Things to Do Before Travelling for a Year: A Pre Travel Checklist
So you have decided to travel long term and now the process starts with figuring out what are the things to do before travelling for a year?
There are many things to do before you travel, whether it is long term or for a 2 week vacation most of these items are good things to have in place to help those who travel prepare your home life for being away travelling.
We have done many of these items for years, but when it came to planning our 1 year gap year to travel the world with our kids I didn’t know where to start and felt a bit overwhelmed. So hopefully by gathering this information and sharing it with you, this can help you pull together all the things to do before travelling abroad.
You might also find out some tips for travelling abroad first time!
Before you start anything my recommendation is you SET A DATE! It may seem self-explanatory, but this will help you create your Travel Preparation Checklist below and outline a plan.
You need to have your goal departure date set to work backwards from and this helps you keep the eye on the prize! So if you only have 3 months or 6 months before you go then you can condense the items and space them out. I used a spreadsheet to help track these items.
What You’ll Find in This Post
Travel Preparation Checklist
31 Things to do Before Travel
1 Year Before Travel (Or Now)
1. Develop a Travel itinerary (loose plan)
This is the fun part of planning but it will also help you with details that you will need to have a general idea about where you are going (visas, immunizations, etc).
Decide if there are main places you want to go to the world, a starting point, an ending point, how long, type of travel and what you want to get out of the travel experience. You can see our loose 1 year travel itinerary plan here, this changed but it gave us a good start!
2. Create Online Accounts
Start creating online accounts for EVERYTHING you have and get them sent to email.
Cancel any paper bills as they come in the mail over the next year. Banking, utilities, revenue agency, retirement accounts, school details, healthcare, insurance, credit cards, etc. Regardless of how long you are going to be travelling this will help ongoing for having a mobile life and one of the best things to do before leaving for vacation!
Think about how you will access or get anything that you typically get now, but in another country. A major one is to figure out how you will fill out your income taxes abroad.
Set up any bills to be paid automatically for credit cards, bills, etc.
11 Months Before Travel
3. Decide on Your Home Details
Decide what you are going to do with your house/home/condo/apartment. Are you going to sell, rent it out, cancel your rental, find someone to live in the house? This decision will help create a plan for the things you need to do for your house before you travel.
4. Tell Close Family & Friends
This is easy and hard at the same time! Fun to tell them about all your travel plans, but depending on your family they may be unsure, scared or worried about you too!
Be ready for any kind of response and know in your heart that this is right for you (and your family). I know I was pleasantly surprised by all the support of our friends and family. Those people will shine through and give you the extra support that you need for this big decision. Also, it’s ok that you don’t have all the answers they may ask… you’ll figure it out!
5. Start Selling Stuff
Start selling stuff, reducing and getting rid of anything that is not needed anymore! This will help clear the clutter and can also help with the savings for your travel too. Here are some of the things we did to save money for our travels, which included selling A LOT of stuff we no longer needed. It all added up to almost $30,000!
It’s about choices and priorities!
10 Months Before Travel
6. Vaccinated & Immunization
One of the things to do before international travel is to check into your vaccine and immunizations. So based on your travel itinerary check with your doctor or travel clinic on which vaccines or immunizations you will need to travel there. Some immunizations need multiple doses and could take a few months to complete the cycle of vaccinations. Start this plan early and have them scheduled closer to your departure date (approx. 6 months prior to departure).
Some immunizations are recommended, while others may be mandatory for entry into the country. You can find out more about our travel immunization details here.
You can check out more details for health information for travellers to each country here, but ensure you have checked with your travel clinic as well since these get updated.
7. Banking & Credit Cards
Figure out the best online banking and global banking credit cards for your travels.
Look for Banking accounts and Credit Cards that don’t have Foreign Transaction Fees (or reduced fees since these will add up taking money out of ABM). This is a good post to help outline some of the credit card details.
Have more than one Credit Card and have different companies for each – Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are what we took; just in case one is not accepted, stolen or lost. We also ended up having 2 of our credit cards be discontinued so at the end of our trip only had 1 credit card left until we returned back to Canada.
Tell your banks where you will be travelling and when otherwise they may think your transactions are suspicious and freeze your cards.
8. Schooling Preparation
If you have kids, you will need to start preparing for their schooling and looking into options on what can be done. First, contact the school board that they are currently attending and notifying them of what your plans to travel for a year and find out what options might be available. Some school boards have options for distance learning, homeschooling, etc.
At this point start thinking about what your schooling plans will be for your children and start a loose plan of what needs to be in place for you to have your children out of “regular” school. You can find out more about our long term Worldschooling/Unschooling plan here.
My best advice after being very concerned about the schooling for my kids is really not to worry about it too much, things will work out and they will learn more than you expect on their travels!
