Empty condo

My place looking very empty

Since I had ample time to prepare for my trip, I am now about as prepared as I could be or would want to be. Here are some of the major logistical items that I addressed before leaving:

  • Rent my condo
    This involved finding a property manager to take care of “landlord” things while I am gone. Fortunately, I found a good one who made the process of finding a renter and moving out virtually painless. I also revoked homestead status on my property with Hennepin county so I won’t have to pay state taxes while I’m abroad.
  • Move out
    This was less difficult that I expected. Since my condo is fairly small (~750 square feet), it took around 3-4 days of 2-3 hours of cleaning, packing, and getting rid of my stuff. I gave away my couch and bed and threw away or donated everything else that I didn’t need. It actually felt really good to eliminate a lot of my stuff. Luckily, I am also able to store some things at my parents’ house, which is where I’m living now for the month of December.
  • Get travel shots
    It turned out that I didn’t need any shots, just some typhoid pills. I also got some malaria pills to take in case I travel to any rural areas that are malaria zones.
  • Travel insurance
    I went with World Nomads for this. They provide basic health and emergency coverage. It cost around $1,000 for the whole year.
  • Other insurance
    I canceled my car and health insurance and switched my homeowner’s insurance to renter’s insurance.
  • Renew passport
    Since it had been over 10 years since my first passport was issued, I needed to get a new one.
  • Get Visa for Vietnam
    Like other countries such as Brazil, China, and India, Vietnam requires a visa on arrival. So I got a 90-day, multiple entry visa. I used VisaHQ, which took about a week (non-expedited) and cost around $220.
  • Transfer title of car to mom
    I decided to “gift” my car my mom so I have a ride if I need one when I get back to the states.
  • Cancel memberships/subscriptions
    Some of what I cancelled or need to cancel are my Internet (Comcast), co-working (CoCo), phone service (Verizon), and CrossFit (TwinTown Fitness).
  • Buy stuff
    The major purchases I made were a backpack, cell phone, and laptop. I also bought smaller items such as a travel towel, filtration water bottle, earplugs, and some clothes.
  • Have mail forwarded to my parents’ address
    I notified USPS to send all mail from my previous address to my parent’s house so I won’t lose any mail.
  • Cancel and organize credit cards
    I cancelled all but one personal and one business card that carry annual fees. Over the past few years, I have signed up for numerous credit cards to get frequent flyer miles and points with different rewards programs. But next year I plan on using just one personal card (Chase Sapphire Preferred) that has no foreign transaction fees. I will also keep a backup card or two.
  • Open a checking account
    I opened a Schwab checking account because they reimburse all ATM fees, both domestically and internationally. I plan on putting a lump sum of cash in there before I leave so I can track exactly how much money I’ve spent throughout the year.

That’s pretty much the entire list of what I did to get ready for long-term, indefinite travel. Not so bad when you think about it!