fly.
- Finish any last minute packing. Do a final weigh-in on your luggage.
- Check all your electronics are charged and be sure to pack the chargers when you finish charging things.
- Say any last minute goodbyes to anyone not accompanying you to the airport. Try not to celebrate to the point of a hangover though – you'll discover quickly enough that they're not enjoyable on long-haul flights.
YOU'RE LEAVING TODAY!!!!
- Eat a good meal before your flight and be sure to keep yourself hydrated.
- Get to the airport in lots of time.
ON THE ROAD
- Remember to check each flight a few days before departure, in case anything has changed.
- Keep safe and enjoy every minute!!!
- Call home once in a while to let them know you're having the time of your life.