Many of us dream of quitting our jobs and traveling the world for a year, if not a lifetime. And this is something Erin Holmes of Explore With Erin did for 5 years. If you’ve been bitten by the long-term travel bug, then Erin will help get you started.

My kids and I set off for 6 months of travel in 2012. Or so we thought. We ended up not returning home for more than 5 years. Long-term travel can be addictive. But whether you plan on a 6-month “gap year” or several years of long-term travel, I got you covered. I know a thing or two about getting your life ready to travel the world long-term!

And I’m not talking about those daydream steps, where you pin your heart away on Pinterest travel boards or write in your diary daily about how one day you will travel the world, hoping to manifest it to life. No, I’m talking about real, hard, practical advice to get your long-term travel dreams born into fruition. Below are the exact ten steps I did when getting ready for our original 6-month trip.

1. Book The Ticket

I don’t know about you, but I work so much better with a deadline. So book the ticket. Once I booked a one-way ticket I had a date to start working towards and things really started happening.

2. Rent The House / Sell The House

Lots of people opt to sell their house to travel the world. It helps with finances and supports ongoing travel. I decided renting would work better for us in case we decided to return. I advertised the rental on Facebook and was very lucky to have friends take on the house fully furnished, with our personal items packed into boxes in the garage. Other ways to earn income is by renting your place for as little as one day on Airbnb or taking on a yearly lease through Real Estate Agents. Alternative if you own pets you may like to have your property house-sat through a trusted network.

3. Stop All Mail

Whenever possible, transfer all your mail to paperless. Anything that has to be sent by post, I recommend setting up a P.O. Box service that automatically scans incoming letters and emails it to you. You can then ask them to forward it to a physical address or simply ditch it. But these days most things can be sent via email, not snail mail.

4. Close Accounts

Don’t forget to close accounts – gas, electricity, water, Internet, phone lines, and mobile contracts. There is no point paying costly bills when you are no longer using the services.

5. Sell The Car

Depending on the amount of time you are leaving for, you may want to lend your car to a friend or sell it. I decided to sell my car and started the process a few months prior to departure. I was very lucky to have it sell 2 weeks before my one-way ticket out of town!

6. Change Insurance

Check all your insurances. I obviously canceled my car insurance, but I also contacted our agency to adjust our home and contents insurance. Finally, I booked travel insurance. I never leave home without it.

7. Organise Your Banking For Long-Term Travel

It’s so important to do this before you leave. I made the mistake of not taking any action on our banking and getting stuck a few times. So do your research and find out the fees for overseas ATM withdrawals with your bank before leaving. Get a few extra credit cards for emergencies and keep them in different places throughout your bag and body.

8. Figure Out How To Pack

Packing for a long trip can be hard work. Nothing works better than getting someone else to look at your bags. I packed my bags, then had my best friend repack it. Take less than you need, you can always buy what you need when you need it.

9. Research… Later

You have so much to do before you leave, so take a little pressure off and prepare the next step of the journey later. Just book that initial flight and accommodation, then work out the next weeks and months at your first destination.

10. How To Eat The Elephant?

In other words, how are you going to complete such a mammoth and exciting journey? One bite at a time. One of the best tips I can give you is to make a spreadsheet which keeps track of your tasks and progress before leaving. And check it off, one at a time. It feels so good checking things off your list. That’s how you get through it, one bite at a time.

11. BONUS

Go. Everything will work itself out once you are on the road. Any forgotten steps, any tasks left undone can all be completed poolside at your hotel. Enjoy your new life and embrace your freedom!

Erin Holmes of Explore With Erin is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. 

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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