Skip to content Skip to footer

Guide to Travel Planning as an Expat

An expatriate, commonly known as an “expat”, is a person who resides in a country different from their home country. The reason would vary but is often due to employment opportunities, lifestyle preferences, or personal circumstances. 

If you plan to move to another country to become an expat, this article is for you. Below, we’ll share a guide to travel planning as an expat.

What is an Expat?

An expat lives in a country that isn’t where they were born. Imagine you were born in France but now live and work in the United States. You’d be considered an expat in the US. People become expats for many reasons, like a job opportunity, adventure, or wanting to experience a different culture. They might work for a company that sends them overseas or decide to move for personal reasons.

Being an expat can be exciting, but it also comes with challenges. You must adjust to a new language, food, and way of life. For instance, if you move to a country with a language you don’t speak, you might need to learn the local language. It can be tough leaving behind friends and family, too.

Expats often keep ties to their home country, like holding onto their passports or sending money back home. Some expats stay abroad for only a few months or years, while others make it their permanent home. Being an expat means embracing a new adventure in a different part of the world, with all its ups and downs. It’s an exciting endeavor but requires utmost planning and preparation.

Man with passport and boarding pass

Why is Planning Important?

It’s crucial to carefully plan your move to another country to become an expat. You must deal with the visa requirements, residency permits, and legal obligations and comply with immigration laws to avoid potential legal issues or deportation.

Financial planning is also essential to budget for relocation costs, living expenses, and unforeseen emergencies. Research the cost of living of the country you plan to move in, taxation, and currency exchange rates. All these help you make informed financial decisions.

Language and cultural preparation is also vital for effective communication and cultural adaptation. Consider learning the local language to facilitate daily interactions with locals and foster relationships while understanding cultural norms. It also helps prevent misunderstandings and promotes respect for local customs.

Another thing to plan is how to secure housing and healthcare. If you have kids, you must also plan their education arrangements and ensure access to essential services upon arrival.

Lastly, plan on networking with expat communities, seeking advice from experienced expats, and accessing resources provided by the local government for valuable support and guidance throughout your relocation process.

Things to Consider When Traveling as an Expat 

To guide you with the planning process, refer to this list for things to consider when traveling as an expat:

  • Travel Insurance – ensuring peace of mind and safeguarding your well-being while abroad is paramount. Expat travel insurance is essential and can help cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen travel events.
  • Visa and Residency – understand visa requirements and obtain necessary permits to reside in your destination country.
  • Legal Compliance – adhere to immigration laws and fulfil all legal obligations, such as registration or taxation.
  • Financial Planning – budget for relocation expenses, living costs, and emergencies, considering currency exchange rates and cost of living.
  • Housing Arrangements – it is important to secure your accommodation before arrival. Consider factors like location, safety, and lease terms.
  • Language and Cultural Adaptation – learn the local language and familiarise the cultural norms to facilitate communication and avoid culture shock.
  • Healthcare Access – ensure access to healthcare services, locate the local medical centers, and require important phone numbers in case of an emergency.  Consider expat health insurance for comprehensive coverage.
  • Legal and Financial Assistance – seek guidance from legal and financial professionals regarding tax implications, banking, and investment options in your destination country.

What to Pack for Expat Travel

For a smooth and hassle-free transition towards becoming an expat, keep a list of things to pack for your trip. Here’s a guide:

  • Important Documents – passports, visas, residency permits, birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic transcripts, and other legal documents.
  • Financial Documents – bank statements, credit cards, tax records, insurance policies, and investment documents.
  • Medical Records – vaccination records, prescriptions, medical history, and health insurance information.
  • Personal Identification – driver’s license, national ID card, and any other forms of identification.
  • Clothing – consider the climate of the destination country and pack clothing suitable for different seasons.
  • Personal Care Items – toiletries, medications, and specific personal care products, especially those not available to your destination country.
  • Sentimental Items – photos, memorabilia, and items of sentimental value.
  • Comfort Items – familiar snacks, books, or items that provide comfort during the transition.
  • Language Resources – language dictionaries, phrasebooks, or language learning apps to aid communication.
  • Professional Tools – work-related documents, certifications, and tools necessary for your profession.
  • Electronic Devices – laptop, phone, chargers, adapters, and other electronic devices.
  • Travel Essentials – luggage, travel locks, travel-sized toiletries, and any other travel necessities.

The Best Places to Go for Expat Travel

If you are keen on becoming an expat but not sure where to go, refer to this list of places to go for expat travel:

  • Singapore – if the idea of moving to Asia is tempting, consider Singapore. Known for its excellent healthcare, safety, vibrant culture, and efficient public transportation, it offers a high quality of life with diverse career opportunities and a strong expat community.
  • Switzerland – renowned for its high standard of living, picturesque landscapes, political stability, and well-developed infrastructures, Switzerland attracts expats seeking a peaceful and prosperous environment with excellent healthcare and education systems.
  • Netherlands – valued for its progressive policies, efficient public services, cycling culture, and high proficiency in English, the Netherlands provides expats with a comfortable lifestyle, excellent work-life balance, and a thriving expat community.
  • Canada – famous for its welcoming attitude towards immigrants, diverse culture, stunning natural scenery, and strong economy, Canada offers expats a high quality of life, good work-life balance, and opportunities for career advancement.
  • Australia – recognized for its laid-back lifestyle, beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, and strong economy, Australia appeals to expats seeking a relaxed atmosphere, excellent healthcare, and educational opportunities for families.

Leave a Comment