When we tell people that we quit our jobs to travel the world, everyone tells us how fun that is. While we certainly hope that it is fun, it also required a massive amount of planning.
Below is a list of “behind the scenes” things that had to happen in order for the trip to go from an idea to reality.
The Big Things
Plan out the trip
Once Andy and I decided that we wanted to travel the world, we started to discuss where we wanted to go. It was quite the process narrowing down where we wanted to travel and backing into the financials of how much it would cost.
This was quite the process so we wrote a dedicated blog post about it.
There were a lot of sacrifices that we made in order to save up enough money for the trip. We did everything and anything possible to save every penny that we could. Both Andy and I are naturally good savers so we had both been saving before the trip, but needed to accelerate the pace in order to hit the number needed to cover our trip.
In addition to saving enough money for the trip, we also had to make sure that we had a buffer when we returned back home. We know that when we return we will have to get an apartment, a car and enough money to cover us until we both find jobs.
Sell our condo
While we could have rented out our condo and cash flowed positive, the idea of being a landlord when we were in remote locations was not something that we were interested in. Further, when we return to the US, we plan to move somewhere with better weather than Chicago. The most logical thing to do was to sell our condo.
We met with our agent Christina and moved quickly to get our condo on the market. We listened to all of the advice Christina gave us to get our condo in top condition for showings. While it was somewhat of a hassle to stage our home and have it immaculately clean, we knew if we followed Christina’s recommendations it would not be on the market for long.
Only 2.5 weeks after we listed our condo it was under contract. We were relieved that it was not on the market for long and came in just $1,000 under our list price. Once the inspection was finalized and the closing date set, we had the weight of the world off our shoulders.
Get someone to watch our cat Gingerbread
While this may be a little thing for most people, without someone to watch our cat Gingerbread, this trip would be a no-go. When I adopted Gingerbread 8 years ago I committed to take care of her and I was not going to back out on that commitment.
We were fortunate enough that our friend Michael was willing and able to watch Gingerbread for us when we were gone. He had a cat for many years that passed due to old age and wasn’t ready to get a new cat yet so this was a perfect bridge for him as well as a huge relief for us.
Preparing to Be Away from the US for 7 Months
Visit all of our doctors
We knew that once we quit our jobs, our insurance would cease. Prior to the trip we made trips to our doctor, dentist and optometrist. We both had some FSA money that was due to expire so we used that to cover some of the medical expenses.
Get our vaccinations
We had both received many vaccinations prior to our honeymoon around Southeast Asia but had to get a few more for our trip. I had to get my second Hepatitis A as well as both of us getting a yellow fever shot.
Yellow fever shots were a pain to get as only certain doctors could administer them. Our doctor was not able to give these to us, but we were able to get this vaccination from a Walgreen’s health clinic which was not only more convenient but also less expensive than a primary doctor.
Quit our jobs
I know it is most people’s dream to quit their jobs and tell their boss to shove it. Our experience was quite a bit different. Neither Andy nor I had any ill will towards our employers and did not want to burn any bridges when we left.
I was fortunate enough to have a co-worker who was my counterpart and trained to do my job, Andy was not that lucky. He was the only one that worked on his product, so he had to make sure that information was passed on to a co-worker so they could keep things running and possibly re-hire the position.
Tell everyone about our plans
It was pretty fun to tell our family and friends about our trip. While we had some mixed reactions, particularly from the older generation, the majority of everyone that we told was very excited. Everyone seems to be looking forward to our trip and many told us that they wished that this was something that they were able to do.
Move everything that we own to storage
Since we sold our condo, we needed to move everything that we owned to storage. We selected to drive everything to Battle Creek, Michigan where my parents live. This way they would be able to pull anything that we may need from storage for us during our trip.
This move was more complicated than a standard move. Not only did we need to pack our bags for the move, but also had to separate things to be stored in a temperature controlled climate vs. our non-temperature controlled storage unit.
The Small Details
Purchase travel insurance
I did a lot of research for travel insurance prior to our trip as this is extremely important. I know that should we get extremely sick and need to get back home, get robbed or have any other range of issues, that we wanted to be well covered.
Everywhere that I looked, everyone seemed to recommend World Nomads travel insurance. Their price was a reasonable $1300 which covered both Andy and myself during our entire 7 month trip. This is the explorer policy, their premium coverage, which covers not only extreme sports but also has a higher coverage for lost/stolen baggage. This is important for us as we plan to carry a large amount of electronics which are worth a high value.
Decide what to pack in our bags
While I thought that this would only take us an hour, deciding what to pack took us a full 3 hours. We had to be very strategic with everything that we packed as not only would we be wearing everything that we brought with us but we would have to carry anything unnecessary or leave it on the road.
To further complicate things, we have several varying climates during our trip – from the sweltering heat of the equator to the chill of Patagonia and everything in between, we had to pack a little bit of everything to cover all weather conditions.
Forward mail to my parent’s house
Since we are essentially homeless, we needed to forward all of our mail to an actual address. We selected sending all our mail to my parents who will be in touch with us should anything important come through the mail when we are gone.
Change our billing info on credit cards
Tying in to forwarding our mail, we also had to change our billing information for any accounts that we have open. Since a credit card needs a physical mailing address, we had to change our address for both our checking and credit card accounts.
Find a temporary home
Since we had a week period where we had moved all of our items to storage but were not done with work, we had to find a place to live. This is not an easy feat in a city like Chicago where space is at a premium. We were fortunate enough to have a friend who had a guest room and welcomed us to stay with her.
Planning an around the world trip is not something that can be easily done on a whim. It requires months of preparation before it can be implemented. It can sometimes be frustrating to listen to family/friends talk about the fun parts of your trip without the appreciation of the time that was put into the saving and planning of it.
Even though it required an extensive amount of time to implement, we are excited about our trip and really hope that it lives up to our expectations.