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OnTheJourney

How do world cruisers manage things on the homefront while away for so long?

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This has always wondered me. These itineraries are most tempting (or at least segments), but I can't imagine how much would be involved with the logistics of being away for such extended periods. Do most of these folks hire full-time house / plant / pet (and whatever else) sitters?  Or are downsized to the point where there is relatively little left to worry about? (Sort of just close the door and go)  I can't imagine, for instance, the amount of "junk mail" that would accumulate after several months!!! Bad enough after 2-3 weeks!  I've also heard of people who basically cruise all the time - literally - have sold off all (or most) of their real estate and belongings, etc. Just curious. It got me thinking about it since the WC is now underway. Any thoughts from those who have done it? Offhand, for me, I'd at least need - house sitter (someone that can be trusted!!), landscaping outfit to both mow / plow snow, pet sitter (not even sure most kennels want to have a cat or dog for months on end), plus all the emergency contacts in the event of mechanical or other issues, then likely many other considerations that I can't even think of offhand. The cost for just the things I've mentioned would probably be enough to go on a few short cruises! It also goes without saying that to embark on such an adventure somewhat obviously implies that cost is "no object" 🙂 

Edited by OnTheJourney

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4 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

This has always wondered me. These itineraries are most tempting (or at least segments), but I can't imagine how much would be involved with the logistics of being away for such extended periods. Do most of these folks hire full-time house / plant / pet (and whatever else) sitters?  Or are downsized to the point where there is relatively little left to worry about? (Sort of just close the door and go)  I can't imagine, for instance, the amount of "junk mail" that would accumulate after several months!!! Bad enough after 2-3 weeks!  I've also heard of people who basically cruise all the time - literally - have sold off all (or most) of their real estate and belongings, etc. Just curious. It got me thinking about it since the WC is now underway. Any thoughts from those who have done it? Offhand, for me, I'd at least need - house sitter (someone that can be trusted!!), landscaping outfit to both mow / plow snow, pet sitter (not even sure most kennels want to have a cat or dog for months on end), plus all the emergency contacts in the event of mechanical or other issues, then likely many other considerations that I can't even think of offhand. The cost for just the things I've mentioned would probably be enough to go on a few short cruises! It also goes without saying that to embark on such an adventure somewhat obviously implies that cost is "no object" 🙂 

It is indeed a challenge, but obviously not an impossible one, since so many do it.  We were on the 2019 world cruise this year, January to  May.  The best advice I got was from an inaugural world cruiser the year before— start planning a year in advance.  Everything from how much toothpaste you use in a month to prescriptions, which most of us will tell you is a big challenge!  Try getting your insurance company to give you 5 months instead of the usual three.  Then there are inoculations, currencies, etc etc.  Put as much as you can on auto pay, but I had no trouble paying other bills online on the ship.  Our WC went around the Southern Hemisphere, so we needed to pack for the very hot countries, as well as taking a down parka for Ushuaia.  We had a housesitter, but we would not and did not do the WC while we had our dog.  If you can swing it, do it.  Our mantra was “we’re not going to get any younger and it’s not going to get any cheaper.”  It was a wonderful experience!

Edited by SantaFe1

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If you want, try the "World Cruising" board here on Cruise Critic:  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/674-world-cruising/

 

Lots of discussion of this type of topic.

 

For us, it's not a big problem since we are snowbirds who migrate south for 5.5 months a year, so we're already accustomed to securing our abodes, paying bills electronically, forwarding mail, etc.  I've had to give up plants entirely (although I'm attached to a little African Violet at this moment, alas.)  And our last pet is gone; before that my son looked after the cat while we were south.

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Wendy, 

 

Thanks for the info and link. Others have mentioned about not being able to do this with pets. Unfortunately, right now I can't quite imagine not having any, so guess the long cruise'll have to wait. I'd never abandon an animal in a kennel for months at a time. Must be quite an experience though, for sure. 

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I found reading the roll call thread for the inaugural World Cruise fascinating. It’s literally an “Everything You Wanted to Know About A World Cruise” tome. Check it out.  2017 World Cruise

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Simples!  

1.  Sort out all financial providers so that you can access and manipulate balances whilst away using internet.

2.  Try and get some idea of weather conditions per segment.

3.  Pack a good 'skeleton' selection and take that with you together with all basics.

4.  Ditto with toiletries and medications.

5.  Plan ahead to have clothing and accessories cycled - have fresh stuff delivered to the ship from home (shouldn't need more than 2 or 3 of these).

