This is my Pre-Trip Checklist

These are all of the things I feel I need to get done before taking off on this trip. If you’re looking to plan your own Around the World trip, this could prove useful to you! Take a look below for my must-accomplish items before leaving on an extended trip!

Decide date to leave

July 10th. (TOTALLY NOT PANICKING).

Make a list of places to see

United Kingdom / Italy / Ireland / Scotland / Germany / Greece / Thailand / Indonesia / Nepal / Japan / Australia / New Zealand. 

These are in no way final or concrete options. I reserve the right to get distracted and go a different route entirely.

Renew Passport

Don’t need to, my passport doesn’t expire until 2021.

See what visa requirements are necessary for different countries

The Schengen Agreement is important. It allows people from certain countries (America included) to travel around 26 European countries without the need for a visa. There’s a catch though. You can only spend 90 out of every 180 days in the Schengen Area. After that 180 day span, the 90 day limit resets. If you end up staying over your alotted time, you can be fined, deported, and banned from those countries. You can read more about the Schengen Agreement here.
United Kingdom: No visa required if staying under 6 months.
Italy: American citizens are not required a visa to enter Italy if they plan to stay under 90 days. However, your passport must be valid for at least six months after your planned departure date.
Ireland: US citizens may visit the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland without a visa for up to 90 days.
Scotland: Same visa rules as the United Kingdom apply.
Germany: “US citizens in possession of a valid US passport (on the planned date of departure from Germany, your passport should have at least another three months validity) do not need a visa for airport transit, tourist or business
trips (for stays up to 90 days).
Greece: US citizens can stay in Greece for up to 90 days without a visa because of the Schengen Agreement.
Thailand: If an individual wishes to remain in Thailand for more than 30 days, he/she may wish to obtain a tourist visa at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in the United States, prior to arriving in Thailand.
Indonesia: US has visa exemption. If under 30 days, I don’t need to prepare anything. Can get a Visa on Arrival at the airport for $35 USD. goes from 30-60 days and can be extended 30 days ONCE without leaving the country.
Nepal: Tourist visas (15/30/90 days) are available on arrival for US$25/40/100. Currently an insurrection.
Japan: Up to 90 days. Can’t work. Need to have a passport and onward travel already booked. Can’t just show up and not have a plan. Perhaps go from there to New Zealand?
India: $130 USD for visa. Can have an eVisa before.
Australia: Requires a bunch of paperwork before entering. Can’t visit without a visa?
New Zealand: Can stay for up to 3 months without a visa.

Research and Get Immunizations

My primary doctor initially suggested that I check out Passport Health for my travel vaccinations. Unfortunately, they were charging an outrageous amount of money for their vaccinations. If I got everything they suggested, it would cost me over $4,000. Instead, I went to a local, government-run health clinic. I got 3 vaccinations for $240, and they told me which of the shots I didn’t need (which Passport Health didn’t mention). Plus, they gave a handy folder with a bunch of travel health information.

Start reaching out for Freelance connections if necessary

If you need any design work done, from logos and branding to website design, I’m your guy! If you want to see references of my design work, check out my portfolio site or My Dribbble. If you like what you see, email me and let’s make some cool stuff together!

Buy and Read “Pooping Around the World.”

Food poisoning is real y’all. The last thing you want is to get the shits in a different country.

Finish Reading Vagabonding

Easily one of the best travel books I’ve read. Rolf Potts gives a succinct (the audiobook is only 4 hours) summary of what the adventure of life on the road will be like. He doesn’t gloss over potential problems, in fact, he revels in
them as part of the entire experience. It motivated me even more to take this trip. Check it out here!

Reach Out to Brands for Partnerships

Apparel and travel companies could potentially be willing to start a partnership during these travels.

Decide a location to start

I’M GOING TO IRELAND!

Test Out the iPad Pro

As I mentioned in the post I wrote on Packing Minimally for Long-Term Travel, keeping your bag below 15lbs/7kg is important for multiple reasons. My Macbook Pro and its charger are 4.77lbs on their own! While it’s a strong computer, I can’t justify using 33% of my allotted pack weight for a computer. The 12.9″ iPad Pro, however, weighs in at 1.3 lbs with the bluetooth keyboard and pencil. I’m actually editing this post and edited this video on my iPad. Especially with IOS13 coming out soon, I believe the iPad is a viable replacement for a laptop.

Book first few nights of accommodation

Booked! I’ll be spending the first four nights at Isaacs Hostel in Dublin. I went ahead and planned out the rest of my time in Ireland, looks like I’ll be taking 3 weeks and driving around the country before flying over to England!

Renew Driver’s License

I love the DMV.

Get more Passport-sized photos

You’ll need these if you’ll be getting any visas along the road. Plus, they’re good to have in case you need to get a replacement passport on the road. I got 4 photos for $40, so they’re pretty cheap.

Get International Driver’s Permit

An International Driver’s Permit is a great thing to have in case you want to rent a card overseas (like I’ll be doing in Ireland). It’s not absolutely necessary in some countries, but it’s good to have just in case. You can pick up your International Driver’s Permit here, just fill out the online application, pay the fee, and send a passport photo through the mail or through the app they suggest. Super easy!

Set Up Charles Schwabb Checking Account

Charles Schwabb checking accounts are awesome because they reimburse you for all ATM fees! Plus, they don’t have a foreign exchange fee. If I were to use my Wells Fargo debit card, it’d be a $5 fee per withdrawal abroad plus a foreign exchange fee.

Make Sure My Credit Cards Don’t Have Foreign Exchange Fees

Some credit cards have foreigh exchange fees and they can be exorbitant. Look for credit cards that have both good spending bonuses as well as no foreign transaction fees. As I mentioned in my post about The Best Travel Credit Card for Beginners, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card checks all of those boxes.

