Planning for a trip overseas is hard enough (although, also boatloads of fun!). But planning for a longer extended period overseas is a whole different animal altogether. There is a lot to think about, such as finding a home, finding a job (potentially), moving all your things overseas. Here are 12 tips to help make it easier for you to plan your sabbatical overseas.
Assuming your employer hasn’t organised a house or apartment for you, finding somewhere to live will be a priority. Make sure you allow plenty of time to look online at possible areas where you might want to live. Consider commuting times, schools, and other amenities. Local guidance will be needed here, unless you are already familiar with the locale.
Speak to real estate agents and ask their advice. Have a wish list of what you need from a home versus what you can afford. Check with your employer about any financial assistance packages they might offer. Decide whether you want to rent somewhere furnished or unfurnished.
Furnished might be easier in the short term, but if you are living there for a year or more, you will probably want your own things around.
Find an International Removals Company
Have a favourite piece of furniture you can’t do without, like your trusty indoor swing? You will want your best items with you, such as artwork, books, and more. All of these items can be shipped overseas for a reasonable price. Instead of putting everything into storage, sort out what you want to take with you and pack it up for the move.
These days, a number of British movers and packers have a ton of experience in international removals to New Zealand, Australia, the USA and other countries across the world. 1st Move International is a reliable international shipping company that can ship your most-needed and best-loved household items well before you travel. They will even pack for you if you are running short of time.
Research Your Destination
You might not have much of a choice about the city or location you move to, but you can still do some research, so you know what to expect once you arrive, and also so you find a place to live in a suitable area. Do you need a place with a lot of recreational activities? Or a quieter place with fewer crowds? Research for places that fit your specific needs. You can refer to reputed tourist guides such as Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveller, National Geographic, etc.
Open a Local Bank Account
You don’t want to get stranded in a new place without cash or a viable debit or credit card. Research exchange rates and places where you will be able to withdraw cash in the short term but look at opening a local bank account. You also want reputed international credit and debit cards that work both in-store as well as online, so you can access funds at home. Check with your bank about the best way to plan for your finances when you’re abroad.
Pack the Right Items
When you’re planning for your longer stay, make a list of things you want to do once you’re there. This will give you a more definitive direction to all the things you need to pack. Will it be warm or cold there? Being clear about all of this will help you pack the right clothes and accessories. Sure, you can purchase stuff once you arrive, but that’s an additional expense. Also pack your must-have electronics for leisure, including your laptop, iPad, headphones, Kindle, etc. Packing your essentials can be done most efficiently with the help of a travel packing checklist.
Check Your Passport and Visa Validity
Always ensure your passport and visa are current and valid. You’ll be away for longer. So, check your passport for when it’s due to expire. If it’s about to expire soon, get it renewed asap. Check if you have the appropriate visa. You can also check what your visa allows and doesn’t allow you to do. Speak with your employer if they are organising your visa for you.
Sort Out Your Dining Situation
Check whether your dietary needs are catered for in the new country. If you follow a gluten-free diet, for example, will GF food items be readily available? Research local restaurants and see what types of foods are available. If you have a love for something unavailable in the new country, consider shipping a bulk quantity of it, so you don’t run out for a few months.
Get on the Expat Forums
Expat forums have a wealth of information that can be just as useful to long-term visitors as to the ones actually moving to the place. Active expat forums can help you with tips such as how to get hold of various services, best places to visit or shop, etc. Expat members can also help you in networking with fellow nationals in the new place, and in getting to know locals they already know themselves.
As the right questions and you should get the right answers. See if locals can hook you up with some useful services or recommend areas to live in your chosen destination. Having some local advice will make a big difference if you don’t get have any work contacts you can ask.
Research Laws and Regulations
Check for the laws and regulations at your place of destination regarding things such as pet quarantine (if you’re taking your pet with you), immunisation and vaccination records of your own, and those of your pet, medications allowed, etc. If you plan on driving, check if you can get an international driving licence in advance in your current city, so you don’t have to scramble for one when you get there.
Study the Culture of Your Chosen Destination
Since you’ll be on a longer stay, it might be a good idea to research the culture and traditions of the local people at your destination. This can help you make the most of your stay there, as well as provide you a richer, more authentic travel experience.
Make a list of places you’d like to visit and local experiences you would like to try. This might not be a permanent move, but you can still make the most of your stay there.
Prepare The Kids
If your family is accompanying you for this trip, make sure they are happy and excited about it. Kids often experience a lot of anxiety about leaving their friends behind and starting a new school. Try to reassure them. Get them involved in researching schools, so they don’t feel like all the decisions are being made without their input.
Make a Shopping List for Friends and Family
No trip overseas is complete without shopping! Look up what your destination is famous for. Some touristy spots have the best spices in the world. Others have far cheaper electronics. Others still have cheaper but intricate fine jewellery. You can make the most of your new home by shopping for friends and family. Pick up items they love and send them home as gifts.
Planning for a longer stay in a foreign locale need not be stressful. With the right amount of care and attention, it can be as fun as planning for a shorter stay. Make sure you take all your favourite household items, so you never get homesick!