Around the world for a few months, long-distance travel, in a van, in a backpack, on a mule's back, on an electric scooter or on a bike… Taking off is often a long matured and rare choice are those who just slam the door of their homes without a minimum of organization.
Going on an adventure requires "a little" preparation / upstream management, especially from an administrative point of view and often it takes time ...
But have you thought of everything? Papers, vaccines, lease ... here is a small list of things to think about before leaving and we have to manage before taking the plunge.
Of course, this list is to adapt according to the plans of each (destinations, durations, family situation, etc.).
We have tried to rank all of this in order of priority in terms of timing, that is to say things to predict several months in advance, until those you can almost manage at the last moment.
At the time of all digital and paperless make sure you dematerialize everything you can.
A priori you say to yourself, I would not have put that first ... But yet, the earlier you go, the less likely you are to forget to dematerialize a shipment.
With each document received in paper format before your departure you will have to look to see if it is possible to have it directly via the online space of this or that administration.
Also take stock of all the papers you have received over the past year (normally you had to keep your important papers in a file cabinet or in a closet corner if you are a minimum organized).
Connect to the online accounts of the different organizations and go check the box "zero paper", "sending documents by email", etc ...
Almost all public or private organizations now offer the option. You can even sometimes activate the option for letters normally sent by registered post with signature and make an electronic signature while traveling. Yes, it exists and it is more and more widespread!
It is still the base when you travel, in most cases it must be valid for a period of 6 months after your arrival on site.
Whether you plan to travel to one or more countries, check that it is valid for the duration of your trip + 6 months otherwise have it done again.
If you have visas whose expiry date is later than your passport, ask to keep your old passport to keep your visas.
You will need to travel with both your passports and present the one that is valid at all times, plus the one in which there is a particular visa for the country concerned.
Remember to take it in advance, depending on the period and your area it may take several months ...
Depending on which country or countries you are going to visit, you will need to obtain a visa from the embassy of the said country.
Again, take it well in advance, because it can take several months to get an appointment, and still several weeks before having your stamp on your passport.
In our case, for example we asked for the visa B2 for the USA which allows to stay 6 months on the spot.
(We were asked a lot about that so we'll talk about it in another article later.)
For this, you must complete an online appointment request. We were then offered an appointment a month and a half later at the US Embassy in Paris (so also plan train or plane + hotel in our case), once there, after the appointment and acceptance, they kept still have our passport two weeks before sending it back to us with the famous visa.
If you followed 2 months in all to have the precious sesame.
The more countries you visit, the more visas you have to ask for, the longer it takes. Fortunately, you do not need a visa for all countries! We advise you to go there at least 1 year in advance if possible. We know some who did not get their visa on their first application and had to redo the entire process ...
Please note, we are talking about Visa here and not travel authorization such as ESTA (USA) or AVE (Canada), which are very simple and quick to obtain by a simple online request.
Doctor, dentist, gynecologist (for girls only eh!), ophthalmologist, prescription for special treatment, etc ...
Take a tour well in advance once again. Why ? Because if you have something to treat it can take time depending on what it is ... Imagine going to the dentist a few days before your departure and you must get treatment on several sessions for 3 months ... the horror ...
We advise you a good check up 6 months before departure, then another before departure. Have a general medical kit prescribed by your GP in case.
Most of the time they gladly accept when it is for a long trip. For glasses wearers like Eric, even if your correction has not changed do you make a second pair if you do not have one. A breakage quickly arrived on a trip ...
For girls who take the pill, ask to have it prescribed for the total duration of the trip and with a note for the pharmacist. They do not agree to give you more than three months without proof.
Well we admit that we have made a last minute check up but again, and always the same, depending on the case of each and your medical history, it may be wise to do it in advance ... This which also brings us to the next point.
There are some who do not like bites here ?! Too bad for you, we'll have to check that ...
Apart from the various reminders that you may have to do, explain the route you have planned to your GP. He will advise you on certain vaccines depending on the countries you plan to visit and other vaccines will even be compulsory for crossing the border!
We repeat ourselves again but take it in advance, it sometimes takes several months to have an appointment for the yellow fever vaccine for example, which is only done in specialized centers. Your GP can not under any circumstances provide it! In addition most of the time you will have a high fever for 24 / 48h shortly after the bite, so out of the question to do that just before taking the plane!
The vaccine against rabies when it requires three stitches spaced very accurately and it takes 30 days in all ...
