Getting money, visas and important things for a 34 day trip away in USA
As with any large trip, it is important to check out what you need well in advance. For us as UK citizens we needed to ensure we had:
- VISA to the USA approved well in advance. This can be done online now and is a very simple process. The ESTA – Electronic System for Travel in Advance is where you need to go to obtain your visa. If more than one of you is travelling you can do the application as a group.
- Travel Insurance – We are fortunate to be able to travel outside of the UK a lot and as such for us it pays to have worldwide annual travel insurance, rather than specific policies for each trip. We have our travel insurance through our bank – offered as part of their add on services. You need to check out which is the best option for you so we needed to make sure that we had something that covered us for a trip to USA and a trip longer than 30 days. Our travel insurance will cover us for any lost or stolen items, but for any much needed healthcare should we ever need it.
- Home insurance – Many home insurances in the UK are only relevant if your home is unoccupied for no longer than 30 days at a time. We needed to ensure that we had home insurance that covered us for a slightly longer period. Worth checking if you are away a lot!
- Money – Whilst we know USA is a place to use credit cards, we also like to use cash. We have arranged to take a smallish amount of cash and then to use a travel card which we can top up online as we need more money. The travel card can be used as a normal credit card and we can also get cash from any ‘hole in the wall’ machine.
- Security – As we are away from our home in both the UK and Spain, we have taken the precaution of installing security cameras. This allows us to check on the property in ‘real time’ but also will alert me should they be triggered off. This simple method provides us with peace of mind that we can check on our home and contact the necessary authorities should the need arise.
- Empty post box – we will have someone emptying our post and checking on our property daily to ensure all is ok.
- Car on trickle charge – to ensure the car starts when we return after 34 days, we will connect a solar panel trickle charger to the battery. We have used this before and it is a great way to ensure you do not have a flat battery when you return.
- Nest heating system – when we leave the UK it will be Autumn, but on our return it will be winter. As anyone knows the weather will be changeable and as such our house could be very cold on our return. The last thing we want flying back from Hawaii where temperatures will feel warm and tropical is a freezing cold house. We have installed a Nest thermostat which we can control via our smart phone app. We will be monitoring the weather in the UK and adjusting our heating accordingly. Hopefully this will work out, it is a new addition to the Casa Goodwin household.
- Mobile phones and ensuring that we can keep in touch. Contact your phone company to set up a deal in advance or buy a world sim. Check out this blog on communication devices to stay in touch.
Hopefully, we have thought of everything in advance, but if you have any ideas of what we should consider please let me know . . .