It’s becoming pretty common for people to pack up their life and take off for an incredible adventure around the world. Preparing for a trip like this takes a lot of work, trust me. Today I wanted to share with you some of my top tips for preparing for long term travel and the things you absolutely must do to get ready!
1. Brush up on the local language
The chances are you’re visiting places where english isn’t the spoken language. Don’t let that intimidate you because we’re all human and have the ability to communicate beyond just words. It is, however, a good idea to brush up on the local language. You can find a website online that lists key phrases you need for travel, to help you find directions, get help or express specific dietary needs, or you can buy a phrase book.
2. Back-up important documents
Before you leave home, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a hard-drive or two. Back-up your computer or laptop with all your important documents and lock it up somewhere safe, then take another hard-drive with you on the road. It’s a great way to keep your laptop working fast and ensuring you have a back-up of your photos and videos from your trip should your laptop be stolen.
I also recommend leaving a copy of all your key documents with a family member of friend, things like photocopies of your passport and birth certificate that have been witnessed by a Justice of the Peace. It’s also a good idea to leave a copy of your itinerary, including flight details and times, hotels and their contact details, with a friend. This just ensures your family know how to contact you if needed and it’ll give your mum peace of mind too.
3. Get qualified
You may be planning on doing some odd jobs while you’re travelling to give you a source of income on the road. A good idea could be to do a short or extended course before you take off, like getting your Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate, First Aid qualification or taking a course in Hospitality or Retail Management. They’re the type of thing that will set you apart and, hopefully, make it easier for you to get work when you need it. Check out Careers Australia, who offer a range of these courses.
4. Visit your doctor
Before you leave, be sure to visit your doctor for a general check-up. While you’re there, let them know where you’re going and be sure to get up-to-date on your immunisations and anything extra you may need for the places you are visiting, like Malaria medication. It’s also a good idea to stock up on an prescription medicines you need, like ‘the pill’ or asthma medication. You can also request a copy of your medical history which you can carry with you, just in case. Depending on how long you’re going for, pay a visit to your dentist and optometrist too.
5. Research banking options
While you’re away you’re going to need to access your hard earned money, so you can spend it up! It’s important to let your bank know you’re going away and the places you’re visiting, so they don’t freeze your account when you withdraw $300 in Barcelona. Also, look into how much your bank charges you to withdraw money abroad. Are there other banks who offer better rates? If so, is it worth switching? Also, what support do they offer you overseas if your cards are stolen or lost? These are all important things to consider.
6. Travel insurance
Make sure you have travel insurance. Do your research and find an insurer who covers you thoroughly for every place you visit. Make sure you totally and completely understand what you are covered for and how to make a claim if necessary. Travel insurance is absolutely essential. Remember, it can also cover you for things like cancelled flights or trips that are out of your control, so get insurance as soon as you book your trip.
7. Passport and visas
Make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity on it and check the visa requirements for all the places you plan on visiting. How long can you stay in each country for? Do you need to have evidence of when you plan to leave the country? Do you need a visa? If so, what type?
8. Electrical converters
Do some research and find out what type of converter you need for the places you’re visiting. You’ll probably find you only need 1 or 2 different types, so it’s probably worth buying these before you leave home. It’ll also save you money if you buy them at home, rather than being stuck with the ridiculous prices they charge at airports.
9. Local customs and dress
Look into the places you’re visiting and find out if there are any specific local customs you need to be aware of. It isn’t just about being a good traveller, it’s about being a decent human and respecting the culture of others just as you’d expect others to respect the culture of your country. Find out if it’s acceptable to touch people or if you should dress more conservatively in certain countries then pack and act accordingly.
10. Keep your country in the loop
Register your travel plans and contact details online or at the local Australian embassy, high commission or consulate once you arrive so they can contact you in case of an emergency