Lisa Owen

A long term overseas adventure is unlike your average holiday. You don’t have the luxury of packing the night before, grabbing your passport on the way out the door, and off you go. It takes a lot of planning to pack up your life at home and head into the great wide world.

Before I embarked on a year long adventure globetrotting across six continents, I had a long to do list. Here’s my handy guide on life admin tasks to help you get ready for the trip of a lifetime.

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machu picchu mountains

1. Submit your tax return

I know tax is a yawn fest, and as much as it hurt to do all the paperwork to file my tax return, it was a necessary evil to finalise this before my trip. Just remember if you manage to get a tax refund, then it can go towards your trip!

2. Manage your super

My superannuation is something I’ve ignored in the past when I’ve travelled overseas for months at a time. But as I get older it’s become more of a consideration – especially when I saw that my super was being eaten up by insurances I didn’t need to pay for while I was travelling.

Before I went away this year, I called my super fund and put my insurances such as income protection down to the minimum level and then I will bring them back up on my return. This way I’m not paying as much for insurance when I don’t need to.

3. Get your affairs in order

While it’s not something you want to think about, there’s a chance something could go terribly wrong overseas. As part of getting your affairs in order, you may want to consider putting together a will to make sure any assets go where you want them to in case of the worst case scenario.

outdoor hiking trails

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4. Store your belongings correctly

I’m lucky that I don’t own much these days while I live the nomad life, and everything I own gets stored at my parent’s house. All my clothes were washed before I left and stored in plastic tubs or vacuum seal bags to try and prevent any rodents or insects getting in, and also protect them from heat and moisture as much as possible. I also put lavender satchels in each container or bag as this helps reduce the likelihood of silverfish.

5. Put your health insurance on hold

Did you know that most health insurances allow you to put your insurance on hold while you’re overseas? I’m able to put mine on hold for up to two years at a time. I just had to show them proof I’m leaving the country and it’s on hold indefinitely until I tell them I’m back in the country.

6. Suspend direct debits where possible

Do you have any direct debits coming out of your account such as rent, electricity, pay TV etc. Go through your direct debits to make sure everything is cancelled that you no longer need to pay for when you’re away.

mountain scenery in south america

If you're wanting to travel long term, find out here what this traveller learnt from spending 6 months overseas.

7. Check your passport expiry date

Most countries require you to have at least six (6) months validity on your passport beyond your planned stay. Entry can be refused if your passport expires in less than six months.

Make sure your passport will be valid for your entire trip.

8. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date

You may be on top of your vaccinations for diseases like typhoid, yellow fever and Japanese Encephalitis, but have your checked your immunisations for more common diseases like tetanus, measles, and hepatitis will remain valid for your entire trip? You likely got these years ago so make sure they’re still valid.

9. Organise someone to speak on your behalf to manage your accounts

I know anything can happen that could compromise my bank accounts. While I do what I can to avoid this, it is also important that I have someone that can speak to my bank on my behalf back in Australia.

I’ve set up my account so my parents can speak on my behalf to my bank if it’s hard to communicate with Australia given lack of service or timezones.

If you’ve left your car back home, it’s also important to make sure whoever is looking after it can speak on your behalf. My parents will keep my car running while I’m away so have been added to my insurance as a joint policyholder.

10. Back up all your files

If you’re taking a laptop overseas, make sure you back up everything before you go away. Because I take a lot of photos that are stored on my computer or external hard drive, I back up everything before I go, clearing the computer of all its files, and have a clean slate to work with.

A couple of weeks before you head to the airport on your next long term adventure, make sure you’ve checked these items off your list. It could save you money, time and hassle in the long run.

ruins in middle east

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Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 80 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @thelittleadventurer. Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the Policy Documents available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.