How to Manage Your Life Before You Hit the Road
Posted on: Dec 28, 2022
For the past eight years of my life, I have worked as a traveling producer in the field and in post. While I marvel at the opportunity to live in a completely different city, state, or even country – preparing for the temporary move fills me with anxiety because it can be hard to know where to start.
Fear not! The path to preparing for your temporary move doesn’t have to feel like the walls are closing in on you. Just take these simple steps one at a time and you’ll be headed to the airport confident that you are successfully managing your life on the road.
Make sure your ID and passport are up-to-date
In the swirl of job deadlines, managing projects and pounding the pavement for opportunities, updating our IDs can fall through the cracks. You can avoid deadlines creeping up on you by noting them and putting a reminder in your calendar. I set a reminder six months in advance so I can plan and start the renewal process without feeling rushed and ensure that I have renewed my IDs before they expire.
If you need a DMV appointment for your driver’s license or ID, then make an appointment with them online, or visit your local DMV office early in the day and knock it out. It takes about one month to receive your new ID.
If the document you’re updating is your passport, you have two options:
* Expediting your passport renewal.
* Schedule an appointment at the Passport Service Center.
Expediting your passport renewal
If your trip is about six weeks away, the most viable way to renew your passport is to use the expedited process.
* Expedited passports will come to you in about 3 – 5 weeks.
* It costs $60 dollars plus the base fee of $130.
* You can renew by mail.
Remember, the processing time starts the day they get the passport, not the day you mail it.
Make sure you have double-checked your application materials for accuracy and to ensure the passport office gets everything they need. I suggest sending your application off as soon as possible via certified mail. Certified mail will incur a cost of at least $4 but the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the passport office has received your application, especially during a time crunch, is worth it!
Expedited is a good option if you’re on the hunt for a job but want to make sure you get your passport as soon as possible.
Using the Passport Service Center
Call the Passport Service Center on 877-487-2778 and schedule an appointment for ‘urgent international travel plans within 14 calendar days for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency’.
Here’s where it gets dicey: If you cannot schedule an appointment well before your departure, renewing your passport will be impossible, as you cannot travel with an expired passport. Don’t be discouraged, though! There are many people who are able to renew their passport before their departure if appointments are available and the applicant has properly organized their application, according to travel.state.gov.
There are also private companies that can renew a passport in less than two weeks. That will cost a pretty penny, but could be worth it depending on your situation. Googling ‘expedited passport service’ will yield several companies that can expedite your passport sooner than three weeks.
Caring for your plants and car
Take stock of anything that has grown accustomed to your care. For me, that means finding a caretaker for my plants and a safe space to store my car. I found someone to water and mulch my plants via Craigslist four weeks prior to my departure and I was able to park my car in the driveway of the home where I live. If you don’t have a private driveway you can use for your car, see if you can park at a friend’s house or find a storage unit.
According to selfstorage.com, an uncovered parking space can run from $220 – $400 a month and a storage unit will cost you $420 – $700 a month. That’s quite a bit of money, so use apps like Nextdoor.com where you might be able to find someone to store your car safely and for less. I strongly recommend meeting with this person and seeing the space where your car would be. Always trust your instincts. If you’re not feeling this person or arrangement, move on to the next possibility until you find what you’re looking for.
Give yourself at least two weeks to find a solid, reliable plant, car or house sitter, and be sure to get references. Once you find your person, draft and fully execute a simple one-page agreement that outlines the following:
* Payment amount
* Payment schedule
* Expectations (eg. visit frequency, how often to water)
* End date
Keep it clear, simple to understand, and negotiate terms you both find agreeable.
Hold your mail
I’d keep it hush that you’re out of town and only tell a trusted few. One way to not announce that you’re not home is to manage your mail. Overstuffed mailboxes and porches are welcome signs for fraud and theft.
If you live alone or don’t have people who can watch your mail, the United States Postal Service will hold your mail for a maximum of 30 days. After your return, you can choose to have your mail delivered in increments or you can pick it up at your local post office.
Sign up for an account to start the process online at usps.org and you have 24 hours to 30 days in advance of the hold date to start the holding process. I, for one, appreciate that there are several options for the advanced planner and slacker in all of us!
In the event that your work trip is longer than 30 days, forward your mail to another address or provide the post office with a temporary change of address. You can start both processes at usps.com.
Close out any pending medical appointments
If you find yourself racing against the clock to close out any medical obligations before your departure, kindly ask the receptionist at the doctor’s office to schedule you in as soon as possible. This might seem like common sense, but in the rush of preparing for our next adventure, we may forget to think clearly.
When I was contending with an ear infection that threatened my ability to get on a plane, I explained my situation to the front desk and even showed up to the doctor’s office in person to see if they could fit me in the next day or two. It helps to be kind, patient and persistent in getting to see a doctor. Check in a couple times a week to see if someone canceled as sometimes the staff gets busy and may forget to call.
I hope this advice has given you some insight into managing your life while on the road before you even land in your new town. Good luck and have a blast!
Gabrielle Glenn is an unscripted TV producer and development professional.
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