Girl dreaming about planning a long-term travel trip

25 Things To Do Before Travelling Long-term

18 Dec, 2023

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Eva Mitchell

In May 2023, Tim and I jumped on a plane from Australia to Europe to embark on our dream year-long adventure around the world.

The couple of months prior to leaving had us running around like crazy as we ticked off our list of things to do before travelling long-term. We didn’t anticipate how stressful it would be tying up loose ends at home while continuing to work full-time and catching up with friends and family before we headed off. Just when we thought we had done everything, another five things would crop up on our long-term travel checklist! That is why I have collated this useful list of things to do before travelling long-term to make your travel prep a breeze! 



Organisational things to do before travelling long-term

Update Your Address

Whether you are moving out of a home you own or a rental property, you will need to change your postal address. You ideally want to send your mail to a location where someone you trust can open the mail and forward it on to you. A few potential options you could consider include updating your address to a trusted friend or family member’s address, or paying for a serviced virtual mail address, that will receive your letters and forward or open and scan the contents of them onto you confidentiality. Once you have a new address sorted, make sure to update your address for everything important, including your bank, bills, and loyalty programs. 

Redirect Your Mail

Now that you have updated your address, make sure to set up a re-direct for your mail. When we left our apartment in Melbourne, we made sure to set up a temporary re-direct mail to our new address for at least 3 months with AusPost. This way we were able to identify any companies we forgot to change our address to.

Set Up Automatic Payments

Setting up automatic payments for ongoing expenses that you need to pay while you are away, is one of those things to do before travelling long-term that will help you stress less about your financial commitments back home. Think of financial commitments such as insurances, mortgage payments, property rates and storage payments.

There is nothing worse than stressing about whether you have paid a bill or not in time back home, go ahead and set up those automatic payments so you don’t have to worry! 

Sell Your Stuff

This part is never fun. It’s likely you have accumulated quite a few things throughout your life. Now is the time to be brutal when deciding what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away. It can be hard to let go of your physical belongings but trust me, you will find that once you have been travelling for a while, you forget the many things you used to own. At least selling your belongings will provide you with a last minute travel budget boost before you head of on your world-wide trip. 

If you are interested in other easy ways to save money to travel, take a read of this useful blog. 


10 Easy Ways To Save Money For Travel (2023)


Arrange Storage

Next step, store your stuff! The remaining belongings that you have decided to keep will need a home until you return. Most towns and cities will have a variety of paid storage options for you to choose from. When we left Melbourne, we only had a suitcase worth of belongings. We managed to fit our things into a small storage box that costs us a mere $10 per month to store. If you have friends or family with spare room to store your stuff, you could consider asking them to look after it while you are away. 

couple running in Sahara Desert

Financial related things to do before travelling long-term

Get a Travel Money Card

At least a few weeks before you leave on your international trip, make sure to order a travel money card. Our preferred travel money card is a Wise card that offers a great exchange rate on most currencies and is super easy to use while travelling. You can withdraw up to two $350AUD worth of cash per month from ATMs around the world without a withdrawal fee. 


Get International Cash Out

Before you leave your home country, make sure to take out a small amount of cash to get you started in your first destination (or at least for emergencies). Most banks will hold common currencies such as euros and US Dollars. If you are travelling to somewhere with a less common currency, there are international money exchange booths in most cities that will be able to provide you with some foreign currency. The exchange rate is always really poor when you purchase foreign currency from a bank or international money exchange booth so make sure to only get a small amount out. We withdrew about $100AUD worth of Euros before we left Australia. 

Sign Up for a Credit Card

The idea of getting a credit card to travel is NOT to rack up a whole lot of debt while you travel! Having a credit card to use overseas is important as some hotels and most rental car companies will require a credit card for a deposit or cash hold as assurance. You also want to make sure you have a backup card in case your Wise card gets stolen or won’t work for whatever reason. 

You may be thinking, what is the best credit card for long-term travel? Ideally you want to apply for a credit card that does not charge international transaction fees. Our favourite Australian credit card for travel is the Commbank Ultimate Awards Card. It offers a fantastic exchange rate, usually on par with the XE currency converter and doesn’t charge international transaction fees. This credit card also allows you to earn Qantas points on international transactions which is a real bonus! 


See how we used the sign-up offer of 70,000 Qantas points from the Commbank Ultimate Awards Card, to fly from Australia to Italy for cheap. 


