FIRST Cover Your Logistical Bases Before You Leave
Nora does an amazing job of covering things like important tax, legal, healthcare, residency, voting, and document saving 10x better than I want to. It’s a bit of a dry article compared to this one, but these things are important enough that I think you should open the tab and read it after you read some hilarious real world stories of shit that went wrong in my travels. Don’t worry, I recovered from all of them.
Why I Bring 5 Bank Cards
Imagine your on a small island in Thailand at the end of a trip. You got to take cash out, and the ATM spits out your card with no explination, other than Thai text that fills the screen.
There are no banks, only ATM’s on the island, and none of the banks are Canadian anyways, so it wouldn’t matter.
It’s a 6 hour boat ride, and a 8 hour bus ride to the nearest bank. Not that it matters because you don’t have enough physical cash for that trip. You’ve been traveling for 8 months, and after being in Bali for 6 months, 2 of your bank cards are completely locked by your bank because they’ve been compromised by fraudulent ATM card scanners and are in danger of being completely drained at any given moment. You don’t keep cash in those accounts anymore.
The one remaining card you brought has a block on it, but it’s still working because you can call your bank, have them temporarily remove the block for an hour, you pray the hackers don’t notice or choose that exact moment to try to take out cash, you do your transaction and then the bank locks it again.
But that card isn’t working today. Even unlocked, NONE of the ATM’s will even register that it’s in the machine or take your pin, never mind actually give you cash. Maybe the ATM is out of cash, maybe the gods hate you, but it’s more likely it’s your card.
Your bank certainly won’t mail your card to Thailand, and your new cards will take 3+ weeks to make it to the nearest big city (which you still can’t get to without the cash you need)
Also, it’s almost dinner time, and you and your kid are hungry.
What do you do?
You ask at the local co-working space if anyone is Canadian, when you find them, you approach them to ask an awkward favour. Can you help me get money out? Can I send you $400 CAD via etransfer, and you can take it out of the ATM for me?
You have to trust that this stranger will keep their word, get you your money, and you’ll be okay.
Don’t get caught out like this. Make sure your bank knows you’re traveling (or they might lock your card)
Bring extra cards incase yours gets locked and it takes you 2-30 days to figure it out with your bank in Canada.
ALWAYS GET MORE CASH 5-10 DAYS BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY NEED IT.
The best extra card is one with no foreign bank fees. I love Koho because they are a company that wants to change the face of banking. You can even open it online. https://app.koho.ca/referral/5D8S470L
Make sure you can afford to be there BEFORE you arrive
There’s nothing worse than landing in Madrid Spain and realizing that a coffee and a croissant will cost you $15 CAD, there’s nothing gluten free on the menu, and the hostel you’d planned on staying at doesn’t let children stay in shared dorms, meaning your 11 Euro bunk bed is now a mandatory 56 Euro ROOM, and your prepaid room is no longer prepaid, but hella expensive. You have $200 in your account for food, shelter and hopefully seeing the sights over the next 6 days. True story.
What do you do?
The solution was to pay for the 1 night at the hostel, then spend a few hours of frantically messaging people on CouchSurfing.com, until I found a VERY kind Spanish man who took us in and treated us like gold for the days we were with him. By the way, people are incredibly kind to traveling moms & kids.
NomadList has a great guide on what you should expect to pay to be in many of the best spots.
Travel Tested Health Insurance aka. First Aid Items
While I’ve never actually traveled with health insurance, and we’ve never had anything worse than a staphylococcus skin infection, parasites (you probably have them too right now by the way), an unexpected pregnancy, and mosquito bites (oh and then dengue), all of those I handled with natural plant based medicine, or over the counter (ie under $50, minimal dr intervention) medications.
These are the items I swear by, and always travel with to handle any issue. https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1KUZCX63DP6BS?ref_=wl_share
I’ll also say, it helps a bunch to not eat meat, processed sugars, or alcohol.
You don’t need health insurance, but if me saying that gives you the heebie-jeebies, then you DO, because anxiety breeds accidents. (if you want help resolving this anxiety for good, book a call with me)
So if you do really want health insurance use https://safetywing.com/ or https://www.worldnomads.com/ You can start using them when you are outside your country of orgin too, which is unique to insurance companies.
Get the Best Flight Prices by Booking One Way or Nomad Tickets
Use Kiwi.com to get your one way ticket.
Some countries will require proof of online travel, so a quick google search “what are the visa entry requirements for XX country” will let you know if you need that. You can then have a backup “fake” ticket ready for when you need it.
There are a number of services that have sprung up in the last few years. Choose your own.
Get MASSIVE Discounts on Longer Term (1-6 month) rentals
Locate Accommodation on AirBNB for your first 2 weeks. (use the price sliders to choose only the listings that are in your budget, or you’ll get “luxury envy” I guarantee it.
Once you’re there find a local place via the grandma method, or the facebook method.
Facebook search for “(Ubud or name of your town) Longterm Rentals” and then look for what you want to find.
Use The Knowledge of Others & Find Friends
Families in Mexico https://www.facebook.com/groups/1889482044672683/
Arcturian/Pleiadian Starseed Community https://www.facebook.com/groups/342683132960718
We are Worldschoolers Events https://www.facebook.com/groups/299731590638407
Ubud Events https://www.facebook.com/groups/701570479882385/
Ubud Night and Day: What to do and Where to go! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1031355626884446
Burning Man Global https://www.facebook.com/groups/2209575143
Be Able to Handle Paperwork Back Home
Make sure you setup the bank of mom (ie, get your mom to handle opening your mail and give her shared access to an account so she can cash cheques for you, and handle money things that might need you to be physically present. Remember to say thank you.
You can also Docusign most things if you ask (it’s legally binding, and I used it to buy a car remotely once.. yes.. for real), or digitally fax papers you print and sign (helpful when dealing with govt agencies who want fax.
When you pack your bag, bring only what you would bring to a friends house for an overnight. Everything else you can pick up along the way.
“One can recognize an expert traveler more by what they leave at home than what they carry in their suitcase.”