Before Leaving Home

“Travel is not really about leaving our homes, but leaving our habits.”- Pico Lyer

This is the moment you have been working on for months — maybe even years! Don’t spend the long flight second guessing yourself about what you forgot to do before you left home. Most likely, you did forget some things — but it will not be the end of the world and they should not stop you from having the adventure of a lifetime.

Here are a few ideas for things to do before leaving home:

Get a Haircut

True, haircuts will be much cheaper on the road, sometimes only $3, but you get what you pay for. Enough said.

Fill Your Gas Tank

If you are leaving a car at home, take care of it! A full tank is less likely to gather condensation if your car is parked for a long time. Also, you can almost count on gas costing more when you come home months later. If you will be gone over 30 days, add fuel stabilizer to the tank (different stuff than fuel injector cleaner) and have someone start it every couple of weeks to keep your battery from dying.

Deactivate Your Car Insurance

Once your car is parked, call your auto insurance provider and tell them to put your plan into “park” mode, which covers it only for theft. Doing so will greatly reduce your rates while gone. Only do this if no one else will be driving it!

Note: It is illegal in some U.S. states to own a car — even if it is not being driven — and not have active insurance. Your provider will be able to tell you.

Call Everyone Before Leaving Home

This may be your last chance to make calls on a good connection for free.

Confirm Your Flights and Check in

If you bought your tickets months in advance, it is a good idea to confirm your itinerary for any flight changes. Go ahead and check in electronically if it is possible to do so.

Don’t Add Stuff to Your Pack

As you sit around the final day at home and second guess yourself, it is tempting to stuff little extras into your pack and negate the hard work of packing light. Don’t do it!

Take a “Before” Picture Before Leaving Home

Just for fun, have someone take a picture of you wearing your pack, getting ready for your big life adventure. I could visibly see a difference in myself when I returned. No joke.

Suspend Your Phone

If you are not carrying it with you for international roaming (an expensive idea anyway), contact your mobile phone provider and see if it is possible to suspend your service or change your plan to the lowest possible rate to save money while gone. Sometimes these are called “emergency modes” and lower your bill drastically.


All your work and effort is about to pay off big. It can be stressful getting ready to leave behind everything that you know to jump into the unknown. All first-time international travelers go through the doubt, culture shock, and homesickness. It will all seem so insignificant in the years to come.

Happy travels!


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