How to Book Cheap Flights to Europe using Qantas Points in 2023

Organise an International Drivers Licence

If you are planning on driving in any of the countries you visit, add purchasing an International Drivers Licence (IDL) to your long-term travel checklist. You will need to purchase your IDL BEFORE you leave your home country. It is super easy, you can apply in store at an AA in New Zealand or online in Australia. 


Inform Your Bank of Your Travels

Do this BEFORE you leave your home country! Otherwise, you risk getting your bank cards blocked as soon as you go to use them in a foreign country. Make sure you let the bank know when you are leaving your home country and when you expect to return. The bank will also want to know what countries you will be travelling to. If you don’t have a definite plan for your travels, make sure to include ALL the countries you are considering visiting to avoid any unnecessary drama. 

Some banks will have a section on their app that you can input this information easily, no need to wait for ages on the phone to talk to the bank. This is just another reason we love Commonwealth Bank in Australia, we left this task to the last minute and were both able to login to the app on our phones, fill in our travel plans while we were in the airplane boarding line! 


Arrange Your Medication

When you are travelling long-term, it’s important to have a plan of how you will obtain a steady supply of your usual medications. You will find that most countries will have common medications available or a close alternative.

I was able to arrange a virtual consult with a local UK doctor to get a script for the contraceptive pill. I found the process to be relatively easy however it may be more difficult in countries where you don’t speak the same language. Also keep in mind that if you are taking medication that requires monitoring, it may be best to talk to your usual GP to organise a plan on how you can achieve appropriate monitoring while you travel. 

Here's a tip:

Don’t forget to grab a small supply of paracetamol, Band-Aids, tissues etc. from your local pharmacy in case of emergency.

Ask for a GP Letter Disclosing Your Medications

Before you leave, make sure to ask your GP to supply you with a letter disclosing all medications you will be taking with you overseas. Keep in mind that some countries have stricter rules than others about what medications are fine to bring and the quantities of medications allowed. Make sure you research this on the official relevant government website before bringing medications into each country.

Travel Specific things to do before travelling long-term

Arrange Travel Insurance 

One of the most important things to do before travelling long-term is arranging decent travel insurance BEFORE you leave your home country. It is easier to organise travel insurance while you are still in the country and there is generally a standdown period from when you purchase your policy. For us that was 72 hours from policy purchase, so best to get your insurance sorted at least a week before you head off. You can organise some insurance from overseas but often will there will be standdown period that will leave you without cover while your overseas.

Finding travel insurance for long-term travel can be difficult, especially when you don’t fit the typical travel profile (i.e. long-term, no fixed itinerary, no return ticket). We went with Fast Cover because they offered world-wide coverage and we didn’t need a return ticket. Our Fast Cover insurance package was affordable and has a high level of medical insurance which was important to us. Our priority was to make sure we were financially covered in the worst-case scenario rather than small inconveniences like a broken phone which we could manage if it occurred. 

There are other travel insurance companies out there that offer cheaper packages, such as SafetyWing. When you look closely at the medical cover these travel insurance companies offer, you will be shocked at how little they cover.


Download Travel Apps

Don’t miss this one off your long-term travel checklist! Download all of the travel apps you think you might use. It is so much easier to download travel apps at home when you have a guaranteed strong Wi-Fi connection and before needing them. Some of our favourite travel apps we use regularly are:

  • Google translate, communicate with the locals easily with the translate app.
  •, our favourite app for booking accommodation globally
  • Ride Sharing apps depending on where you are going: Uber, Grab and Bolt
  • XE Currency Converter, to keep up-to-date with the current exchange rates
  • Google maps, download maps for your first few locations to make getting around super easy even without Wi-Fi or data.
  • Radical storage, Just in case you need to store your luggage for a few hours or a few days. 
  • Surfshark VPN, it is super important to download and use a VPN before you connect to public Wi-Fi. VPNs protect your information for hackers and scammers. 

For more of our Favourite Travel Apps, check out the article below 


The Best Travel Planning Apps You Should Know About in 2023

Check Visa Requirements 

Each country will have their own visa requirements that you will need to meet depending on the passport you are travelling on. Luckily, New Zealand and Australian passports are some of the strongest in the world which means we can travel to many countries visa-free. is a useful website you can use to figure out whether you need a visa or not and how to apply, along with the associated costs.


Organise your Packing List

Creating a packing list for long-term travel can be challenging. You want to take enough clothes and useful items to ensure you have a comfortable trip but you don’t want to overpack and be lugging around a whole bunch of things you don’t need. 

Here's a tip:

Start thinking about what you will need for travel at least a couple months before you leave. This will give you time to find items for a good deal and you will be able to order last minute purchases online from Amazon or any other retail stores. In my case, I started off with nearly 30kg and over 2 months managed to cut it down by 10kg to the items that were important to me.