Good, since 2019 and the withholding tax, you will have technically paid your taxes before leaving for most cases. But if you have kept your house and you rent it for example, you will have to pay the land tax at a distance. So remember to connect to the online space to activate certain options, such as automatic debiting.
We admit that we do not like that because of the mistakes that can sometimes occur (does not it feel like you did not?), But it's still practical not to have to deal with it at all. other end of the world.
Depending on your case and the number of taxes you have to pay, there may be several check boxes in several places on the site so that everything is done automatically. Also think about your professional space if you have one.
Sell, give, store, you have the choice, we will not tell you what to do for that.
Of course if you leave six months or three you will ask or not the question "I keep everything or I will buy everything when I return? ". It may take some time to get rid of some things, furniture, appliances, etc ... So we do not tell you to sell your washing machine 2 years before leaving and go to the laundry in the meantime (although by writing these lines we say that it will do a good training for your trip haha), but think about it anyway a little in advance.
Selling your stuff that you will need more can also help you finance part of your trip. The more you do it in advance, the more you can get a good price. At the last moment you will inevitably tend to sell off ...
Sorting your wardrobe will also allow you to realize that you have a ton of clothes that you do not put more (not girls ...), so for your clothes think of the empty loft, and sell by lot at the end if needed.
If you want to donate, think of local associations and if some clothes are used up to the rope, put them in selective sorting containers provided for this purpose. There are plenty, and your old t-shirt will not end up in a landfill but will be recycled (by isolating for example).
You have the permit, you intend to leave in van or rent on the spot. In any case we advise you to apply for the international permit at least three months before your departure. It's free, it's quick to do, a document to fill out, a photo and some photocopies and you will receive it at home.
The approach is slightly different depending on the regions of France but in the end you will have this big piece of gray cardboard!
It states that it does not replace your license, it is only a translation in all languages to allow local authorities to be able to read your information. You will have to always present both.
Sacred dilemma as there is the choice ... Classic bank or 100% online, hard drive.
It also deserves a whole article apart, well!
The first thing to do is to call your bank to let them know about the situation and your travel plans. They will tell you if something is planned for stays abroad and they may advise you on certain points such as the type of bank card.
They will also tell you if they have agreements with banks in the countries you are going to visit allowing you to withdraw money free of charge, etc… etc…
Well, if they have no agreement, that your fees are going to be exorbitant for each withdrawal or use of your card, ask yourself the question if it should not be changed...
Ask yourself if a "gold card" would be a good investment in your case (insurance, withdrawal ceiling, etc ...). There is a lot of advantage when traveling with.
There are also now fully online banks that you could possibly take in addition to your other classic account or even instead.
We think of N26 or Revolut for example, which we have been talking about a lot lately. The "premium" card is free and there is no international charge, which is a huge plus when you travel. In addition you will have two cards so a backup solution in case of loss or theft (as long as you do not have your two cards together ...).
Also remember to check the expiry date of your card and have it renew prematurely if necessary (there is often a fee but no choice ...).
Also make a power of attorney to one of your loved ones just in case.
For our part Eric has moved to BNP (Net Agency) which has agreements with Scotia Bank (Canada, Mexico, and some countries of Central and South America) and Bank of America in the USA. Withdrawals are free of charge. Joana is when she stayed at the CIC because her banker is just on top!
Tenant: The departure is approaching and it is time to send your notice of departure. It is minium three months before for an empty rental housing and a month before for a furnished.
Organize too to find a storage box if you need it or ask your relatives to squat a closet or a piece of the garage. All this again is to go a little in advance to estimate the place you need and if you really need to keep this or that ...
Owner: Rent, sell, you see ... A rental income is often a good option when you go at least a year. The ideal is then to put your property in an agency so you do not bother to manage!
You know when you are going to leave your accommodation, so you can now also send your termination letters: EDF, water, gas, internet, tv, Netflix (whatever you can keep if you have a tablet), etc. there that we realize that we pay for subscriptions ... And now, you tell yourself that you will almost save money by traveling haha!
Even if it means being in subscriptions, you might as well look into telephone plans. Two choices here, I keep my French number or I take a card in each country I'm going to visit?! Or both! That's kind of what we do.
Anyway we advise you to keep your French number at least a few months history that you are reachable by the people or administrations that would use this number.
Also look at Free, their international offer is really interesting and they add new countries to their offer every year. Well, we have had some personal problems with them in the past, but they are the only ones with such an offer…
It's up to you to make your choice for this ... If you change operator do this at least a month before the time to receive your new SIM card and see if everything works fine. Try to find a non-binding subscription that will allow you to get rid of it while traveling if necessary.