9 Months Before Travel
9. Check Expiry on Documents & Cards
Check all the documents that you take with you travelling and double check that none expire while you are away. Most countries won’t let you in if your passport expires within 6 months. (ie. passports, credit cards, bank cards, drivers licence, etc)
If you need new ones, start that process now!
10. Children’s Documentation
Ensure you have your children’s birth certificate. Some countries, like South Africa, require you to have the long version (showing both parent’s names) of the child’s birth certificate with you. If you don’t have the original copy you can get certified copies created from their birthplace to take with you on your travels.
If you are travelling without both parents, ensure you have a letter of consent from the parent who is not with you or a death certificate.
11. Plan for Storage & Stuff
If you are selling your home start working on your plan for where you will keep some of your stuff that you won’t be selling. Sort through what is the most cost-effective way for you to store it and look into when you need to book this by (some book months in advance). ie. storage container, storage lots, trailer, etc.
We ended up buying a utility trailer as we then used it when we drove and moved to another city after our return.
8 Months Before Travel
12. Set up Mobile Phones
You will need to ensure everything is set up for your mobile phones while you are travelling for an extended period of time.
Get all your cell phones unlocked so that you can put new data cards in from other countries. Some mobile providers have great plans for international travel, but the ones in Canada are not awesome. So we kept our SIM cards with us for emergencies if we needed to access data or make a phone call (would have been a very expensive emergency). You can also check to see if this works by testing it with a friend’s SIM card from another provider before you leave.
We purchased new SIM data cards in every country and used that for data when wifi wasn’t available. Note: When you do this your cell phone number will change. So hence why if anyone needs to get in contact with you then email is best.
13. Set up Video Conference
Our recommendation is to use Skype and Facetime for video conferencing while you are travelling. When you travel it is always nice to see those who you miss over video.
Facetime worked great for all our iPhone family and friends to see while we were away. If you already have an iPhone you most likely already have this setup, but do some testing with those contacts you haven’t Facetimed before.
Setup Skype as well for making easy phone calls! Set this up and you can call as usual without having to figure out the calling codes to get out of a country (painful sometimes). Purchase a Skype credit (which is very cheap and lasts a long time). We used Skype for calling our family who don’t have mobile phones, banks, government agencies, etc.
7 Months Before Travel
14. Get Travel Insurance
Getting Travel Insurance needs to be on your travelling abroad checklist! If you are working, you may have coverage for this travel while you are travelling. But, if you are taking a year off to travel the world you most likely won’t and will need to look into options.
In our case, we did so much research into travel insurance and can highly recommend World Nomads as a great choice for travel insurance. It was so easy to set up, simply add in the countries that you plan to go to and then get a quote for the cost. It is a cost you will have to factor into your budget and part of the cost of travelling, it was non-negotiable for us.
We also had to add in some countries along the way while travelling and that was really easy to do online. The interface was really easy, great customer service and speedy responses.
15. Start Booking Travel
If you know where your first stop is going to start looking into flights and accommodations. It honestly didn’t feel real or light a fire under us until we had this first flight booked. So do this early and the reality of it will kick in!
If you have any big items planned on your 1 year of travel you may want to consider booking these out further in advance to ensure you get what you are looking for. For example, we probably should have booked out our African Safari a little further out to save money and have more options.
If you have anything like a cruise, safari, unique festival, sporting or specific event get your tickets in advance and then plan your travels around your ability to acquire those tickets. We did this for our Vietnam Halong Bay cruise and our Sydney cruise.
For all other accommodation bookings, we planned them out 4-6 weeks in advance while on our travels. We used Booking and VRBO for our accommodations for our world trip. We typically stayed in VRBOs if staying longer than 5 days in one place at a time. Find out our money-saving tips, tricks and hacks with our Airbnb VRBO Guest Checklist.
6 Months Before Travel
16. Cancel Any Subscriptions
If you have a newspaper, magazines or products that are shipped to your home monthly then cancel this subscription services. We cancelled ours months before we left, but this can wait until closer to if you prefer. It’s also a good way to save money!
17. Home up for Sale Or Provide Rental Notice
If you are selling your home then check with your market for the best time or how long it takes to sell your home. We put our house up 6 months before we were scheduled to leave.
If you are subletting or giving notice to your rental check into the conditions and line up the timing.
If you are renting out your house, get anything fixed that needs repaired, set up maintenance house services such as cutting grass, shovelling snow, regular maintenance, etc.
5 Months Before Travel
18. Technology & Photos Backups
Capture photos of travelling is a big part of the journey. So be sure to have a plan on how you are going to back up these memories.
If you are travelling with a laptop look to back up your computer online to a service so that if your laptop is stolen or lost you can easily set up a new laptop.
Get your photo storage and a backup plan created. We use a combination of external hard drives and online. The wifi can be challenging in some places and uploading to cloud services has proven to be challenging sometimes. You can find out more about my photos and camera for travelling fulltime here.
