Six times I have packed up my life and decided to move across the globe to a new foreign location. Italy. New York. Spain. France. Australia – twice. Not to mention moving around within my own country, Canada. I don’t know what it is about me, but after a few months anywhere, I get pretty restless.
Living abroad has amazing perks like getting to experience a new place from the perspective of a local, meeting incredible people from all over the world, learning a new language and growing as an individual. But packing up your life and starting fresh in a foreign land can be a little daunting.
Here are some things worth considering before you go and some tips I have learned that have made the move that much easier.
There are endless resources out there today in the world of search engines. So do a little bit of background research before you go. Do you have the right visa? Can you work while you’re there? Can you work for multiple employers? Can you leave the country and re-enter? The more research you do ahead of time, the less likely you’ll be caught off guard.
I think this one has to be the bane of my existence. Luckily for you, this means I have researched the sh*t out of this topic. My advice, go with World Nomads. They aren’t shady, you are covered for the majority of adventure activities and they are typically cheaper than their competitors. Also, if you are naive enough to think, “I won’t get injured. I don’t need to spend the money,” I am going to stop you right there. Whether it is for scooter accidents in Asia, stolen wallets in Mexico or dental emergencies in Australia – you are going to be thankful you have travel insurance. Unluckily, we have experienced every single one of these and more, but thankfully, the hassle-free claim process with World Nomads has softened the blow.
Visit World Nomads to get a quote for your travel insurance.
*Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase at NO extra cost to you. However, this does NOT impact our review. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in.
Believe it or not, it is not as simple as buying a flight and finding a job. Most countries require you to register for a tax number before you are legally allowed to work. In Canada, it’s a social insurance number. In Australia its your tax file number. Most countries have an equivalent. Unless you have a sugar daddy to foot the bill (and if you do, teach me your ways!), you will probably need an income at some point to extend your travels.
Book Yourself into a Hostel
Save yourself the headache and book yourself into a hostel or hotel for the first week. My advice would be don’t rent a room or commit to your entire accommodation over the internet. Not because of the security factor, but you won’t really know the lay of the land until you get there. What you gain in convenience you lose out in higher costs and missed opportunities. Give yourself a while to figure out what neighbourhoods you would want to live in and find potential friends to rent with. By booking into a hostel you can buy yourself some time, ask around about where is the best place to look for rentals, and ease your transition.
These bad boys will be your lifesaver in a new country. Want a bike to get around? Need to look for work? Trying to find a sweet shared flat to rent? Answer to all your problems: Classifieds. Do a google search and find out what is the most common online forum in your new home country. Whether its Craigslist, Kijiji or Gumtree, these websites will be a key resource in your new foreign tool belt.
Opening a Bank Account
I lied when I said travel insurance was the bane of my existence. I could cry just thinking about the time and money I have lost dealing with foreign banks and transferring money between the two. I am not trying to deter you. Whether you are paying monthly rent or earning an income, I think it is a necessary evil when living in a foreign country to get a local bank account.
And thankfully, the process has simplified greatly in recent years. Long gone are the days of traveller cheques and expensive exchange transactions.
Choose a bank that is well-known with plenty of ATMs throughout the country, in case you plan on traveling. Lots of banks offer excellent deals for newcomers so you shouldn’t have to pay any fees.
I personally continue to use my Canadian bank card until I have started earning an income and have money coming into my new bank account. Another option is to transfer money between countries with TransferWise. We found that it is the cheapest and easiest way to transfer funds to your new bank account, giving you access to local currency.
Get a phone and local SIM card
It still blows my mind that I meet people while traveling using their cell phone from home and paying roaming charges. Are you trying to pay a bajillion dollars to text your new friends to meet for tapas?! Seriously, I don’t care how good of a deal your home provider offered you. It still doesn’t make sense. You want your new friends to be able to call you. You want your future employers to be able to call you. You want to be able to Facebook while on the subway in your new city! Just got get a local sim card already.
Clearly moving abroad comes with its challenges, but don’t let the stress of packing and getting set-up, overshadow your exciting new beginnings. Keep these tips in mind to make your transition a little smoother – so you can spend more time exploring your new hood and less time fretting over your loose ends. Safe travels!