Preparing Your Family for a Stint Overseas

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Get banking and insurances handled.

If you’ve been thinking about refinancing a mortgage, then doing so in plenty of time before you leave the country (and your steady jobs) is essential. If you’re going to be renting out your home, then you’ll likely need to change your home owners policy to keep the property covered while it’s rented out. Some insurances are void if a property is vacant over 30 days, so make sure you understand your policy. If you don’t want to rent out your home, then a housesitter might be a prudent idea. We recently had friends who came home from an extended trip to find a dishwasher leak that had caused extensive staining as the carpet remained wet for over a week. Having an house-sitter likely would have minimized the damage. The kicker – the carpet manufacturer doesn’t make the same carpet anymore so they’re going to have to replace carpet throughout the whole apartment!

Make sure you cancel or downgrade any car insurances or other insurances you won’t be needing. If you’re leaving the house empty or with a housesitter you might be able to downgrade your internet service (although check with your housesitter about how much internet they need first!)

Not to be morbid, but it’s also a good time to make sure your wills are in order.

Get extended prescriptions and dental checkups.

Make sure you have the medication you need, which will typically just involve explaining to your doctor and/or pharmacist that you’re going away. You can typically pick up repeats on prescriptions early if you sign a form to say it’s because you’ll be travelling. If you live somewhere that children’s dental care is free or included free on your insurance, then it makes sense to have that taken care of before you travel.

If anyone in your family has products they specific consider “necessities,” decide if they’re important enough to take with you, whether it’s your special under eye wrinkle cream, that perfect shade of concealer, or your toddler’s most loved books.

Network

If you’re heading somewhere that is popular with travelers then try networking with some who have blogs or via Facebook groups. For example, there is a Facebook group specifically for families who travel. You may get useful hints, advice and contacts related to your specific destination. Also, families who travel are often keen to meet up for play dates with other like-minded families.

Get Grandma and Grandpa hooked up on Skype or Facetime

It’s important for kids to maintain connections with extended family, and grandparents often pine for little ones when they start jetting off around the world. Do some practice runs of talking via Skype. Reading stories via Skype is one idea. Small children may only be keen for 2-3 minute phone calls, so don’t over estimate their attention spans!

Get a cloud backup service

Your electronics will tend to take more of a pounding when you’re traveling. When you’re out of your environment things are more likely to get spilled on them and you’re more likely to drop your computer in a fog of jetlag. Combine this with the fact that you’ll taking lots of important photos while you’re traveling, and it definitely makes sense to have a cloud backup service that automatically secures your precious memories. Dropbox is my favorite but mainly because I’ve been using it for awhile and it’s simple. Ideally make sure you have two online backups!

Image by Luke Ma under Creative Commons license.

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