19. Mail Forwarded
There will always be a few things that slip through, so if you have the option to set up mail forwarding to a family member this can be set up. There are some countries where you can pay for a service that they open your mail and then email it to you, but this isn’t available in Canada. We set this up early and then future-dated it to 3 weeks before we left.
4 Months Before Travel
20. Packing Details
Start to think about packing details like what luggage you are going to take and how much stuff you will bring. Create a list of things you will need to bring and start planning out what you need to bring.
Think about keeping your packing light, multiple outfits matching, good quality products to last, good walking shoes, durable products, etc. Outline all the things to bring when travelling abroad and then pair it down to what would be minimal and what you could buy abroad instead of packing it.
Here is our exactly long term travel packing list that we used for our 1 year of travel.
Here is some info about of medication packing list, we always carry our prescriptions with us on the flight.
Best Travel Epilators: Hair Removal On The Go
If you ever travel for periods longer than a few days you’ll find that you might have to bring something to remove hair along with you.
This could be a razor to shave your legs in the shower, some tweezers for your eyebrows, or an epilator that can take care of it all.
Now if you’re going to go with an epilator you’ll have to consider a few things:
- Where do I need to remove hair?
- Will I have access to a plug socket?
- Do I need to epilate in the shower?
These questions are important because the answers help us decide which kind of epilator is right for us. Do we want a whole body epilator or just a facial one? Do we want one that is corded or one that can be used cordless? Do we want to have one that is waterproof or only for dry use?
This will affect the brand, price, size, and efficacy of the epilators we’re looking for.
Taking all of those factors into account, lets take a look at…
The top 5 epilators for traveling:
#1 – The Braun Silk Epil 9
+ Wet & Dry
+ Can be used on the whole body including the face
+ Very reliable brand
+ Highest rated epilator online
+ Many accessories
Check the price and reviews on Amazon
The Braun Silk Epil 9 is currently the best of the best. If you’re willing to shell out a bit more cash, it will be a trusty device that will deliver unbeatable results for a long time.
Why is it a good travel epilator?
When you’re in hotels or staying at friends places overseas sometimes you might not have an adapter plug or the plug socket might be in a I-don’t-really-want-to-epilate-right-here location.
This is where a cordless epilator comes in handy. As long as it is recharged you can use it anywhere, and then simply put it on charge again when you’re done.
It’s wet & dry.
This essentially means you can use it both in and out of the shower.
Its a preference thing but some people would much rather epilate in the shower/bath due to the fact that warm water and wet skin help to alleviate some of the pain when epilating.
It can be used on the whole body, including your face.
This really depends on where you like to epilate. If you want something that does the whole body then the Braun Silk Epil 9 has you covered.
It has a large epilating head too which means that it is super efficient for bigger areas (legs, arms) but also comes with a number of accessories that make it great for facial epilating and even shaving.
#2 – The Emjoi Soft Caress
+ Corded and Cordless use
+ Small size for portability
+ Can be used on the whole body including the face
+ Very reliable brand
+ 24k gold tweezers!
– Dry only
Check the price and reviews on Amazon
The Emjoi Soft Caress is the only epilator on the market with 24k gold tweezers, which makes it seriously hygienic (as you can read more about in our in depth review here). We really like this epilator as a travel epilator for a number of reasons.
Why is it a good travel epilator?
It can be used corded or cordless.
This one is a huge bonus. One of the major problems with cordless epilators is that the battery life is weak – they normally only last between 40 mins and an hour before needing to be recharged again.
With the Emjoi Soft Caress you can use it in both situations. It works cordlessly and also while being plugging into the wall. So if you forget to charge it you can simply plug it in and continue using it.
It’s a great size for traveling.
The Emjoi fits in the palm of your hand so is a perfect candidate for handbags, carry on luggage or even toiletry bags.
Portability is a big factor when looking for a travel epilator and the size of this couldn’t be more suitable.
It can be used on the whole body.
Though it only has 36 tweezers, the Emjoi is a surprisingly effective epilator.
Be warned that it is much more suited to smaller areas such as the underarms, face, or bikini line. The main reason for this is the low amount of tweezers and small head on the device.
What this means in practice is that it will take longer to do larger areas such as the legs than other epilators would. It can still get the job done, but expect to have to do a couple of passes on some areas.
It’s dry only.
This is a disadvantage but only for those who like to epilate in the shower.
It’s somewhat of a tradeoff for the ability to use it corded and cordless, and is also a safety measure. If you could use the device while its plugged in and also in the shower, I can imagine you’d be doing damage to more than your hair follicles!
Is an Epilator the Hair Remover You’ve Been Looking For?
