Preparing for a Round-The-World Trip
Wow, time has flown.
My last post was over two months ago. Things have been busy, so I haven’t been updating as much as I’d like. That’s no excuse though; things are about to get a whole lot busier and I want to make a concerted effort to keep the blog updated as we go. To give a glimpse into the planning required for a trip this big, I thought I’d share some of the items on our ever-expanding to-do list. I’ve separated them out by category where it makes sense.
I’ve already written a bit about the financial side of our trip when it comes to making an RTW trip as feasible as possible. However, even after taking those strategies to heart, there is still quite a bit of work to do.
- Finish our savings – An obvious item, but a big one. We actually hit our original savings goal back in April (yay!) so now we’re working towards some stretch goals to make a few of our more ambitious plans more affordable.
- Pay off loans – Bridgette has been working diligently towards paying off her student loans before we leave on the trip, and at the rate she’s going they should be gone by the end of the month. Not having these loans hanging over our heads during our travels will be a huge load off our minds.
- Give notice to our apartment – While this isn’t a technically difficult task, it’s a big step, because it means no turning back! We turned in our notice last week and will be leaving our apartment by the end of July. I guess we’re really doing this!
- Give notice at our jobs – Hoo boy. This is a task I’ve been looking forward to for years, but that doesn’t make the thought of it any less intimidating. We’ll have this done by the end of the week, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it in its own blog post.
- Cancel a variety of services – I don’t think I ever realized how many utilities, subscriptions, rentals, and other monthly costs we had until we had to start planning to cancel them. We have electricity, gas, and water, which should be easy enough to shut off when we leave the apartment. We have internet, which we have to do a bit sooner to leave us enough time to return the equipment. We have a fridge rental to return thanks to the fact that California landlords apparently all got together and decided that tenants don’t need to keep anything cold. We have our cell phone service, which won’t work outside the country, and I have car insurance I’ll no longer need. On top of all that, we have some random subscription services like Amazon Prime and Xbox Live that will become irrelevant once we leave.
- Sell the car – Since our travel plans stretch through the foreseeable future, having a car depreciating in a garage just doesn’t make any sense. Since we need the car to get from Los Angeles back to Ohio, we can’t sell it here, so hopefully we’ll find a buyer once we get there.
- Set up bank accounts – It’s never a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket, doubly so when those eggs are dollars. To keep all our eggdollars safe, we’ve had to set up a few different accounts.
- Ally Savings Account – This is where the bulk of our savings are being kept. It has a 1% interest rate, which isn’t huge but it’s still nice to see an interest deposit every month. However, the main purpose of this account is to keep the majority of our money away from our day-to-day account.
- Charles Schwab Investor Checking Account – This is where our daily spending money will be kept. This account is great for travelers because there are never any foreign transaction fees, and you are reimbursed for ATM fees worldwide.
- Chase Checking Account – This is my old checking account that I’ve been using over the past few years. There’s nothing particularly special about it, but we’ll be keeping a bit of money here as well in case the ATM card for the Schwab account gets lost or stolen.
Staying healthy is an important prerequisite to enjoying, well, much of anything. Here’s a few things we’ve had to do in that area.
- Buy travel insurance – Travel insurance covers you in case you need medical attention in a foreign country, it will reimburse you for stolen items, pay out for canceled flights, and more. For a long-term traveler it’s more of a necessity than an option. We went with World Nomads after a good deal of research; they cover a wide range of adventure activities that aren’t included in other plans and have a very easy-to-use website in case the need to make a claim arises.
- Get travel vaccines – Important in some countries and mandatory in others, travel vaccinations were something we definitely had to do a lot of research on. Some rounds of shots need to be done as far as six months apart, so we started these in January and have our final shot next week. We’ve received vaccines against Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, and Rabies.
- Make every doctor’s appointment under the sun – In order to squeeze the most out of our health insurance while we still have it, we’re making sure to visit our general doctors, eye doctors, and dentists one last time before we leave.
We have a lot of stuff. Working to downsize our lives into a couple backpacks takes a lot of effort.
- Ship the pets home – My parents have graciously offered to watch our pets in our absence, for which I will never stop being grateful. Even with that much taken care of, there is a lot to do to actually get them home. We have to make vet appointments to get shots and paperwork so they’re allowed on the plane, get them to the airport on the day they fly out, navigate the airport with two pet cages, and ensure they get picked up on the other side. This is also weather-dependent, since if it’s too hot they can’t fly, so here’s hoping for a chilly July.
- Organize our stuff – Figuring out what to do with all the crap we’ve accumulated over the past few years will be no easy task. Everything we own falls into one of the following categories:
- Stuff we’re taking on the trip – This category is stuff we’ll be packing in our bags and taking with us around the world.
- Stuff we want to keep but can’t take – Sentimental or otherwise irreplaceable items that we’ll be taking in the car back to Ohio.
- Stuff we can sell – TV and other electronics that it would be nice to get a bit of money out of
- Stuff we can donate – This will be a lot of our clothes, which we can donate to Goodwill, and our books, which we can donate to the library.
- Stuff we can’t sell or donate, but that other people might want – Things like our beat-up couch and dresser. We’ll probably put this on the free section of Craigslist.
- Stuff we can’t do anything with – Trash. In the best case, this is easy stuff we can take to the dumpster. In the case of larger items we’ll probably have to pay to have them hauled away.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. I was hoping that writing it out would make it seem more manageable, but I think it’s just reinforced the fact that we have a lot to do! This next month will be a busy time for us, but hopefully a month from now we’ll look back and think “that wasn’t so bad.” For now, we’ll just need to try to chip away at it a little at a time.