Pre-Trip Checklist

With less than 30 days until I leave, I am working diligently on checking things off of my to do list.  Thankfully, I was able to take care of most of the major items over the last year:

  • Sold my house
  • Had garage sale – sold what I could, and donated everything else
  • Arranged for a foster for Sawyer
  • Figured out what to do with my car
  • Resigned from my job

I have now been focusing on some of the smaller, but still very important items.  Over the last two months, here is a snapshot of what my checklist looks like:


  1. Vaccines:  Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis.  I was already up to date on all the others from traveling to Africa last year to include:  Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Polio, Typhoid, Tdap, Meningitis
  2. Last doctor appointments:  Eye exam to ensure the LASIK is still perfect, Physical for standard blood work, and Dentist (ugh) for a cleaning and check up
  3. Figure out ObamaCare:  With the Affordable Care Act, aka ‘Obamacare’ up and running and a lot of things implemented as of 1 January, I need to understand how it will impact me and my lack of employer health coverage (booo…)
  4. Sign up for International Medical Policy: While I need to do ObamaCare research still, I also know I want a medical insurance policy to cover me overseas and in the U.S.  Still evaluating my options, but getting close.
  5. Sign up for DAN policy:  I am a scuba diver and the Divers Alert Network (DAN) offers a great policy to members for diving accidents (which are typically excluded under other policies) at a very reasonable cost.
  6. Get starter prescriptions:  I realize I can get inexpensive Rxs overseas, but I want to have some Cipro, Zofran, Malarone, etc. on hand to start.checkbox


  1. Setup Charles Schwab Account:  No ATM fees worldwide!  They are all reimbursed at the end of each month.  If you are in the U.S., I would highly recommend them.
  2. Setup layered bank accounts:  Need to finalize a system so that I can transfer funds easily between accounts.
  3. Notify credit cards of traveling:  Don’t wanna get denied and have to sleep on the streets.
  4. Add my sister to my accounts:  In case I need her to handle money things on the back-end for me or I get myself in a pinch…
  5. Cash in all my spare pennies!:  I will be scrounging, everything adds up!
  6. Get Turbotax installed:  I am going to attempt to do my taxes while on the road.  With everything electronic these days, I think it should be fine.  I looked into an extension for 2013 taxes, but it didn’t make sense since I will still be on the road by the time the extension is due.
  7. Set appointment with Investment Advisor:  You have to make your money work for you (one of the reasons I am able to take this trip).  So, any spare funds are going to be invested and I want to ensure they are allocated the way that makes the most sense.


  1. Vet appointment:  One final checkup to ensure he is healthy and all his shots are current.
  2. Pay for pet insurance for year:  My pup is a bit accident prone.  It took my a year and half of emergency room visits (and thousands of dollars), before I FINALLY got wise and purchased pet insurance. It has come in handy since and I will continue to have it while I am gone in case anything comes up.
  3. Stockpile of treats and food:  Sawyer is a bit high maintenance and on a grain free diet, for the most part.
  4. Gather list of backup sitters:  My friends and sister will be co-parenting for me while I am away.  But, I need to compile a list of other friends that could doggie sit if they go out of town (aka come meet me! :))


  1. Unlock iPhone:  This will allow me to use local SIM cards rather than be tied to the AT&T network
  2. Save current cell phone number:  I would like to hang onto my number that I have had for the last 10 years so I can have it when I come back.  I will use it as a voicemail box while I am on the road.
  3. Setup netbook with necessary software:  Nothing extravagant, but MS Office, Lightroom (maybe?), and TurboTax.  Gotta uninstall of the crap pre-loaded too.
  4. Unsubscribe to all the junk email flooding my inbox:  I am thrifty which means I get all kinds of coupons, deals, etc.  Enough already, no mas.
  5. Launch blog:  To keep in touch with everyone! 🙂
  6. Purchase VPN service:  An internet connection protector to encrypt my traffic and protect me from all kinds of bad stuff while using wifi networks.
  7. Setup Whats App?:  For free wifi texting.  Get all the people I want to text with, to do the same
  8. Download apps:  What are your favorite travel apps?


  1. Extra passport photos:  For visas and to hand out to adoring fans 😉
  2. Make copies and scan important documents:  Gotta have back ups.
  3. International driving permit:  Not sure I really need it, but may come in handy.  Considering I don’t know how to drive a manual car, I may be screwed anyway!
  4. Print business cards:  Again, all those fans will want someway to keep in touch with me…
  5. Will, Living will and Power of Attorneys:  Ensure they are up to date, executed, and in the hands of those who need them.  It is not fun, but completely necessary.  You always have to be prepared and this is for the worst case scenario.  DO NOT make your loved ones make the difficult decisions for you.  You need to make them ahead of time.  You can do them online (I used, all 4 documents for $40) and then execute.  No excuses.
  6. Collect addresses for post cards:  Because who doesn’t love getting a post cards from somewhere awesome??
  7. Take car in for service appointment:  I am keeping my car since it is paid off and my sister and brother-in-law have graciously agreed to keep it.  Need to take it in for standard service.
  8. Plan going away party!!:  Set for Saturday 11 January!  It is going to be a riot 🙂

What else am I forgetting??  

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6 Responses to Pre-Trip Checklist

  1. Michelle December 23, 2013 at 20:14 #

    Such a useful and comprehensive list! Thanks 🙂

    • Amy December 23, 2013 at 22:37 #

      Thanks! I feel like this covers most of it, but things pop up daily. I just keep a small notebook with me and jot things down as I think of them. 🙂

  2. Dash December 23, 2013 at 21:28 #

    Oh my gosh, I didn’t know there would be so much on your list, but even with all of this I bet you are still thinking of last minute things. Party sounds awesome, wish I was there, but I get the final send off at LAX. Woo Hoo!

    • Amy December 23, 2013 at 22:38 #

      Hey Dash! It’s true, I think of new things all the time. This list hits the high points, for the most part. Part should be a great time, but you will be the last one I see on U.S. soil! Yay!

  3. Terah December 24, 2013 at 06:16 #

    Just a thought…my brother’s car insurance went up when he didn’t need it for a few months and cancelled his plan. Not sure if you cancelled your plan, but I’d look into keeping it so that you don’t have to pay out the wazoo when you get back.

    • Amy December 24, 2013 at 07:54 #

      Hey Terah! Thanks for the tip. I have looked into this and I found the same thing. I was originally going to sign over the car to my sister and they were going to drive it as their second car (and sell an older one they had) and they were going to insure it. But, they ended up selling that one over the summer and jason got a new truck. So, I am going to keep it in my name and just keep it insured. Jason will drive it a couple times a month to keep it running. I switched my insurance a couple months ago and saved nearly 50% so to keep it for the year is fairly reasonable. Appreciate the tip! Keep em coming 🙂

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