Seven Steps to Prepare for a Long Term Trip

Posted on: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
Posted in: Blog | Leave a comment

BreakAway is pleased to introduce a talented and budding writer, AJ Earley, who kindly prepared this oh-so helpful post just for us. Enjoy!


Whether you’re just thinking about it, or are completely ready to make your break away, you’re in the right place. If you’ve got any long-term travel plans on the horizon, here are seven steps to make sure they go off without any hitches:

  • Step One: Assess Your Financial Situation

So you’ve decided to take a long-term trip. Unless you have massive amounts of expendable income, finances should be the first thing you consider. How are you going to pay for this trip, and how are you going to stay afloat if you’re not working while you’re away?

Make Money

In the years/months leading up to your trip, you may want to look into auxiliary ways to bring in some extra dough.Whether you have a useful talent you can freelance out, you find some interesting ways to profit off of the internet, or you just start selling your stuff (you’re going to have to downsize soon, anyway,) there are ways to bring in extra money leading up to your trip.

Save and Spend Wisely

You’ve set a goal and you want to reach it, which may mean you have to change your lifestyle a little leading up to your departure date. From making a small adjustment to your thermostat to keeping a change jar, there are lots of ways to save wisely and spend wisely in the time leading up to your vacation.

Cost-Effective Travel

While away, you’ll want to make the best use of the money you do have. There are so many ways to do this, but your best option is to research your destination(s) before hand to find alternative accommodation options, learn the public transportation system, and mine all the free or cheap cultural activities and options offered.

  • Step Two: Assess Your Home Situation

You basically have two options: Keep it or leave it. If you have a mortgage, or just a really great rental that you don’t want to give up, you may want to maintain your residence while away. Otherwise, I’d highly recommend packing and jacking.

If You’re Staying

Make sure your finances and budget are on point from the get-go. You’ll also want to make arrangements to have someone take care of your home/pets well in advance. This is a huge commitment from someone, so be respectful and give your trusted friends and family plenty of time to decide if they want to commit.

If You’re Leaving

While you don’t have to sell everything, it’ll be in your best interest to get rid of as much as you possibly can. Sans family heirlooms and personal artifacts (and that one cast iron skillet that you could swear is magic,) everything is replaceable. Don’t pay to store what’s replaceable, and don’t take up room in someone else’s garage storing things that don’t need to be there. When you do get ready to move, remember that you are also preparing for the trip of a lifetime. Organization will be your best friend.

  • Step Three: Assess Your Work Situation

Whether you have the option of a sabbatical/leave of absence, or you’re just plain splitting, give your employer plenty of notice. Even if you loathe your current job, burning bridges is never a good idea, even if it’s unlikely you’ll never need to tread across them again.

  • Step Four: Consider Your Health and Safety

This is probably something that doesn’t pop into everyone’s mind when they’re planning a trip, but these factors are important, as they can cause huge hiccups if not tended to properly.


Depending on where you travel, you may or may not need to get vaccinations in advance. Some areas have very specific requirements, so do your research well in advance to avoid future problems.

Current Medical Conditions and Medications

If you have a current medical condition, it’s on you to do the research beforehand. Some conditions make it dangerous to be at higher elevations, while others make it nearly impossible to be at sea for long lengths of time. Know you restrictions beforehand. Also, if you are on any medications, don’t surprise your doctor: give him or her plenty of notice that you need an extended supply or a way to access medications where you’re traveling.

Your Immune System

Travel, especially overseas, can often be hard on the immune system, which is bad news, especially considering that some areas have higher risks for certain diseases and infections. Make sure you spend the months before your trip eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is one of the best sources of immunity-boosting antioxidants, as are things like green tea, fish, and even cinnamon.

  • Step Five: Prepare Your Travel Documents

Whether or not you are leaving the country, it is always a good idea to have an up-to-date passport, and you may also need a travel visa, depending on your destination and how long you’ll be gone.

Your Passport

If you don’t have a current passport, get your application in as soon as possible. Even something as simple as an unpaid speeding ticket can cause months of delay, so get started early. If you think you’re safe, still double-check to make sure your passport won’t expire while you’re still out exploring the globe.

Your Visa

Make sure you look into whether or not you’ll need a travel visa for your particular excursion. Most of the advice out there will say not to apply too early, because visas become valid on the date of issuance, not on your planned date of departure. While this is true, I highly suggest looking into the application process six months to one year in advance to make sure you have all the required documents and meet all of the qualifications.

  • Step Six: Get Your Affairs in Order

When it comes to your bills, your bank account, and your mail, you’ll want to make sure everything is in order before you leave. You may pay all of your bills in advance, or have someone you trust agree to handle them. You’ll also want to have a trusted friend or family member receive your mail while you’re away. If you have any issues with a lost or stolen debit card, or forget to pay a bill, you’ll definitely want a friend back home on your side to help hash things out. Again, it’s common courtesy to ask people well in advance to help you out with this.

  • Step Seven: Hasta La Vista!

Got the jitters yet? Whether you’re nervous or excited, you should take a deep breath and relax, because you are all ready for this life-changing event! Now all you have to worry about is packing wisely and making sure you have all the miscellaneous items most usually don’t think of until they are in desperate need of them.

Happy travels!

AJ Earley is a personal chef, freelance writer, travel junkie, and root beer float enthusiast from Boise, Idaho.

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