This is a post I am writing because it is near and dear to me. In fact, it is the life Jimmy and I are currently living - preparing for our year-plus-long trip around the world.
Here we are, sitting in our half-packed apartment with a fat to-do list and Google Maps open in a tab almost constantly, caught between planning, packing, and anxiously waiting to leave for the first leg of our journey - a month-long RV road trip from Phoenix, AZ to Oregon Eclipse to Burning Man and back again. And after that, we leave the country entirely and travel across the world!
Update October 2017: We've now completed our RV road trip across the US and are now at the beginning stages of our year-long+ journey around the world. Feel free to check out our other ports to learn more.
Most of us who decide to create a lifestyle revolving around backpacks and plane tickets don’t simply wake up one day and decide to quit their job and buy that flight without some sort of plan in place. Okay, maybe some of you out there do, but that just wasn’t the case for us, nor is it what I recommend for you. Before leaving, a ton of preparation is involved. In fact, Jimmy and I have been planning the logistics of our travels for well over 6 months.
In order to properly prepare for longterm travel, one must know what to do with all their stuff. Like, all of it. I'm talking everything from your clothes and furniture to those pesky bills in the mail. So here's a little guide we created to help you know what to do with your stuff before traveling longterm.
What to do with clothing before traveling longterm
This has become a fun one! I’ve been sorting through and donating old clothes for months now, and the closer we get to the trip, the more I’m willing to part with. However, there’s some clothing and accessories that are simply too valuable to merely give away - and in that case, I’ve started using Poshmark to sell my clothing and accessories! I’m honestly really excited about this one, ladies. I sold three things and made $100 in less than 24 hours! Shameless plug, but please peep my Poshmark and help me clear my closet already ;)
What to do with furniture before traveling longterm
This one we’re actually still going back and forth about. Most of our furniture was purchased only a year ago when we signed our lease, and we’d hate to part with it and receive significantly less than what its worth. But the closer we get to leaving the more we’re prepared to do away with most of it. We have decided we are keeping our dining room furniture and our couch since we already have a storage unit to put it in, but the rest - good riddance.
To sell our furniture, we've started listing it on Facebook Marketplace, which is quite handy and easy to use, as well as the long-time local selling staple, Craigslist. on It's quite simple: just use your phone to snap a few photos of your furniture, write as detailed and transparent of a description as possible (dimensions and details of any imperfections are important), and wait for locals to respond with offers.
How much money do we need for longterm travel
Yup, this is the big question - and the answer is going to be different for everyone, even if they were going to the same places for the same amount of time.
We all have different spending habits and budgets. For Jimmy and I, we aren’t always the most frugal of travelers, and we enjoy splurging more than once in awhile, so simply saving $10k per person for the year wasn’t enough for us. For budget travelers going to Southeast Asia, for example, that might be more than sufficient, but that's something you'll need to do your own research on depending on the country you are traveling to.
What to do with apartment before traveling longterm
When we first starting discussing a month-long road trip on the West Coast of the United States, and ultimately our plans to travel the world, we weren't entirely sure what we wanted to do with our apartment. Admittedly, we have a worldly attachment to the place. It is our first apartment we rented together, so it holds a lot of sentimental value, not to mention all of our crap!
Essentially, though, we had two options: Sign another lease and sublet the place while we're gone, or give up our apartment.
It quickly became obvious what the solution was: Ending our lease at the end of July, since we're leaving for the West coast in August. We spoke with our landlord ahead of time, as our lease was originally up one month earlier than we planned on leaving, and luckily he was flexible with us. It doesn’t hurt to ask. As you can see, we're currently in the midst of packing, but luckily we've given ourselves some time to do so. Moving out in less than two weeks then we are officially nomads - oh my gosh! It's happening!
What to do with our pet before traveling
This one was probably our most challenging, as we had to find a loving temporary, but long-term home for our sweet cat, Bubble. If you have a pet of your own, you will need to make the tough decision on whether to find a new forever home for your furry friend, or a long-term temporary one for them. It can be hard to come by someone who is willing to take your pet in for what is potentially an indefinite amount of time, but it is possible. Start by asking your closest friends and family, and offer to pay for all the food and other expenses while you are away.
Logistical stuff to remember before traveling
Where are we forwarding our mail? We've decided on having our mail sent to family so they can keep track of it and inform us should we get any important pieces of mail.
What bills will still need to get paid while we're gone?
What services (electricity, internet, phone bills, Netflix) need to be cancelled?
As you can see, planning for longterm travel goes a lot further than creating an itinerary and buying flights. It's a fairly daunting - but exciting! - process that we've been embracing every step of the way.