I write a lot about saving and spending travel dollars well.
That's what Travel Money Tuesdays is all about.
But what about protecting your life at home as you travel? A life that you've invested in carefully. What about:
- the safety of your home and its contents
- protecting your credit rating
- ensuring that all insurance remains valid while you're away
- eliminating unnecessary expenses
This post is about making sure that all is safe and sound and running smoothly at home while you travel.
Keep Your Home and its Contents Safe
- Don't tell the world you'll be traveling. You don't want to alert the wrong people to the opportunity of an empty home. Be careful how widely you tell people about your plans on social media.
- Arrange for a local representative. Choose a responsible person to represent you in your absence. Give them keys to your place and authorize them to make emergency repairs should a problem arise. Give them a few ways to get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
- Have someone collect your mail. If you're gone for a very long time you may want to have the post office divert your mail to your local representative. For shorter trips, ask a friend or family member to pick it up daily.
- Make your place look lived in. Timers are an inexpensive way to make your home look occupied. You can use them to schedule lights, TVs, radios… to go on and off at specific times. Leave your window coverings as they usually are. Some people are tempted to close them so that people can't see in but then neighbors can't see in either
- Let your neighbors know you'll be away. Give them the contact number for your local representative to call if they see something amiss.
- Arrange for any necessary maintenance. This may be unnecessary for condo or apartment dwellers but for someone who is in a house you'll need to make sure that your house does not look unattended. Arrange for the grass to be cut, leaves raked, snow cleared…
Protect Your Credit Rating as You Travel
It doesn't take much to damage a credit rating. Depending on how you have managed your finances in the last seven years, a couple of missed payments to a credit card may be all it takes. Make sure you know how you will manage your finances as you travel before you leave.
- Arrange for automatic payments. There are some monthly payments that can be put on auto payment. Do so and upon your return check them for accuracy.
- Receive bills by email. Most companies will send you your bill by email. Receive them that way and check your email regularly to ensure that there are no bills left unpaid.
- Get access to all accounts online. Banking online is important but it's also important to have access to your credit cards online as well. Make sure you are able to move money around as needed.
Please take special care when doing any financial transactions online. Unless you are using the data of your phone to connect to the web you are likely on WiFi. If so you need the protection of a VPN. Read: VPN for Travel: What, Why and an Easy Setup Guide
Keep Your Insurance Valid as You Travel
This is something that many people forget. But it's important. Air conditioners can break down causing water problems. Furnaces can stop causing pipes to burst and, again, water problems. The sooner any problem is found the less damage there will be which is why insurance companies have clauses to protect themselves from empty homes.
- Call your insurance provider. Ask about the terms of your insurance when you are away.
- Have someone stop by frequently. If you're going to be away from home for more than four days have someone enter your house every day (again, depending on the policy) to ensure that everything is okay. A quick walk through is all it takes. If it's winter, the person who does this for you should also turn on the taps to make sure the water is flowing properly. If it's not, the pipes could be freezing.
Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses
- Unplug appliances. Even if appliances are not on they use electricity and cost you money. Unplug all lamps, appliances, etc., except those that you plan to have on a timer.
- Adjust the thermostat. A few degrees one way or another can save a lot of money. Turn down your thermostat in the winter. Depending on your climate you could turn off your air conditioning completely in the summer.
- Away for a month or more? See if you can suspend your…
- auto insurance
- landline – this may be the time to cancel it altogether.
- gym membership
- anything else you pay for on a monthly basis and won't be using while you're away.
And to protect you and your money on the road read:
- Going Alone? Travel Insurance is a Must
- Keep Your Cash & Cards: 10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Pickpockets
- 12 Ways to Make Money as You Travel: long and short-term
- How to Make Money from Overbooked Flights: 10 Tips