So once we decided we were going to leave it was time to prepare ourselves for the leap. It happens to be the first time we ever live without our parents and we planned on leaving for a year.
Now this was going to be a big change for us as our parents did everything for us. No seriously. Laundry, cooking, shopping, EVERYTHING. But, here are the basics you need to get lined up before you leave for your big adventure.
This may seem kind of obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve heard of people getting to an airport or applying for a visa last minute and their passport is expired. This should be the first thing to make sure is sorted out before you leave considering you need it to get into another country. Before you leave or apply for a visa it is normally required to have your passport be valid for at least 6 months longer than your intended departure date. If your passport is close then do yourself a favour and renew it. Chances are you’ll be staying away from home longer than you thought.
In a perfect world you’re allowed to go into any country as you please with no requirements. Unfortunately our world is far from perfect. Always check if you need a visa to enter your destination (including where you have layovers. Sometimes you still need a visa to just stay in the airport for a couple hours.) As a traveller your visa should fall under one of these categories: visitor, work, or student. With a visitor visa you cannot work or study. If you wish to work apply for a work visa. The same thing applies if you want to study.
Canadians can check if you need a visitor visa for specific countries at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp
If you plan on working or studying you will always need to apply for a specific visa with that country. For more info check your intended country’s government website.
This is something I always get asked about. How much money did I leave with and how long did it last?
I left with $6000 CAD and hayley had over $10,000 CAD. Was this required? Definitely not. The more money the better, but it is not required. The more money you have (in our case) the longer you can travel without working. I’ve met people who came to Australia with $300 and the clothes on their back.
How long did it last? For us it lasted about 2 months. This could have lasted way longer if you’re careful with your money so don’t let that scare you off. A large part of that money ($5000) wen to a van that eventually broke down. In the end if you want to tavel “Not having money” is NOT an excuse. Make it happen.
I cannot say this enough and I wish I listened when I read this before – PACK AS LIGHTLY AS POSSIBLE! I suggest only taking 2-3 of your favourite pairs of each clothing plus more socks and underwear for obvious reasons. If you don’t use it on a daily basis then don’t bring it. You can always buy things as you go while you are abroad.
Backpack or suitcase? The choice is ultimately up to you. If you plan on moving a lot and don’t feel like always carrying something then a suitcase may be for you. If you pack as light as possible weight shouldn’t pose much of an issue. Keep in mind airline luggage weight restrictions 😉
Last but not least… You need to have the courage to follow through on your plan and just do it. There will be times that you may start to question if you are making the right desicion. You have to trust yourself that you made this decision for a reason and it is time to follow through. Forget about those who say you’re crazy or should be doing something different with your life.
It’s YOUR life. Live YOUR adventure. Do as YOU please. Enjoy yourself. Adventure responsibly.. But please, have the time of your life and regret nothing.