Preparing to travel, regardless of travel style, can be a stressful task. We weren’t able to sleep; awake until 3:00am thinking about all that remained to be done on our travel plan for our backpacking trip.
When you live in the United States, traveling to another country typically means you have a long trip overseas. It means you have to research passport and visa requirements, book flights, and ensure things at home are taken care of.
Don’t expect your travel plan to be perfect, it’s impossible for long term travel. This is a journey that will be filled with the unknown; new cultures, language barriers and obscure villages. For me, it is was about letting go of control. “I am unable to prevent the inevitable stress we will experience.” Being able to control yourself when in a situation that is out of your control is a skill you will attempt develop.
What is involved in preparing to backpack around the world?
That is the question we asked ourselves repeatedly, never really getting an answer. The fear of not accomplishing everything before we departed kept us awake at night. I would wake Aracely up and say, “I can’t sleep. There is just so much trip planning left to do. Look, our room appears as if we haven’t accomplished a thing. All of our clothes are still in our closets and we haven’t sold any furniture yet. We don’t even have plane tickets!” It seems funny today, now that we have more experience planning for long term travel.
Backpacking Around the World To-Do List
- Sell Your Stuff on Ebay
- Create a Budget
- Purchase Backpacking Gear
- Purchase Camping / Hiking Gear if appropriate
- Purchase Camera Equipment
- Purchase iTouch
- Create a Skype Account
- Tell Your Families
- Notify Employers
- Check Passports
- Notify Landlord / Sell or Rent House
- Create a Twitter Account (cool travelers on there)
- Create a Facebook Account (global address book)
- Create a Couchsurfing Account
- Are Going to Play Fantasy Leagues on the Road?
- Create a Rough Itinerary
- Check Visa Requirements for Each Country
- Choose a Departure Date
- Get Required Immunizations
- Put Remaining Stuff in Storage (don’t store old photos in hot attic).
- Purchase Travelers Insurance
- Change Auto Insurance
- Open Travel Friendly Checking Account
- Open Travel Friendly Credit Card Account
- Change Address or Set Up Mail Storage
- Cancel Cell Phones or Consider Global Phone Plan
- Practice Packing
- Break in Boots or Shoes
- Set Up First Aid Kit
- Purchase Lonely Planet Guides (if needed)
This is why preparing for our around the world trip became overwhelming. It is a big travel plan with a lot of tasks to complete, especially while you are still working your normal job and trying to visit with friends and family on the weekends. Most of the tasks revolve around long term travel. You will notice that when you plan for a short vacation, most of the research surrounds where you will be traveling to, lodging and sight seeing. This list has very few of those items. This is the challenging, uncontrollable part of the journey. It is the unknown. You don’t exactly know where you will be staying week to week. You won’t know many of the places you will be traveling to yet. Plane tickets will be purchased as needed. You will need to trust in the kindness of foreign peoples. All these unknowns are what make long term travel so exciting, and at the same time overwhelming.