Are you considering moving abroad? Perhaps you’ve dreamed about making a certain country your home, based on pictures you’ve seen on Pinterest (don’t we all have a Travel board?)… However, pictures are typically aimed at tourists. They show hotels’ infinity pools, gorgeous sunsets and other tourist attractions. Beautiful as the pictures are, when you live and work in a certain destination, it may not quite live up to the fantasy created by tourism marketing.
I’m not saying it would not still be everything you’ve ever dreamed of, but we recommend a look-and-see trip to help you create a more realistic image of the country to which you want to move before you arrive with all your earthly belongings. Your relocation assistant can help you plan a custom look-and-see trip which will give you an opportunity to:
● visit the city you want to move to
● scope out a few neighborhoods that might suit your needs
● check out what the local schools have to offer
● experience the day-to-day lifestyle
● understand the culture
When planning a look-and-see trip, your budget and available time will determine everything you’re able to do and experience. If your work offers only one city to transfer to, you will obviously require less time to explore. However, if you are not bound to one city, you should book at least three weeks or a month to visit several possible cities and neighborhoods.
Here are some of our best tips for making the most out of your look-and-see trip.
❏ Book your look-and-see trip well in advance
A look-and-see trip is one of the first things you should do when you even think about moving abroad. Do it before you put your house on the market and before discussing relocation packages with your employer. Make sure you like the place before you commit your life!
❏ Take the family along
Sure, it will be a quick trip, but everyone who will be moving there should have an opportunity to scope the country out first. This might be helpful in convincing teenagers who are reluctant to leave their friends behind that it is indeed a good move to emigrate.
If your family cannot accompany you on the look-and-see trip, be sure to take lots of photos and videos of all the things they’ll be interested in, including their new school, the local play facilities, parks, leisure centers, and interesting places you can visit together.
Bring home a small gift that will make them excited about the new country, and use these to create a positive perception within your children of their new home, encourage them to ask questions, and to promote a sense of excitement and anticipation.
❏ Experience life as a local
During your look-and-see trip, stay in a rental apartment or airbnb rather than a guesthouse or hotel. This will give you the experience of unlocking the door at the end of the day and feeling that you’re home, rather than receiving the tourist treatment.
❏ Use your time to research
Depending on the duration of your look-and-see trip, you will have to prioritise elements that will affect your overseas move over leisure and tourist attractions. This will take a lot of planning and discipline, but it is crucial to making the most of your look-and-see trip. Focus on primary necessities, such as researching:
● Housing – Visit expat neighborhoods and see a realtor about finding a home.
● Schools – Arrange visits to schools and remember to take photos and meet teachers to discuss curricula, etc.
● Facilities – Visit shopping centers, pharmacies, hospitals, banks
● Work or business opportunities – This is a good opportunity to meet with potential employers and business partners, suppliers and future clients.
● Cost of living – Research the costs of housing, transport, utilities, groceries, etc. and draw up a preliminary budget.
● Transportation – Use the mode of transport you will be using when you move there to become accustomed to getting around.
● Banking – Visit banks to find out what financial solutions are available to you.
● Communications – Find out about the best deals on phones and internet.
● Lifestyle and hobbies – Find facilities that offer new and existing sports, recreation and hobby activities which your family might like to pursue.
❏ Meet up with other expats from your country
If possible, meet up with people from your country of origin to learn more about their experience in the new country. Ask them:
● What was the hardest thing to adjust to?
● What do they still miss about home?
● How did the move affect them financially?
● How did they adjust to the new culture?
● What would they have done differently?
You will find that most expats are just too happy to see fellow country people, especially if you bribe them with gifts from home…
❏ Learn the language
While almost everyone in the service industry speaks English, it may be a good idea to use a free mobile app to learn the basics you will need to communicate with the locals. Important translations to know for your look-and-see trip include:
● basic greetings
● asking for directions
● please and thank you
Remember that movabroad can help you organize a custom look-and-see trip with an experienced relocation expert guiding you locally. Speak to your relocation assistant today!