Even though there are a variety of hair removal techniques, you’ll learn through experience that some methods are better than others. Tweezing, plucking, waxing, and shaving can all eliminate unwanted hair, but the results can be less than desired.
If you’re looking for something different, an epilator might be the hair removal method you’ve been searching for. This electrical device is designed to remove hair directly from the roots.
Options include a dry epilator, which can be used without water, and a wet epilator, which provides the convenience of removing hair while in the bath or shower.
Removing hair by the root may sound painful. And yes, some people experience a measure of discomfort with epilation, especially the first time.
Some areas of your body may be more sensitive than others. The more you epilate, however, the less pain you may experience.
Read on to learn how epilators work and the benefits of this method.
An epilator works similar to waxing, in that it removes hair by the roots. But an epilator doesn’t use wax. Instead, it plucks away hair as you move the device over different parts of your body.
For the best results, exfoliate your skin before using an epilator. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and can prevent ingrown hairs.
Begin by positioning the epilator at a 90-degree angle to your skin. Don’t press the device against your skin. Rather, hold it loosely against your skin. Pull your skin taut and then slowly move the epilator in the direction of hair growth.
If you move the epilator opposite the direction of hair growth, you’ll cut the hair at the skin, but you won’t remove it from the root.
Other tips for using an epilator
- Use an epilator at night. Some people experience redness and skin irritation after removing hair. Redness should go away after a couple of hours.
- Some epilators have different speed settings. Start on a low setting and then gradually increase the speed to see what you can tolerate.
- Be patient. For the best results, you’ll need to move the device slowly across your body, so take your time. If you move too quickly, you could leave hairs behind.
- Moisturize your skin after using an epilator to reduce irritation.
- Don’t forget to clean your epilator after each use to reduce the risk of a skin infection. Remove any lingering hair, and use alcohol to clean the device.
Pain is a drawback of epilation. But if you’re able to deal with discomfort, the results may outweigh this negative.
Smoother skin longer
One benefit of using an epilator is that you’ll get smoother skin, and the results may last longer than most other hair removal methods, like shaving, depilatory creams, or tweezing.
Results vary from person to person, but you can expect smooth skin for up to 4 weeks. This is because it takes longer for hair to regrow when it’s removed from the roots.
Removing very short hair
Epilation might also be an option if you want to remove shorter hair. Waxing isn’t always effective on short hair because the wax can press the hair against the skin. As a result, the hair doesn’t lift from the roots when you remove the wax paper.
Less hair over time
Another benefit is that epilation may result in less body hair over time. With this method, hair grows back softer and finer. Hair may even regrow at a slower rate. The longer you epilate, the less hair you’ll notice on certain parts of your body.
Epilators can be used on hair from different areas of your body, including arms, legs, pubic area, and even your face.
Using an epilator is a generally safe way to remove unwanted hair. It can be uncomfortable or painful, especially at first.
According to a popular epilation blog DenisaPicks, if you go too fast or move the device against the direction of hair growth, you may break the hair rather than pull it out from the root. These shorter, broken hairs may become ingrown or infected.
While not all epilators are recommended for facial hair, there are epilators made especially for soft or fine facial hairs.
To remove hair from this area, look for devices that state you can safely use them on your face. Also test out the epilator in a small area first to see how your skin reacts.
You can also use an epilator to remove coarser hair such as heavy facial hair and bikini or pubic hair. These epilators have more tweezer heads and stronger motors to help manage thicker hair.
If you use an epilator for pubic hair, test out a small area first to be sure it doesn’t irritate your skin or cause a rash. In this area, you should only use oils or moisturizers that don’t have any fragrances.
In general, there are three types of epilators:
- Electric spring epilators: which use a spring coil that twists to grab hair. Avoid very old models that are less durable than newer models. These may not last as long.
- Rotating disc epilators: which use multiple smaller springs that rotate. These attempt to catch stray hairs from multiple directions. Watch out for lower quality versions of these. They have more moving parts, which have the potential to break.
- Tweezer-style epilators: which use tiny tweezer-like plates to grab the hair. New epilator models often have this style.
When you’re considering which epilator to buy and which to avoid, these factors may come into play:
- the number of tweezers or springs
- speed settings
- various attachments
- built-in lighting
- whether they work dry or wet
- noise levels
- corded versus cordless models
You’ll want to choose an epilator that matches your preferred use. For instance, if you want to use it in the shower, make sure you get one that is water-safe.
Aim to match the features with your needs and look at reviews to find models that aren’t as likely to cause issues. Widely available brands include Philips, Braun, Panasonic, Conair, Epilady, Panasonic, and Remington.
Epilation can leave behind smoother skin, with results lasting up to 4 weeks. But while the results are impressive, this hair removal method isn’t without some pain.
The more you use an epilator and improve your technique, however, the less discomfort you may feel. Epilation might even become your favorite hair removal technique.