When we were deciding on our long-term travel packing list for our one year of travel, we knew we couldn’t physically pack both a summer and winter wardrobe. What we did, was pack for summer with the exception of one pair of long pants, one long top and a sweatshirt.

After leaving Australia in May to enjoy a warm European Summer, we made it to the UK in October to a chilly Autumn setting in. The UK had so many charity shops in every small town and city which made it easy for us to buy a full winter wardrobe for super cheap. Along with a few staples from Primark and some thermals from Decathlon, we were winter ready!


Download or Create a Budget Tracker 

Keeping track of your expenses for months on end while you are travelling can be a challenge. If you don’t stay on top of your budget, things can get out of hand pretty quickly. That’s why we put together a simple budget tracker in excel to monitor our budget and expenses on the go. We regularly input our expenses to check we are still on track with our budget for the year. There have been times where extra expenses have come up and we have had to jiggle around our budget to accommodate. 

Purchase a Passport Holder 

Honestly, a passport holder is a lifesaver! When travelling, your passport is one of your most prized possessions so it’s important to take care of it. I brought a simple fabric passport holder from Amazon that has worked perfectly fine, and also store extra cash we don't want to carry around, and spare cards. 

See Amazons selection of budget friendly passport holders here.

Purchase Cloud Storage 

Purchasing cloud storage space for your photos and videos is one of the most worthwhile things to do before travelling long-term. You should set up your phone photos and videos to automatically back up to your preferred cloud. There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing hundreds of your travel memories! Trust me, it has happened to me in the past. 

We use Microsoft OneDrive to back our memories up as we have Android phones. Otherwise, I’m sure you will be familiar with iCloud if you are an iPhone user. 

Update your SIM card

Change your SIM card over to an eSIM so you don’t ever have to worry about losing a physical SIM card while you travel. Tim purchased his eSIM through Airlo which has always provided him with great coverage world-wide and has flexible affordable packages he uses when needed. Unfortunately, not all phones have eSIM capability which was the case for mine. I then lost my Australian SIM card which left me in a sticky situation trying to log in to Whatsapp, banking apps and more important apps on my phone. What a disaster! 

Update Your Login Authentications

Save yourself the hassle of getting caught out overseas not being able to login to anything like me! Change your login authentications to email instead of mobile where possible.

Scan and save important documents 

Always make sure to have a copy of your passport easily accessible and your travel insurance policy. We saved copies to our cloud so we can always access them, even if our phones were stolen. 

Share your travel itinerary

Keep yourself safe by safe by sharing your travel itinerary with your friends and family. If you intend on traveling on the fly, make sure to just let someone know where you are as you go. If you have parents who are not on social media (this was my Dad!) then set them up on Whatsapp or a social media messenger so you can keep in contact easily.  


Things to do before travelling long-term for your Mental Health

Enjoy your favourite food and drinks 

This is the last time you will be able to have your go-to fave foods around your home area for a while. Go and grab one last bite to savour until you return home! 

For us, we made sure to stop by our favourite cheap eat in Melbourne, Shanghai Street and when we are back in Christchurch, we always make sure to have a Dimitris Souvlaki, Shaka Bros burger and Rollickin’ icecream. Mmm hmm! 


Spend quality time with your Friends and Family

It can be an emotional time leaving home to travel the world. In one hand, you are ridiculously excited and maybe a little nervous for your adventure of a lifetime. In the other hand, you know you are going to miss your friends and family and equally they will miss you too! 

So, go ahead and plan to do something special with them before you take off.

These 25 things to do before travelling long-term should set you in good stead for a stress-free time away. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or suggestions. 

Safe travels 😊 

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A word from the authors

Eva and Tim are the creators behind this world-class travel finance blog.

In 2021 they decided to travel the world for an entire year and begun implementing savings strategies to achieve their goal of long-term travel. By May 2023, they quit their jobs to embark on their year-long adventure, sharing their invaluable practical and achievable savings, planning and travel tips they learnt along the way/with the aim to help others Make Cents of Travel.

You can find Eva & Tim on Tiktok, Facebook and Instagram as Make Cents of Travel.

About Us

Hello, Hola, Ciao! We are Tim & Eva, a couple of kiwis who have spent the last few years saving for and planning our epic year-long adventure around the world. Our goal is to inspire fellow wanderlust souls (just like you!) to Make Cents Of Travel by sharing our experiences and strategies we used to turn our dream of long-term travel into a reality.


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