If you decide to go travelling, or to leave home to head overseas for any length of time, you need to give thought to your general financial and practical matters at home. This is probably going to be the last thing you want to think about when you have that exciting trip to plan, but making sure everything is just so back home means you won’t have any problems whilst you’re away, and you’ll return to everything all in order.
I recently went to Turkey for seven months, having applied for a career break from my full time job back home, and I soon realised that my to-do list for everything I needed to do with my trip was complicated by all the things I needed to finalise back home too!
Now, I did have a bit of trouble with my bank accounts whilst I was away, but if I hadn’t done the initial preparation before I went, the situation would have been worse and harder to sort out than it was. Basically, you need to inform your bank of your intentions to go away for x number of months, because if you use your cash card or debit card overseas and you haven’t told them, then you could run the risk of your account being frozen due to suspected fraudulent use. This might sound like a pain, but really it’s for your protection. I informed them and still had my account blocked, but it was easily sorted out with a phone call, so whilst it doesn’t completely take away the risk, it does significantly reduce it.
The same can be said for credit cards. I took my credit card away with me for emergencies, e.g. if I needed to get home pronto and had to book a flight at the last minute. Luckily I didn’t need to use it, but I had to ring up the company and tell them when I was going, how long for, and where I was going to, just in case I did need to use it, and they could be sure that it was me who was using it. Again, this is for your protection against possible fraudulent usage.
I am on a contract for my mobile phone and unfortunately I didn’t plan my trip that well, as it didn’t coincide with the date my contract ends! If you are due to end your contract soon, e.g. just before you go away, it’s worthwhile not renewing it, because you can easily put a pay as you go SIM in your phone and simply use it for WiFi. In my case, I called the company and explained my situation, who thankfully froze my contract for the time I was away, putting the extra time onto the end of my contract length. Now, this is at the discretion of your company, so it won’t be a standard rule, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
I unfortunately have outgoings that need to be paid regardless of my whereabouts, so I had to plan all this accordingly. I worked out the cost of seven months’ worth of these payments and made sure that amount was in my bank, ready to come out each month via Direct Debit.
Cancel unnecessary outgoings
Do you have unnecessary outgoings that you don’t really think about? I didn’t realise I was still paying for a lapsed gym membership! I made sure everything that wasn’t strictly needed was cancelled.
Luckily I didn’t have this problem because I live with my parents, but if you own a house or are renting, you need to think about paying rent whilst you’re away versus, well, basically not. If you’re going away for a long period of time and you’re renting, consider giving notice on your place and finding somewhere new when you get back. If you own your home, maybe consider renting it out whilst you’re away? This is a personal choice.
Covering all bases at home means your time away will run smoother, and when you return you won’t come back to a mess that needs an awful lot of sorting out!