A lot of people advocate for “travelling while you’re young”, and often this is associated with a lack of responsibilities. For example, it’s best to go before you’ve settled down, bought a house, started a career, had a family etc.
I won’t deny that travel is probably in many ways easier before all these commitments. But there is another side to the debate.
People who are older than the average gap year backpacker still have a lot to gain from travel, and actually being a bit older can be a benefit. For example, it’s quicker to save for a trip if you’re in an established, well paid career. And you also have greater emotional maturity, which can be valuable while travelling.
But coming to main point of this post. How do you travel long term if you’re tied into a mortgage?
Well first off I would like to highlight it is completely possible to go travelling when you have a mortgage. I managed it for 10 months. It just requires a bit of extra planning, and of course more money!
You have three options:
1) Save up enough to cover your mortgage while travelling (this is what I did).
2) Rent your house out
To be honest, unless you’re planning to travel for many years, or relocate, I don’t think selling is a good option. You’ll lose a lot of money in legal fees, etc. And it’ll make you’re return home more costly.
Renting out is a good option, especially if you have a trusted friend who might be interested, as you can always rent it out fully furnished if you’re sure they’ll treat your stuff well. Of course you have to budget in for letting agent fees, increased landlord insurance, and inform your mortgage lender (which could change your repayments). You’ll probably also require someone nearby to deal with tenants enquiries and arrange for anything that needs fixing while you’re out of the country.
My chosen option was to continue to pay my mortgage, but for the house to remain unoccupied. On the surface this may seem less an excessive expense, but I love my little home, and was happy to continue investing in it while away (remember property generally increases in value over time). I was also unconvinced about renting my house to strangers.
It did require some very helpful parents who checked on the house twice a week. And made sure everything was okay. I also needed unoccupied home insurance, but that was fairly inexpensive. My biggest worry was none of the policies would cover ‘escape of water’, but I made sure extra steps were taken to avoid frozen pipes.
There were many benefits to options:
▪️Knowing I’ll have somewhere to live upon my return to the UK
▪️Being reassured my house would remain in good condition
▪️If I had to cut my trip short for any reason I knew I could return home easily
▪️Continued investment in property
▪️Not having to stress about tenancy agreements, landlord insurance etc (or worse bad tenants!)
▪️I knew exactly how much money I would need, and was able to budget for this
So don’t believe anyone that says you can’t travel with a mortgage. You can, and in fact you have options!