How to Pack Up and Ship Out
We all want to travel more. The excitement that stirs when you spin a globe, watching the colors blur and waiting for that precise moment to slam your finger down to discover what far off locale you’ll head towards next has inspired and driven all of us with wanderlust since we were children. Dreaming of where you want to travel is easy. Planning and prepping for those grand adventures can keep us searching, scheming and hoping—yet glued to the comforts and obligations of home. Whether you have vacation time saved up or are finally committing to that ever-awaited around-the-world adventure, the realities of extended travel abroad can be daunting. The rewards of taking the plunge will last a lifetime so here are some logistical tips to turn those visions of global citizenry into reality.
Ideally, having a bursting bank account with hefty savings allows you to leave home without a care in the world, fueling endless international escapades. Most of us, however, need to set out with a budget to keep our spending in line to make sure we have enough money to sustain our travels. If you have a certain amount saved for your trip, you can work with a daily budget that covers lodging, food, etc. This can give you a general idea of how long your funds will last and what caliber of accommodation and adventure you can afford. Leave some room for play and don’t panic if you are over budget every once in a while, but adhering to a rough daily spending limit can help stretch your funds out over the long run.
The Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Today’s digital age allows a level of flexibility for travelers to stay in touch and even stay at work while abroad. More of the workforce is going remote, and if you can find yourself a position that allows it, making steady income while globetrotting is a real possibility. Remote freelancing is an option for a wide range of vocations including photography, graphic design, writing, marketing and social media management, among many others. If you are tied to a profession that demands steady communication and contact, it’s still possible to get away with many employers understanding the benefits and costs saved in allowing workers to go remote. Steady and reliable WiFi is available all over the world and expanding to more far-flung places every day allowing digital nomads to set up shop and handle business everywhere—from quaint European coffee houses to beach bungalows in Bali.
Having insurance while away from your home country for an extended amount of time is highly recommended. A small emergency can turn into a big disaster without coverage and the expense is well worth the peace of mind. Check with your current healthcare provider to see what kind of international plans they offer and get a check-up or physical before you travel. There are several insurance companies such as World Nomads that provide extensive travel coverage for a wide array of countries and circumstances. In addition to adequate insurance, be sure to keep family, friends and/or your embassy informed of when and where you plan to travel in case of any emergencies.
Avoid Card Fees and Earn Rewards
Cash is still king in many off-the-beaten-path places around the world, but knowing which fees and benefits your cards have when using them abroad can save you money and earn rewards. Most credit and debit/ATM cards charge an international fee for transactions or withdrawals. Being savvy about this (detailed post of the best cards for international cards coming soon) is as simple as choosing one of the options with little to no foreign fees for use. Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking as well as the Capital One 360 Checking offer debit cards with no ATM or foreign transaction fees. Credit cards such as the American Express Platinum and Capital One Venture offer some of the best perks and airline mileage benefits.
Stick to an Adaptable Itinerary
Laying out an itinerary for your trip can help you plan your time and money wisely and efficiently. Being rigid and inflexible with this itinerary will complicate and cause unnecessary stress to your journeys. Learning to live with the unexpected is integral to the beauty of exploration. If you are unwilling to change or bend your plans, you stand to miss out on a spur-of-the-moment adventure or the chance to embrace a truly unique experience. Plan your trip wisely, but know that if you remain open to spontaneity you remain true to the spirit of long-term travel.