7 Things to do Before Leaving for Long-term Travel + How to Stay Organized

Today, it’ll be 101 days until my New Zealand adventure begins. From October 20th onward, I’ll explore New Zealand with a Working Holiday visa for six to twelve months. Naturally, there are several things that need to get sorted before embarking on such a long journey. It’ll be the third time for me go abroad for several months so this time around the organization was easy peasy. After the 7 things to do before leaving for long-term travel, I’ll share with you my no 1 tip how I planned and scheduled all these things!

Assuming you’ve already booked your flight, here are 7 things you need to do before leaving for your long-term travel:

1.Check your Passport and Visa
Depending on how long you want to travel and where you’ll be going, you might need a visa. This is nothing you should neglect. If you’re planning to work whilst you travel, try to figure out if the country of your desire offers Working Holiday schemes. After you’ve done that, go and see for how long your passport is valid. Applying for a new passport, whether you haven’t had one to begin with or your current one expires soon, will take some time. In my case, living in Germany, it can take for up to a month. So don’t wait until the very last minute to do it. The earlier you get anything visa and passport related done, the better.

2.Check whether you’ll need any vaccinations
Try to talk to your GP and figure out whether you’ll need to refresh any vaccinations or whether you’ll need to get any country specific vaccinations. Just because you’re young it doesn’t mean that you’re invulnerable. Go and talk to your GP, dentist, or any other specialist and see if there is anything you need to take care of before you leave. Speaking of your health….

3.Get a proper health insurance.
This might be a no-brainer to some, but there are enough people out there, thinking it’ll be OK not to get a health insurance for their travels. I’ve been very lucky during my trips, but there were a few occasions where I needed to see a GP while travelling. Personally, I’ve got a good insurance to cover the duration of my travels with the Germany insurance company Huk-Coburg. However, I’ve heard many people praising World Nomads.

4.Sort out what to do with your apartment or belongings.
Earlier last year, I’ve moved back in with my parents due to several reasons. The biggest was that my apartment was mold invested and needed to be renovated. Moving back in with my parents was meant to be a temporary solution. However, I’ve realized that if I’d stay for the remainder of my studies (I’ll graduate in three months), I could save every cent for a Working Holiday in New Zealand. When I’ll leave, I’ll store my furniture and belonging in my parents’ barn. If you’re living in your own apartment, go and figure out whether to keep it or whether to store your belongings somewhere. On a related note, go and down-size your stuff before you leave. No one likes to go back home, after being used to live out of a backpack for months, filled with crap.

5.Cancel any contracts or on-going bills
Are there any mobile phone contracts or other on-going bills you need to take care of or cancel? Go and check it out. My mobile phone contract is running out in November which is great timing for me. I will get a prepaid card once I’m in New Zealand. Also, go and unlock your smartphone if you’re planning to use it abroad like me.

6.Let your bank know that you’ll go abroad.
There is nothing worse than reaching your destination and realize that your credit card or debit card isn’t working all of a sudden because your bank blocked them. Let your bank know where you’ll go and for how long you plan to stay there so they know that all those purchases abroad were made by you and not by someone who stole your card or details.

7.Work on a reasonable packing list
Once you’re organized all the other steps, you can finally concentrate on the more enjoyable aspects of travel planning: Shopping! Alright, just kidding… but only a little. Chances are there will be things you need to purchase specifically for the trip. However, instead of buying any “must-have” travel gadget the internet throws at you, try to figure out whether you’ll actually need it. Do you really need expensive trekking and camping gear when you don’t plan on doing any of these things? Try not to take too many ‘just in case’ – items with you. If you’ll end up really needing certain items, you can still buy them at your destination. On a related note, don’t pack too many clothes. Instead, try to pack as many versatile items with you as possible. By bringing a few items that mix and match, creating many different outfits, you’ll have more with less. The aim of your adventure is to experience life and explore new places and not to drag tons of clothes along.

Now you might be wondering how far I’m on this list. I can proudly say that I’ve already reached step no.7 which means I can enjoy the remaining days of my countdown rather relaxed (if one ignores the fact that I’m currently writing my M.A. Thesis, of course…).

How to stay organized during travel planning

All this looks rather overwhelming and if you plan on doing everything at once or within the same month, it will be overwhelming. For my travel planning, I’ve created a travel planning calendar where I’ve scheduled everything in such a way that I had only a few tasks per month to do. Yet, at the same time, I knew everything was done on time. Here is my little plan:

travelplanning calendar

This is what my plan roughly looked like. Of course, you don’t have to do it like me. For me, this was very helpful to stay organized while working at two jobs and writing a MA thesis.

How do you plan your (short-term & long-term) trips? If you could buy any travel gear (disregarding the price), what would be your ultimate ‘must-have’ item? Leave a comment down below!


3 thoughts on “7 Things to do Before Leaving for Long-term Travel + How to Stay Organized

  1. wow, 101 days. countdown time! (completely random aside: my mother used to mark 100-day countdowns to important dates by buying a cheap tape measure, trimming it to 1m, and cutting off 1cm per day.)

    one thing i started to wonder when i read the phone contract part of your list: how are you planning to treat the internet on longer travels like this? on short trips, each break on twitter or facebook is a precious percentage of travel time not spent on your surroundings, but how does that scale (for you) with the different kinds of impressions you get on longer travel? are browsing/online-connecting habits another kind of ‘home’ that you forego alongside your physical home or is it the kind that travels with you?


  2. Very important tips that you have mentioned ! Thank you for sharing. I also recently made a post myself about some things that I took/ did for my trip to Thailand. Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think! 🙂


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