Pre Travel Checklist

We are about a week away from taking off! It took us almost a year to prepare for our travel. We have planned for as much as we can and the rest will be dealt with as it comes.

In the last couple of months, we have spent our time getting ready to leave home. Here is our pre travel checklist –

Travel Insurance

Manish did a lot of research and we decided to go with Southern Cross. We read through the terms & conditions and forums to understand and learn from others experience dealing with insurance companies.

Mobile Number

We researched global sim and have decided to go with Coles Global Sim for our travel. This will allow us to be connected with family and close friends.

Existing Mobile Plan

My 24 month contract finished in May this year and I was ready to cancel my line. After speaking to a customer representative, I decided to switch to a prepaid plan for $20 for a year. I can retain my number and not worry about updating my bank accounts, etc. Manish has decided to hand his number to his mum so she can continue to use his number while we travel.

Bank Accounts

While talking to one of the bank customer care representative we learnt we are suppose to inform the bank about our travel plan for security reasons. They will then inform us about formalities we need to fulfill and look out for any tanscations that happen while we are away. Manish and I will be spending a day visiting all our bank branches.

Digital Backup

We will be taking lots of photos (of course) and making notes of our travel log. We realised we need a digital backup plan for all our assets. After reviewing Drop Box, Google Drive and One Drive, we decided to go ahead with One Drive for our photo backups. It is a cheaper option and it is native to our Surface Pro tablet.

For notes, we will be using Evernote which is installed on our handphones and synced to our Google Account.

Budget Tracker

I have also setup a Google Sheet to track our expenses. The workbook is split by currencies and has an overview sheet for quick summary in Australian Dollars. I will share the template soon.

Travel Diary

A lot of our friends said they will be following our journey on Facebook and Instagram. While thats great, these channels only allow us to share a short post with images. We discussed what we wanted to do and this blog was the result. We also decided to use #arrangedtraveler for all our social posts. We will try and post our experiences while they are still very fresh in memory.

Iconic Shot

With so many people traveling and blogging, we wanted our unique identity. Though we haven’t decided this yet, we have a couple of options and we are hoping to make a decision soon.

Packing Room

Once we were done with our RTW packing, we realised we don’t need the million things we have at home. We decided to clean out our room and give away stuff we haven’t used in months. Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” helped us a lot and we got rid of about 8 bags full of clothes, accessories and other things we haven’t used in a while. 

We also decided to clean our room (properly!) and organise everything so if in case mum and dad wanted to use it, they can.

Utility Bills

Luckily we stay with Manish’s parents, we do not have to worry about utility bills, ownership transfer, etc.


A lot of our friends wanted to meet up before we go. Considering we are on a budget and limited time before fly out date, we decided to host a farewell / good bye session for ourselves. It is the best way to meet everyone before you go!

Final travel itinerary

As stated in my previous post, we decided to travel round the world through Europe, Asia and South America along with United States on the way home. This was our general plan for a while as we researched into each of the destinations.

Now, it may seem easy planning a long trip like ours, but I will prove to you that it was certainly not! First of all, there was the issue of my job and our budget. Next, we had applied for Shruti’s partner visa in May 2014. However, by late 2014, there was no sign of any visa. The average wait time was 13 months, and calling the Department of Immigration was pointless as they would refer you to the average wait time via their call center.

At the same time, Shruti’s dad suggested that since we were already taking time out for a sabbatical, we should go with Shruti’s family to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, China. The idea impressed us all and even my Mum wanted to join in. This is a dream destination for many people around the world especially the religious Hindus. The issue though was that the trip could only be done between May and September.

On the other hand, My best mate got engaged in September 2014, and the wedding date was set to November 2015. This meant that we would have to get to Nepal between May and September, go to Europe and then be back for the wedding in November. It was impossible to juggle these dates, a visa issue and a budget, and put the dates on our trip.

At this stage, we decided to keep the dates in mind and look into the places of interest. Our initial itinerary of Europe included places like Scandinavia, UK & Ireland, Spain & Portugal, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey. Needless to say, in 90 days of Schengen Visa, we would be travelling every couple of days to be able to visit all these places.

