Write a list!
List everything you need to do before getting on that plane or type the list on your phone in reminders so you can tick them off when they’re done.
Check your passport!
- Is your passport up to date? Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.
- Check the countries you are visiting and organise necessary Visas. You might like to check out Russian Visa: A Step-by-Step Guide To Doing It Yourself if you are travelling to Russia.
- Buy Travel Insurance or have your bank email your free policy to you if you’ve paid for your trip on your credit card. You have to have your return trip booked before this policy is valid. On the advice of my doctor, I purchased some extra travel insurance. I checked out www.comparethemarket.com.au
You’ll have to admit that was a fantastic advertising campaign. Who can ever forget those meerkats? As it turned out,
Woolworths had the cheapest policy that covered all of the worst scenarios with $200 excess.
It’s underwritten by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd which to be truthful, I’ve never heard of. For 5 months, the total cost was $419.28, which I thought was pretty damn good, especially since I don’t plan on claiming!
- Suspend your private health insurance. You must be out of the country for at least 9 weeks to do this, but 5 months of no deductions is an extra $1,333, which will help me to survive while overseas. Keep your boarding passes to prove you were out of the country for that period of time.
International Transaction Fees
- Inform your bank of your departure and return dates. Get a credit card with no international transaction charges. They can be a killer! Commonwealth Bank now has a Low Fee Gold Mastercard, which avoids those fees. 28 Degrees also provides the same service.
What about Centrelink?
- If you are on the age pension, inform Centrelink of your departure and return dates. Speak to Centrelink International to determine what you’re entitled to. You can travel for up to 6 weeks without affecting your pension. After that, you may lose part or all your supplement, but you won’t lose the rent assistance if you continue to rent in Australia. You can live overseas for 12 months without losing your pension. I’m not sure what happens after that.
- Cancel or suspend unnecessary services that won’t be used in your absence. Suspending your cable internet connection and Foxtel subscription can save you quite a bit.
International Roaming or Travel SIM?
- Set up your phone with International Roaming or buy a travel SIM. I managed to get a deal through Optus for $45 a month for 100gb in Australia and 4gb per month overseas – a much better deal than the $10 per day for 200mb that phone companies charge.
- Make sure you have the correct power adaptors for each of the countries you’re visiting. The universal one may not be the best option if you have Australian three-pronged plugs.
Have your home cared for
- You may employ a housesitter in your absence to look after your home for you. If you’re leaving your home vacant, you will need to organise regular mowing if you have a lawn and pool cleaning services if you have a pool. Home Assist can help you with this.
You are entitled to $500 of home services per year if you’re on the age pension.
Have I forgotten anything? Please let me know in the Comments section.