Traveling is great, but to make it easy and actually enjoyable you need to get rid of the big chunk of your physical belongings. In the previous post I was talking about changing your mindset and becoming minimal in order to be able to work and travel anywhere.
Today I’d like to share some of my own experiences packing up and preparing for the trip. After crazy Eurotrip Dare With Us 2013 I’ve learnt (the hard way) how to fill your backpack with useless and heavy stuff that will suddenly make you so stressful that you’ll simply throw it out anywhere.
It’s all about the peace of mind, reach out to everyone you care about and let them know about your adventures. Make sure to check all your contracts with companies you pay for, pay all the bills, cancel unnecessary services and make sure you don’t have any debt so it won’t pile up until you get back.
Inform your bank (or banks if you use several) and let them know that you will be traveling so you will not get your credit card blocked in some weird place.
Get an insurance. It’s optional but highly recommended. I am the one who risks a lot but it’s not very smart saving money on insurance. For the Europe I don’t have insurance but I’m definitely getting insurance for Asia. I’ve checked some insurance companies in Lithuania and looks like IF andGjensidige are the cheapest ones. Digital nomads recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance which is quite expensive.
Plan the route. Make an approximate route for your trip so you can start researching the areas and become generally aware about your trip. Why it’s important? You will get cheaper flights and accommodation if you book in advance. Being smart saves money.
Visas. This is probably the most hated word for me. There are many countries you can go without visas depending on your country (full list here) but you will find it really frustrating if you want to visit some exotic places like India, China, Madagascar or any other country that requires visa. It costs money and most important time. If you have an approximate route for your trip check up visas. You’ll thank me later.
Vaccines. Your health must be your first priority. Traveling across Europe may be relatively safe but flying to other continents consider taking some time to do the research and getting needed vaccines. Once again, it’s not necessary but if you are one of those that gets into trouble, invest some money in vaccines and have a peaceful mind. I’ve talked to couple of my friends traveling in Southeast Asia and most of them didn’t bother themselves spending money and time on vaccination.
General physical stuff I take for everyday using including backpack, clothes and other stuff.
Backpack or bag. It’s very important to get a comfortable backpack that is rain-resistant and won’t break after couple of days. Ideally it should have soft pockets for your laptop or tablet, some separate smaller pockets for small things like cables, documents and other stuff.
Money. Obvious but easy to make mistakes with when taking money for the trip. So you already know where you are going, check up on the currencies in the places you are going to visit, see the exchange rates and get the money in advance, this way you’ll save some cash on stupid international fees. Have your money spread across different credit cards so in case of losing one of them you still have the other one. Don’t keep them in one place.
Passport and identity card copies. If you don’t get physical paper copies, at least make a photo of both sides and put them online so you can access them from anywhere.
Writing paper and pens. This is optional but I am one of those people who uses physical notes when working. It’s good for scribbling with no reason too.
Business cards. Optional again, but might be handy when meeting a potential business partner or client in a bar or networking event.
Headphones and lots of music. You may have hard times traveling. You may have to walk or wait for a long time. Your favorite music will make everything easier, trust me.
Awesome book. I am talking about a physical one. You can take up as many books as you want in digital format but I am one of those old school folks who loves physical books and thick pages. Great way to relax and concentrate.
This is very important section. Personal hygiene will prevent diseases and will ensure good self-esteem, health and so on. I don’t need to tell you why taking shower everyday is a must. Following is the list that I have for my trips:
2 x Tooth brush
Shampoo or (shampoo and shower gel 2 in 1)
Food is very important when traveling for longer than 3 hours. Once I was going to Prague from Vilnius and haven’t bought anything to eat on the bus. The first stop was after 5 hours and I thought that I’ll die from hunger.
Make sure to take water so you stay hydrated. Also think of easily digesting foods: fruits, vegetables, sandwiches. Avoid heavy foods or fat ones as they will make your trip more stressful and frustrating as you will not move enough and your stomach will have a hard time. Avoid smelly foods as the whole bus will get smelly and generally other people may start feeling bad about it, you don’t want them to throw up on you when you fall asleep?
Depending on how long and where you will go consider taking some clothes for radically different weather conditions. For the current trip I plan to stay in Europe until early fall and head to Asia so I basically don’t have a coat or sweater that take up a lot of space. Here is my current clothing list:
10 x Underwear (I regularly exercise 4–5 times a week)
12 x Pairs of socks (will get rid of some soon)
Nike shoes (comfortable enough for running and walking around)
Slippers (these are immortal, have them for at least 5 years)
3 x Shorts
10 x T-shirts (too much, will get rid of when going to Asia)
Pair of gym gloves
Tools are the things that you use to get the job done, accessories and other things fall under this category too. Here’s my current list:
13.3” MacBook Pro + charger
iPhone 5 + charger + earpods + armband (for running)
Apple magic mouse
iPod Shuffle + charger
Ring (Lord of the Rings)
2 x Notebooks
3 x Pens
That is pretty much it. The less you have the better. I’ve got rid of many things and never regretted. If you have any questions let me know on Twitter @tomaslau.
Written in Budapest, Hungary (published in Podvis, Bulgaria).