The same issue happened with India. Having grown up outside of India since our teens, we

wanted to explore alot of places in India. Kashmir, Ladakh, North-East, Bengal, South India, Goa and Rajasthan, all appealed to us. In addition, Shruti’s parents now live in Gujarat, my family is in Haryana and Shruti grew up in Mumbai. Therefore, we need to give some time to our families, who we won’t see much of while travelling for a continuous period.

In this case, we used the ’21 day strategy’ which meant we gave ourselves 21 days in each direction. Anything that we couldn’t fit in these 21 days would have to go. As an example, North-East and Kolkata fitted perfectly in the 21 days and we were able to organise with a tour operator for this. We are extremely excited for this leg as we get to see Durga Pooja in Kolkata.

On the other hand, It was impossible to cover entire South India in 21 days and we had to drop Bangalore and Tamil Nadu, completely. Likewise, we couldn’t possibly see our families, and travel to Ladakh, Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in 21 days without some serious Altitude Sickness. We decided to leave these areas for another time.

While we were researching into our Europe trip, We discovered a little thing called the Northern Lights. They looked majestic and could only be seen in the Arctic Circle. We decided that, in this trip of a lifetime, we shouldn’t miss the lights. As you may know, they


only appear in the Arctic Winter. At first, we were quite afraid of it. We’ve both grown up in and lived in Hot climate countries. The Artic can easily be -20 degrees Celsius on a good night, but we couldn’t miss the lights, Reindeers, Dog Sleds and Snowshoes.

Moving our Europe trip to the Northern Winter aligned things perfectly into place. We could start with Nepal, travel around India for 3 months, fly to Europe and then to South America and finally, USA. As I wrote previously, we decided to buy tickets on the go. This made it easier to buy tickets as our trip progressed.

As we would travel to Europe in Winter, we would be there in the off-season. This meant that it made the trip a little cheaper but we would also have to dress and enjoy a little differently. We did a little reading into the Slow Travel movement, and decided to stay at least a week in each place we visit.

Ironically, although the title of this post is ‘final travel itinerary’, the exact places cannot be finalized until a few weeks ahead. As an example, we have a general idea on where to go in Europe, Turkey and South America, but we cannot be for sure where we will be heading until a fortnight ahead.

Seeing our experiences in the research and places to travel, here are our suggestions:

  • Travelling for a long time means you should expect frequent changes in your itinerary
  • Divide up the areas which you would like to travel to in blocks of days
  • Where possible, try to slow down your travels to feel a place
  • Book the busy tourist activities well ahead of time, e.g. North Lights, Inca Trail trek, World Cup etc.

Manage Travel Money

We were slowly starting to save money for our travel plans. The next obvious step was to come up with a plan for spending it as well.

manage travel money

Our confirmed itinerary (post coming soon) included 17 different currencies  across Hong Kong, Nepal, India, Europe (Scandinavian countries, UK & Ireland, EU region, Turkey), possibly Dubai, South America (Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia) and finally US. We definitely needed a plan to manage travel money.

We researched travel cards that hold multiple currencies such as Qantas Cash Card, Aus Post Prepaid Card, Travelex Card and others from various financial institutes. After reviewing the charges and transaction fee involved (which btw is $0), we decided to go with Qantas Card Card for Hong Kong, Europe (all regions), Dubai ad US. While we are spending with this card, we will also be accumulating points as we go! In theory, it is a win win situation. We started watching the exchange rates and when the time was right, we loaded the card with our travel funds.

For Nepal and India we will be relying on my ICICI Bank Debit Card. We have transferred the allocated funds to my bank account to avoid any recurring transfer fee.

The South American region is a tough one. After loads of research we decided to rely on cash with large amount withdrawals using our Citibank Debit Card. As most of our transaction with be involved around accommodation, transport and meals we assume that card transcations can be tough to be fulfilled, thus the decision of using cash.

We will also be carrying our Citibank Credit Card as a backup / emergency option. Using the credit card will incur large fee so we will aim to keep the usage to minimum.

Do watch for our posts from the road as we document our learnings along the journey.

Round the World tickets

Ever since the book ‘Around the World in 80 days’ by Jules Verne was published, a round the world trip has been the ultimate adventure for most people. Through our research, we made a decision to head west, and decided to look into tickets.


