To-Do’s and Ta-Done’s

Trees Have Leaves!

Trees Have Leaves!

I think today marks the longest I have been out of work since I left school.  In 16 years, I only took a 2-week vacation once, and even then it felt weird.  A few times I worked away from the office for a week then took a week off, but I have never been away from my job more than 14 working days.  Sad but true: the longer the vacation, the deeper the river of @#$! you have to wade through when you get back.

That being said, I may have worked harder in the last two weeks than I ever did on the job.  There have been so many things to try to remember before we leave (now 10 days away!).  For the hopeful traveler, I thought I would list some of the things we had to nail down.  This will be a long list, so read on if you are serious about travelling long-term, of if you think you might need further confirmation that I am an obsessive planner.  I will try to build links from this page as I have time.  Let the list begin!

  • Travel Insurance
  • International and Domestic Medical Insurance
  • Vaccinations
  • Stock up on prescription meds
    • We saved a fortune using GoodRx
  • Get International Driver’s Licences
    • AAA does this for members for $15
  • Notify State Department of travel plans
  • Notify Credit and Debit card banks of travel plans
  • Update Wills
  • Forward all mail to someone reliable
    • Leave deposit slips and arrange for paying odd bills with the same someone
  • Get multiple (10-12 each) extra passport photos for various countries
    • AAA does this for Plus members for free – instantly makes up for the fees
  • Register for home-school
    • Meet with School Counselor to make sure the kids get as many credits as possible by the end of the trip
    • Digitize as much school stuff as possible to take paperless
  • Back up computers and photos
  • Download digital flash cards and apps like ICOON for languages that you don’t speak
  • Take off all rings (easier said than done for some of us 🙂 )
  • Drop Car Insurance – zero benefit overseas
  • Drop Renter’s/Homeowner’s Insurance – all our stuff is in storage
  • Insure Stuff in storage
  • Drop domestic medical insurance
  • Cancel all utilities
    • Fight with utilities about bogus charges
  • Find someone to start your car(s) every week or so.  Our someone will even drive them around the yard (they will not be tagged or insured for driving on the road) to make sure the wheels, battery, etc. stay OK.
  • Sell/rent/sublet your house to avoid paying extra while gone
  • Get rid of as much stuff as possible
  • Confirm that you know ALL of your online banking passwords and PINs
  • Set up separate checking account that has no international ATM fees
    • Set up smallish bi-weekly/monthly auto-deposits to this account from your main account.  If this card is hacked/stolen, the bad guys will not have a link back to your main accounts.
  • Get credit card(s) with no foreign exchange fees
  • Find sitters for your pets (Mercedi and Sara – y’all are the best!)
  • Maybe just 4Laffs – Pack, move all stuff, swear that you will never buy anything ever again, take advantage of friends and family by moving in with them for the last few weeks before you leave, over-use their internet plans, watch as your 14-year-old eats all of their food, get caught sneaking to the bathroom mostly naked, pretend it’s not uncomfortable, have a few tense moments with your kids (like, you are with them, like, all the time now), and then, while sitting on the back porch of a friend’s house typing a blog post – notice again that each tree actually has an amazing number and wonderfully varied color of leaves, that in August heat every breeze is a little slice of bliss to savor, that the hum of a landscaper’s weed-eater is a reminder that you are presently not the one sweating and working hard to make ends meet, and realize that you are – honestly – living the dream.

-ALaff 8/21/15


2 thoughts on “To-Do’s and Ta-Done’s

  1. David Carr

    Maybe set up a 2nd emergency checking account with a $1000 or so with a different atm card and pin. Just in case. You probably already thought of this contingency. We just had Michelle’s atm card cloned (or something) after our trip to Mexico – I have a 2nd checking account with a different atm card that I can transfer money to via electronic banking which has been useful and so I dont have to use cash advance on a credit card.

    1. 4laffs Post author

      Thanks David. We were actually planning on our Credit Cards as a backup for cash advances, since we have the PINs – but you are making me reconsider! Right now, the card we are carrying will get credited every 2 weeks with some spending money. If it gets stolen/cloned, the impact would be minimized, but the hassle might be worth a second one. I also need to see if we still have until the end of the month without penalty from the credit cards for advances. If so, it would make me feel better about our plan. If not, the 2nd bank card would be a must.

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