You’ve decided on a destination. You’ve scoured the internet for packing essentials. But have you considered all of your responsibilities at home before you embark on a long-term adventure? It would be great if you could simply forget about things like mail delivery and bills while you trek through New Zealand, Bolivia, or Budapest – but the adulting show must go on! You’ll enjoy your trip much more if you’re well-prepared. 

Here are just a few things to do before you take off on a long trip:

Set Up Electronic Billing 

Set up electronic billing from home before backpacking

Set up electronic billing from home before departing your trip

Even while galavanting around the world, you still have to pay bills, unfortunately. Thankfully today, almost all services use electronic billing, allowing you to pay from virtually anywhere and even set up payments in advance. 

If you’re not already using automated billing, be sure to set this feature up well before you leave for your trip. This can be done online or on the phone. Setting this feature up at least one billing cycle before a long trip is a great way to confirm that the feature is working and that money is being taken out of the correct account. 

However, even with autopay, it’s still important to have access to your accounts and statements. Most companies offer apps where you can see statements from anywhere you have cell service or a Wi-Fi connection. Downloading these apps allows you to check your accounts while you’re away in case of fraud or an unexpected charge. It’s also wise to have the customer service numbers of any services you have, in case there is an issue. 

These tips will help you most of the time, but there are a few services that do not offer online billing. For these utilities, contact the service provider to make a plan regarding payment during your trip. If possible, suspending these services while you’re away will save you money and a headache. 

Stop Mail Delivery

Though setting up electronic billing will cut down on the amount of physical mail you receive, that doesn’t cover everything. Everyone receives junk mail, letters from friends and family, as well as important documents (particularly around tax season). 

Especially if your mail is delivered to your address in an unlockable box, there is the risk of others snooping through your mail and even stealing packages delivered to you. This, of course, puts you at risk for identity theft and the loss of important documents and packages. 

If you’re going on a shorter adventure, consider asking a trusted friend or family member to pick up your mail and keep it safe until you return. Keep in mind, that according to the United States Postal Service (USPS), to have someone else pick up your mail at the post office, you must give them written permission. If you use a P.O. Box or live in an area where mailboxes are locked, make sure to give the other person a key.

If your trip is longer, make sure to reach out to your post office to hold your mail while you’re away. Your post office can hold your mail for up to 30 days while you’re traveling. It’s important to put in the request to hold your mail early to ensure mail doesn’t arrive at your address after you leave. 

For trips longer than 30 days, there is the option of forwarding your mail to another address for up to one year. If you will not have access to a set address while traveling, consider asking a family member or friend if they would be willing to receive and set aside your mail during that time. You can also sign up for Informed Delivery, which allows you to see previews of your mail on your phone to make sure you don’t miss anything important. 

Let Your Bank Know You’ll be Traveling 

Let your bank know before departing on your backpacking trip to avoid any issues

Let your bank know before departing on a long trip to avoid any issues

If you’ll be traveling outside of your home state or country, it’s wise to let your bank know ahead of time. Oftentimes, banks will flag purchases made outside a certain geographic area as “suspicious,” and will freeze or restrict your account to help protect you from fraud. However, this could be a major inconvenience if it occurs while traveling. 

To prevent this, make sure to call your bank ahead of time and tell them the general area you will be traveling in and for how long you plan to be there. If your trip is taking place outside of the country, check your bank’s policies on foreign/international transaction fees. These fees can be quite expensive and cost you a significant amount of money. 

If you plan on making several purchases during your trip using a debit or credit card, consider opening a bank account without foreign transaction fees. This can save you a significant amount in fees throughout the length of your trip. The account can then be used on other international trips you make in the future. 

Prepare Your Home to Rent or Sublet 

Why not make some extra cash while you are exploring? In today’s world, there are several safe and reliable ways to rent or sublet your home while you’re away. Taking advantage of this opportunity allows you to bring in income while you’re gone, and believe it or not, many long-term travelers have benefited from this arrangement. 

However, if you want to lease out your home to others, there’s more to it than tidying up quickly. It’s important to make all necessary repairs before renting out your home. A rental with issues can lead to bad reviews, or worse, the tenants leaving and requesting their money back. You also want to make sure any problem areas of your home are fixed before your long trip starts. Something like a busted pipe or roof leak can be catastrophic if you’re not around to immediately notice and fix the issue. 

