Long trip planning
Long trips sound exciting and they are but they can also have unforeseen problems. Many of the problems can be avoided if you take the time to think about your long trip planning. Some things are obvious. Who will water the plants? Who will pick up the mail? Others you may only trip over by accident. It’s these accidents that you will want to avoid.
Unfortunately we all have bills to pay. If your bills are automatically paid you can mostly ignore this section. If on the other hand your bills need to be manually paid you need a way of tracking which bills will arrive during your trip. The simplest will be to have a trusted person handle things while you are away. Likely the same person that collects your mail. If that isn’t possible check if the billing information can be checked electronically.
Luckily today you are likely to find your utility providing access to your account over the internet. That makes it relatively easy to pay your bills using online banking. Of course this requires you to have internet banking set up with your bank. If you haven’t done this yet it’s likely time. Also check if it’s possible to have the bills charged to your credit card. This will leave you with only one bill to pay.
Notify your bank
Which brings us to the second issue. Banking. You should notify your bank if you are going abroad. Tell them you will be using your credit and bank card outside of the country. Don’t forget to give them both your departure and return date. You should also make sure you have enough money in the account that will be paying your bills.
If at all possible get a second bank card. Even better would be a card from a different bank. You will hopefully never use this card but if the worst happens or if your bank just mistakenly blocks the card you will be thankful having a backup card. A second card provided by a different bank gives you an extra layer of safety. If the security systems at your bank decide to block you for foreign transactions the second card and account will still be active while you find a fix for the blocked card.
While you are thinking about banking check what if any fees your bank charges for international travel. ATM fees being the main one.
If you receive regular deliveries suspend or cancel these. Newspapers,milk or any other item. A pile of newspapers on your front porch will only mark your house as empty. In the same vein make sure you have someone to collect your mail. If you live in a cold weather country you will have the additional problem to make sure the house is cold proofed. If the heat in your home was to go off what would happen? It’s not a pleasant thought to imagine the damage this could cause to your home. Don’t underestimate this issue. It’s likely your home insurance would not cover any damage if the house is vacant without any one watching it. A burst pipe will ruin your trip.
For longer trips it may make sense to suspend things like your cable service. Compare the cost to reactivate the service versus the savings of not paying the monthly fee.
You may have things expire during your trip. Driver’s license for example. But also credit cards. Long trip planning requires planning out the full period you’ll be away. Some of these things you can live without while away. On the other hand having your credit card expire during a trip could easily leave you difficult situation. Try to renew things before leaving if possible. Or at least have backup plans in place.
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