Have you sorted your taxes?

One thing that might go unsorted and not thought of are your taxes. Now I’m no tax advisor… so I will leave that job for HM Revenue & Customs… But it might be worth giving them a ring as there may well be a form that you need to fill out (be sure to have you NI number at hand when ringing up)

For my situation I need to fill out a P85, I believe this tells the tax people that I’m going to be leaving the country and will be working out of the EU zone. They will also work out any rebate I’m owed as I’m leaving before tax year end so I may have over paid my tax allowance. This has to be done after I have my P45 as I have to send this in with the P85. So I’ll sign the P85 and let someone send it off for me once my P45 comes through.

So the packing list is born (At last!)


Life hasn’t really changed much since booking my trip, sure I’m a few £1000 down and I’m more knowledgeable on the countries that await my arrival, but the exciting prospect of me jetting off on the 4th of Jan hasn’t really hit home yet… But the clock is most certainly ticking! As of today I have 49 days to go, and one thing that keeps getting put behind other commitments is my packing list, so I’ve decided to get this sorted (plus a fellow travel friend… CLAIRE, keeps bugging me to do it!)

The first thing I’ve naturally done when thinking about a packing list is more research (hurrah!) in terms of reading blogs and asking for other peoples experience on packing lists, this all helps to prepare me for what I need, and help me tick off the bits I’ve already purchased.

So here is my list and the items I have purchased so far. I’m sure this list will change many times, but you’ve got to start somewhere heh?!

Packing List

  • BackpackKarrimor Karrimor Global 70 90 Rucksack
    I went for the Karrimor Global 70-90 backpack, decent sized backpack, with the option of expanding if you feel the need to. Purchased from Field & Trek. Like most outdoor/adventure shops, many a keen and experienced person willing to help you decide which pack pack you require.


  • Shoes
    As I didn’t really have any shoes that would be suitable for any long distance walking,  I went for the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2. Its a long  title for a shoe… I just hope they turn out ok!For other general walking about and the hostel showers I will be wearing my flip flops – General consensus is to always wear flip flops in the showers, as you don’t really know who or what has been there before you!
  • Clothing
    T-Shirts (2-3)
    Polo shirts (1-2)
    Long Sleeve top (1-2) to protect from Mosquito’s
    Hoody/Fleece (1-2)
    Shorts (2-3)
    Swim Shorts (1-2)
    Jeans (1)
    Light-Weight Trousers (1-2)
  • Essentials
    A waterproof Overcoat
    Sleeping Liner
    Water Bottles
    Multi-Function Tool (Knife… Bottle Opener etc)
    Plastic Bowl with Cutlery
    Mosquito Repellent
    Travel Washing Line
    Sink Plug
    Fibre Towel
    First Aid Kit
    Personal Hygiene Stuff (Deodorant, Soap etc)
  • Security
    Combination Lock for Lockers in hostels
    Combination locks for backpack & Day Pack
    Retractable Security Cable
  • Other Bits ‘n’ Bobs
    Money Belt
    Deck of cards (for passing time on long journeys)
    Notepad & Pen (for taking notes, getting directions etc)
    Tupperware Container (to put things in that I don’t want squished at the bottom of my bag)
    Dustbin sacks
    Ear Plugs (Not everyone sleeps like a quiet angel in the dorms!)
    Mobile Phone
    Passport photos
    Photocopy of Important Documents

Insurance… How confusing can you be!?


Embarking on a trip around the world seems great!…. DSLR Camera at the ready, Laptop all sorted!….  Until you have to do all the little nigly things – one of them being insurance, then it can all get a bit confusing! Well… for me it did anyhow!