6.  Ditto with sending stuff back home for delivery either whilst you are away to a friend or neighbour or storage.

7.  Ensure you have all visas and vaccinations in place well before you go.

8.  Notify all those who 'need to know' of your itinerary etc., and arrange for mail to be collected regularly from your home address.

9.  Have a good security system put in place, preferably one which you can monitor through your mobile phone and ipad.

10.  Also have a good wi-fi lights and heating system set up which you can monitor and manipulate through your mobile phone and ipad.

11.  Don't forget all the necessary luggage labels for sending luggage home with unwanted clothing etc in it.

12.  Finally, make sure that you have the contact numbers for your luggage couriers for during the cruise, so that if necessary you can advise them of any relevant itinerary changes en route.

13.  Put in your online grocery order before you leave, so that it arrives at a suitable time for your arrival back home.

 

Whilst I will freely admit I haven't done a world cruise (and quite frankly don't want to do one), but I have frequently had to cope with being away from our home base for long periods.

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PC....great list!!!  I think I'm with you on not really being up for one of these - still fascinating to look through the itinerary. Get the whole world done (well, at least a decent part of it) all in ONE shot!  I think my mind would be on overload after about the first 50 ports or so - not sure I could continue to absorb so much new info and experiences all on the same trip - but could be fun trying ?!

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A World Cruise is not for everyone but for my husband and me it was truly magical...waking up every morning with nothing more to think about than the wonder of this great world, exploring so many world treasures and often interacting with its people.  It was life changing. We were also very fortunate to be part of Viking's Inaugural World Cruise because  other than an initial 3 week segment all the passengers were onboard the entire journey.

 

We booked one year out ...so for that year I kept a list a bills that are paid only once/year and paid those before we left (this included car registrations). Driver's Licenses  were set to expire while we were away so that had to be done early. We pre-paid for snow removal.  The only thing that slipped through the cracks was our boat registration which only happens every other year.  Everything else was on autopay and with internet we were able to review charges.

 

The biggest concern for me was there would be a new grandchild while we were gone!!!  Daughters promised NO NEW BABIES when we reserved the trip and I would have cancelled if plans had changed! 

 

I don't think we could have done it had we not had adult daughters in the area who checked the house and sorted/tossed mail. After the WC we were on a short trip and our furnace stopped working....again thankfully our daughter was checking the house and arranged for a repair. . Those sort of things happen and plans need to be in place.

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Things we would suggest: 

Put your phone/internet/cable TV on vacation rates which are very reasonable. 

For satellite radio in the car, we cancel and resubscribe when we return. 

Our car is in the garage so we limit the insurance to fire and theft only, another saving. 

File for an extension with the IRS.

 

After doing the World Cruise last year (and again this year!) remember that re-entry is  difficult for almost 2 weeks as  you sort through tubs and tubs of mail, dealing with minutia, then the checkups at doctors, dentists, audiologist, etc., all while coping with jet lag.  BUT it's all worth it to visit wonderful ports on a ship we term Nirvana.

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I've 'house sat' for folks who RV for 5 months at a crack .... monitor the mail (they use a post office box to support their travels .... I empty once a week). Advise if anything that looks important shows up (e-mail). Check the house once a week, run the water, flush the toilets, put some bleach in the a/c (Florida), ensure everything is running normally and the lawn is being serviced .... even drive the car they leave at home to keep battery charged.

 

They pay me ..... comes out to about $20 an hour invested under normal circumstances.

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There is a service from the US Post Office that  I know nothing about that supposedly takes pictures of your mail so that you can monitor for important mail.  I do not know where it is available or if there is a cost involved.

Perhaps someone who has used it can comment.

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To ONTHEJOURNEY -

   As soon as I read your comment, "This has always wondered me....,"  I thought PA DUTCH!!   I was not surprised to see PA as your location. I am PA DUTCH but married a Texan. You made me a bit homesick. I sometimes get in a dither and think of the saying, "The hurrier i go, the behinder i get."  I would love to do a world cruise one day.

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 5:28 PM, OnTheJourney said:

PC....great list!!!  I think I'm with you on not really being up for one of these - still fascinating to look through the itinerary. Get the whole world done (well, at least a decent part of it) all in ONE shot!  I think my mind would be on overload after about the first 50 ports or so - not sure I could continue to absorb so much new info and experiences all on the same trip - but could be fun trying ?!