Get Proof of Car Insurance Coverage from Chase

Some countries, like Ireland, have crazy car insurance prices they tack on to their rental cars. Before spending the extra money, check and see if your travel credit card has primary car insurance. My Chase Sapphire Preferred card does, so they sent me a letter showing proof. That means as long as I paid for the car rental on my Chase card and print the proof of coverage, I won’t need to buy the “mandatory” car insurance! The only catch is the rental company will put a huge hold on your credit card ($5,000) until you return the car, so keep that in mind if you plan on using your card’s primary car rental insurance.

Give My Banks Travel Notice

This one’s simple. Just tell your bank(s) that you’ll be traveling so they don’t freeze your accounts.

Get Library Cards to Use With Apps

There are tons of free audiobooks out there! All you need is to pick up a library card (or 3, like I did) and use them to sign into apps like Hoopla and Libby. These apps allow you to digitally check out ebooks, audiobooks, and videos. For free! It’ll definitely help you save some money by not using Audible/Amazon.

Use Hostelz.com as a resource

While Hostelworld is a great website for finding hostels, Hostelz is a better, but lesser known option. It’s almost like a search engine for hostel booking websites. Just input your location, date, and length of stay and it will pull prices from multiple hostel booking websites, Hostelworld included.

Pick Up a VPN

VPNs (or Virtual Private Networks) allow you to surf the web and conduct your business in safety. A VPN will encrypt your traffic, which makes it more difficult for your information to be stolen. This is especially important when on a public and unsecured WiFi. There are plenty of good VPNs out there and I use NordVPN. It doesn’t slow down my browsing experience, they accepted cryptocurrency as payment (finally I can use it towards something), and they had a great deal of $105 for 3 years of service. Check them out, protect your data!

Do a Test-Pack and Keep My Bag Under 15lbs

You might not know this, but some of the budget airlines in Europe and Asia have a 7kg / 15lb limit on carry-on items. If your bag exceeds that amount, you’ll have to check your bag. When you’re traveling with all of your belongings in one backpack, the last thing you want is to be separated from said bag. Check out the post I wrote on Packing Minimally for Long-Term Travel and take a look at my packing list here.

Take Salsa Dancing Lessons

One lesson down! I love it so far. Dancing’s pretty important in other cultures, so I might as well get over my dance floor phobia early, y’know?

Start eating clean and cooking from home again

I’ve been using Fit Food Fresh for healthy meal deliveries and they’re fantastic. A friend of mine started the company and they make healthy, tasty meals so I don’t need to worry about cooking!

Practice doing stuff on alone

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of being a hermit. Not going out every weekend, not eating out, and not making rash purchases has helped me save about $6,000 over the past few months.

Unlock and pay off phone

Unlocking allows you to use the local sim cards in countries that might not support your home country’s mobile services. I paid off my phone and switched over to Google Fi. It offers 4G service in over 170 countries
for less than I was paying for T-Mobile.

Buy one-way ticket

I BOUGHT MY ONE-WAY TICKET! JULY 10TH I’M LEAVING FOR IRELAND! 

Figure out what to do with my car

Leaving it with my parents to use.

Create a final pre-trip budget

This might be tough since I don’t know where I’ll be going and for how long.

Call health insurance about covering travel

My health insurance covers traveling but doesn’t take care of evacuation and potential theft like travel insurance companies.

Research and sign up for travel insurance

Most travelers are familiar with the name World Nomad. It’s the most popular health insurance plan and is a household name for many. That being said, it doesn’t mean it’s the best insurance plan. My trip would have cost $500 for the first 6 months, and that’s with the base coverage. Then, I found Safety Wing, a travel insurance made specifically for Digital Nomads. It’s super cheap ($38 per month), have no contract, so you can start or stop your coverage whenever you want, they actually have better coverage than World Nomad, and seems to have an easier method of filing a claim. You can read more about them here.

Get common medications from the doctor

After getting my immunizations, the nurse at the health center gave me paperwork on exactly what medications I should bring. Then, my primary care doctor helped prescribe me with everything I would need. I’m bringing along a broad-scale antibiotic, allergy medication, specific antibiotics for my (frequent) sinus infections,

Make a packing list and practice actually packing

I went through a test-pack and was able to get my bag under 15lbs! That’s the maximum weight for carry-on bags for some of the budget airlines in Europe and Asia. Keeping that weight down will help my back and keep my belongings safe. I made a Google Sheet of my entire packing list here, and you can watch a video I made on Minimal Packing here.

Start learning videography

I made my first real video! If you want to follow along my video journey, subscribe to my YouTube channel! Photography’s always been my thing. If there’s ever a time to film, it’s when you’re on a trip abroad.

Sell a bunch of stuff

I’ve sold a bunch of stuff at this point. My PS4, Canon 5D Mark ii, my Sigma 35mm lens, an acoustic guitar, my Google Home, my drone, and more. There’s still more I’d like to sell, but this influx of cash has helped me out quite a bit so far.

Cancel any unnecessary, recurring expenses

LA Fitness, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and more have all been scheduled to be canceled.

Pre-pay monthly expenses if possible

What little recurring expenses I have on the road are just monthly subscriptions. I’ve paid off things such as my phone and electronics, that way my overhead won’t be a problem.

Keep Saving

The more money I have, the longer I can travel.

Put in two weeks

As of Friday, June 14th, my two-week notice has been submitted. It’s real now.

Move stuff out of the apartment

Most likely try to store what I can at my parents’ house so I won’t rack up storage facility costs.

LEAVE

That’s that.

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