Once you make the decision to go travelling, there’s a surprisingly large amount of work to do and even more important decisions to make. Here, we aim to guide you through the process of quitting your life so you can join us on the road!
Tell your family first! It might be tempting to shout your plans from the rooftops, but make sure you tell your family before anyone else – even your friends.
Do your research and book your flights. This is the fun bit. Where do you REALLY want to go? When is the monsoon/rainy/typhoon season? Is there a particular event that you don’t want to miss, such as Rio Carnival, the Yi Peng Lantern Festival or the Running of the Bulls? Looking at special events and festival dates, as well as the climate, is a good place to start when you’re planning your route. If you’re not sure exactly where you want to go, STA travel offer some great round the world packages.
Tell your friends – and maybe even your colleagues, but make sure they know not to tell your employer before you do!
Hand in your resignation. Check your contract thoroughly and follow the resignation procedure. Luckily we both worked for small businesses and were able to hand in our notice further in advance than contractually obliged, which gave them more time to find a replacement. It is risky, as they may ask you to leave immediately, but the companies we worked for appreciated the long notice period and one of them generously offered one of us a position when/if we return to the country! If you’re lost for words when writing your letter of resignation, Reed have some good templates.
Sort out your living arrangements in your home country. If you live in rented accommodation, you will usually need to give 1 month’s notice to your landlord. If you own a property, you will need to decide whether to sell or let. Check your options with your mortgage provider first, as you might not be able to let your property on your current mortgage. Our mortgage is with Nationwide and they approved our consent to let application. The whole process was very quick and easy – a big thumbs up for Nationwide! We listed our flat on Open Rent and had 48 viewing requests by lunchtime. Open Rent can sort out the referencing, credit checks and the contracts so it’s a super easy process. Definitely recommended!
Re-home your pets. This is possibly the most difficult part of packing up and leaving. Who would want to leave this little fluff-ball behind? But if you speak to your friends and family, you’re sure to find someone who will open their home to your creatures. We’ve been really lucky that our best friends Rob and Zoe will look after our cat Bella, and we’re sure she’ll get on just fine with them.
SAVE MONEY! It will be tedious, but when you’re sat on the beach in Fiji and want another cocktail, you’ll be glad you didn’t buy that overpriced dress in Topshop that you didn’t even need. One of the easiest ways to save money is to stop going out to eat, as it can be a real drain on your coin – yet constantly telling your friends that you’d rather stay in does get pretty tiring. Trust us, it will be worth it in the end and you can just invite them round for dinner anyway!
Get vaccinated. Make sure you do this well in advance because some vaccinations require a course of injections for longer than a month. We also opted to have a rabies vaccination at £145 each for the full course of 3 injections, because it sounds like having rabies sucks. Check a malaria map to see if you are travelling to an area where malaria is present. Taking anti-malaria medication doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get malaria, but it’s a good place to start. We have both completed mefloquine trial with no side effects (yippee no psychosis!) so we can take the weekly drug rather than the expensive daily Malarone pill.
Sort out your finances. If you are self employed, let HMRC know that you are leaving and do your tax return. If you are renting your property, you will need to register for self assessment to declare your income from property. You can do this yourself, or assign an agent to act on your behalf. Get Organised are friendly and reliable and will be taking care of our boring tax stuff so we have more time to do fun things!
Get rid of all of your worldly possessions. Store or sell? Bear in mind that you may be gone for a long time, and do you really want to be paying for your sofa to sit in a concrete box every month? No. Offer furniture to friends and family and Gumtree the rest. Anything that doesn’t sell in time can be given to charity.
Check your bank cards, driving licence and passport. Renew anything that is going to expire in the next couple of years. It’s surprisingly easy to renew your driving licence online and only costs £14. Your passport is a bit more costly, but it’s the most essential thing on this entire list! Most banks are happy to renew your cards so that the expiry date is extended. Check the fees on your bank cards for using them abroad. We’ve got a Clarity credit card with Halifax which doesn’t charge any fees for worldwide transactions. We also have a Revolut card each which is an international top-up money card that doesn’t charge any fees for withdrawals.
Buy insurance. Probably your parents have told you to do this – a million times. It’s another tedious activity but it’s very important. Check the small print and the excess. We found that a lot of providers don’t cover gadgets such as cameras, phones and laptops. We ended up getting the gold package with Cover For You (no excess) and separate gadget cover for Flic’s camera.
Sort out your bills. Let your gas, electricity, water, sewage and internet provider know that you’re leaving town. We’ve found this to be far easier than expected, and it’s been pretty fun telling strangers in call centres about our plans. You’ll be surprised how many people will share stories about their own travels as they close down your utility bills!
Cancel your subscriptions. We’ll miss you, Has Bean! You’re not going to use Netflix or Spotify on the dodgy hostel Wifi, so cancel. You can also cancel your home/contents and car insurance – you might even be entitled to a refund! Some mobile phone providers will make you buy out of your contract, which is a pain, but make sure you get your phone unlocked when your contract ends. You can take it with you and use a sim card from any other country, plus you’ll need a phone to top up your Revolut card.
Say your goodbyes. If you’ve sorted out everything we’ve mentioned above in plenty of time before you leave, you’ll find you can enjoy your last few weeks at home. It’s important to spend some quality time with the friends and relatives you’ll be leaving behind. You don’t want to be stressing out about any of this whilst you’re saying your final farewells. So, plan ahead and all that you’ll have to do is add your passport details to your flights and pack your bags!