Protecting a Home When Traveling Abroad

traveling abroad

One of the first major trips I took had me spending two months overseas. I was so enamored by the idea of travel and all that the journey had to offer that I didn’t pay much attention to my apartment outside of leaving the keys to a trusted friend and powering off the lights.

I think now of how deep in crud I would have been if I were to do it now considering my work obligations, relationship, and responsibilities. I talked with fellow travelers and found it’s a similar story about how they managed their housing when abroad.

Yikes!

Well, I’ve got my head on straight about how to handle my place when I’m traveling. I’d like to share the helpful tips with you so the next trip has you going with peace of mind.

Handling: Finances
The last thing you want reminding of with when you’re traveling are the finances. Yet, we can’t 100% disappear from our responsibilities. We still have to come home.

I recommend setting up an iPostal1 digital mailbox which directs mail to a secure mailbox where you’re given regular updates (including pictures) of the items you receive. This will let you know when bills come in so you can make those payments if you aren’t already using online bill pay.

I’d also recommend negotiating with utilities, cable, and other regulars to potentially lower service costs since you’re not using them as heavily. This is helpful if you’re traveling for an extended period and decide to do a complete shutdown of the home. It’s costly to restart the services due to activation fees and deposits. This could save you hundreds!

Handling: Security
Burglars will profile a home based on ease of access and likelihood of interaction. Meaning that if your home is vacant (and shows it) then it could be a target. You don’t want to come back home to an empty house, do you?

· Install a security system connected to the web so you can monitor it from your phone or PC
· Have friends or family periodically visit the home to do a sweep
· Set timers on lights to give an illusion of being home and keep up with regular outdoor maintenance like having the yard mowed and shrubs trimmed.

You can’t stop burglaries 100% but you sure can deter them while you’re traveling by making the place seem like it’s occupied!

Handling: Relationships
Professional relationships take a strain when you’re away which could pose problems. You may have forgotten to alert others of your departure. Now they’re trying to get in touch but getting frustrated because they’re unable to reach you. Troubles may also arise if you have roommates.

Let the landlord know in the event they had inspection plans or routine maintenance to either keep them at bay or give consent to do their thing; doubly so if you’re sub-renting the place while you’re away to make a few bucks.

Prepay your share of the rent if you have a roommate and leave documentation; keep in touch to make sure they follow up on their half else you may not have a home to come back to. You may not want to deal with them but it’s not good to keep people in the dark especially if they have some form of influence on your housing situation.

It’s Always Smart to Start Smart
I know it’s exciting when the itinerary comes together and it’s a few days before you head out. You wait impatiently counting the minutes. I suggest you take this time to make a travel prep checklist and mark off the items I’ve covered.

I’d also suggest:
· Setup a secondary bank account (in case one gets locked or a card is stolen)
· Preemptively do housing repairs/maintenance (like the water pumping or clearing gutters)
· Clearing the pantry and perishables (to avoid waste)
Use the waiting time to knock these out and you’ll find yourself on the road with peace of mind.

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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