Housekeeping Part III: Long Term Travel

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If you’re going to be gone for a long time make sure to renew your license in advance to avoid any unwanted problems either on the road or when using it as an official ID in place of carrying your passport around.

Part three on a housekeeping checklist of stuff to do before you tackle a trip is focused on what you need to do if you are traveling for more than just a few weeks. Here are eight things you’ll want to make sure are organized before you leave on a long term trip.

1. Renew Your Driver’s License
If you’re celebrating a birthday while your traveling, you might also need to renew your license by the end of that month. To legally drive in other countries, you often need a valid license in your home country, sometimes coupled with an International Driver’s License. Just because you’re not in your home country, doesn’t mean you can drive around with an expired license. You might also use it as a form of less official identification in place of your passport so make sure it’s renewed before you leave.

2. Rent/Mortgage/Sublet
Have you fully paid your rent or mortgage in advance? Or have you set-up auto payments while you’re gone if you are not letting your place go? Make sure you have a separate bank account with the money already set aside so you won’t have to worry about falling behind on payments. If you’re subletting, make sure everything is all organized before you leave and that there is someone to step in to help your subletter in case of a problem or emergency.

3. Have enough to cover loan costs for student loans/car/mortgage/cell phone in advance
Along with making sure your mortgage or rent is paid up, make sure you have money set aside for car or student loan payments. Even payments for your cellphone if you’re not disconnecting it can swiftly add up if you don’t make sure to pay it every month, plus it can lower your credit rating if you miss some bill payments or are late. Often times a company will let you put a lump sum on the bill in advance and then they take what they need on your bill due date.

4. Disconnect your internet/TV/cellphone
If you’re not taking your cellphone with you and won’t be home for a while, make sure you disconnect it and have your bill fully paid up before you leave. Also, disconnect your internet or TV subscription, but be sure to budget for disconnection charges as these can add up.

5. Unlock Your Cellphone
If you are taking your cell with you, make sure it’s unlocked so you can use it with a local Sim card, or make sure you know all the details of using your phone overseas so you don’t get charged ridiculous roaming or data fees.

6. Car Insurance and Registration
If you have plates and insurance on your car, make sure to either cancel them and get money back or don’t forget to pay your monthly payments while you’re gone. When I travel, my car sits unlicensed and therefore uninsured. I leave it in a safe location (usually my parent’s farm, or my parking spot) because if something happens to it while I’m gone, I won’t have any insurance protection on it.

7. Storing your stuff
Are you storing your stuff somewhere before you leave? If so, make sure it’s all lined up and figured out before you take off. Once again, make sure all the payments are taken care of in advance so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re sipping mojitos on an island somewhere with poor phone or internet connection.

8. Get a Check-Up
Whether it’s an annual doctors check-up, a dentist check-up, or an optometrist appointment, make sure to schedule these all at least a month before you leave. If you need to purchase and order new contacts or glasses or have some work done at the dentist, you want to make sure you’ve left yourself enough time to do all of it and recover without any problems. Plus, having a check-up before you leave means you’re less likely to have problems while you’re on the road. I definitely wouldn’t want to find a dentist to fix a cavity in certain countries.

For general housekeeping considerations for any trip, check out my article here. If you’re planning on a shorter holiday, you’ll want to check out these things to keep in mind.

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