Why Preparing to Travel Around the World Is Confusing

Only a month to go before we leave on our trip around the world but as I said before; it feels like we haven’t prepared at all. In my head, we just have a rough itinerary and that’s it. But how should you prepare to travel around the world then…? Well, we went to Thailand and the Dominican Republic to practice...

 Ao Nang Beach. Our practice trip to Thailand was awesome!

Ao Nang Beach. Our practice trip to Thailand was awesome!

No really, a lot of things are pretty easy to take care of like vaccinations and visas but honestly, there are some things we needed to do before we can leave that are a bit confusing... but I guess it depends on what country you're from...

Things to do before you travel around the world

1. Quitting my job

I've been working as a photographer and graphic designer in a company for the past 8 years and it felt like it was time to do something else. So, in a way it wasn't a hard decision to quit. Joanna is currently unemployed so no heart wrenching decisions to be made there either but...

A question we hear a lot: “What will you do when you come back from traveling the world?”

Well, no clue but we’re not thinking about that now. It’s adventure time!

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2. Canceling our apartment

Doing so felt sad because we really like this place. It's our first apartment together and we worked hard painting all the walls (some from black to white), bought furniture we both liked and we always felt good here. Luckily we can store most of our things at my parents’ place.

3. Buying some extra travel and photography gear

Preparing a trip around the world involves spending money before you leave. Some photography gear, of course, but also less exciting things like a compact beard trimmer that works on batteries, a couple of headlights and some extra padlocks for keeping our stuff safe. I'll write down a complete list when we finally leave...    

4. Visa for India and other countries

India is where we'll set off our journey. We both needed a visa for India and while it’s a long process to fill in all the paperwork, it’s not that difficult. After we applied at the Indian Visa Application center we received our passports back in the mail a week later with a crisp six-month visa inside.

The important thing for an Indian Visa is to make sure everything is filled in and spelled 100% correct!

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For other countries, we’ll arrange visas on the road. I have a Belgian passport so I’m not expecting too many problems but Joanna has a weak (sorry, babe, but it’s true!) Dominican passport. I’ve already looked in the visa requirements for the countries we’ll most likely visit (Nepal, SE Asia, Australia,…) and there shouldn’t be too many problems but we’ll see once we apply…

5. Finances

We don't know for sure how much we'll spend on the road. We’ve saved enough and calculated an average of that we want to spend each month but only time will tell.

The more important issue is to check the expiry date on your credit and debit cards. You don’t want them to expire while traveling around the world! Also, give your parents or whoever you trust access to your bank account… just in case.

Around the world plane ticket

Some people prefer an around the world ticket but we don’t. To be honest, we leave next month and we still don’t have a ticket! We’ll most likely buy a one way ticket to Trivandrum, India and go over land from there.

Hopefully we’ll have some adventurous and memorable trains rides in India!

Vaccinations

Some are more important than others depending on the places you want to visit. A lot of African and South American countries require you to have a vaccination for yellow fever for example.

Here in Belgium we have something called Institute for Tropical Medicine. A few doctors work there only to give people advice on what vaccinations and medication they need when traveling.

In half an hour, we got all the information and vaccinations we needed!

Where preparing a trip around the world gets confusing

Notifying the city where we live of our absence

Now I don’t know how it is in other countries but in Belgium you can’t just leave to travel long term. You need to inform the authorities of the city where you live that you’ll be gone. And we can’t just go indefinitely without consequences. We should come back within a year and register again with the city.

On top of that we need to keep a residence address. Apparently that makes it easier for when we come back… They explained everything but it’s still not totally clear for me. Anyone…?

Health insurance

Also, they told us it’s better to keep paying health insurance in Belgium. Even if we have a good travel insurance. It will make things easier for when we come back they say… 

So...

Preparing to travel around the world is not too difficult but you have to think about a lot and depending on the country you live in, you’ll have to think about different things.

For Belgium, the issue with health insurance, residence address and only being able to leave for one year is confusing but I guess we shouldn’t worry too much. Lots of people have done what we’re planning. Start researching the important things months before your trip!