If I’ve learned one thing in the past couple months, it’s that extended travel requires a bit more preparation than short getaways. You have to consider things like your bank account, cell phone and travel insurance, which are easy to write off if you’re only gone for a few weeks. By no means do I consider myself a long-term-work-and-travel expert, but I’ve traveled and read enough to have a good head start. If you’re interested in the logistics side of my trip, this post is for you.
Safety on the road
As a solo female backpacker, safety has been a huge concern for friends and family. Statistically speaking, I am no safer walking around my home town alone at night than most of the places I want to visit. Most travel safety comes down to common sense and awareness. I make it a habit to do some quick research on tourist scams for each destination right before I arrive. In some places, it means watching out for pickpockets. In other regions, its taxi scams.
I have two wallets. One, I carry with minimal cash and cancelled credit cards. This is what I give the bad guys if they ask me for all my money. The second is my safe wallet complete with RFID protection. I keep this in a secret hiding spot and only use it when I withdrawal cash once a week. All of my business income is filtered through a separate account that I can transfer to my checking or savings. My savings account is online through Capital One 360. This is great for two reasons: 1) I get a higher rate and 2) it takes time for me to transfer money (and therefore, harder for me to overspend).
Credit & debit cards
You can find a ton of information online about the best banks and credit cards for travel. I decided to stick with my local bank since there’s no foreign transaction fee and they refund ATM fees.
There’s a 99% chance that I won’t need travel insurance, but, in the off chance that my stuff gets stolen or I end up in an accident, I’m covered. I got my travel insurance through World Nomads, which is recommended a lot of places including Lonely Planet guidebooks. Plus it was really cheap.
The cell phone sitch
I’m bringing my unlocked iPhone 4s and purchasing a prepaid SIM card when I arrive in Europe. This is way cheaper than sticking with AT&T. The downside is that I can’t keep my phone number. If you want the dirty details, here’s a great post on using SIM cards abroad.
What I’m packing
About one week’s worth of clothing, my laptop, toiletries, and a journal. That’s it.
It’s no secret that I have a weak stomach (I still can’t eat cheeseburgers after my last encounter in Thailand), so eating well and staying healthy on the road is a priority. I’m bringing Multivitamins and EmergenC to boost immunity and prevent dehydration. I’m careful about what I eat and stick to fresh fruits/veggies that have a skin to peel (i.e. bananas, avocado, oranges). I’ll be running a bit and watching for community yoga classes to join.
Work and travel
Since I’ll be working abroad, my business partner and I had to figure out how to manage our working relationship for the next five months. We’ve planned weekly Skype meetings to set goals. We use Trello to assign work and track the progress of our projects. And we share all of our documents through Dropbox. Isn’t technology great?