We've been incredibly lucky during our lives, I started with 'overseas' education whilst young, and OH started with an overseas employment - and travel was part of our workaday lives for a very long time.

 

So, for us a world cruise is simply 'not on' either because 'we've been there etc' or because we refuse to pay for a visa to be a on a ship in a port/country in which we have absolutely no intention of leaving the ship.  If we are determined not to go ashore, we see the demand for a visa payment daylight robbery.  We believe that the cruise line would have paid fees for the ship to be in port etc., and the attendant services, but if we are staying on the ship we feel that it's a complete personal waste of money, and we won't opt for an itinerary which included places we have absolutely no desire to visit.

 

Therefore, world cruises are not for us - we'd rather be a bit selective, and do multiple cruises instead.

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7 hours ago, deec said:

There is a service from the US Post Office that  I know nothing about that supposedly takes pictures of your mail so that you can monitor for important mail.  I do not know where it is available or if there is a cost involved.

Perhaps someone who has used it can comment.

 

We use this (at home and while away)---it is called Informed Informed Delivery and you get images of what USPS mail or packages you will receive that day. It has a package delivery (and redelivery) instruction feature that we have not tried out yet.

 

https://informeddelivery.usps.com

 

You can sign up for FedEx and UPS delivery notifications so that you know when a package is delivered. 

 

We also have someone local with POA so that in the event that something unexpected needs signature she can do that. 

 

Friends who have out of town property have systems monitoring for flooding/power outage/ temperature drop that will notify them via email/text/phone if there is a problem. Has saved some large damage claims by catching things before pipes freeze or there is flooding damage.

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We will shortly embark on our 2nd World Cruise, and in addition, routinely travel in the RV/Caravan & Timeshares for up to 6 months at a time. Planning is a key component of stress free extended travel, so we start 12 to 18 months out.

 

1). We have 2 large dogs (GSD & Lab) & a cat, so when cruising & in timeshares, finding pet sitters is our biggest challenge. For our first WC, our daughter took the dogs, but we found a lady to board the cat. However, for 6 months, this was ultra-expensive. This time we signed up with pet sitters (trustedhousesitters). We have a couple from Brazil staying in our house. We have Skyped with them and received references. They stay for free & look after our home & pets.

 

2). Medications - we can routinely get up to 6 months of prescriptions filled for a holiday. If over 6 months we must investigate alternative options - any arrival in another Province, as we can transfer prescriptions. We also identify any ports where reputable medications can be purchased without prescriptions. We have used Dubai on previous visits.

 

3). Taxes - make arrangement to get info to accountant

 

4) Insurance policies, local taxes, driver's licences, passports - checked well in advance and renewed early, as required.

 

5). Consumables - we identify, which ports we can use to restock. Knowing how much we use and where we can stock lets us know how much to take.

 

6). First-Aid Kit - DW is a trauma RN, so brings an extensive kit

 

7). Finances - all bills are on auto pay and I pay the credit card monthly by online banking, which I access from the ship. DD has full Power of Attorney, so can deal with any issues in our absence. DD also has a credit card on our account, so she purchases pet food etc for the sitters in our absence.

 

8). Luggage - we research average temperatures/weather and pack accordingly. Our goal is to take 4 large cases. About 50% is taken up with medications/consumables, leaving room for purchases during the cruise. We generally always take an additional collapsible bag, so we can return with an additional bag, if required.

 

9). Shipping - we have never found a need to ship stuff home, although a couple of pax on the previous WC did. Whatever clothes we bring to the ship is what we have for the entire voyage.

 

10) Visas - although Viking arranges and pays for all Visas, I still research every port. I question any discrepancies between my list and request confirmation that the ship will acquire Visas in ports I know provide this service.

 

11) Vaccinations - we visit a specialised Travel Clinic for a consultation with a doctor. We provide the detailed itinerary, including all tours we are taking. They recommend what we require, which is then dispensed by a nurse. We generally make the appointment about 8 weeks before departure.

 

12) Vehicles - removed from the road and insurance changed to storage policy

 

13) Medical Insurance - research options and purchase based on "small print"

 

14). House Sitters - arrange to pick up at airport, then spend a day familiarising them with our pets & home. Introduce them to our kids, who live close.

 

Lots of others, but this is a quick summary.

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