Finance Tips to Deal with a Family Emergency when Living Far Away
People are increasingly mobile in the contemporary world. Just 100 years ago, most people tended to live their lives in the area in which they grew up. Today, with modern highways and air travel, it’s never been easier for people to pick up stakes and move to an urban area that offers more in the way of opportunity.
Many times, the people that leave their hometowns will also leave their families behind. One of the biggest downsides that’s associated with living at a long distance from your family is the likelihood that you’ll need to take a trip to deal with a family emergency at some point.
Emergencies Are Frequently Unexpected
A hospital stay for a parent or the death of a grandparent will usually come as a surprise. This means that you’ll usually have no time to prepare for these events. Last-minute travel is frequently the most expensive travel. The problem of cost is compounded when you’re traveling because of a major illness or a death in the family.
Have an Emergency Fund
Having an emergency fund in place is one of the best ways to avoid some of the stress that comes with a family emergency that happens across the country. If you have an emergency fund set up, you won’t have to worry about where the money is going to come from.
Most experts recommend having between three and six months of expenses stashed away in an emergency fund. This should be more than enough to take care of a quick trip home to visit with a sick family member or to attend a funeral for a friend or family member.
Depending upon how far you live from your family, you might have to fly to get there in time for a surgery or a funeral. Using frequent flyer miles can be one of the easiest ways to avoid paying a huge sum to make the trip.
Most of the major airlines in the US require about 25,000 to take a domestic flight. If you have to book the flight on short notice, you might have to use more points, and you might have to pay a fee for booking on short notice. This should still be less than you’ll have to pay if you have to pay for a ticket within 48 hours of takeoff. Therefore, you’ll want to look for ways to save up some miles.
Drive to A Major Hub
Another option for saving money on a flight can involve driving to a major hub. Flying out of South Bend or Peoria will usually cost more than flying out of Chicago. If you have to drive a few hours, it might be worth the effort if you’re able to save a few hundred bucks.
If you don’t have the savings on hand to pay for the unexpected travel, you might have to consider alternative ways to finance your trip. A credit card can be an option. You’ll just want to pay it off as soon as possible to minimize your interest charges.
If you have a credit score on the lower end, you may find this is not the best option for you. In this instance, looking into installment loans online for bad credit might be an option to help get you through this unexpected medical emergency and join your family.
No one wants to have to deal with a family emergency. Living at a distance can complicate these emergencies greatly. You’ll want to prepare as much as possible from a financial standpoint before an emergency hits. By doing so, you can alleviate some of the stress that inevitably comes with a necessarily stressful situation.
This article has been written by Chandra Mehta.
Chandra is a seasoned banker with 35+ years of experience in banking and financial services industry. He’s a retired banker and has served as Chief Manager and Assistant Vice President in State Bank of India/or its subsidiaries. He has authored many articles on this site (allonmoney.com).