Homeowners can tap into their home equity to cover the costs of any necessary home improvements. For example, features like a coffee nook, quality lighting, and fresh new flooring can help you get more renters and better reviews. Investing in quality furniture, towels and bedding can also positively impact your guests’ stay (and your rental rate).  

These improvements will also increase the value (and equity) of your home as well as making your home a more pleasant place to live. For renters, make sure to reach out to your landlord for any needed repairs before you leave. Also, make sure your landlord allows subletting as some leases do not allow this. 

Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions Before Your Long Trip

Subscription boxes like meal kits and beauty packages are awesome, but will be of no use to you during your long trip. Oftentimes, the product will be expired or unusable by the time you get back. 

Before you leave, make a list of any subscriptions you have (this is also a helpful tip for budgeting in general). Then, determine which ones need to be cancelled while you’re away and which ones are worth keeping active. For example, a subscription like Netflix or Hulu might be useful on a trip, while something like a meal kit would go bad quickly. 

Also keep in mind that some companies allow you to temporarily suspend your subscription while you’re away instead of outright cancelling. This can save you a lot of headaches when you return. And of course, make sure to resubscribe to everything once you’re back home. 

Consider Adjusting Your Mobile Plan 

Mobile phones are a necessary expense for the vast majority of people. However, depending on your mobile service, you may be charged extra for international usage. If you’re travelling internationally, this can be a significant added expense. 

Adjust your mobile phone plan before your backpacking trip to avoid hassle on the road

Adjust your mobile phone plan before a long trip to avoid hassle on the road

Before your long trip, review your mobile plan and see if you have coverage in other countries and if there are additional fees. If your provider doesn’t enable service where you’re traveling, you can consider buying a prepaid phone to keep in contact with others during the trip. 

If you need suggestions, ask other long-term travelers who have visited the area for their suggestions for remaining connected during your trip. In the case that you don’t know anyone personally, consider looking at online forums and sites about how to manage your mobile plan abroad.

Have Someone to Check on Your Home 

If you can’t or don’t want to rent out your home, finding a house sitter is an important step in securing your home. There are several options for making sure your home is safe while you’re away. For example, you could ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member to check in on your home once a week to make sure nothing is out of place. 

When this isn’t an option, there are also several services that will match you up with a person to house-sit your living space. These services offer verified sitters and support and communication through an app. These apps are especially helpful for pet owners because they often offer veterinary support in case something goes wrong. Regardless of who you choose to watch your home, remember to provide them with keys and anything they will need as well as a list of things to look out for. 

Going on a long trip is an excellent way to see the world, stay in shape and make lifelong friends. Although the preparation for a trip may be stressful, follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way in no time.

Being physically active with your partner is a great way to strengthen your relationship and share each other’s interests. Whether you’re already an avid backpacker or you’ve never tried it before, going backpacking as a couple can help you to feel closer than ever.

Let’s face it, everyone is busy. Combine that with these uncertain times we’re living in, and stress is running rampant. According to the American Institute of Stress, 33% of people claim to have extreme stress.

Being in a strong relationship can help with that, and spending time staying active outdoors is a great way to boost your mental health, get more energy, and fall even more in love with your partner.

But, to get closer in your relationship, it’s going to take more than packing a few granola bars and hitting the trail. Let’s cover a few ways you can actively use backpacking as a couple to get closer and enjoy the personal benefits along the way.

A Romantic Getaway for Two

In a world of social media, smartphones, and constantly being bombarded by news, it can be beneficial to “get away” for a while. Backpacking is a great way to unplug and go off the grid, even for a day.

You can also choose to make a trip out of it by using it as an excuse to celebrate a special event, like an anniversary. Camping or backpacking as a couple are wonderful ways to reconnect with your partner away from the rest of the world.

While expensive dinners have their place, there is no better way to strengthen your bond than to go hiking during the day and share a tent at night. If you’re backpacking on a budget, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Borrow your camping gear
  • Bring your own firewood
  • Cook in bulk
  • Bring bedding from home

What sounds more romantic than talking and drinking a glass of wine around a campfire or huddling together for warmth while sharing a sleeping bag? You’ll definitely get closer to your partner – literally and figuratively!

A Staycation to Remember

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s travel plans for nearly two years. While things are starting to open up and return to normal, not everyone feels comfortable flying or going to new locations just yet.

The good news?

You can save money, stay safe, and might even have a better time by planning a staycation with your partner. By staying around your own community, you can enjoy things like:

  • A spa day
  • A movie night
  • City tours
  • Checking out local farmers markets
  • Going to museums

Spending time outdoors is another great way to appreciate your town or city. By going on a camping trip at a local park or in the woods, you can enjoy a long hike together during the day, cook a meal together in the evening, and do some romantic stargazing away from the lights of the city before you go to bed.

