A 1-year, step-by-step plan to quit your job + sell your stuff + travel the world

quit your job and travel

You know you want to take a big, epic, multiple month trip.  But where do you even start with something like that?  Somewhat ridiculously, I’ve sold my worldly belongings and set out to travel the world five (!) times.  Here’s a very basic break down of how you can do the same.

1 Year Plan to Quit Your Job and Travel the World

One year out
1. Start saving money
* Determine how much you’re going to need for your trip
* How can you save that money? Where can you cut back?
2. Start thinking about where you want to go
* What places speak to you? Where do you have connections? Where can you travel cheaply?
3. Start bringing your A-game at work
4. Start talking about your trip
* Sharing your goals with people will help you maintain the enthusiasm and make you more likely to actually follow throughSix months out
1. Check in on your nest-egg
* How are you doing? Will you have enough saved by the time your departure date rolls around? If not, reign in your spending even more or get a second job
2.  Let your friends and contacts know that you’re thinking of visiting them
3.  Start looking at ticket prices and booking agencies
4.  Sketch out a rough guide of where you’d like to go and how long you’d like to be there
*  Look into the weather/festivals/etc that will be happening while you’re there, adjust plans as needed
5. If you don’t want to travel alone, start looking for a travel partner or looking into different programs that you take part in while your in your host countryFour months out
1. Start looking into visas and immunizations
* How much will they cost? Which ones do you need? Where can you get them? Are they covered by your insurance? How long are they good for?
2. Stay in touch with the contacts and friends you’ll be visiting.
3. Keep an eye on your nest-egg and adjust your spending as needed
4. Apply for any work or volunteer programs that you’re interested in, in your destination countriesThree months out
1. Apply for a passport if you don’t already have one.
*  Double check that your current passport will be valid for at least six months after the entry into your final destination
2. Buy your luggage
*  Buy packing cubes

3. Start looking for travel appropriate clothes – comfortable, somewhat conservative, easy to wash, hide stains well, layer-able
4. Book your ticket
5. Look into your credit card company’s policies on international purchases
6. Think about what you actually want to do while you’re at your destination. Try not to overschedule yourself
7. Start studying any applicable languages

Two months out
1. Start applying for visas (as long as they don’t activate as soon as they’re issued to you)
2. Start going through your things and weeding out items you don’t need.
*  Decide what you’re going to sell and what you’re going to store or loan to friends
* Decide how much you’ll charge for the items you’re going to sell. If it’s a seasonal item or something you use very irregularly, sell it now.
*Talk to the people who will be storing or borrowing your items and establish each party’s expectations
3. Put in notice on your apartment or start looking for subletters
4. Talk to your employer about your trip
A. Can you have a leave of absence? Can you do any contract work for them while you’re abroad? How can you help make this transition easy for them?
5. Set your reoccurring bills to auto deduct from your bank account
6. Make suitable arrangements if you’re going to be gone during tax season
7. Apply for a Paypal debit card (can be used in any ATM that accepts Mastercard, gives you 1% on all purchases, charges 1% on international ATM withdrawls, withdraws directly from your Paypal account)
8. Check out applicable guidebooks from your local library, purchase one guide (for each country) that you really like

One month out
1. Start selling off things that you don’t use on a daily basis.
* Start putting things into storage that you don’t use on a daily basis
2. Get your immunizations and prescriptions for all applicable travel medications
* Make copies of all immunization records and prescriptions to take with you
* Assemble your travel medicine kit
3. Assemble your travel wardrobe
A. Pack up your luggage and walk around the block with it four times. Repack as needed.
4. Check in with the friends that you’ll be visiting. Is there anything from your home country that they’d like you bring?
5. Check in with the people you will be loaning things to. Is everything still on?
6. Contact your bank and credit card companies and tell them you’ll be traveling
7. Make copies of all pertinent financial information and give it to someone trustworthy
8. Let all of your professional contacts know that you’ll be traveling for the next while but you look forward to catching up with them when you return
9. Check into the exchange rate
10. Book the accommodation for your first night at your first destination
*Can they pick you up at the airport? If not, look into how much a taxi should cost from the airport to your hostel. Are the unofficial taxis safe?
11. Look into any ground transportation that you’ll be using while you travel.
*How much can you expect to pay for the train between Mumbai and Bangalore? How often does it run? Are there sleeper cars?
12. Get extra copies of passport photos to take with you for any documents you need to get at border crossings

Two weeks out
1. Sell all applicable belongings
2. Store all applicable belongings
3. Arrange to have mail forwarded to family or trust worthy friend
4. Be finished with your job. You’ll want to spend this time tying up loose ends and saying goodbye to people
5. Give family members a copy of your itinerary as well as all applicable phone numbers and addresses
6. Load up your phone with pictures of friends and family to look at when you’re feeling homesick

One week out
1. Get the phone numbers and addresses of anyone you’ll be visiting, make sure they have your flight information
2. Confirm your accommodation reservation
3. Decide what you’re going to put in your carry-on. Make sure all liquids are three ounces or smaller and are in a clear, plastic bag.
4. Cancel any applicable services – internet, cable, cell phone, etc.
5. Cancel your car insurance if your car will be in storage while you’re gone
6. Confirm with any programs that you’re taking part in that they know when and where to expect you
7. Spend some time studying a map of your first destination city, so you’ll be at least vaguely familiar with the layout and the major landmarks
8. Get a travel-friendly haircut that will still look good when it’s dirty and unstyled

Have you ever traveled long-term?  Share you tips in the comments!

photo by Giuseppe Milo // cc

15 Comments

Liz

This is so helpful and inspiring – thank you!

For me, though, the most baffling part is the actual selling of all of your stuff – how and where do you do that so that it is profitable but not a huge hassle?

Reply
camanoe

My only additional suggestion would be when you make copies of your passport, visa(s), etc, go ahead and make a pdf scan of them, as well as any other pertinent info you would sorely miss if you lost your hardcopies and email it to yourself or put on a flashdrive. You can password lock the document if you want to be extra safe. I did this before our eight month sailing trip and it was great to be able to print out extra copies of everything when necessary (like, say, every time we checked into a new port) or if my stuff was ever stolen.
While scary to think about giving it all up and GOING, it really is a great idea and I recommend everyone to take that sabatical now and not later!

Reply
A King's Life - Digital Nomad Family

We are a family that chucked it all over 2 years ago to travel and live in beautiful places.
Selling our stuff was the first step after deciding to go and I've written quite a bit on the mental processing we went through before and after.
Check it out if you'd like.
http://www.akingslife.com/2012/05/selling-stuff-letting-go-of-ego-and-fear/

One of the greatest gifts that we have acquired from NOT owning a lot of stuff is that we spend our money and time on experiences instead. And those have been priceless!

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Lulu

Wow, this is definitely the voice of experience. There were tons of things I wouldn't even have thought of!

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This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experiences interesting/challenging/amazing things over here
. This post is actually from last year, but I thought it could be particularly helpful during this time of resolution-making and goal setting!

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