Our Journey Part 3: The Countdown & Preparations To Leaving Home

Image by Graham Binns

One of the things I’m often asked about is what we do before we hit the road and so now we’re settled in Thailand, we can take a step back and review what we’ve done over the past few weeks as we’ve prepared to hit the road again with a baby…

Here is a list of the main things we’ve done so far (sort of in the order we’ve done them):

  1. Found tenants for & rented out our rental property
  2. Booked flights & confirmed accommodation
  3. Organised & taken Mali for her jabs
  4. Researched how baby-friendly our destination is
  5. Stocked up on essentials & things we know we can’t get
  6. Packed up our stuff into storage
  7. Packed our travel bags

For more details about what we did, why & how we did it, keep reading…

Renting Out A House

Our property was bought primarily as a long term investment (it’s our pension!) but was a handy place to live when we headed back to the UK to have our daughter. Now we’re back on the road again, we rent it out full time so we’ve had to find tenants and sort out the management of the property in our absence.

We don’t want to have to pay for a mortgage AND the rent on wherever we’re staying so it’s important that this piece of the puzzle is in place before we book flights & head off.

The timings on this are crucial…you don’t want to rent it out too early and leave yourself with nowhere to stay but equally you don’t want to have it unrented for several weeks/months after you’ve left. We put it on the market about 6 weeks before our ideal departure date and by the week after, it was rented out.

Tip: Consider renting out your property furnished to save on storage costs.

Booking flights & Accommodation

Having rented out our place, we could now confirm the flights & accommodation we’d researched earlier and start getting things booked. I’ll be writing more on how we manage the research & booking processes so watch out for those posts in the next few months.

Tip: Don’t commit to any flights or accommodation until everything back home is lined up & ready to go; but make sure you bookmark/save all the relevant emails in a separate folder so you can find them easily & finalise/confirm your arrangements as soon as you are ready to hit the road.

Vaccinations, Jabs & Health Preparations

As our daughter is still young, she’s not had all her jabs. In fact, we’ve chosen a different schedule to the NHS-prescribed one so we’re having most of them done privately.

Tip: If you’re thinking of travelling with kids or babies, make sure you leave plenty of time to have any jabs needed – and always ensure you give them enough time to recover from any adverse reactions prior to flying.

Research How Baby-Friendly A Destination Is

During our stay in Thailand, we’ll be weaning our daughter on to solids; it might not seem too big a deal but when you take into account all the advice about how to do it right (the equipment to use, how to sterilise said equipment, what food to give etc. etc.), it then throws up all sorts of challenges about whether you can get everything you need in your chosen destination.

Then of course there’s researching things like medical facilities, nearest emergency medical facilities, what other equipment (even simple things like same-brand nappies seem to differ wildly by country), clothing and more is available.

Tip: It’s worth doing your best to find out if you’ll be able to source any special stuff you might need and if not, consider taking it with you.

Packing Up Stuff & Putting It Into Storage

Our interim plan was to move in with my stepdad – who has a big house and plenty of space. Of course doing this with a young baby wasn’t ideal (for him either, I’m sure!) but we had no choice unless we wanted to find short term (expensive) furnished accommodation somewhere else.

We rented out our house fully furnished this time round, which meant we really only had the things we didn’t want them to have and our own personal effects to pack up and store.

We keep only a small amount of sentimental and expensive/precious/investment items in storage – and usually try and sell the rest on ebay or give things away to friends & family. This keeps storage costs down (usually calculated by floor/storage space). Last time round, we had a much bigger storage room (around 50sq ft) but this time, we only needed 25 sq ft.

Tip: It’s always worth asking for any special deals/offers the storage company can offer – and in particular if you can manage with an odd-shaped room, you can often negotiate a better deal.

Packing Travel Bags

Prior to having a baby, we were “last minute” packers – and could usually be seen packing into the early hours of the morning before we fly! Due to the shortage of sleep and the fact we both want to be relatively rested before we take the first flight with our baby girl, this time round we were determined this time to be fully packed a day or two in advance so we can spend the last day relaxing and sorting out any last minute bits & bobs (and we managed it too!).

We’re “no stuff” people and like to travel light – something people have scoffed at now we have a baby – “Oh you’ll never manage that” is a common remark we hear. However, we’ve managed to hit the road with 35kgs between us all (in two travel bag-style bags) and 2 laptop bags. Again, I’ll be writing more (with pics) about the things we’ve packed and how we manage to travel light.

Our Current Whereabouts…

We’ve arrived in one (well, three) piece(s) in Thailand – our home for the next few months. We had a week-long stop in Dubai to stay with my brother and help our daughter acclimatise to both the heat and the time zone change.

We’ve now been on the road for almost 2 weeks and have already learned tons and tons! Will hopefully be sharing it with you in the next post…

3 Responses to Our Journey Part 3: The Countdown & Preparations To Leaving Home

  1. Marc Littmann

    December 15, 2009 | 6:16 am

    My wife and I traveled around the world for a year right after 9/11 and are looking to head out again for some overseas adventure in the next year or two, working on location. But we now have a 4 year old daughter who has extensive food allergies. Do you know of any resources from others in similar situation? I foresee having the experience and then writing about it both as a blog and then a book if there is enough interest from others in the topic.

    thanks and have a wonderful trip!

    marc

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