A staycation can be just as magical and memorable as hopping on a plane and heading somewhere new. So, get creative with the things you can do, and if you love being active and spending time outdoors, make sure to include plenty of backpacking activities in your plans.

Lean on Each Other

Even if you’re an active couple, you might be new to the world of backpacking or hiking. That makes it the perfect opportunity to get closer.

When you go backpacking as a couple, you’ll have to rely on things like strong communication, divvying up responsibilities, and leaning on each other for support.

In some ways, it can be a challenge. You might reach your physical limits. You might even argue over which way to go on the trail. But, there is no better time to openly communicate and work through things.

By the end of it, you might even surprise yourself with how much better you feel and how much stronger your relationship is after backpacking as a couple.

When it’s just the two of you, and you’re not distracted by work, a social life, or even digital devices, you’ll have the opportunity to build on your connection and really get to learn more about each other, no matter how long you’ve been together.

Maybe you’ll have conversations you’ve been holding back for a long time. Maybe you’ll find out something that you didn’t know about your partner before. Being out in nature can help to clear your head while reducing stress, so both of you might be willing to be more vulnerable.

If you’ve never gone camping or backpacking as a couple, don’t wait. Take your passion for staying active and being outdoors, and use it to strengthen your relationship. Keep these tips in mind to get closer, have fun, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Though we’re willing to bet once you experience the benefits of backpacking as a couple, you’ll want to do it again and again!

Being on an airplane is not fun for most people as you’re usually dealing with staying seated for many hours, being in proximity with a lot of other travelers, and probably being quite bored. Frequent travelers however have a personalized list of things they do to make even long haul flights bearable and productive. Here are a few easy air travel tips to follow to ensure your next long flight is as enjoyable and as comfortable as it can possibly be.

1. Get Airline Status

Many people may fly fairly frequently but will never have applied for airline status. Airline status is calculated by the number of miles you have flown with any airline and on that basis, you can qualify for certain benefits like extra storage weight, a special shorter line for boarding and the occasional upgrade to first class.

Depending on the airline, you could enjoy a happier flight with perks like discounts or window seats.

2. Set Yourself Up For Comfort

The hours leading up to the flight are crucial preparation. One of the most basic air travel tips to set yourself up for a long flight, is to make sure you plan ahead.

Have your packing done in a timely fashion, so you aren’t running around stressed trying to get everything done, and having your paperwork in order helps you depart from home in a relaxed mindset.

For flying purposes, leave the fashion to one side and wear really comfortable clothing. Tracksuits, sweatshirts, and even pajama bottoms may not be the most visually appealing clothes, but they are going to be a lifesaver on a long, cramped flight.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For What You Need

If you are concerned about your seat being uncomfortable or if you get thirsty more than the average person, you need to voice your needs and not be afraid to ask for a reassigned seat, and extra water or snacks.

Ideally, you should try to pack homemade food and healthy snacks like granola bars or trail mix. Ask the airline can you fly with edibles beforehand, as they could have restrictions you don’t know about.

4. Keep The Entertainment Ready

One of the most basic air travel tips to follow for all your long flights (especially if you make a habit of booking your seat early to get a better one) is to have all your electronics with you fully charged.

If you have a streaming service subscription like Netflix, download a few movies or series that you can watch on the long flight. The same goes for books and games on your tablet or Kindle.

Many people prefer reading electronically since books take up too much space, but they could be a good idea if you get headaches from excessive screen usage. Blue light glasses are important for a long flight if you’re planning to use your laptop or tablet for a long time.

5. Get Some Sleep

Contrary to popular opinion, a long flight is the best place to catch up on your sleep. One of the best air travel tips for long flights is to get some earplugs, a nice eye mask, and simply doze off. The hours will slip by, and you’ll wake up refreshed when you reach your destination.

If you’ve got a fun hike coming up, it’s easy to feel like a kid on Christmas morning. The excitement and anticipation are unmatched for those who love hitting the trails, and that’s never a bad thing. The more passionate you are about hiking, the better! But, that passion and excitement can also cause you to overlook certain things as you prepare for your trek, leading to common hiking injuries.

You might forget to pack the right essentials, or you might hit the trail with gusto and go at a pace that could be damaging to your body, especially if you’re new to the world of hiking.

