The time has come for that big trip you’ve been waiting for. You are taking the plunge and heading off for a year’s adventure to travel the world. However before you leave it’s important to get prepared properly. Here’s my guide on how to get ready for your year overseas.

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1. Determine what stuff you want to sell, give away and keep. Whilst it can be very tempting to just get rid of everything, speaking from experience it’s good to get rid of the stuff you don’t use but keep everything you will need when you get back. It get’s very expensive having to buy new furniture again, kitchen equipments etc. Plus some belongings are you just too precious to get rid of. I’ve used long term storage solutions, such as Fort Knox when heading off overseas and it’s been really nice to come back to my stuff.

2. Change your forwarding address to a close relative or friend. That way if any letters come through that look important they can open it for you. Coming home to a massive bill because you forgot to pay a parking fine is not very pleasant.

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3. Prepare your home to be ready for anything while you are gone. Be sure your security system is up to date, and put lighting on timers to deter potential thieves. Have your roof inspected by a reputable contractor like Chase NW, and check that your windows and doors are properly sealed. Weather can be very unpredictable, and coming home to a flooded house due to a preventable problem would ruin your time away.

4. Take a few different bankcards, attached to a few different bank accounts and then store them in different areas of your luggage. This is a good way to protect yourself should any bag get stolen or lost and you can still have access to your money. You have no idea how many travellers I’ve met on the road having a nightmare trying to get funds from back home because they lost their one bankcard they had on them.

5. Ensure you have a good travel insurance policy. I know sometimes it feels like a dead cost when you keep taking it out and then never use it. I can assure you though the one time you don’t have it will be when you need it the most. A good travel insurance policy will be on that covers you for hospitalization and medical costs, including medical evacuation, cover your personal items from damage or theft and covers travel expenses incurred from unexpected events. With all the recent changes with Obama care taking effect, proper research beforehand becomes critical. After all, traveling is difficult if you’re sick right?

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6. Scan in a copy of your passport and a packing list of items you are taking with you and then e-mail it to yourself. This will make your life so much easier should anything happen to your passport or bags whilst travelling and you need to make a claim on insurance.

7. Check visa requirements for each country you are going to. This one sounds obvious but I’ve seen many travellers get turned away from check in because they haven’t looked into the correct visa requirements for the country they are going to.