7 Things To Do Before Going on a Bike Tour

7 Things To Do Before Going on a Bike Trip

7 Things To Do Before Going on a Bike Tour

7 Things To Do Before Going on a Bike Trip

As the countdown for my trans-Europe continues, I have been thinking and rethinking about what I need to do before I leave the country for 3 months. When you’re planning for an epic tour like this, it is easy to focus just on your tour plans alone. You’ve already squared away all the day-to-day destinations, all the accommodations are already lined up, and you’ve been scrutinizing every little thing you’re thinking about bringing over and over until you leave. So what’s left?… There’s still plenty!

Good thing I am here to serve as a reminder. Let’s get into the top 7 things that you should do before going on a bike tour. These tips are probably more applicable for trips 1 week or more.

Money + Calculator

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1. Do Your Bills

Are there bills you need to pay while on the road? Hopefully, you’re no longer sending checks to your utility or credit card companies. The Internet is here to help. Most financial institutions allow you to schedule payments and transfers at specific times of the month.

I actually crafted my entire financial system so that almost everything is automated. Every month, I transfer a lump sum to my checking account to cover all my credit card bills. All my credit card bills close on the 2nd of each month, so I know exactly what I’ll need to transfer over. That part is still the manual part. All my credit cards are also paid on the same date, the 21st of every month.

I use Mint to help me track all my spending and statements. I have alerts telling me if I have a low balance or if there’s an excessive charge in my accounts. Mint allows me to have a view of my financial health when I am on the road using either their website or their application. They use the same encryption as your credit card company, so it’s secure. Mint is a read-only view of all your accounts. They won’t withdraw or deposit funds like your financial institutions can.

One other thing I often overlook while planning for a long trip are the annual bills, like DMV renewals or annual organization fees, such as Adventure Cycling Association. Luckily, I keep a pretty detailed record of when each annual bill is paid based on the previous year and make sure I schedule a payment for those items.

The more you automate, the less you’ll worry about how your money is moved around. I recommend checking out this blog post by Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog. I read his book a few years ago and took the plunge to automate everything and ditched my Quicken and Microsoft Money program. I haven’t looked back since.


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2. Dealing with Mail

When you’re gone for a long period of time, your mailbox will eventually fill up, not only with bills, but tons of junk mail. Your postman isn’t going to help sort through your mail for you. One strategy is to put a mail hold on your mail through the US Postal Service by filling out this form. Be aware that the hold is only good for 30 days. After that, they will deliver 30 days worth of mail and continue to fill your mailbox. How do you get around this?

One way is to have a friend, family, or trusted neighbor pick-up your mail for you every few weeks. Hopefully, whoever you entrust with your mail lives close enough so that it isn’t a hassle for them to do so.

An alternative solution is signing up for a mail service like Virtual Post Mail. You can have all your bills or important documentation moved over to this new address. They receive your mail, do a scan of the outside envelope, and give you the option to open the letter and scan the contents so that you can view it on the go. They have a web app or mobile app for you to review the documents while you are out and about. They charge a fee for the service based on the volume of mail that you get. Also, if you want them to mail you a particular document physically, they pass the shipping cost to you. This can be great if you are gone for a long time, but would like to know what is coming to your mailbox. Be sure to give yourself enough time to change your address over and test out the service before you leave.

Two locks

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3. Implement Security Measures

The paranoid side of me always makes sure that I don’t fall victim to home burglary. Being a victim of this in the past when my parent’s house was broken into twice, I am always making sure I try to prevent it from ever happening to me. This can easily be achieved if you already have a home security system, like ADD, but for those who don’t, you have several options.

You can set up timers to help you turn on and off lights in your house, so it seems like there are people occupying your home. I would go as far as using a timer to turn on the TV or radio so that there is noise coming from your house.

A modern approach to this is automating your home using Belkin’s WeMo products to help you accomplish this. You can monitor and turn things on remotely using the accompanying mobile application. Better yet, use the “If This Then That” site to automate based on certain day events. For example, automatically turn on your lights when the sun sets can be achieved with the combination of IFTTT and a WeMo plug or light switch. They even have cameras to monitor the place remotely, as well.


