When the Travel Bug Bites, Get your Home in Order First. Smart Tips

There comes a time, for some of us it’s sooner than later, when the travel bug takes hold of you. Nothing can stop your rising passion to discover new cultures and experiences. You want to see dawn at Angkor Wat, go elephant trekking in Thailand, sip coffee in the cafes of Paris just like Hemingway and Orwell before you. You want it all and more. And why not? With so many cheap air fares, discount tickets and online bargains to be had, few countries are off limits to your travel wanderlust. (Well, apart from those in certain hot spots around the globe.)

Now all this is fine if you are renting a place and can get out of your tenancy or lease. But if you own a house or apartment, you have to say “hang on a minute, there’s a bit of planning to be done.” You can’t just shut the door and zoom off to the airport. There’s some serious stuff to consider….

Who’s going to look after Fluffy and Spot?

If you have a pet, you need to organise someone or a service to care for them. It may be better to ask a friend or family member to move in and become a familiar face to your pet, so it doesn’t fret as much when you go away.

Check your house and contents insurance

Boring yes, but it’s better to know up front if your property is covered when you’re away from home for several weeks. Ask someone to check on your property regularly, or better still, consider a house sitter. Some home insurance policies are not valid if your property is left unoccupied for an extended period of time. Some policies do give coverage for up to 60 days, many are less than this.

Needles and things

Do you need special inoculations for your destination such as cholera or malaria? (Mainly for tropical or jungle travel to remote areas) Sometimes your local doctor doesn’t have the right medicine or tablets on hand – they have to be pre-ordered, so call first and check.

It’s not “bon voyage” for bills

Just because you’re going away doesn’t mean that the bills stop. If you have regular bills for utilities, policies or ongoing charges, organise automatic debits on your savings or cheque accounts. Don’t forget to pay your credit card bill before you leave home and top up the balance with extra funds. You don’t want an embarrassing “declined” card when you’re about to purchase that fantastic dress of your dreams in Italy.

Avoid rate rises. Get a fixed rate home loan.

The last thing you want to hear about when you’re travelling overseas is another interest rate hike on your home loan. Lock in a fixed rate home loan before you leave, or think about switching to one. It gives you some peace of mind, especially if you’re away for a few years.

Landlord insurance cover

If you’re renting out your house or apartment, consider taking out landlord insurance. After all, your home is a significant investment and you want it to stay in good condition. Many policies cover loss of rent and new for old replacement on items. See what works for you.

Internet banking security

You probably don’t give a second thought to banking online at home, but be careful where you do it overseas. If you’re not comfortable doing it in a café off the beaten track, maybe your hotel is a better option. Or wait till you’re in a big city.

Driving on the right or left?

Not everyone drives on the same side of the road. In Asia, driving varies right across the region. For example: in mainland China, the traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road like the USA. But in Hong Kong, Macau, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand — they drive on the left, so beware of the transitions. However, in Asia, the rules are quite different from those in other countries. To foreign drivers the traffic can look chaotic and crazy. Maybe you should just use taxis or hire a local driver and save yourself from road rage.

Now you’re ready to roll. Happy travels.