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How to prepare for a year abroad

For the last few years, I have been mixing studies and travel. Every now and then, I felt like I needed to get away from my comfort zone. After a couple of solo trips, I finally felt ready for the big one; a year away from home. I quickly realized that this trip would require a lot of planning and organization.


Your first step will be to choose your first destinations and book a one-way ticket. If you’re like me, you’ll find that not having a return date is pretty liberating. Once you’re there, the transport really depends on the country you’re visiting, the lenght of your stay and your budget. Flights and car rentals should be planned in avance if you have a tight schedule and a tight budget. If you decide to rent a car, you should get an international drivers license (25$ CAD) to avoid any trouble. You can purchase those at any CAA Québec or other travel agency.

My favorite site to book flights:

My favorite app for transportation : Hooper


Once you chose your destination, you should always verified the required documents to visit the country. With a canadien passport, most of the country are accessible without a visa but this isn’t true for every nationalities. The need of a visa depends on the lenght of your stay and the purpose of it. The visa won’t be the same if you plan on visiting, working or studying. I decided to go with the Australian Working Holiday Visa that is valid for a year. This visa allowed me to work and stay in the country for a year and could have even be extended to a second year. The Australian visa is really easy to get but quite expensive (450$ CAD). Other country like New-Zealand and United-kingdom also offer Working Holiday Visa.


When planning a one year trip, you certainly won’t be able to know your entire itinerary in advance. After all, this is what makes the journey so thrilling. Nevertheless, you should have a good idea of your destinations and the precautions to take before travelling to them. In some country, vaccines are required and doing them in Canada before entering these countries can save you a lot of money and trouble. Travel agencies and drug stores often offer these services.


Looking for the right insurance can be quite a puzzle. Companies offer different insurance coverage that can fit everyone needs. I personnaly haven’t look to much into it since I already have an insurance with blue cross. However, most of the insurance usually cover you for only 183 days (In Quebec, Canada). If you plan on travelling for a year, you’ll need to pay a supplement for the rest of your stay and contact the RAMQ to have their autorisation. Leaving the country for a one year Holiday Visa is permitted once every seven years. If you don’t get the autorization and you’re not back in the country after 183 days, you’ll loose your care insurance until you manage to get reaccepted in the program.


Travelling for a year can be done very expensively if you plan on sleeping in fancy hotel everyday. It’s pretty easy to save on accomodation if you’re on a budget and you’re flexible. The easiest way to save money and to meet other travellers is to stay in hostels. Hostels can accomodate a lot of different types of travellers as you can book a private room or a dorm bed. Airbnb is also a great site to find accomodation. The price range and the type of accomodations (from a simple bed to an entire house) will make a lot of travellers happy. For the adventurers, camping is also a great way to save money as the price of campsites is usually around 20$ and can even be free. Finally, I decided to give couchsurfing a try during my trip. For those who don’t know Couchsurfing, you have been missing out. The platform is basically a space where locals offer to host travellers in their house FOR FREE during their stay. Not having to pay for your accomodation can be pretty cool but Couchsurfing is more then a free bed. It’s a way to meet other travellers and to share different cutlture. In my opinion, that’s what travel is all about.


Packing for a year is not an easy task. Depending on your travel plans, you’ll have to consider bringing outdoor equipments, warm clothes, plenty of swim suits or all of the above. The things you’ll bring will depend on the type of traveller you are. You should always keep in mind that everything you’re bringing with you can be replace since loosing stuff is part of a backpacker journey. The only important thing will be your backpack. Since you’ll bring this one everywhere you go, you should definitely invest in a bag that is right for you. I bought mine from the very popular brand Osprey (Aura 65). Remember that the best bag for you is not necessarily the most expensive. The different features of the bag and the way it feels on you are the most important criterias to choose the best bag. Leaving my home, my family and my friends behind to live this incredible adventure was not easy. First stop for me is Hawaii.

Couldn’t feel more lucky!


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