I found that the difference in costs, the amount of companies available, the different grades of cover and knowing if there trustworthy did not make the decision as simple as one would think, but with research it all came together… finally

One thing I had to bare in mind when searching through the endless companies and comparisons sites, was what I wanted to insure,  for instance along with travel insurance (for medical, cancellation, loss of passport etc) I am taking a DSLR camera, few lenses & a laptop in which I will want to get insured, but trying to kill 4 birds with 1 stone may not be the best option, especially with my camera. I am also looking doing a spot of white water rafting, perhaps sky diving and who knows what else when abroad, so I need to be aware of what my insurance covers and what it does not cover (as standard…), as I’m not necessarily going to get it all covered in one go, this will allow me to to up the cover when the time comes. It is always important to read the insurance policy document, no matter how boring they seem! So you don’t get caught out 🙂 

Companies Used

Travel Insurance

I decided to go with Direct Travel. After a bit of research and a lot of quotes direct travel seemed for my situation to be the best company. They get a good review from moneysavingexpert, they weren’t the most expensive yet they weren’t the most cheapest (Just over £200 for the yr)  and covered all the main areas that I need covered. The only thing that might need to be added on in a later date if needed is Winter Cover & Sky Diving.

Camera Insurance

E&I Insurance  seem to tick all the boxes for me…  it covers world wide travel, Unattended vehicle cover etc. Just be sure to read the security document as you must fall in line with this to insure you camera is covered. This is going to cost me £55 for a years insurance. (Covering £1500 of equipment)

Laptop Insurance + Plus Other Items

This is the area I’m still looking into, I’m thinking I may covering my Laptop and a few other bits n bobs with an overall £1000 back packer activities cover (costing £50) from hbinsurance, but I’m waiting on clarification of what this covers, as the wording is unclear in the documents…. as always! *UPDATE* hbInsurance, only insure items up to £100… The search continues!


So… Ya Wanna Go Travelling?? Planning Stages…

So you’ve had enough of work? Finished University? Been Made redundant? and decided you want to go travelling…. Hooorah!

Bugger… Now what!?

Unless your one of the lucky few, going off travelling is a somewhat daunting prospect,
with so many countries to choose from, so much to organise and so many different ways of doing it, where do you start?!
This is the exact position I’ve found/find myself in when sorting out my travels, but the more you organise and research, the more it all slowly clicks together.

Where to start

First thing first, its always important to remember you are not the first person to have ever done this in fact there will be people this very moment having the exact same plans as you in their head, so once you join the travelling communities you will never be alone again when planning your trip!

The best thing you can do to start off with is to sign up to a few forums and join any groups on facebook that bring travellers together. I personally used:

Ok – So you’ve joined the forums, Joined the facebook group and you’ve had a read… Now what!?
This is where it gets hard… you need to start making decisions…. eeek!

Choosing you Countries

With roughly 196 countries in the world, there’s plenty to see! Obviously some countries are easy to get to than others!

At this point nothing will be set in stone, but its ideal to have a general idea of where you want to go, even if its continents, it just makes progression easier
Your standard routes would include SE Asia, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, USA, South America, India
With the vague idea of the countries you are wanting to go to, its now time to make use of the EXPERTS!

The Experts (aka… Travel advisers)

There are several companies available to help you through the next stages. They can do everything from booking your flights,  organising your visas and generally be a font of knowledge!
a couple of companies available are:

Personally I used RoundTheWorld Experts, and I’ve had no quarms with them at all. The beauty of using one these companies, is that you can have a trip tailored to your needs with a big chunk of the worry taken out!


Ok, this was the bit I was most lost at… So many countries to visit, how on earth do I get my money there!! Obviously carrying around big chunks of cash isn’t the brightest idea…
There are several ways you can go down, but this is the combo that seems to have suited me:

Cash Card
For you who haven’t come across one of these before… A cash card is basically an empty Visa Debit card that you can add cash too, the beauty being you can put as little as you like on it – so if you lose it, or some little blighter nicks it, its not the end of the world – inconvenient, but not the end of the world.

There are many companies out there offering cash cards – and when I say many… what I actually mean is freaking loads!
but I’ve decided to for the Caxton FX card, it offers ‘free’ withdrawals world wide… But the catch is, is that the exchange rate is lower than transferring the cash over the counter or using other cards.
Other cards such as FairFX offer you a good exchange rate, but you have to pay a percentage on all transactions… so its all swings and roundabouts!