The health benefits of backpacking – both mental and physical – are incredible. The last thing you want is to turn them upside down and injure yourself or feel stressed out on the trail because you’re not taking your time or practicing preparedness.

So, what can you do to prevent common hiking injuries? Furthermore, how can you deal with aches and pains that still might occur, despite your best efforts?

Practice Proper Preparation

Avoiding discomfort and injury starts before your hike actually begins. You might be excited to get on your favorite trail, but taking the time to prepare and center yourself is important.

That starts with making sure you’re properly packed. Your backpack should include:

  • Navigation tools
  • Adequate water
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Rain protection
  • Safety items (fire starter, flashlight, whistle)
  • First aid kit
  • Sun protection

That might sound like a lot, but they are very basic items that won’t weigh you down too much and will help to keep you safe and comfortable.

It’s also important to have the right gear on your body. Don’t bust out your brand new hiking boots the day you plan on hitting a long trail. You don’t know how they’ll fit, and if they’re new, they could cause blistering and discomfort.

Instead, wear something you know you can walk in for miles. Wear clothing that breathes and doesn’t irritate you. And, make sure you’re carrying extra socks if your feet get wet or sweaty.

How to Avoid Common Hiking Injuries

If you’re a seasoned hiker, you might know about some common hiking injuries and how to avoid them. But, it’s always good to remind yourself of the potential risks out there. If you’re a novice, learning more about these injuries will help you be more aware when you’re on your trek.

First, it’s important to take stock of how you feel before you head out on your hike. Medical conditions don’t have to stop you from heading out. In fact, regular exercise is a great way to manage the symptoms of many conditions, like GERD.

But, listen to your body. If you’re in pain or not feeling well before you start, it might be better to reschedule your hike. No one wants to experience GERD symptoms during a hike.

If you’re feeling good and already out on the trail, keep your eyes open. Some of the most common injuries are easy to avoid as long as you’re paying attention, including:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Insect bites/stings
  • Poisonous plants
  • Dehydration

It’s not only important to pay attention to your surroundings, but yourself, too. Periodically “check-in” with yourself. Think about how you’re feeling. Are you tired? Take a break. Thirstier than you realized? Drink some water. When was the last time you applied sunscreen? Put on another layer.

By paying attention to yourself and the things around you, you’re less likely to get injured or experience discomfort right away or when you get home.

Recover the Right Way

Speaking of getting home, preventing discomfort doesn’t stop when you’re off the trail.

Hiking is an intense workout, especially if you do it all day in the blistering sun. Taking the time to properly recover is hugely important.

To make sure you’re doing that, start by staying as hydrated as possible. Keep drinking water frequently throughout the next day to restore your energy levels and make sure your muscles are hydrated.

Additionally, eat the right things. Working out impacts your muscles, and stretching afterward might help them feel less tight, but they are depleted after a hike. Proper nutrition is the best way to restore them.

There are no hard and fast rules about exactly which foods to consume. But, you’ll want to include plenty of healthy protein, fats, and carbs. That can be found in everything from tuna to avocados. Eat what you enjoy, but make sure it’s benefiting your body, rather than depleting it further.

If you’re dealing with a common hiking injury and trying to recover, rest is best. If you get back on the trails too quickly, you could risk injuring yourself further.

When you’re ready, though, hiking can be a great way to ease back into a workout regiment after an injury or condition. For example, it’s a wonderful way to manage the effects of varicose veins without putting extra strain on your body.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to keep yourself safe and comfortable and avoid common hiking injuries. Staying prepared, knowledgeable, and smart about your recovery will allow you to keep that “kid on Christmas morning” mentality, so you can continue to hit the trails as often as possible.

The pandemic has put a chokehold on the economy, and with it, travel, business, and virtually every other aspect of modern life. COVID-19 has essentially changed the way we live our lives, forcing us to adapt to new definitions of normal with many limitations.

At the same time, the pandemic has allowed us to view (and travel) the world with an entirely new perspective, one that understands how fragile and fleeting life on Earth can be, and one that recognizes how reckless we have been.

There are many risks involved with traveling right now, like, for instance, landing in Thailand’s Sandbox initiative, and there are many other reasons to want to wait until things clear up to start going places.

Although the term ‘post-pandemic’ seems to be avoiding us, vaccinations and country-wide counter-measures are starting to show us the light at the end of the tunnel.

Pros of Travelling during the Pandemic

photo of a group of friends having fun while exploring the Dolomites

Photo by Felix Rostig on Unsplash

People are very hesitant to travel right now—and with good reason. Although rising vaccination rates and diligent testing has been successfully enforced in many areas, the spread of new virus variants has made people wary of travel.

Since folks are less likely to travel cross-country, standard tourist hotspots are seeing less incoming traffic from foreigners, allowing room for visitors to enjoy and take in the scenery more deeply.

Some of the best options people have right now are to be found locally, but there’s a few reasons why ethically safe travel abroad could be a great option for those looking to feed their travel bug.

Less crowds

Less incoming traffic means more room for travelers to explore and get to know places in an unhurried, leisurely way.

More room for enjoyment

The shift from cross-country international travel to tighter, in-country restricted travel has caused people to adjust by spending more time indulging at their destination throughout their trips, whether it’s art, cuisine, history, or culture.

Not that we didn’t do this before, but now we’re seeing an increase in interest to explore places top to bottom.

Cheaper airfare and accommodations

Less flights going in and out of places means airlines are more likely to give discounts to travelers. Less hotel bookings can also mean more room availability, and therefore better rates and discounted prices for guests.

This has slowly changed as borders open up and more people take to the skies, but there are still many areas where the travel has had a slow start.

Cons of Travelling Right Now

black couple walking down a crowded street wearing masks

Photo by Uriel Mont from Pexels

This one is pretty obvious, but in case you were wondering what it’s like to travel during the pandemic, here’s what you can expect to find in most countries that are accepting tourists.

Less flexibility

  • Curfew in certain areas could mean your nights end at 9PM, that’s a huge chunk of fun in nightly destinations such as Las Vegas or Miami.
  • Bars could be closed as part of ongoing countermeasures, backed up by science.
  • Certain destinations require incoming travelers to isolate themselves for one or two days after arriving.
  • Many attractions, parks, and businesses are operating with limitations or not at all.

More risk

  • Risk of flight delays or cancellations
  • Risk of higher costs due to testing, delays, or hospitalizations
  • Risk of getting infected with COVID

General uncertainty

  • Rules may change suddenly
  • You can be infected with COVID and be asymptomatic
  • Online schedules are at a disarray

Travel Tips During the Pandemic

Weigh the pros and cons of travelling during the pandemic

Photo by Capturing the human heart. on Unsplash

Whether or not you decide to travel right now, you should always keep in mind that the pandemic isn’t over yet.

Before booking your flights, make sure you read up on your destination’s current COVID-19 situation and look up any relevant travel authorities for updates on their COVID-19 response so you know what to expect before you arrive.

As a rule of thumb, you should make plans to wear your mask and follow social distancing rules while visiting so that you help keep yourself and others safe during your stay.

There are many reasons to want to wait until things get better to travel, but there are also reasons for traveling right now that have to be acknowledged, like work- or family-related emergencies that require immediate attention.

Here’s a few tips for travelers who decide to postpone their adventures a while longer and some for those who don’t have a choice or just want to get out.

Do Travel (Don’t wait)

Don’t Travel (Wait)

Research your destination

  • Avoid crows
  • Use masks/social distancing
  • Read up on COVID response
  • Compare flight fares
  • Book early

Start budgeting early

  • Cut expenses
  • Set realistic goals
  • Take your time

Have a backup plan

  • Play it safe
  • Look into insurance

Take time to learn about your destination in advance

  • Learn about history and culture
  • Pinpoint places you want to visit
  • Figure out transportation

Keep an open mind

Make plans to fully immerse and enjoy yourself

Get vaccinated

Research travel credit cards/promotions that help you save on travel costs

If you do decide to hop on a plane in the near future, check out the CDC’s travel guidelines page for the latest information and updates to travel recommendations so you’re in the know.

Why Travel Insurance Helps

airplane aisle during flight

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

With the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers are facing a variety of new obstacles at the airport, as well as in hotels and check-ins throughout their trips.

As part of their COVID-19 safety and security response, some countries, like Thailand, Costa Rica, and Jamaica, are now requiring medical insurance coverage for travelers of up to $100K.

The best insurance coverage will provide you with a safety net that can protect your investment from the unexpected. As part of your insurance policy, you should expect coverage in the following areas:

  1. Trip Cancellation
  2. Delays
  3. Baggage Loss
  4. Hospitalizations
  5. Quarantines

Note: not all countries require hospitalization coverage, but having a solid backup plan can be useful in case a sudden outbreak pulls down the curtain on your plans.