Posted 10 Apr, 2012 | 6 Comments
Posted in: Planning, Travel Blogs

Figuring out what needs to be done before heading off on a trip can be a daunting task.  Apart from deciding where to go, what type of backpack you should buy, what you should pack and how much money you will need, there are so many things that will need to be researched and looked into.  Check out this list for some tips:

UPDATE – Check out our latest post from 2016: Preparing For a World Trip, the Traveller’s Checklist

  • Take a look at the current political situation for each country.  Government websites are usually over-the-top about security and slightly paranoid, but still, you need to be aware of what’s going on.
  • Find out if the required visas for each country are obtainable on arrival, or if you need to get one in advance in your home country. You can order your visa directly from the bottom or the right of this page through VisaHQ, the most trusted online travel visa provider.
  • Research which vaccinations are required and/or are recommended.  Some vaccinations need to be administered well in advance to departure.
  • Look into different Travel Insurance Companies to find one that works for you.  We use WorldNomads, they are a great deal and have good coverage.  You can apply directly from Goats On The Road at NO EXTRA CHARGE to you. Apply to the right of this page, or at the bottom.
  • Check the weather patterns for the countries you want to travel to.  You don’t want to be in the Middle East in the summer or Nepal in the winter!
  • Figure out if you can enter your chosen countries by land, or if you’ll need to fly?  Booking your first flight or two ahead of time could end up saving you a lot of money.
  • Find out how much money you will need per day/per month/per year.  Include costs like visas, flights, accommodation, food, transportation, entertainment and anything extra (diving, safaris, seeing any expensive sights, etc.).  Check out Our Travel Style to get information and details about our budget for the countries we’ve been to.
  • Go into your bank and talk to them about a ‘travel bank account/overseas account’.  ATM withdrawal fees from the local machine can cost a fortune while away.  So, on top of that, you will want to avoid having your bank charge you per withdrawal as well.  In Canada, we have an account with TD Canada Trust.  No withdrawal fees – if $5000 is kept in the account at all times, otherwise, there is a $30/month fee.
  • Check to see if you will need an International Driver’s Permit.  Some countries require you to have one when renting a vehicle, some do not.

Planning A Trip Now?

Goats On The Road provides some simple tools to save you time and money!

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To-Do List: Before Backpacking

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Written by

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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6 thoughts on “To-Do List: Before Backpacking

  1. There’s lots to do before a trip, that’s for sure. Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for the comment!

  2. Hey guys, as a fellow backpacker committed to traveling for the longterm, I dig the site, especially the guides that give new ideas for future destinations.

    Couple a questions here regarding travel insurance that perhaps you could help me with as I am a fellow Canadian 🙂 I have been abroad now for 20 months, 8 without insurance. All the companies I have investigated (that insure Canadians) require you also be insured by the province. After 6 months outside of Canada you are no longer insured by the province, unless you make a special demand to be insured for 1 year (you can do this once every 7 years). It seems to me no company can help me which is very unfortunate ( not even nomads). So unless I return to Canada to be reinsured (not an option), I will continue living/travelling abroad uninsured. What have you two done????


  3. Hey Darryl,

    Well, being from Alberta, we are able to be out of the country for 2 years before our Provincial coverage expires. So, we’ve been able to use AB healthcare with World Nomads and another co. However, this isn’t a long term option because we don’t come back to Canada often enough to reset the provincial healthcare anymore.

    We’re not sure if we’ll get insurance for future travels. Depending on where you are in the world (Mexico, Thailand, etc.) the cost of medical care if something were to happen (which is pretty unlikely) is quite low.

    The other (perhaps more responsible) option is to get “expat insurance”. It’s more costly than tourist insurance and there are some limitations on what it covers. Check out this link from our friend Nora at the Professional Hobo, she has lots of info on this matter:

    Happy long term travelling 🙂

  4. Thanks for the quick and helpful reply. The whole insurance thing doesn’t normally bother me so much. But I will be living Australia soon, and healthcare is very expensive there, and I enjoy doing high risk sports, so its probably a good idea 🙂

  5. I didn’t realize healthcare in OZ was so expensive…and ya, there are numerous high risk sports available there! Definitely have a look into expat insurance. I hope you figure something out that works for you.

    Good luck and safe travels.

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