Get your ducks in a row before a travel assignment

26 Mar

Before embarking on your travel therapist adventure, the list of “Things to Do” is overwhelming. What I found to be the most daunting was planning ahead for those things that come up scattered throughout the year.  Although traveling within the US means anything you may forget to pack is likely accessible while you’re away from home base (or maybe you can just go without it!), there are things that are better not to be stuck without. Depending on how long you will be away from your home area, you can prioritize what needs to be handled in advance, what may come up on the road, and what can wait ’til you’re return.

These are the “big ones” I came up with before I got on the road for the next 7 months:

Vehicle inspections, registrations, maintenance:  For inspections, you may have to get them done early if you’re not going to be in your home state when they are due.  If your registration is due while away, can you renew online?  If not, be sure our mail is being forwarded appropriately.  Finally, if you have a relationship with a good car repair shop, like I do, assess what routine maintenance items are essential to be done prior to your trip and those that can be put off til your return. A long road trip may mean wanting to invest in some of those services beforehand to prevent problems on the road.

License renewals: For professional licenses, make sure you bring them and any other paperwork you may need if your renewals will come up while you’re traveling. Also, do you know when your driver’s license expires? For me, that was one that almost slipped through the cracks! Check to see if you can do it in advance or from afar. (For example: I could renew my Texas driver’s license months in advance of its expiration, and it still keeps its original renewal month for next time.)

Medical needs: Flex when you take care of routine medical needs. If follow ups or lab work is needed on the road, discuss with your doctor how to get the necessary results to their office or plan to use a provider on the road.

Prescriptions, etc: Use a pharmacy that is national, as your scripts will be accessible through their system no matter your location. Wear contact lenses? Make sure you have enough sets to make it until you’re back.  That way you don’t need to coordinate (or pay for) having them sent by mail.

Bills:  I was slow to move to paperless statements and online bill pay.  Then, I was hesitant to have any electronic fund transfers or recurrent payments. It felt too out of my control. But now with being way from home, both were the way to go! No need to have someone else manage your bills or money and no worries about the sometime time-insensitive mail forwarding.  I learned that some companies will give you incentives (aka discounts) to set up an EFT.

Mail: Decide whether having the post office forward it or a person you know (neighbor, family, friend, house sitter) forward it is right for you.  I prefer to have my housesitters forward it so that they can screen for junk mail and to ensure my mail gets to me at the correct address.  Sometime the postal service can have a lag, which can be a glitch if you’re transitioning to new housing or a new city.

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