This is when we stumbled upon round the world tickets. The thought of one simple ticket excited us. It meant we could buy one ticket early, and be sure that we will be flying on a certain date. However, in another post, Shruti outlined that we didn’t have a fixed budget, and setting a date of departure early on would not be possible.

In any case, we kept looking into buying a round the world ticket as it seemed the best option at the time. This is when we realised the next issue with the round the world ticket. A round the world can only be used in one direction with no backtracking, e.g. If heading west from Australia, one can take a flight to Singapore then Istanbul followed by London but it may not be possible to travel around Europe and fly from Rome to New York.

At this stage, we were still set on a Round The World tickets. We could alter our plans, so we could visit India first then Europe and then South America on the way to Sydney. However, this is when we realised another detail of the RTW ticket. Adding in mileage and destination can increase the price dramatically(As much as $10,000 per person).

In summary, a RTW ticket reduces your freedom but might be cheaper and simpler. If your aim is to see a set number of cities in a relatively short amount of time, RTW tickets are perfect. Even still, RTW tickets are so complicated, that unless an itinerary matches exactly what you had in mind, you will require a travel agent.

We discussed and agreed, that this was not the kind of travel we wanted to undertake. We could see ourselves traveling to a number of cities and countries across a large area and we didn’t want to be penalized for it. Therefore, we decided to buy ticket as you go.

In addition, we decided to use our credit cards for our shopping and use the accumulated points to buy at least 1 major ticket. Most major credit cards allow you to accumulate points to buy flights and some will even allow you link them up with a frequent flyer program to accumulate frequent flyer points.

Finally, Shruti’s uncle heard about our travel plans through her Dad. Neither of us knew, that he works in the management of a major US airline. He offered us a number of economy tickets, but the catch was, that we would have to visit the US. We were ecstatic and decided to make a trip in the US to see friends, family and so many places on TV.

In summary, flying around the world requires you to think about how you would like to travel around the world. There’s no written rule but in general:

  • RTW ticket – Fixed number of destinations, fixed dates for flights, fixed direction and a certain limit in mileage. It provides one ticket in hand, but you can have limited options depending on the alliance.
  • Buy as you go – Provides freedom in terms of destinations, dates and direction, but you have to buy tickets on the road. You can use credit cards to accumulate points and frequent flyer points for tickets.

Packing for RTW Travel

packing for RTW travelPacking is a big task. I have over packed in the past, carried clothes and things I did not even consider wearing or using.

Going on RTW travel, we knew we had to pack light. We started looking at blogs of other travelers and identifying what we will need.

Here is the initial list I had drafted –

  • Good backpacks

Clothes & Shoes

  • 5x under garments
  • 2x comfortable pyjamas / track pants (comfortable for sleeping ans intransit)
  • 5x t-shirts / tops for daily wear
  • 3x pants / shorts
  • 3x fancy shirt / top for a nice evening
  • Swimmers
  • Thermals
  • Big jackets for winter
  • Gloves
  • Scarf
  • Beanie
  • 4x socks – cotton and woolen
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Thongs
  • Fancy evening shoes 

Toiletries & Accessories (travel pack sizes)

  • Toothbrush and tooth paste
  • Shaving cream, razor & blade
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Shower gel
  • Face wash
  • Face moisturiser
  • Body moisturiser
  • Minimum make up
  • Medical kit – diarrhea tablets, malaria tablets, cold & flu tablets, panadol, band-aids (about 8 tablets each in case we can’t buy from local chemist)
  • Nail cutter
  • Scissors
  • Towels
  • Sunnies
  • Hats
  • Watch


  • Torch and rechargable batteries
  • Camera and rechargable batteries
  • World plug with USB ports
  • Laptop / Tablet and charger
  • 2x smart phones and charger
  • Hard drive


  • Money belt
  • Fabric odor freshner
  • Locks and chains
  • Hanging clothes peg
  • Small bags to separate items within bag


  • Travel insurance
  • Original & photocopy of –
    • passport
    • driving license
    • marriage cerrificate
    • Emergency money

The above list helped us guide our planning, shopping and packing for RTW travel. We will do another post to show what is in our bag before we start our travel.