My Pre-Trip Checklist

I just completed the forms to renew my passport – the first official concrete step to taking my RTW in July.

I spent an hour or two last weekend breaking down everything I need to do to make this trip happen step by step, week by week.

The plan

Jan 1-9: Renew my passport (check!)

Jan 10-16: Schedule a doctor visit to talk about my pre-trip healthcare needs
I’ve estimated what vaccines I need based on the CDC’s recommendations, but I definitely need to speak to an actual healthcare professional before making a final decision.

Jan 17-23: Start my vaccine regimen
I’m pretty sure I’ll need a Hepatitis A vaccine which has two doses administered six months apart, so I need to get on this early.

Jan 24-30: Buy travel insurance
I can always add flights and tours to my policy later, so insurance is going to be my first major purchase.

Jan 31-Feb 6: Apply for Global Entry & TSA pre-check
This won’t help me much during my trip, but it will make leaving and returning to the U.S. way smoother by allowing me to get through security and customs lines in American airports more quickly.

Feb 7-13: Make a hometown bucket list
All the things I want to do in Charlottesville before leaving

Feb 14-20: Streamline my blog and social media plan
I have a bunch of books and audio courses on my laptop with info about blogging professionally that I haven’t read yet. Time to get on it and have a clear plan for working on the road.

Feb 21-27: Stock up on passport photos
I may need these for applying for visas on the road.

Feb 28-Mar 5: Make a final decision about my apartment
I love my apartment, but I’m not sure I want to go through the trouble of finding a sublet. I have to let my property manager know whether I’m renewing my lease the first week of March, though, so I’ll chew on this for the next couple months and have a final decision no later than March 5.

Mar 6-12: Continue my vaccine regimen
I’d like to spread whatever vaccines I need out so I can spread their associated costs out. This will also give me a little buffer between each in case I experience any side effects.

Mar 13-19: Book guided tours
The Inca Trail requires you to be part of a pre-booked tour group so they can control how many people are on the trail at once for historic preservation purposes, and these tours fill up fast, so I need to book early.

Mar 20-26: Sketch out a daily itinerary
I’m certainly not nailing anything down. Part of the fun of this will be the unexpected turns. But I do need at least a rough idea of what days I’ll be traveling, what days I’ll be working, and what days I’ll have solely for fun, as well ideas of what I’d like to do in each location.

Mar 27-Apr 2: Set up auto billing
I probably should have done this much sooner, but when you’re relying on part-time jobs and freelance income, automating finances is a scary step to take. I do need to do it though, because missing a bill is way worse.

Apr 3-9: Buy my first two flights
Buying plane tickets about three months in advance gives you a good shot at a low airfare. I’ll purchase both my flight from the US to Reykjavik and my flight from Reykjavik to Barcelona before leaving home. All other flights will be purchased on the road so I have some flexibility in my itinerary and so I can try to find the lowest rates possible.

Apr 10-16: Continue my vaccine regimen
See vaccine comments above. If I wind up not needing as many vaccines as I think I do, then instead of getting another shot in April, I will use this time to work out absentee voting as I will be out of the country for the 2016 election.

Apr 17-23: Do a packing test run
Thanks to the generosity of friends and relatives my packing list has had a few changes, so I need to do another packing test run before I leave to make sure everything will fit.

Apr 24-30: Order business cards
You never know who you might meet. I’m going to have a very small number of business cards drafted up so I can encourage new friends to stay in touch.

May 1-7: Cancel utilities
If I decide to give up my apartment, I’ll also have to give up my utilities. About two months in advance, I’ll let my power, internet, and water providers know when to end my service.

May 8-14: Get international phone plan
Since I’ll be working on the road, I definitely need to stay connected. So a couple months before I leave I’ll seek out an international phone plan. I hear T-Mobile is actually great for long-term travelers.

May 15-21: Book accommodations
Since I’m traveling during peak season, I do need to book my accommodations in advance. I’ll book my hostel in Reykjavik and a short-term rental in Barcelona from home. I’ll make other reservations on the road.

May 22-28: Buy last-minute gear
Any last few odds and ends like batteries for my camera, contact solution, dental floss, etc. will get stocked up about a month in advance.

May 29-Jun 4: Stock up on medications
I’ll also need to make sure I have a full supply of my prescription medication. Finding the particular brand that wouldn’t make me sick was really difficult, so I don’t want to risk filling this particular medication on the road.

Jun 5-11: Finish my vaccine regimen
This week will be for the second dose of my Hep A.

Jun 12-18: Have going away party/yard sale
Only about two weeks to go! I’ll want to host a going away party before I launch into the whirlwind of final preparations. I’ll spend most of the week selling stuff to flesh out my savings and keep me from finding storage for everything.

Jun 19-21: Scan travel documents
Having physical copies of this stuff actually doesn’t do a whole lot of good. If my bag’s stolen, I’ll just lose the copies too. What I will do is scan my passport, credit cards, reservations, etc. and have them saved in my email so I can access them anywhere. And I’ll leave the physical copies with someone at home.

Jun 22: Finalize packing list
We’re in the home stretch! At this point I’ll need to rev up from weekly tasks to daily tasks. I’m going to double check my packing list once more and make sure I have a version saved to my phone so I can refer to it every time I leave a destination.

Jun 23: Get foreign currency
I’ll order a small stash of Icelandic kronas and Euros before I leave home. I want enough to get me through two or three days and enough to get me home as an emergency fund. I’ll also carry a few U.S. dollars with me at all times for emergencies.

Jun 24: Notify banks of travel dates
Don’t want to forget to put a tag on all my cards before leaving. As I recall from my study abroad program, I can only put a tag on my card for a few months, so I’ll need to remember to make periodic calls to my banks on the road to update them on my progress.

Jun 25: Put stuff in storage
On the last weekend before I leave, I’ll move any stuff I didn’t sell into storage, whether that means keeping stuff in my parents’ or my boyfriend’s attic, or purchasing a small storage unit. It all depends on how much there is.

Jun 26: Fill kindle and iPod
I definitely want to make sure there’s plenty of entertainment at the ready for my long-haul flights.

Jun 27: Put hold on mail
Once we’re back into business days, I’ll head over to the post office and put a hold on my mail.

Jun 28: Confirm flight
Just a few more days to go! At this point, I’ll double check my flight status and make sure I can definitely carry my backpack on board.

Jun 29: Pack
I don’t want to save packing for the last minute. I’ll get everything but the final touches taken care of a couple days in advance.

Jun 30: Charge batteries
The night before, I’ll plug in all my electronics and make sure I board my flight with full batteries.

Jul 1: D-Day!

It’s getting real guys.

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