You have made the decision; you are going on a world trip! But in addition to daydreaming about cool destinations, some practical matters must also be arranged. This includes vaccinations, bank issues and what do you actually do with your own house? Remco and I have traveled several times for a long time in the past and at the beginning of this year we headed to South America without an end date. Based on our own experiences, we have made a checklist so that you can enjoy all the fun in a carefree way.
1. Book a flight ticket
Once your flight ticket is booked, the anticipation can really begin! We are currently on the road for more than three months as digital nogmads. Because we think the feeling of freedom is the most important thing, we have consciously opted for a one-way trip. Although we wanted to start in Central America, it was cheaper for us first flying to New York. That’s why we started a week in New York and so on we only are using one-way tickets. If you also choose to work with a one-way tickets, it is important to find out whether you have to show a return or onward ticket at your destination. In some countries you must be able to prove that you are leaving the country and sometimes that is strictly checked when you check in at the airport. For destinations in Southeast Asia it can be more favorable to book a return. When you travel for a certain number of months you can for example opt for a return ticket Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. You can fly relatively cheaply on those places and from there you can plan a nice tour.
2. Create a global route because of possible necessary vaccinations and visas
Although we recommend that you plan as little as possible, it is nice to think in advance which countries you (probably) want to visit. This way you can arrange your vaccinations in advance. In some countries you will not come in if you cannot show the yellow(in dutch it is yellow :)) vaccination passport, so it is important to carry this passport in your hand luggage. For some countries you also have to arrange a visa in advance. Often this can be easily arranged online but sometimes it takes a few weeks so find this out well in advance. Also make sure you have a few extra passport photos with you because they sometimes ask for it at a border crossing
3. Arrange banking
Dutch bank cards often have to be activated for use in Europe or worldwide, so check it for your country. This can often be arranged using your mobile app. In addition, we recommend that you always travel with a bank card and credit card because Maestro (your regular debit card) is not always accepted. Check in advance what the costs are to withdraw cash with your credit card. Tip: at VISA you can considerably reduce these high costs by depositing money on your credit card. In addition, it is useful to authorize someone in the home country over your bank account. When your bank card is stolen, it’s nice to be able to call your mother if she wants to transfer some money to your travel buddy’s account. And don’t forget to bring your card reader!
4. Take out travel insurance
Get a good travel insurance! Check carefully what the maximum consecutive number of travel days is because this varies per insurance policy. This time we have taken out our a travel insurance with an insurance for 365 consecutive days. That’s handy if you do not know in advance exactly how long you will stay away. For travel outside of Europe it is important to apply for global coverage, which often costs a little more. And when you start working during your trip, for example a working holiday in Australia, you should also consider a special travel and work insurance policy.
5. Passport check + scan important documents
Obviously: check until your passport is valid. Each country has its own rules regarding the validity of your passport. Your passport often has to be valid for at least three or six months, you can easily check this online. It is also wise to scan your important documents such as your passport and your vaccination passport so you can always show a (digital) copy.
6. International driving license
If you want to rent a car or scooter, you must show an international driver’s license in many countries. So check if it is necessary and where you can buy it. When renting a scooter, keep in mind whether you are actually renting a scooter or a motorcycle. In some countries little distinction is made between a scooter and a motorcycle (more than 50cc), but for a motorcycle you of course need an official motorcycle license. In that case you are not insured!
7. Arrange a backup location for your photos
Nowadays we are increasingly working with online backups , but this is also indispensable during backpacking. Save your photos in a cloud such as Onedrive, Dropbox or Icloud. That way you don’t run the risk of losing everything if your camera or smartphone is stolen. When you travel to areas with poor internet connections, you can also opt for an offline backup. Then take a USB stick or extra memory card with you and save everything there.
8. Pause telephone subscription
You can temporarily cancel many mobile phone subscriptions. Of course there are rules attached to this. Often you have to stay away for at least an x number of months and you pay some administration costs to arrange it. If you still have a payment arrangement for your telephone, you must first have paid this. It is therefore not always possible but definitely worth the effort to find out. By the way, don’t forget to turn off roaming when you arrive abroad. You usually get the cheapest out by buying a local SIM card locally.
9. Apply for health care allowance
In many cases(in Holland), if you are not working and therefore have no income, you are entitled to care allowance. You can simply request this from the Tax Authorities. Check this for your own country.
10. Deregister or not deregister in your country
If you are traveling for more than eight months, you must officially deregister with the municipality(rules in Holland). In that case you also have to terminate your health insurance and good travel insurance is therefore extra important. If you want to know more about this, it is best to contact the municipality where you live. The rules sometimes differ per location. An important disadvantage for digital nomads is that you need a home address due to business issues. Partly for that reason we have chosen not to deregister in the Netherlands. Moreover, we do not yet know how long we will stay away.
11. Sell or rent a house
This is a difficult point that we’ve thought about for a long time. We recently made a three-month trip through Asia and at that time we chose to temporarily rent out our own house. We officially arranged this through a broker: they supplied the people and drafted the lease. If you have a mortgage, you must also officially report this to the mortgage provider(rules in NL). This time we chose to sell our house. In addition to a good time at the housing market, this time we wanted to go for the ultimate freedom: travel without an end date. However, this led to a lot more rules and regulations before we went on a trip: selling / storing things, delivering the house and a temporary accommodation address for the last week. But once we were on the plane, it felt great!
12. What things should be really packed?
Preferably as little as possible! It remains a challenge to make a good selection of clothing. Even outside the usual baggage, a number of things are always useful to have with you: a mini first aid kit with, for example, Deet repellant, ORS, plasters and a (nail) scissors. Also check in advance which world plug (s) you will need. And whether or not a laptop will travel on a world trip? We work as digital nomads so we cannot do without. We have consciously opted for a compact model (13 inch and max 1 kg).
13. Create an Instagram account
Of course all your friends and family want to stay a little informed about your adventures. For this you can start your own blog, keep a Polarsteps account or just regularly post some nice photos on Instagram.
14. Farewell party
Last but not least: enjoy your farewell party! The period before you travel is already very special. You will consciously look at who you still want to meet, what you still want to eat and in which pub you want to spend your last weekend. A good farewell party with friends and family should of course not be missed. Traveling for a long time is great, but with the idea that your dear friends and family will be waiting for you when you return.
Good luck with all preparations!
Hi! We are Anne (29) and Remco (34) and we travel the world full-time as digital nomads. We sold our house in the Netherlands at the end of 2018 and since then we live from our backpacks. What exactly does that nomadic life entail? Nope, we do not have 365 holidays a year, but we do nonstop travel and combine this with our online activities.