Also remember to unlock your phone to accept all SIM cards if it is not already.
- If you do not manage to sell what is left of your furniture on LeBonCoin, you may head to Troc.com brands to make a sales deposit… You will surely come back cheaper but it is always better than giving up your favorite Ikea dresser by the road ...
- And / or again, remember that you can give. You will be lighter and you will make someone happy.
Depending on your case you can either cancel it completely or reduce it to a minimum. This often allows you to not lose your benefits due to your seniority by returning (if you return someday ...). There are different solutions depending on the companies. If you feel that you no longer need to cancel.
It must be taken BEFORE departure, otherwise it will not usually be valid.
If you leave for three months (except that many of the things we talked about so far may not concern you), the insurance of your "gold" bank card can suffice (check the guarantees).
We can't say it enough but an accident happened quickly, we think of Joana who broke her face in the middle of the jungle in Belize, three hours on the track from the first road... We talk about it here in detail and we explain to you why you absolutely must not skip travel insurance, we are at Chapka!
This is the kind of thing that few people think ... But if despite the dematerialization of your documents usually received by letter, you receive a registered or a package, you will be happy to have made a tour before your departure. Forward your mail to your parents, family or a close friend and trusted (not the kind that lurks his mail for 3 three years in his entry).
Also make a power of attorney to one or more people around you (usually the one who will receive your mail), to allow him to recover a letter or a package that is intended for you. The power of attorney is valid for 5 years.
Make photocopies of all your important documents. Leave a copy of each to a loved one when needed and take several copies with you.
Digitize all that and keep a hidden copy in your computer, send more important documents by email. In case of loss or theft you can access it easily from any computer or phone and this will greatly facilitate the production of your new paper wherever you are.
In a binder / sorter organize your important papers to keep so that the trusted person to whom you will leave them can find this or that document if needed. This will allow him to handle any situation just in case. And if you receive a letter, she can easily add it with the rest so that you have everything on your return.
- Little more on a trip, take a VPN. For those who do not know it is an application or program that makes you believe that you are in a particular place. There are free and paid. The idea is in some cases to make him believe that you are in France simply because some websites do not allow you access when you are abroad. It can be very useful!
I really like your blog and especially the way you explained your preparation.
My spouse and I have been refused the B2 visa, do you have any advice for them to accept it for us the second time? Can you say more about the interview you had and what went in your favor?
Thank you very much 🙂
Hi Lisa, thank you very much, we try to keep it simple and efficient 🙂
For the B2 we went to the appointment at the embassy with a file that included documents linking us to France (auto-entrepreneur status, telephone bill, proof of address, etc.), statements of our bank accounts with our savings showing that we could afford to spend 6 months in the USA and a 6 month travel itinerary. Basically what they want to know is that you will not stay in the USA after the 6 months, if possible that you have a job waiting for you in France when you return, that you have money aside for the trip (and therefore that you are not going to work illegally there) and finally that you have a travel plan that really requires this visa (so a trip of more than 3 months). Be careful also to justify your previous trips to sensitive areas in their eyes. For example, we had participated in the 4L Trophy in Morocco and we had gone to Tunisia. We were asked why we went to these countries.
You are not the only ones at the moment to be refused B2, we know at least 3 other families/couples in your case, politics and the upcoming elections may also have something to do with it...
In any case, asking for a second B2 if you can afford it will show your real desire to discover this country. Do not hesitate to flatter them on this, it is a great country with incredible landscapes that deserves to be explored for 6 months. If you worked hard and saved like us for this great trip, tell them too!
We hope this helps, feel free to send us an email if you want to discuss it a bit more in detail 😉
I follow you a lot on the networks, your photos and your articles are a real pleasure on a daily basis!
In view of a project like yours but with 3 children… I wonder about your expenses per month, how much do you spend per month in North America?
Thank you for your answers
Keep making us dream
Hello Dorothée, we are planning an article on this subject this year, but to give you an idea we spend 1500€ all inclusive (for two) per month in the USA and Canada (the advantageous exchange rates and the price of gasoline help a lot), perhaps a bit more now with the price of gasoline which has increased a little here. In Mexico we were around 700-800€ per month, here it's the food that lowers the bill 🙂
Well, of course it varies from person to person, it depends on the way of traveling and the pace, for our part, we never go camping (with rare exceptions where there is no choice like in certain national parks), we rarely go to restaurants (but we still taste the local specialities), for the activities the hike is free, etc… in short we have fun but without flambé. Hoping to have enlightened you 😉