Are you a Smart Traveller?
What do you mean, I hear you ask.
Well, before we travel I do a certain amount of planning and preparation:
1.Temporary Power of Attorney
She and I both give a temporary Power of Attorney to our daughter who is familiar with our personal affairs and well acquainted with our trusted advisers - our solicitor, accountant and financial planner.
A qualified lawyer and barrister herself, she is well equipped to act on our behalf should we become stranded or incapacitated whilst overseas
She is already our nominated Executor of our respective Wills, so should the unimaginable happen to us whilst away she has full capacity to act for our estates
Also see my separate blog - Enduring Power of Attorney....now is the right time! at http://retirementlife.net.au/?p=1524 If you already have appointed an enduring power of attorney you may not need to make this temporary appointment - but best check with your attorney for local requirements.
2. Travel Insurance
In comjunction with booking our trip, I usually spend a deal of time determining the right travel insurance to cover our particular itinerary. See my earlier blog on this very important process - Travel Insurance...a veritable minefield of choice! at http://retirementlife.net.au/?p=1708
Be sure to leave a copy of the travel insurance policy with your appointed power of attorney, in case you need to make a claim and are unable to do so effectively from overseas
3. Detailed Itinerary
In addition to the itinerary provided by your travel consultant, cruise company or similar, be sure to incorporate it into a more detailed document to include your own mobile phone numbers and emails, key dates and details of connecting flights (including times and duration), stopover accomodation information including hotel addresses, telephone, fax and email addresses so you can be readily contacted in case of emergency - wherever you might be.
Be sure to leave copies of this with your appointed power of attorney and other key people as you deem appropriate - for example: your adult children, close family friends, house-sitter, solicitor, accountant, financial adviser etc - but clearly only to those who you know well and thoroughly trust.
4. Personal Documents
Whilst it is never wise to photocopy your personal documents such as passport, credit cards
and the like for fear of their falling into wrong hands and your identity and/or bank accounts being compromised, It is important to leave your appointed power of attorney with information sufficient for he/she to act on your behalf to assist in their replacement should any one or all of your personal documents be lost whilst travelling.
5. Notify your Bank
Always notify your bank or card provider of your intended travel so they will not block overseas transactions which you ligitmately incur whilst travelling abroad.
The bank will also best advise you on the best institutions to use as automatic tellers or indeed as banking chambers when in the various countries on your itinerary.
Your bank will also best advise on the use of travellers cheques should you choose to use them, but my preference is to carry a reasonable amount of local currency (in our case Australian dollars) - say $1,000 carried equally between your partner and you - and only go into foreign currency upon arrival in country and as needed as you go. I usually limit cash transactions to transport (taxis, trains, buses) and small daily transactions for incidentals like coffees, souveniers etc, relying on my trusty internationally recognised credit cards (we carry Platinum Mastercard and Amercian Express Cards) for larger purchases including restaurant meals, hotel accomodation and the more major purchases along the way. Once your initial cash runs dry, then use local banks and ATMs to replenish - these funds obviously will be received in foreign (local) currency so you will inevitably incur exchange differences (like to be losses) and fees not only when you make the initial withdrawal but when you subsequently exchange into different cuurencies as you move countries along your itinerary.
6. Lists, Bills and Mail
If you are leaving someone to look after your home while you are away, be it a house-sitter,
a loved one (usually an adult child) or a trusted neighbour, you will need to compile a list of people who provide essential trades or services to your property, should they be required whilst you are away. These will include your electrician, plumber, gardener (when we were on acreage our list necessarily included our water-carter as we were not on town water).
You may need to cancel regular deliveries while you are away - for example, daily or weekend newspapers
You should make special arrangements to have your mail either collected from your letter box, redirected or held at your post-office until your return - you do not want the anxiety of mail going astray in your absence, so putting special temporary arrangements in place for your mail will ensure you enjoy your holiday.
You should also make special arrangements for any bills falling due for payment while you are away - these could be motor vehicle registration and insurance renewal, credit cards or utilities such as phone, gas and electricity. You can either attend to these BEFORE you go (as I normally do and with today's benefit of online electronic banking you can now schedule forward-payments for dates upto 30 days in advance, or you can arrange their deferral until your return.
Phew,,,is going on a holiday really worth all of this disruption?? Simple answer is YES, IT IS!!
I'm certain that the very first thing you would have done when planning and booking your trip was to ensure your passport is both current with AT LEAST 6 MONTHS of life left beyond your planned RETURN HOME DATE - so I won't include CHECK YOUR PASSPORT
Similarly, I would expect you have checked and rechecked the VISA requirements for each foreign jurisdiction you will be visiting and have suitably secured ALL necessary Visas from all the various Embassies represented in your home country, with them properly stamped into or affixed to your passport - so I won't remind you to SECURE ALL REQUIRED VISAs
But the additional task you may well have forgotten is to notify your home country of your impending travel - in Australia, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) manages a very effective program for its citizens when they travel abroad - it's called Smartraveller - www.smartraveller.gov.au - a wonderful resource for any traveller where, as an Australian Passport holder, you are encouraged to register your travel itinerary and personal details - by doing so you will receive regular country alerts by email while at the website you will receive all manner of worthwhile travel tips, health requirements, and have the benefit of access to 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre as well as a range of brochures - one in particular is called "Travelling Seniors" So this is a MUST DO - BEFORE you leave on your overseas trip. One hopes you will not be in circumstances warranting such assistance, but in this uncertain world, it is indeed comforting to know you are on your home government's radar while you are away.
I would expect that other that the governments of other countries around the world provide similar services for their citizens whilst overseas, so wherever you live in the world, I encourage you to check with your home government and make similar arrangements to what we do before we travel and make sure you too are a SMART TRAVELLER.
...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE!