8 Helpful Considerations When Preparing To Travel Or Live Abroad
Preparing to live abroad can be a daunting task. While it may seem like a challenging task, it can be easy to accomplish if taken in small chunks. See if you agree with any of the below tips and let us know if you have anything to add from your experiences.
Give Yourself Time
Time. That thing we can’t touch or control but somehow are able to feel as it passes by. Most often, way too fast.
There is nothing worse than feeling rushed to get everything together. Now, I know some of you out there may thrive off the pressure of doing things last minute (Rob, do you know anyone?). However, when it comes to traveling and moving to another country, there are some things that just HAVE to be done and prepared for in advance. There is just no way around that. Once you accept this as truth, you will have a much easier experience.
Read blogs. Visit government websites, both your home country and the one you are planning on going to. Visit the embassy websites and read the recent news about what is happening, not only in the country you are going to be in , but around the world. Make sure you know ALL that is required as far as travel documentation, vaccinations, and basic laws and regulations (like driving, how to act in public, what you can and cannot take into the country, etc).
Now this part is very customize-able. Everyone has a different style of how they keep track of things and where they like to keep them for easy access. Find out what works best for you. I know there are so many blogs out there with great advice on organization, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Getting things organized doesn’t have to be an added chore to the many things you will already have to do. Do spend some time in getting yourself together so that you are not having to waste time later having to look for things.
Don’t always assume you can rely on technology. What I mean by this is that, in this day and age, a lot of people keep everything organized on there tablets, smartphones, or laptops. This is really great and I would encourage everyone to do this. The only problem with relying on this is that it can really be unreliable sometimes. Not all places you may visit in your travels will provide you access to wireless internet or a plug to charge your battery.
If you have documents such as tickets, hotel reservations, permits, etc., make sure you print them out. I would also recommend having copies of the first page of your passport or resident card, as well as extra passport photos, copies of marriage documents, birth documents, health records and such just in case. Keep these things safe and secure. Do not place them in checked luggage, not only for your security, but the fact that you may need them on you and handy.
Your organization doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to exists in one way, shape, or form.
Make To-Do Lists
There should be two lists you keep. One list of just the things you need to do in general before you go. The other list would include details of everything from the first list in chronological order. I know it sounds complicate at first, but after you make that “general” to-do list, you just take he same things and put them in order of priority and under each item, list what has to be done to get that particular thing completed.
If you are traveling with another person, I would recommend setting up a shared document of Google and labeling each listed item with the person that is assigned to get it done as well as the planned date of completion. This way, all parties involved know what they have to do and by what time. It will help you keep each other accountable. Don’t forget to also help each other if need be.
Check Your Work
It is always a great feeling to get items checked off your “to-do” list. Once you have completed a task, you think “ok, what’s next?” Before you shift your focus onto the next thing, just take a quick second to look over everything you have just completed. As an example: when completing a form for a Visa or Permit, go back to it and check to make sure it was completed correctly and that you have the correct form for what you are requesting. Make sure you have all back-up documentation that they may require along with the form. In short, you don’t want to be told that something is missing when you are submitting your form or request. If you have to go back and find supporting documentation or have to re-do a form, you may lose valuable time and delay other tasks going forward. Take your time and make sure everything is done right the first time.
With the help of our smartphones, these days, we can have calendar reminders to keep us on track. If you prefer to do it the old fashioned way, you can also use a desk-top paper calendar to help you remember what needs to get done. This is easy to do using your to-do lists from earlier. You have already put things in chronological order so just jot it down on the calendar day that you want to get it done.
Set Time Aside to be With Family and Friends
Time has a way of getting away from us. So, make sure to plan ahead some time with your friends and family. You will have lots to do to prepare for your travels and your family and friends have busy schedules, too. Don’t let yourself get so wrapped up that you miss an opportunity to spend time with people that you care about. It may be a while before you see them again and you know you will miss them dearly.
Be fair on how much time you spend with people and consider how important it is for them to see you before you leave as well. When you get together with the important people in your life before a trip, it has a way of strengthening your bond with them. It also propels you into your new adventure with a stronger sense of courage and positive energy. To me, it is a way of “bottling up” that love and support from your friends and family and taking it with you. This little bit of “carry-on luggage” can come in handy in tough times during your time away.
Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing This
You may hit some bumps along the road of preparation. Don’t let it discourage you from pressing forward and pursuing your goal. Some things may be easy to complete and some may seem complicated and time consuming. The sense of pride and accomplishment you will achieve will be so rewarding that you may not even remember the hardships. Whether you are traveling to experience a new life or to work towards a better future, you have to fully believe in it and stay committed. Keep yourself motivated by reminding yourself of all the benefits that will come out of your travels abroad. In the end, it will all be worth it.
About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!