How To Prepare for a Long Trip
If you ask anyone, you’ll get heaps of different tips on how to prepare for going away for a while. Dan and I have both traveled and been away from home for long periods of time, and in planning a trip together, we pooled our best ideas to share with you.
1. Travel insurance
Dan uses World Nomads travel insurance to insure our trip. Depending on your age, length of trip, destinations and a few other factors, WorldNomads will give you a quote and you can choose to proceed. World Nomads will help insure things like delayed baggage, emergency medical expenses overseas, flight cancellation due to severe weather, hospitalization, and if you’re a scuba diver, there are also plans for diving. We have a few friends who chose this add-on.
2. International data plan with Project Fi
Dan and I both have a Pixel 2 phone so that we can have Project Fi plans and have data usage all over the world. Project Fi is a cell phone plan that charges you $10 per GB. You can bring your own number or use a Google voice number as default to text and call anyone around the world. We usually make calls over WhatsApp, as phone calls cost $0.20 per minute. It’s incredibly useful to be able to have cell service right when we land in another country. This plan lets us get in touch with an Airbnb host or let our family members at home know where we are!
3. Buy power adapters and extra battery chargers
There’s nothing like landing in a country and realizing you can’t plug in your phone to charge it. Consider that different countries have different types of outlet plugs and do your research based on which kind you need. It’s not entirely helpful to go by photos alone, which is illustrated by the time I went to South Africa with adapter plugs from India and they were similar, but not close enough to work! It’s a good idea to get an adapter that has functions for multiple countries and continents. It’s also useful to get a native plug for a country if you’ll be in that single country for a while.
Another helpful product to have is a battery charger. These are pretty popular now and come in all sorts of sizes and weights. The larger ones hold longer charges - sometimes up to four phone charges. Dan currently uses a 10000mAh charger from Anker and it’s good to charge a camera during the day and top-off the charge of a phone. With daily use, it will keep everything charged, but the battery itself needs charging every two days or so.
4. Open a bank account with a bank that reimburses foreign ATM fees
Thanks to Dan (we both have our own types of travel hacks!), I now know about the Charles Schwab account that gets your foreign ATM fees reimbursed at the end of each month. They suggest saving your ATM receipts to ensure that all have been refunded, which is a solid idea. This is a helpful thing to have, in addition to a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees. In addition, Dan also uses a cash management account with Fidelity. It’s good to have two accounts in case a card gets lost, stolen or has some type of fraud.
5. Designate a friend or family member to watch after your home while you’re away
For Dan and me, we’re leaving an apartment in Brooklyn unattended for a month or longer. We have several house plants that we love, and we’ve asked four friends and family members to stop by when they’re able to, so that our plants get some water and survive the length of our time away! If you don’t have a home to take care of while you’re away, well, lucky you! If you have a room in an apartment or a house, it’s helpful to be in touch with someone trustworthy to make sure your home doesn’t look unattended for too long. Other things to consider are asking a friend to get your mail so that your mailbox does not overflow, shoveling snow in winter, raking leaves in fall or simply making sure that nothing unexpected has happened to your belongings.
There are so many other things to consider before you leave for a long trip, so these are only a few that I’ve considered primarily this time around. Do you have any other quick tips for a long trip? Let me know!