Shipping, bills and direct debits

Have a deadline to work towards and prioritise what needs doing, beginning with booking your flight. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to get a better deal. Then, ship off your belongings. This can take up to 12 weeks, customs hold-ups not withstanding. Next, advertise for a new flatmate or dissolve your lease and finalise any bills, too.

You must also attend to any Direct Debits, like gym memberships and phone bills. If you want to keep a UK bank account open, opt for online statements, rather than postal ones, and it is probably a good idea to consider Royal Mail’s redirecting service for your mail. Finally, if you plan to hit the ground running back home, a month before moving, send your CV out and contact recruitment agencies. Phew!

Sending stuff home

Chances are you’ll be returning home with more than a backpack full of clothing. Shipping companies and international moving services like Unigroup Relocation will deliver your empty boxes, pick them up and ship them off once you’ve packed them, plus they’ll organise your insurance, making the process rather hassle-free. Obtain a quote and book a shipment date at least four to six weeks in advance.

Sending money home

Obviously, the less of your hard-earned cash dissolved through an international transfer, the better. Look to banks and agencies, seeking the best exchange rate (and fixed exchange rates if you are transferring money regularly), free bank transfers and security. A firm regulated and authorised by the FSA is ideal. TNT Forex offer a safe, economical and speedy way to get your money home.


You can claim back your income tax when returning home if you are leaving part way through a tax year, as you may not have received your full tax-free allowance. Claim your tax rebate through HM Revenue and Customs or a reputable agency as soon as you receive your P45 from your employer. We’ve helped loads of people claim their tax back – find out more here.


National Insurance contributions are allocated to what is called the State Second Pension, a government-administered fund that foots the bill when you retire. But you can get access to this pension by contracting it out to a personal fund. It’s not possible to contract out your NI directly to a superannuation or pension fund in Australia, NZ or South Africa; however, depending on the type of fund you direct your rebate into, you can transfer the money to a fund at home.

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