So your two years is almost up and you’re gonna have to start wrapping a few things up before you head home. Where do you begin?
1. Book your return flight back
Use Kayak or Skyscanner to compare flights. If you’re flying directly from London one-way, you’re looking at prices between £450-600 one way. Occasionally you can score a deal like us, who were able to get £390 with Garuda Indonesia.
Check out our blog How to get Cheap Flights for more tips on getting the best deal!
2. Travel Insurance
Now for those who are planning to fly home from another city outside the UK as part of your final Euro trip, make sure you read your travel insurance policy first. Just a few things to consider if you already have an existing insurance policy:
i) According to many UK travel insurance companies, you must be a UK resident (check your policy)- so if you are travelling after your UK visa expires, you may have to purchase your travel insurance from an Australian company
ii) Many travel insurance companies only cover 21 or 24 day long trips so if your trip is longer than that, you are not covered
iii) Your final destination must be the UK – so if something happens whilst you’re on your final trip and the insurance company finds out you were never planning to returning to the UK, they may not cover you (i.e. you must start and finish your final trip in the UK, then from the UK you can fly back to Australia). Have a look at one-way travel insurance which allows you to leave the UK with any final destination. There aren’t too many companies that offer this service, here are a few companies which we’ve found:
Make sure you read their policies first (espeicially about length of travel, whether you still have to be a resident etc.) before committing to buying.
If you are unsure about whether your own insurance covers everything you need, make sure you check your insurance policy or email your travel insurance company to clarify. In many cases you may be able to just pay an extra fee for add ons (eg. to increase the length of a trip cover).
3. Shipping things back
For those of you who have accumulated a little bit too much to bring home on the plane, shipping things back is your next best option. There are a few reputable and affordable companies going around including (not in any particular order):
Please note that all these companies charge a UK fee which must be paid to the company before the boxes are shipped out of the country AND an Australian Customs fee which you pay when the ships arrive in Australia. This Customs fee is unavoidable and is set by the Australian government.
4. Getting rid of unwanted belongings
We’re sure there are plenty of things that you probably don’t want to take back with you, so here are a few options:
i) Donate it to a local Charity Shop
ii) Sell it online (Groups like Aussies in London or Kiwis in London seem to have a fair amount of people selling things successfully on their visitors page)
iii) Bin it
5. Closing your bank account
This is not an absolute must (as some people want to keep their account open) however if you are planning to do it, many banks require you to do this in person so ask your bank first.
6. Contact your landlord
Make sure you let your landlord/agent known in advance your move out date. Check your contract to find out if there is a minimum amount of time you have to let them know.
7. Close down your Limited Company
For those of you who have a limited company, speak to your accountant about how to close it down and your best options to do so whilst minimizing tax. Contact them several months beforehand as this many be a lengthy process. This should also involve closing down your business bank account
8. Personal Income Tax
If you meet the criteria for having to fill in a Tax Return in the UK, for the sake of ease, make sure you do it before you leave the country. Consult an accountant if you are unsure or if you have a slightly more complex financial situation ( eg. You also have income in Australia).
If you normally file a tax return you must let HMRC know that you are moving back otherwise you may be slapped with a fine. Have a read of the official HMRC page for more details (also includes links to forms)
9. Claim a tax refund
If you happen to be one of the lucky few who may have paid too much tax then you may be eligible for a tax refund.
Click here for more details
10. Medical Records
If you have any particular health records (eg. scan results, blood tests) that are important, ask your GP for a copy of them to be emailed to you so you are able to pass them onto your GP back home
11. Forwarding Mail
If you know you will be receiving some last bits of mail (eg. water bill etc.), make sure you let the company know so they can forward it to a friend/relative’s house.
12. Transfer money back home
If you still have a fair bit of cash in your UK bank account that you’re not comfortable carrying with you, transfer it directly to your Aussie bank account. There are plenty of services available but I would personally recommend Transferwise as they are fast, reliable and offer excellent exchange rates. If you use this link so your first transfer under £500 is free 🙂
13. Look for work
This obviously depends on whether you want to get straight back to work as soon as you get home or not. If you do, you may want to start preparing your CV and cover letter prior to leaving and sending off a few job applications through websites like Seek. This will obviously work better if the interview period happens to be during the time you are back in Oz.
14. Stock up on Jaffa Cakes
Well this is just for us because they are so damn delicious and they’re hard to find in Oz!
So they are all the main things to look out for. If there’s anything we’ve missed be sure to let us know so we can add it to the list. Hope you’ve enjoyed your time in the UK!
Ann & Jason xo