Tying up all your loose ends before take-off: How prepared are you?

By Kimberley Bailey
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Are you mentally prepared for the journey of your lifetime? Our checklist will help you tie up any loose ends.

Before you jet off to enjoy the journey of a lifetime you need to make sure a host of things are sorted and that certain things are in place so you can really dive into the experience. So, let’s take a look at what needs to be done.

In the weeks or months leading up to your big trip almost everyone you know will tell you how jealous they are of you and what a lucky thing you are to be jetting off. And while this is true there is something troublesome, a dark cloud hanging over you, a relentless niggle… and that’s being sure that you’ve done all you can to tie up your loose ends in the UK.

Don’t bury your heads in the sand babes, just ensure that the to-do list is ticked-off…

All in order at work?

Quitting your job to go travelling would've once seemed like an unrealistically romantic notion but studies show that the number of backpackers above 30 years old has risen by almost 10% in the past decade. So, if you’re one of these brave explorers then there’s a few things you need to consider…

A smooth exit is what you want, so give your contract a good look over and see what’s required from you in terms of notice, what the deal is with outstanding holiday days (do you need to take them or can you cash them in) and so on. It’s always good to know what’s expected of you and what you can expect from your resignation (if you’ve been there longer than 5 years for example you might be rewarded).

It’s likely that you’ll be responsible for some kind of hand-over, whether it’s between you and your replacement, the company, the department or whatever. Leave no stone unturned here because the last thing you want is getting emails about things you haven’t explained or that you haven’t finished a report (ugh).

Think about what you’re going to do on your return

Finally, without putting a total downer on the voyage before it’s begun… Think about what you’re going to do on your return (just a little, at least). Are you going to dedicate some time for job hunting during your adventure (for the UK or abroad)? If so, it’s a good idea to have things like your CV saved on whichever device you’re taking with you or use the good ol’ trick of emailing it to yourself. Keep in touch with old colleagues and mates about any upcoming opportunities and see if your vocation can translate into some kind of freelance or volunteer work while you’re away.

If you’re adamant on waiting until you get home (no shame or blame in that), have you got enough money to bridge the gap between that and landing new employment.

Providing you’ve not completely cut yourself off then you shouldn't be too daunted by the prospect of getting back on the horse.

Managed to wangle some time off instead of quitting?

Your contract still needs a review to see where holiday or annual leave lands you and what you’re entitled to. Don’t book any flights or make any commitments regarding your journey of self-discovery before you’ve spoken to your boss.

Similarly you’ll still have to make sure that you’re towing the line between you and whoever is replacing you (albeit temporary). Is email forwarding activated? Have you resolved all the work you needed to complete? Have you asked your colleagues if there's anything they need of you before you go? If the answer to these three isn’t a resounding yes then you’re not only going to piss some people off but you’re not going to have a piece of mind. Don’t forget to reach out every now and again so your return is as seamless as possible. Plus you might want to keep ‘em sweet. They’ll probably hate you after looking at your Instagram.

Renting out your place?

Letting out your room, flat or house isn’t for everybody and there are both risks and rewards involved.

Let’s take a look at the possible risks...

It’s possible that you’ve kept your plan to rent on the downlow and not informed your landlord. If so, you could be in breach of your rental agreement and be in big trouble on your return. Not too sure it’s worth it but obviously that's up to you to decide.

Housesharing?

Then there's a risk that the other housemates aren't so keen on the idea and this could make you very unpopular at home. Ensure that everyone has given it the green light and involve them as much as they need in terms of who you choose to take your spot.

Lastly, it seems apropos to raise the concern that the person in your property may not respect your belongings and leave your place in a state! Or they might not even pay up at all. If you are the landlord then ensure you’ve got them to sign an agreement you’re happy with and specify your criteria (smoking, pets etc.)

It might also be worth carrying out a credit check so you feel more confident about this prospective tenant.

The rewards...

The most obvious one is that - if you own the place, it’ll be a nice little earner while you’re jet-setting and if not then at least you’ve got someone covering your rent (a really nice bonus when you’re hemorrhaging money abroad).

Also, if it plays out that you haven’t got some tenant from hell then you’ve got the added bonus that someone in your home to keep an eye on it. And if there is - heaven forbid - anything like a gas leak, problem with the boiler etc then they can inform you and hopefully sort it out (you can even ask them to let you know if there’s any post you need to know about)

It’s definitely worth doing a bit of your own research into the letting market. Look into the sorts of properties being let in your area and how much rent they are asking for.

 

Important note: Any rental income you receive may be taxed at your usual rate (20% if you are basic rate taxpayer, and 40% if you are a higher-rate taxpayer). You will have to take into account any tax deductions as well as letting agent fees, then see how much you are left with.

Got any direct debits?

It’s not uncommon for people to have money slipping out of their account like a thief in the night without really registering it, and it feels even worse when you're paying out for things you won’t be using at all because you're away.

As such, give your statements a look over and see what can go and then cut ‘em out. You’re probably going to need all the money you can get during your adventure so don’t waste it paying out for things back home.

It doesn’t bode well at all to miss a payment. Your credit score will suffer as a result and that’s not exactly the welcome home present you want. If you stand a chance at getting a good mortgage, loan or credit card then your credit score needs to be as good as possible. Lenders look at your ability to make regular payments so if you’ve fallen short in that respect during your adventures then this could have a big ripple effect.

Does your bank know you’re going?

Pop into your bank and let them know, roughly, your route so they don’t get alarmed and block your card when they see a transaction has just gone through in Bolivia. That’s kind of worst case scenario anyway… they might not actually block your card immediately, instead they might get in touch with you first to give authorisation, but if you need a payment to go through straight away then that's far from ideal.

It’s certainly worthwhile to double-check that your bank has the correct details for you on their system because if they need to get hold of you but still have your mobile number from 2001 or your embarrassing teenage email address (fluffysheep84@hotmail.com) they might struggle to hunt you down.

While you’re in store it’s a good idea to set a parent or mate to be your connection in the UK so if anything needs to be sorted the bank will let them do it at home.

Top Takeaway

- Keep open and honest communication with people at work whether you’re quitting or taking time off. And definitely give your contract a good read

- Do your research with regard to your property if you're thinking of renting it out and really consider whether your rewards outweigh your risks (it varies for everyone)

- Pore over your statements and see which direct debits can go and cancel them

- Keep your bank in the loop and set someone to keep an eye on your account at home

 

Author bio: Kimberley is a freelance journalist investigating the world of personal finance for giffgaff Money, while exploring and trekking around the world. She adores Prince, Louis Theroux and Persian rugs.

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