Credit Card
This is going to be used as my ‘get out of jail’ card, I’ll hopefully never use this… but you can never say never! Most banks offer good cards, Halifax… Santander… Its just a matter of looking around.

Bank Accounts
On my travels I am going to be settling in New Zealand for a few months, so it made sense to get a bank account. After a quick look around I found the ANZ (Australia and New Zealand) bank, and was offered the following accounts:

* Everyday Account (transaction account)
A straightforward account that lets you bank how you want, when you want and
as often as you want.
You will have access to unlimited transactions using ANZ ATMs, EFTPOS and
personal cheques, as well as phone*, Internet* and branch deposits and
withdrawals .

  • Monthly administration fee $5.00 (waived until up to 6 months after your arrival in New Zealand)
  • Withdrawals Free (using ANZ ATMs, EFTPOS, personal cheque, Internet, Phone and Branch banking).
  • Deposits Free (using ANZ ATM, Internet, Phone and Branch banking).
  • Optional cheque book.
  • Design your own ANZ Night & Day.PIX card

* Registration required. (You must be in NZ to be able to register)
After you arrive, if you are happy with an internet based account, the
branch can change the account type to a ‘Go Account’ and you will keep the
same account number. This account has no fees as long as all transactions
are made electronically.


* ANZ GO Account (transaction account)

An account that helps you to avoid bank fees by banking electronically.

  • No monthly fee when you are registered for Internet Banking
  • No electronic transaction fees to use EFTPOS, ANZ or National Bank ATMs (charges for using other bank ATMs apply)
  • No electronic fees for using Internet Banking, Phone Direct, access to TXT Banking (The usual service provider fees and standard download and text fees apply)
  • Manual transactions: $3 per transaction. Manual transactions include;
    * Branch and staff assisted transactions
    * Deposits using the fast deposit box in branch
    * Using a chequebook

Statements will be delivered electronically via ANZ Internet Banking once
this function is available. Until then, paper statements will be provided at
no charge.

* Online Call Account (savings account)
With an ANZ Online Call Account you get access to your money 24 hours a day
via ANZ Phone Direct, ANZ Mobile Phone Banking and ANZ Internet Banking –
plus you earn high rate of interest on every dollar in your account.

  • Monthly administration fee: Free.
  • Service fee Nil. This includes using Pay Anyone and ANZ Phone Direct access fees.
  • Deposits and withdrawals Free.
  • Interest is paid on every dollar in your account – calculated daily and paid monthly.
  • You get 24-hour access via ANZ Phone Direct, ANZ Mobile Phone Banking and ANZ Internet Banking*.
  • With this account you cannot access overdraft facilities, cheque books, or ATM/EFTPOS machines. You also can’t arrange automatic payments from your
    account to another bank account or make bill payments and direct debits.

You will need to register in New Zealand for these services.
I am happy to set accounts for you at any stage, to enable deposits only to be made. Before you can withdraw or
transfer money from your account, we 
need to check your ID and have a copy of your signature on file,
which means 
we need you to visit an ANZ branch on arrival in New Zealand.

The best thing if you are interested, get in contact with the bank, explaining when you are going to be in your country and how long you’ll be there etc.


I’m learning very quick that the more research you can do the better…. In fact there’s probably no end to the amount you should do!

Every country have there own way of living, beliefs and cultures, and its only fair you try and adapt to them!

Places to research…

  • Blogs – There are many blogs available of people who have ‘been there, done that & got the T-Shirt’
  • Youtube – Typing in the country or city/region you are looking into will more than likely yield many a tourist video and home made videos of the areas.
  • Forums – The forums mentioned earlier in this article plus many others will provide you with a wealth of info at your finger tips + many willing people to answer questions!
  • Books – I’ve been using the Lonely Planet books, I could not recommend these enough! Not only do they give guides to local areas, but recommend accommodation, estimate travel cost, give you maps + much much more!
  • Newspapers – Newspapers often have travel pull-outs, with many an interesting article
  • People…. Delve into the knowledge of anyone who has done it before, they will normally be more than happy to relive their experience through you, giving you information first hand on things they have learnt.