Planning Guides

Packing Up For A Year – Checklist Ahead Of Long Term Travel

Preparing for Travel

One of the traps to easily fall into when planning long term travel is that you feel you have all the time in the world to do the arduous but necessary life admin required to pack up and disappear for a year. This has been the case for Jake and I who after two years of scrimping and saving have been propelled into a new realm of hectic in the final weeks before we jet off on our Inca to Inuit adventure.

We’ve aggregated our hundreds of to-do lists over the past year to compile what we believe to be the sometimes forgotten but key items for your checklist ahead of long term travel.


London HomesIf, like Jake and I, you own a property you will most probably want to get the property Let whilst you’re away.  We chose to get our property fully managed by an agency whilst we’re abroad for peace of mind. There are however some last remaining tasks which you will need to add to your to-do list which normally a letting agency won’t manage.

Take final meter readings – Be sure to take meter readings on the day you leave your property and pay the final bills to avoid paying for your tenants utility bills.

Redirect your mail –  Keep your personal mail safe whilst you’re abroad either by registering for Royal Mail re-direct services or by changing your address yourself with your correspondents.

H&M sustain

Have a clear out – One of the many benefits of going travelling for a year is that it provides the perfect opportunity to have a good old clear out. Head down to your local charity shop or visit H&M who will give you £5 off your next shop when you donate a bag of unwanted clothes. A perfect contribution towards your travel wardrobe!

Cancel your subscriptions – Make sure you cancel any Netflix, Xbox, Spotify etc subscriptions before you leave the country, otherwise you could end up shelling out for services you don’t need whilst you’re away.

SORN your car –  If you’re leaving a car behind you will need to make a decision as to whether you’re going to keep it on the road or on private land whilst you’re away. The cheapest option (if possible) is to keep your car on private property and apply for a SORN (Statutory off road notification) which will free you of taxing or insuring your car whilst you’re away. Saving some much-needed money!

Create a Power of Attorney – if you’re leaving assets of some worth behind whilst you go away you may want to invest in awarding a close relative or friend as your Power Of Attorney. This will enable them to officially act on your behalf whilst you’re abroad, providing with the ability to sign contracts in your name, withdraw money from your bank or pay debtors etc.

Preparing for travel


You either love it or you hate it, either way you’ll feel like a million dollars when you’ve got through it all.

Review your phone contract – If you have a pay monthly contract, call your supplier and see how much you have left outstanding to pay. As you will most probably be using an international SIM, you may want to pay off the remainder of your contract prior to travel in order to own the phone outright.

Order an International SIM – Most of how we communicate in today’s world is via an internet connection rather than a phone line. Check out this International Data SIM that will provide you with a 3G or 4G connection wherever you are in the World.

Cancel your contracts – Make sure you give yourself adequate time to cancel your contracts. Many have cancellation periods, so to avoid hefty charges or for paying for memberships you don’t need whilst you’re away, make sure you action early on.

Tell your Bank you’re leaving the country – Be sure to give your bank a quick call before you leave the country to make them aware that you’re moving on to foreign lands. This way they will be less likely to cancel your cards when they see unusual activity from your account.

Give the Tax Man a call – If you’ve left your job halfway through the financial year you could find yourself due a tax rebate. Upon receiving your P45 complete and send this form back to the HMRC. This form will make the Tax office aware that you won’t be earning any money whilst you’re away and also prompt them to check if you have overpaid your tax for the year. If you have they will reimburse what you are owed into your account whilst you’re abroad.

Let the Student Loans company know you’re unemployed – if you are still paying off your student loan its a good idea to give our friends at the Student Loans company a call to make them aware that you’re now unemployed and will be out of the country for the next year. You will need to complete a quick form and post it back to them before you leave the country. This way they won’t be chasing you for money whilst you’re away.

Pointing at Map


Make sure you have all your vaccinations – Make sure you leave up to a month before you head off on your travels to get your vaccinations. A number of the jabs you will need will require a 3 vaccine course so leave enough time in between each dose.

Set-Up your travel money eco-system –  It’s important not to have all of your money in the same place whilst you’re away. You’ll find credit cards the best and most affordable way of making purchases abroad whereas current accounts such as Norwich and Peterborough offer 0% on withdrawals whilst abroad. You may also want to open up an instant saver where the bulk of your cash can live at a higher interest rate to your regular current account. Bear in mind it can take up to 6 weeks to set up a new account.

Start taking your Malaria tablets – If you’re heading straight into a Malaria zone you may need to start taking your malaria tablets ahead of travel to ensure you’re covered. Check with your doctor or local travel clinic for details

Write your packing list – This is one of the things I found the hardest to finalise. My tip would be to jot down what you think you need, keeping this list on you at all times so you can add to it and purchase anything necessary in the final weeks before you travel.

Wear in your new shoes If like me you’ve invested in some new trainers and sandals for your trip, make sure you start walking around in them a couple of weeks before you leave to avoid dreaded blisters.


Create a first aid Kit – Different travellers have different opinions on how much first aid equipment you should take with you when you’re abroad. My advice would be to always take your own syringes, hydration salts, altitude medication and if possible antibiotics. The rest you can find in local chemists, however if you’re going to a non-English speaking country make sure you have the words for key items jotted down if needs be.

Make copies your important documents – Take the time to scan and circulate your most important travel documents ahead of travelling. Key items are, Passport, Driving Licence, Visa, Yellow Fever Certificate (if applicable), Vaccination record, Insurance certificates. Create an envelope of your and your travel companions documents to keep on your person at all times as well as copies of all docs saved as images in your phone. it’s also worth circulating soft copies of these documents to your family or friends just in case.

Get a copy of any medical or eye prescriptions – If like me you can’t survive without contact lenses make sure you get a copy of your prescription ahead of travel. You can buy cost-effective lenses through Daysoft who package lenses in handy square flatpack boxes rather than the traditional format which can be an amazing space saver when packing.


Do a trail pack – If you’ve packed properly you will think that you’ve not packed enough, however, don’t be fooled that it will all fit into your backpack. Leave some additional time to do a trail pack to check you have enough room in your backpack, this way you avoid the mad panic ten minutes before you’re due to leave for the airport

Take pictures of the clothes you’re packing – (one for the girls) One of the reasons I’m not keen on living out of a backpack is that you aren’t able to see easily what clothes you have to wear every day. By taking a picture of each item on your phone, you can flick through of a morning and select your outfit without having to trawl through your entire backpack

Packing Tech

Charge your electronics – Make sure you leave enough time to fully charge all of your electronics and make sure you have enough spare batteries, charging ports and USB leads.

Download your Spotify playlists – Make the most of UK broadband and download your Spotify playlists ahead of travel to ensure you have your favourite tunes available to you wherever you are

Get a phrasebook – Don’t assume that where you’re going that someone will speak English. Make sure you have a phrasebook on you at all times to ensure you can at the very least order a taxi when you arrive at the airport.

Travel Budget Dollars

Order local currency – Be sure to order a combination of local currency and US Dollars. US Dollars are always useful to have on hand at border crossings or if you find yourself in a sticky situation.

Should you have made your way through this lovely lot you should be more than ready to go and have the time of your life!

ENJOY and leave the life admin at home!

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