I am going to do my very best to make this an exciting read but there is only so much a person can do when it comes to wading through your big-girl, adult-life responsibilities.
When it comes to sorting your life out, particularly prior to a long-term travel excursion, there’s a lot to think through and it often ends up being a bit of a pain.
And in general, society does not make it easy for you to pack-up, leave and then seamlessly re-integrate into life upon your return.
In fact, on the contrary.
However, there are several things you can do before leaving on a big trip (I’m talking six months plus) that should make you less of a societal pariah upon your return.
We all know how important it is to have travel insurance while away.
However, it is also important to maintain some sort of health insurance in your home country. Yes, it is a pain as you likely won’t be using it while abroad but your premium will sky rocket if there is any break in your cover.
Many companies acknowledge this and offer a very basic, minimum package in these cases. To cover you for a year, you are probably looking at around €200 – €300.
While it may be a lot on top of travel insurance, you will be so grateful when you return home.
Ah vaccinations. Did you know that in certain countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, you are required to have a Yellow Fever vaccination?
As in, you will not get out of the airport if you do not have it. So it’s worth the cost and coinciding dead arm for a couple of days.
While in this case it is obligatory, it is also worth playing it safe and getting all the basic vaccinations. Most common for backpackers are tetanus, typhoid, hepatitus A & B and yellow fever.
You can also get a prescription for malaria tablets which are pertinent if you plan on visiting low-lying tropical regions such as the Amazon rainforest.
You will receive a little booklet with all your vaccinations marked in it from the nurse administrating the shots so keep it with your passport while travelling and TRY not to lose it (like I have… twice). Tropical Medical Bureau is Ireland’s favoured destination for travel vaccinations.
Check your passport
Have you checked the expiry date in your passport?
You may plan to travel for one year, but what If you fall in love with the beaches of Nicaragua and decide to set up shop? Let’s just say, you will be in trouble if your passport happens to expire in one year.
I think it’s useful to have at least four years on your passport if planning for a big trip.
Secondly, is your passport electronic? Passports in Ireland issued before 2010 are not electronic which means you will be unable to gain entry to certain countries (mainly the USA).
Lastly, make copies of your passport both digital and hard copy. Having personally witnessed a close friend go through the sheer dread that is losing a passport while travelling twice, it really helps to have copies and other forms of identification.
Unlock your phone
Pay off any bills or phone contracts you have. If you don’t, you and your number will be blacklisted by operators in your country.
And in extreme cases, you could face a court date upon your return (fun!). If you cannot afford to pay out of your contract or are stuck in one, most operators will let you transfer your contract on to someone else like a friend or family member.
Also, if your phone is completely paid off, you are entitled to get it unlocked. This means you can use other sims from different operators while you are abroad or at the very least, you can shop around different operators upon your return home.
Inform your bank
Your funds could get cut off of from the get-go if you are transacting as usual in Dublin one day and the next day your card is making transactions in, for example, a vineyard in Argentina (a perfectly reasonable first stop).
Most banks have online facilities or a mobile app to allow you to inform them of overseas travel so make sure to avail of this!