Preparing your home for long-term travel

Everything You Need to Know to Prepare Your Home for Long-term Travel

Learn how to prepare your home for long-term travel ahead of your Remote Year adventure.

Before you call the cliffs of Lima or the beaches of Lisbon home, there are a few long-term travel tips to consider. Whether you’re looking to leave your belongings in storage or have a set plan in place to leave your belongings at home with renters, we’re sharing our community’s favorite tips for preparing your current place of residence for a long trip. Without further ado, let’s get moving! (Literally).

Cozy home

Moving out of your home

Many Remote Year travelers about to embark on 4 or 12-month Journeys choose to move out of their current home or residence. If you have decided to move, you're likely planning to organize, donate, store, and maybe even purge belongings pre-travel. As there are a few options—it’s important to decide which works best for you. Here are a few ideas: 

Getting rid of your belongings

Perhaps the idea of bringing all your belongings on an international adventure has already convinced you to embrace a minimalist lifestyle. However, we know not everyone is down with the whole "get rid of all of my possessions" trend—that's OK, too. We suggest reading a few of our favorite blog posts on the topic to see which category you fit into:

Garage sale

Selling or donating your items

Remote Year means a new home for you, but it could also mean a new home for some of your belongings. Now is the perfect time to give those items collecting dust in the back of your closet new life with someone else! 

For items you plan to resell, there are plenty ofwebsites and apps to get you started. Here are a few favorites from Remote Year travelers: 

If you're able to make some quick cash, congrats! We recommend donating the rest to a local charity or worthy organization. When you drop your items off, be sure to ask for a receipt for a tax write-off. For more information on donating, check out these articles our travelers find helpful:

Guatemala Landscape

Putting your items in storage

After purging and donating your items, there may still be some possessions that you can't imagine parting ways with! For everything you’d like to keep, you’ll want to make a plan for storing these belongings while you’re off exploring.

Check with a friend or family member to see if they can keep a few boxes in their basement, or look into rates at a storage facility (but make sure the cost of this option is worth the price of storing). If you decide to go the storage route, check outthese six long-term storage tips. Logistics to know before moving

Before saying goodbye to your space forever, there are a few things to add to your to-do list. 

  • Unsubscribe or take your name off: electricity, water, and gas bills, lease agreements, rental/home insurance, and HOA boards (if applicable).

  • File an official change of address with the post office, and forward your mail to a trusted friend or family member while you’re traveling.

  • Inform your banks and place of employment about your move and supply them with a new address. 

Group staring at the ocean

Leaving your home unoccupied for a month or more 

Just like you have a packing list for your travel plans, you’ll want a list of to-dos if you plan to keep your home empty for an extended period of time. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind before leaving your house, condo, or apartment: 

  • Air conditioning: never shut off the air conditioning when traveling for an extended time during the summer months. Instead set the manual or programmable thermostat to 85 degrees. If you’re looking to invest in a programmable thermostat, there are plenty of options available online.

  • Water heater: before leaving, set your water heater to vacation mode.

  • Water: turn off the main water supply before you depart. This will save your home if there are any plumbing issues while you’re away.

  • Refrigerator: get rid of anything perishable in your fridge. While this one sounds obvious, you’ll want to double-check your fridge before you leave! 

  • Lawn: if you own a house, make sure to set automatic sprinkler systems to timers during the summer months if you’d like for your lawn to stay green.

  • Electronics: unplug all electronics, like televisions or speakers to protect against surges. 

  • Home security:If worried about burglars while you’re away, opt for a security system. Brands like Ring will monitor your front door and send updates right to your phone (no matter where you are). Always have the contact information of a trusted neighbor or friend on hand in case anything seems off. 

  • Valuables:Secure your expensive, personal, or sentimental items in a locked safe, or have a friend or family member hold onto them for safekeeping. 

  • Smoke detectors: before leaving, make sure your smoke detectors are working and equipped with full batteries.

Subletting your home 

Many Remote Year travelers opt to sublet their homes or apartments, so that their existing residence is ready and waiting for them at the end of their adventure. You can find subletters by asking friends and family, posting on local social media pages, community boards, and even outlets like Craigslist.  Renting your space out 

Listing your property on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO as a rental will allow you to select your monthly renters. This way you have full confidence in your long-term renters, as well as consistent monthly payments. House Sitters for travelers with pets and houseplants 

For Remote Year participants with pets and houseplants, finding a quality house sitter is a great way to ensure they are well looked after while you’re gone. Hire someone you know or search through platforms like Rover. Whichever you choose, house sitters can help afford you peace of mind while on the road.

Biking in the city

What to do with your car

Say goodbye to your car and hello to planes, trains, metro systems, bike rentals, and your own two feet! Life on longer Remote Year programs often means you’re parting ways with your car back home. Whether you’re looking to sell your car, trade the lease, or simply store it for a month, there are several best practices to make sure your car is in the best hands possible. 

Here are some third-party services to consider if you are looking to sell your car:

And here are some tips from Remote Year travelers who have first-hand experience in managing a car while (or before) traveling around the world:

  • Use your network: "Look for friends and family to take over your lease, or try and sell it outright with a lease buyout—Craigslist is probably the best option for this."

  • If you're thinking about lending: “The best thing to do is try and sell your car or sublease it. I've spent a fair amount of time dealing with customer service for people who didn't treat my car well. Even though I've made some money each month on the rentals, I still don't think it's worth the time—just another hassle to have to worry about.”

  • Consider if you’re attached to your car: “Will you need it upon return? Could you use the funds from selling it? If you keep/store your car, factor in the monthly costs of insurance and car payments. If I had sold it, I could have paid off the remainder, use the remaining money from the sale for Remote Year, and eliminated the payment of insurance. Because it was my dream car, and because it is my pride and joy, I chose to keep it.”

  • Keep your timeline in mind: “If you are under time pressure, accept that you're going to lose money and price your car low enough to sell quickly. A year (or a few months) from now, you might not ever want to own a car again—which is going to save you a lot of money in the future which you can put towards better, more meaningful things.”

  • Keep it simple: “If you can, sell it. If it sits around, things corrode, things break, you’ll have to put money into it when you get back.”

Workspace

There you have it - our community's best tips for preparing your home and car for long-term travel! Once you’ve crossed off your to-do list, you’re ready to take your remote job and travel across the world. We can’t wait to have you join us! 

Disclaimer: While Remote Year is an expert at many things, we leave home preparations and car logistics to you before joining our programs. All of the information above has been provided by previous Remote Year participants who have had experience transitioning their home lives for a long-term trip, and is simply meant to guide you in the right direction as you prepare for your adventure! 

Further reading: