Preparing for Lengthy Packless Travel
Travel for longer than a week requires particular preparation. In addition to the usual holding of mail and canceling of newspaper deliveries, longer-term travelers have learned to look further ahead. Bills may come due. Seasons may change. Supplies may run out. Packless Traveling adds the challenge of minimizing the “just take more stuff” solution. Here are some suggestions:
Clothes: Clothing needs may be too great to allow for strictly “packless” travel. You may need both dressy and casual clothes, especially shoes. You may be going to different temperature zones or staying long enough to experience a change of seasons. Perhaps you’ll need a shoulder bag, or even a rolling carry-on. But the goal should be the same: avoid unnecessary duplication. You can still wash socks and underwear each night and use the same T-shirt for the gym and (after washing!) the shopping trip.
If you are changing climates or social situations, consider wearing what you’ll need for the first segment, and mailing other items to yourself for later use. Mail home what you’ll no longer need.
Financial: Automatic bill-pay from bank accounts or to a credit card can solve many problems. Be sure the account balance will cover what’s coming. Looking through bank records can uncover items that might not immediately come to mind. (When are real estate taxes due, anyway?) If no automatic system will work, you can always pay ahead. Maybe you’ll even be lucky and return to find a credit balance.
You may be gone long enough to put a vacation hold on cable or satellite or Netflix subscriptions. Irregular deliveries (like propane) can be stopped.
Check card expiration dates. It’s not fun to have the new card in the stack of collected mail at home. To avoid having a fraud alert blocking your card, notify card issuers (including the ATM) of where you’ll be.
Supplies: The first line of defense is to be frugal with your space, recognizing that if you need something you probably can buy it there. There’s no need to pack the cold medicine and throat lozenges, “just in case.”
You may, however, choose to carry more of some items. Prescription medications usually can be replaced when in the home country, but only with hassle. We’re not willing to take even that risk when traveling internationally. With notice, you can gather a large enough supply ahead of the normal schedule. We’ve learned that finding the correct hearing aid batteries can be difficult, so take an extra pack.
You can travel packless, far, and long; it just takes a bit more planning.