Planning to travel is stressful, there’s no two ways about this. You may read stories about inspirational people who have simply bought a one way ticket to somewhere obscure and just hopped on a plane, but I’ll bet that it’s not actually been that simple for them, that most of the time they’ve had a few more boxes to tick before they can simply venture forth. That’s why I’ve written a series of Planning to Travel posts – about the more mundane, administrative aspects of travel that you’ll need to battle through before you get to reap the rewards of a life of adventure.
One of the most practical of these is sorting out where you’re going to live. Or rather where you’re going to stop living in search of a whole new life. Whilst many travellers choose to slot travel around a more traditional working schedule, factoring in holidays and city-breaks around their day job, some of us are after a more long-term experience. If you’re planning to up and leave your hometown for an extended period of time, there’s going to be some planning required when it comes to sorting out your current accommodation situation.
I recently wrote about the steps that homeowners need to take if they wish to travel long-term – either selling their house or renting it out while they’re away. Whilst owning a property is a luxury that most have worked hard for, it can be a bind when you’re hoping to make a lifestyle change, and the restrictions it places on you financially make it virtually impossible to simply up and leave.
However, if you’re renting, you have a level of freedom and flexibility that homeowners covet, allowing you to see your dreams of travelling the world full-time become a reality in a much shorter timeframe. As long as you’re clued up about when you’re contractually able to leave, planning to travel around your rental agreement is perfectly achievable. However, there are certain considerations to bear in mind when ending a rental agreement. This post talks you through the process of moving out of a rented property, and how this should be factored into your travel planning.
Moving out of a rented property
If you’re currently renting, you’ll be at the mercy of your contract / your landlord if you want to move out. If you’re on a rolling contract, it’s likely that you won’t be committed to stay in the property for any fixed, predetermined amount of time. Check your contract or with your agent, but as long as you give the minimum notice required (usually a month to 6 weeks) then congratulations, you’re free to go!
However, if you’re tied up in a fixed term tenancy contract, it means you’re legally obligated to keep paying rent until the day that contract runs out. This is not good news if the urge for spontaneous long-term travel takes hold of you, especially if you’ve still got the best part of a year ahead of you, as your landlord will demand payment for rent right up until the day your tenancy is due to run out regardless of whether you’re living in the property or not. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about getting out of this as the contractual agreement you signed at the start of your tenancy is pretty water-tight legally. But there are a couple of different approaches you can take:
1. Try talking to your landlord.
He or she will be under no obligation to negotiate, but you might get lucky. It may be that you can forge a compromise – a reduction in rent if the house is empty, or reducing the amount of time left on your contract. I’ve been caught in this situation before – we found out we needed to move house at short notice and still had 7 months of rent payments left on our contract before we could pull out as tenants. We spoke with our letting agents who agreed to start marketing the house for new tenants. If they managed to get replacement tenants before our contract was up, they’d release us early. After a couple of months, they had a new couple in our old flat and we saved £3000 worth of redundant rent cheques. Yes, it was a pretty bitter pill to swallow for those 2 months that saw £1200 leave my account for absolutely no reason, but I came off better than I would have done if I hadn’t asked.
2. Adapt your plans
Once you’ve made the decision to travel long-term, you’ll be eager to see your plans come to fruition. The longer it takes to happen, the more impatient you’ll become. You might even worry that you’ll change your mind if you leave it too long. But fear not – taking your time over things might actually make for a better trip.
We first decided that we wanted to leave the UK and move abroad about a year ago. Whilst at times it feels like hell trying to be patient and wait for the change to actually happen, it gives you plenty of time to think about what will work best for you. As we’ll be training to be diving instructors, I took a long time deciding where would be best to do our divemaster internship. I’ve since heard horror stories from fellow divers about people who rushed into this decision, picking the first shop that they came across. Having the time to approach this throughly was a sure fire way of engaging my head as well as my heart.
You’ve also got more time on your hands to save money, build up valuable work experience if you’re planning on working abroad, and tightening your schedule to get the most out of your time away. Being patient with your departure date means that you can use that time and extra money to make sure that your trip is everything you hoped it would be when you finally get there.
3. Make the most of the time you have left
You’re itching to go, your flights are booked and you still have to go about your normal life for ages until anything happens – it can be frustrating, I get it. But once you’ve actually stepped onto that plane and turned your back on home, friends and family, you’ll realise what you’ll miss. Whether it’s your favourite walk, a pint in the local round the corner, or popping into your Mum’s for a Sunday roast, there’s plenty of special moments that make up life as you currently know it that can be easy to take for granted. Live the next few months until your tenancy runs out like you’re a traveller visiting your hometown for the first time – visit the local attractions, embrace the quirky elements that make your home unique, and remind yourself that every moment you have with your loved ones is precious. After all, real ale and jokes about your work colleagues will be hard to find in paradise.
Ultimately, moving house is one of the most fundamental steps we all have to take if we want to fulfil our dreams of a long and varied life on the road. It may only take you a matter of weeks to sort out, or you might be forced to move back your departure date until you can shake off the shackles of your contract. But once you’ve traded a roof over your head for a sky full of stars, you’ll forget the admin, the snarky emails from bitchy estate agents, and the hours of scrubbing the carpet trying to remove that red wine stain that you’d forgotten about, and realise that planning your travelling properly was worth it if it affords you the life of travel that you dreamed of.