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4. Clean the Refrigerator

One of the worst things about going on a bike tour is coming home to a stinky house, or if you’re lucky, a stinky refrigerator. It’s a good idea to throw out any food that will expire during the time you will be gone. While you’re at it, throw out the trash one last time before you leave. Imagine how your trash will look like after 3 months. Yes, that should be enough to gross you into doing it.

Give away food that is expiring soon instead of throwing it out if you feel guilty about doing this. I’m sure your friends will appreciate this. Even better, cook a meal and give it away. This way, you know it won’t go to waste (maybe). Anything perishable must go!

Box model w/stethoscope

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5. Taking Care of You

One thing you may have overlooked is your own health. Yeah you feel great and don’t think you need to see the doctor, but I recommend getting yourself checked out before you leave. Let your doctors know about your travel plans. See if you need to get any shots for places you are visiting. Have prescriptions filled if needed.  Get new glasses or even a routine teeth cleaning – it is essential to living a healthy and balanced life. I recently went in for my annual check up and with the exception of high cholesterol, (which the doctor didn’t stress over since I’ll be exercising on my trip) I’m good to go!

Another thing to check on is your health coverage. Will it cover you in emergencies or even non-emergencies? Make sure you have this in writing in case you are required to show proof. Being prepared for these types of events will go a long way in having a great trip.

Cat on a couch

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6. Don’t Forget Your Pets & Plants

Ready to leave and you realized that you forgot to find Fido a sitter?  Getting that done either by having a friend or neighbor stop by to feed your pets is essential while you’re on the road. If you’re going to go on an extended vacation, arrange to have them stay at a doggy hotel (expensive) or with friends and family.

The same goes for your plants. Make sure your plant is getting enough water and light. If you can even get something like drip irrigation to automate this, it would be helpful.

If you’re planning to take your pet along with you on your trip, just remember that’s extra weight, not only from thee eight of the pet itself, but all the food and accessories that comes with it. Not to mention, you may need to deal with travel restrictions on train, planes, or other transportation that aren’t pet friendly.


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7. Have Your Visas?

One last, but important, thing. If you’re planning to go to an international destination, have you checked to see if you need visas? Depending on your country of origin, you may need to get visas approved way ahead of time. Luckily for me, traveling through Europe with a US passport does not require visas. Now if we tried to add a trip down to Istanbul, Turkey, we would need a visa.

You simply visit the country’s embassy to submit your application for visa. Fortunately, some countries have an online service called E-Visas, which allows you to submit and receive electronic visas to use. There are 43 countries that offers this service.

  1. Australia
  2. Brazil
  3. Cambodia
  4. Cook Islands
  5. Djibouti
  6. Federated States of Micronesia
  7. Fiji
  8. Finland
  9. Germany
  10. Indonesia
  11. Israel
  12. Japan
  13. Jordan
  14. Kenya
  15. Kingdom of Tongo
  16. Laos
  17. Luxembourg
  18. Mauritius
  19. Mexico
  20. Myanmar
  21. New Zealand
  22. Niue
  23. Norway
  24. Oman
  25. Palestine
  26. Papua & New Guinea
  27. Philippines
  28. Republic of Kiribati
  29. Republic of Korea (i.e. South Korea)
  30. Republic of Marshall Islands
  31. Republic of Nauru
  32. Republic of Palau
  33. Russia
  34. Samoa
  35. Singapore
  36. Solomon Islands
  37. Thailand
  38. Tuvalu
  39. UAE
  40. Ukraine
  41. USA
  42. Vietnam
  43. Vanuatu

Make sure you cross check with your country of origin to see if you can get an e-visa.

Final Thoughts

It is easy to forget things that are outside of the actual trip. If you’re like me, you’re so deep into the planning that these things slip your mind until you are reminded of it. Hopefully, this post serves as a reminder for you to take care of some things before you go on your epic journey. I know it helped me with my own planning for Europe.

Did I forget anything? If so, please leave a comment below.

No Comments
  • Sarah Adam
    Posted at 04:16h, 02 July

    You can use PostScan Mail’s virtual mail service. They will receive and scan your mail and send you notifications that you can check online. They will also store your mail. It’s a great way to check your mail on the go.