You are about to embark on a life-altering journey teaching English abroad. There is no “right” way to leave your life behind and start fresh in a new country. But if you get a few of the important things, like finances, sorted out up front, everything else will fall into place. Here are some essentials to cover before you take off:

Automate Finances at Home

Sure, you’ve got your apartment subletted and you sold your car on Craigslist, but between student loans, credit cards, insurance and other miscellaneous bills, you’ve still got financial responsibilities back in the States. Instead of relying on your usual Google Calendar reminders to pay your bills on time, set up auto pay on all of the accounts that offer it. It’s going to be challenging enough to get adjusted to the new time zone without having to do business in your home time zone to pay everything on time. If the individual companies don’t offer an auto pay service, see if your bank does or switch to one that does before your departure to streamline your financial responsibilities while away.

Have an Emergency Plan

From medical issues to robbery and identity theft, no matter where you are in the world, sometimes unexpected challenging circumstances arise. Do you know how you would handle this type of emergency? Do you have identity theft protection? Do you have access to some quick cash or know where to get money wired to you at your destination? If you need to replace stolen bank cards or your passport, do you know where you could do that? Always have a contingency plan in place for any worst-case scenarios to ensure you’re prepared for whatever life throws at you.

Avoid High Banking Fees

When traveling abroad, many people do all they can to avoid high foreign transaction fees. This becomes even more essential if you’re living abroad. Find out the foreign transaction fees (if any) from your current banks and credit card companies. If your financial institutions charge foreign transaction fees, then sign up for another card that doesn’t and do your best to only use that card while living abroad. Do your research before signing up for another credit card so that you can find something with maximum benefits, like earning points that can be used for air travel or hotel stays for weekend trips exploring this new area of the world. is a valuable resource to help determine the best card for your needs, as he has built an entire brand around how to maximize credit card points to travel the world.

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