More than 1,262,204 British expats now live in Australia, making it the most popular country for British expats moving abroad, beating Spain to the top spot. Moving abroad is an exciting prospect, but everything that goes into starting a new life abroad can feel daunting. Just like with any significant life changes, preparation is key to making it a success. If you plan to start a new life abroad, here are seven tips and tricks to help make the transition as smooth and as stress-free as possible.
1. Research, Research, Research
When you plan to uproot your whole life and move abroad, you cannot do too much research beforehand. There are all sorts of things you’ll have to investigate before you move, such as your insurance needs, medicine prescriptions, moving your belongings, your finances and banking and transport once you arrive. Check out websites expat websites that have a wealth of practical information and resources for expats. Moving abroad can feel all too overwhelming, but by doing plenty of research and planning, you can look forward to a stress-free move. Expat Route is a great source of information.
2. Have a Contingency Plan
When planning a move abroad, no one wants to be thinking about making preparations if something goes wrong. However, it is sensible to begin saving well in advance of your planned move to make sure you have a contingency should something go wrong. Having at least two months’ worth of expenses saved before you move will mean you have a solid buffer should you need to rethink your plans or manage a new situation.
3. Learn the Language
Despite a growing number of people moving abroad, only one in four expats can speak the local language fluently. Having a basic knowledge of the language, even just a few phrases, could make a huge difference in ensuring a stress-free move. If you don’t speak the language of the country you are moving to, even a little, there’s a chance that you could encounter problems along the way. You will also find it challenging to get a job or even do basic things when you arrive, like shopping and dealing with emergencies. As soon as you decide you will be moving abroad, start to learn the language.
4. Be as Flexible as Possible
There’s a lot to think about when planning a move abroad, but it’s essential to be as flexible as possible. If you are applying for a visa, you need to keep in mind that there can often be delays. This means that you shouldn’t do anything drastic like give up your job until you have the visa in your hand. Just in case something happens during the application process.
5. Get Advice from Expat Parents
It can be challenging to uproot and settle children in a new country. Before you move, you will need to investigate schools in the area. Check out the online International Schools Database to find a list by city of international schools. Once you have moved and your children started their new school, connect with the school’s Facebook group, which as a newcomer, you will find lots of valuable information. There’s also various expat parenting site and forums where you can get practical information and advice before, during and after your move abroad.
6. Remember to Get a Pet Passport
If you plan to take your four-legged friend with you to your new home abroad, make sure you know well in advance what documentation you will need and if any medication or immunisations are required. Your pet will also need microchipping, an up-to-date pet passport and immunisations against rabies before they leave the country. Some countries may also require your dog to be treated for tapeworm before they travel.
7. Rent Before You Buy
It can be a good idea not to commit yourself to buy a home straight away and instead rent in the short term. This will allow you to get to know the area and see what the community, schools and local facilities are like and if the area feels like somewhere you would like to live. Before you make your move, take time to look at rental agency websites and local classified sites to start your search for a new place.
Starting a new life abroad is what you make of it. Even though the process of moving may seem hard work, remember all the positives about why you want to move. Keep focused on what you are doing and how you can make the best of the new opportunities in front of you as you start this exciting new chapter in your life.