Are You Ready to Go?

15 Jan

When I set off on my 15-month odyssey I was fairly well prepared. I had a travel cash debit card, travel insurance, a roaming SIM card and my last will and testament safely lodged with the lawyers. I left personal paper records and my backup external hard drive (cloud technology had yet to prove itself to me) with my parents and said a prayer to my pagan gods to ensure the records would be there when I got back. I finished work the night before I flew to Africa.

I’d persuaded myself I didn’t have the luxury of time to sort out all my financial matters and personal effects. I think now part of my brain was in denial that I or Stuart could come to any harm.

This time round there is no such excuse as I have not been working. I’ve spent the past few days planning our next six-month absence from Australia and for the possibility I could come back in a box. Even worse, that Stuart and I go together. Overly dramatic you might say but people die or become critically ill unexpectedly every day at every age. Stuart’s brush with death at 30,000 feet and the chap on the Qantas flight who didn’t make it proved that.

It got me thinking that the kind of preparation I’ve been doing should actually be undertaken by every first world adult whether travelling or not. I don’t want our sons to have the burden of sorting out my messy affairs if I pop off unexpectedly. Having done this task thoroughly once it’s a simple matter to update it in future.

This is the checklist I created. I tried to keep document security in mind without compromising the ability of my executor to do their job, as well as minimise the work for my family. I hope it helps. It’s as complete as I could make it but for goodness sake if I’ve missed anything or got something dreadfully wrong do tell me, there is still time to get it right before I leave.

1) Load global roaming SIM so I can both send and recive messages and remind family of my number
2) Prepare cash in local currency accessible by debit card – transfer euros to Spanish bank
3) Travel insurance (paper copy left in personal file and save electronic copy in web-based hotmail)
4) Copy of optometrist prescription for my glasses (and medications if you take them)
5) Set of my head shots for visas if photos needed
6) Passport with at least 12 months validity (some countries will not allow entry if you do not have more than six months on your passport)
7) Vaccination record booklet (copy left in personal file)
8) 2 Photocopies of passport identification pages (keep copy separately from handbag/valuables bag and copy left in personal file with my parents)
9) 2 Photocopies of credit cards (ditto)
10) 2 Photocopies of driver’s licence (ditto)
11) List of all IDs and passwords used for accessing apps and websites (send as a PDF attachment to an email with a file name that does not identify as passwords and save in folder in web-based email and put copy in a personal folder I leave securely with my parents)
12) Separate list of IDs and passwords for all bank accounts and superannuation but no identifying account numbers (ditto plus a copy on my smart phone which is PIN protected).
13) Backup contacts on phone
14) Set up account and send all flight and hotel bookings to have a full record of travel plans. Print three copies and leave a set with sons and a set with parents (with site access details written on copies) and take a set in handbag/valuables bag
15) Ring credit card company and advise of countries I will be visiting and approximately when so they know likely transaction locations otherwise they may freeze
16) Leave copy of storage unit key and pass code with our sons
17) Leave post office box key with our sons and instructions to open all mail and scan and email any important or urgent correspondence

(A complete document list is attached to my paper copy personal file so my family and I know what is where and all electronic copies are retained on my ipad and a copy in my dropbox account)

1) Will (original kept in bank secure storage, copy with lawyer and copy in personal file)
2) ‘Last Wishes’ this is in the nature of a letter to my sons to be read in the event of my death covering my preferences and some advice for them (copy in bank storage and copy in personal file)
3) Enduring Power of Attorney for Financial Matters and Health Care (original kept in personal file and copy kept in bank storage)
4) Detailed Record of Assets and Liabilities (copy kept in bank storage and copy in personal file)
5) Life Insurance/Assurance(s) (copy kept in bank storage and in personal file)
6) Copy of most recent tax return and accountant’s contact details (kept in personal file)
7) Name and contact number of dentist (should dental records be needed)

Sobering reading isn’t it? But now it’s done I feel a great lightness of spirit and am really looking forward to the last few weeks of travel within Australia before the big ‘off’ mid-February. Let me know how you go with your list!

Photo note: This is a sneak preview of the location of Cam and Eliza’s wedding. That’s Stu in white hat and Cam in Akubra.

PS Many thanks to Eileen who reminded me that I need to register my travel details with Smart Traveller on the Australian Government website. Luckily I have lodged my absentee status with the Electoral Commission so they won’t be chasing me come election time!


6 Responses to “Are You Ready to Go?”

  1. Eileen January 15, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    Yes Sharon sobering but gotta be done! Not sure if I just missed it on your list, but in case it’s not there make sure you register with Smart Traveller-best way for the government to find you if there’s a disaster (natural or otherwise) wherever you are. And I always have a scanned copy of my passport in a web based (password protected) email account.

    • Sharon Tickle January 15, 2013 at 4:42 am #

      Yes, all good advice Eileen! Thanks.

      Been missing you at Flamenco, so hope to catch up before we leave.


      • Linda January 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

        Hi Sharon.
        See my comments re trying to make contact. Linda

  2. Linda Haggarty January 15, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Not sure if you will get this response. Just trying to make contact again now that I happened upon you on Linkedin!!

    Hope to hear from you before you go off on your travels


    • Sharon Tickle January 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      Hi Linda,

      I have emailed you twice at the address given here but looks like you didn’t get them. I also tried to connect via your facebook.

      Could you please email me at



  3. Julie Kempnich January 18, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Thank you , Sharon. We will keep that as a reference for sure. Great photo of Father and Son in such a significant spot. Gets me in the mood for Australia Day as well! See you at my place on Feb 5. Julie x

    Sent from my iPad

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