Perhaps you have spent a few months working abroad or exploring a new country and as a result, you’ve fallen in love with the destination, the culture and the people? Maybe you have no urge or inclination to return to Britain?
You couldn’t imagine leaving, and so you’ve decided that instead of heading home, you’re going to up sticks and settle somewhere new. While the concept of moving abroad is, of course, an extremely exciting one, it’s also much like falling in love; though you may be head over heels at first sight, committing in the longer term is something which requires foresight and a clear, composed head. We’re here to help with that; here are 5 factors to consider when swapping an extended trip for a long-term move.
KNOW THAT IT WILL FEEL VERY DIFFERENT TO AN EXTENDED TRIP
Though you may have fallen in love with a particular country or culture, it’s crucial to remember that a holiday spent seeing a place’s best side is going to be a very different experience to actually living there.
When you head off on an extended trip, it’s extremely exciting because you don’t know what you’re going to find or what experiences you are going to have. Whereas, when you’ve moved to somewhere new, you’re moving there to live a more normal day-to-day life, and it’s important to understand the distinction. Remember that the grass isn’t always greener…
REAPPRAISE YOUR REASONS
You need to think carefully about your reasons for wanting to move abroad, and examine whether they’ll be genuinely catered for and fulfilled in your new home country.
Better weather is nice, sure, but it won’t be enough to help you stay and set roots properly in a new country and call it home. A delicious cuisine is, of course, hugely appealing, but what about the times between lunch and dinner? How will you fill those with meaning?
Indeed, you should think carefully about what you’ll be leaving behind — will it be easy to come back to visit family and friends in the UK? Will you get homesick? Will the change in pattern and routine put a smile on your face, or would you miss your usual everyday life?
Then, of course, you need to consider the difference in climate (of course sunshine is nice, but if you burn easily, you might be sick of it after a few weeks!), the living costs associated with that country, and even something as basic as the cuisine, as we mentioned. If you enjoy change and embrace a challenge, then fantastic, but if you find comfort in routine and familiarity, you might want to reappraise your reasons.
THERE WILL BE A LOT OF PAPERWORK
It’s important to also realise that when it comes to moving to somewhere for the long-haul, there will be a lot of paperwork to complete. Bureaucracy and moving abroad go hand-in-hand, wherever your destination is.
You need to take care of the administrative side of things as a matter of priority, to make sure that you’re doing things to the letter of the law. This means that you should take the time to find a lawyer to smooth out those rough edges and uncertainties.
The experts at Manchester Immigration Lawyer ltd recommend that ‘’applying for a visa renewal may be time-consuming, and your forms must be submitted before your current permit expires. In other words, it is essential to act as soon as possible.’’ This is particularly true if you’re currently in your chosen country on a tourist visa and want to change its terms before its expiration date, as not doing so could mean you’re breaking the law.
It’s also important to remember that certain neighbourhoods you may have fallen in love with while on holiday may not be as appropriate for living in long term.
Instead, it’s best to give a few neighbourhoods a ‘trial run’ in your new city, to find which best suits your unique needs. In any big city, boroughs, districts, even blocks, are hugely diverse, with each a completely different proposition to the next. Within every neighbourhood lies a hugely diverging, unique personality and local pride.
It’s best practice to arrange a short term lease (sublet) in the city for a couple of months to get your bearings and figure out which neighbourhood best chimes with your expectations. AirBnb is useful for this, though you should check if it’s actually legal in the city you’re heading to prior to arrival. Many major urban centres, including Barcelona, Paris, New York and San Francisco, have placed major restrictions on, or outright banned, the platform. Hotels, hostels, or even Couchsurfing, might be a better bet.
WORK AND MONEY
If you’re not moving specifically for a new role you’ve landed, then you have two options; find a job once you arrive in your new city, or work remotely. Fortunately, there are loads of jobs you can do while travelling or transient, which could keep you going as you settle in somewhere new. These include teaching English as a foreign language, working as a translator or interpreter, or even embarking on a career as a flight attendant. What’s more, with remote working now enforced in many countries globally, now seems like the ideal time to continue with your current job, ‘working from home’, but that home is somewhere abroad. Perfect!
If you’re interested in how to save money whilst working remotely, do check out our 5 IDEAL tips for managing your finances as a digital nomad for more.