And how did we prepare to this trip? It was a mountain of things to do and without doubt the fun part of the trip. Daunting and overwhelming at times but with a careful preparation it was possible to break it down to bite size, manageable pieces. The following, by no means exhaustive and not in chronological order, is our own ‘to do’ list. We hope it will be helpful to you if you plan your own trip.

  • Buy plane tickets to South America
  • Book hotel for first few nights in Ecuador
  • Buy travel insurance
  • Make a will
  • Ensure we are up to date with vaccinations: booster jabs or complete courses for yellow fever, rabies, hepatitis, tetanus and typhoid
  • Research about malaria prevention: pros and cons of currently available tablets
  • Organise comprehensive landlord breakdown cover for heating, plumbing and electrics
  • Market our property with estate agents to find the tenants
  • Arrange a deferral / homeschooling agreement for Mateusz with the secondary school; letter sent to the headteacher; unfortunately the request has not been granted and we were advised to make a new application on our return
  • Inform local authority education welfare service about the fact that our son will be absent from school for a year
  • Attend Travel Show to discuss the ideas and search for advice about our travel plans
  • Visit the dentist before we leave the UK
  • Storage for our car and belongings: we are eternally grateful to our auntie who allowed us to use her garage as the storage space
  • Cancel TV licence, the landline phone, internet and mobile numbers
  • Apply for international driving licence
  • Research about the most cost effective way to use money abroad
  • Inform the bank about our travels so that our credit cards are not blocked due to suspicious foreign activity
  • Purchase foreign currency
  • Apply for British citizenship and passports before the departure
  • Scan all the documents i.e. passports, insurance certificate, credit cards numbers and contact details in case they are lost or stolen
  • Enquire with the life insurance providers whether our life covers are still valid while we are in South America
  • Cancel trade union membership
  • Write to welfare benefits so that the Child Benefit is put on hold
  • Buy new backpacks, shoes, clothes and travel gear
  • Compile packing list and first aid kit
  • Apply for Post Office mail redirection service
  • Going paperless with the remaining bills wherever possible
  • Start with the blog

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