Thursday, April 2, 2015

Moving abroad – things to consider before you pack your bags

From a young age, I had always wanted to travel and explore the world. So that’s exactly what I did during my 20s. It was a wonderful time. An adventure that I will never forget.

Now a mum of 3, my hunger for travelling and need to expose my little ones’ impressionable minds to the world, and the opportunities that come hand-in-hand has only heightened.

It’s true what they say, there is a big wide world out there, full of wonder, experiences and beauty, why wouldn’t you want to share this with your kids? Not only does it expand your knowledge and vocabulary of the world around you but it also broadens your children’s minds, providing educational benefits that certainly cannot be taught in the classroom.

Having had a family adventure in Spain with my children, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my experiences of expat living, the challenges that I faced, and what you should think about before embarking on your very own adventure.

There’s nothing quite like it, but if you are going to do it you need to ensure that you are safe, aware of the potential barriers and challenges you could face, but most importantly, ensure that you are in a sound financial position to accommodate this period of time in your life - when was the last time you checked your interest rates or took a long hard look at your credit score? After all, long term travel and expat living can be expensive, unpredictable and daunting if you fail to prepare for every eventuality.

But you should never be put off - with around 320,000 people leaving the UK to live abroad last year, you’ll be in good company if you decide to experience the many benefits of relocating. Here’s some advice and tips covering what you should think about before leaving the country for extended periods of time.

If you are planning on leaving the country, for work or pleasure, it’s important that you check the Visarequirements of the country that you are planning on visiting. Although all British Citizens do not require a Visa to move to countries that are part of the European Union, if you planning on broadening your horizons and travelling further afield, you should make sure that you complete the right application for the country you are travelling to.

For example, if you are planning on relocating or travelling to Australia or America, you will need a Visa. It’s also worth noting that, if you are planning on working in either of these countries, you will also need to prove that you are bringing a skill to their economy.

Have you considered the change in cost of living?

Before embarking on any long-term trip, it’s important that you have enough money put aside to support you, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Finding work, accommodation, and securing a sustainable income is harder than you might think. Although living abroad can be a magical and eye opening experience, it can also be a living nightmare if you fail to prepare.

The cost of living varies from country to country, and every day amenities such as food, petrol, energy and general day-to-day living costs also vary, so it’s important that you do your research. Can your income sustain the cost of living in the country you are visiting? What are your chances of securing work?

Wherever you decide to move, there are always options and solutions. You shouldn’t let money put you off relocating but it’s important that you are well informed and aware of the potential barriers you might face. If you have a good idea of the costs involved and an understanding of the sources of income you will have, it will be much easier to plan for every eventuality. In some cases, this might mean looking at credit or finance options.

Remember that, if you move abroad and give up your UK address, it will be difficult for you to obtain credit within the UK as banks and credit card companies will not be able to undertake a credit check on you and consequently, will be unable to view your credit score. This is important as, without a valid credit score, you will not be eligible for any form of credit or loan.

With this in mind, it might be worthwhile thinking about possible credit options before you leave. If you are in a position to obtain credit (you can get more advice on this here and manage it correctly, then it might be beneficial to apply before you re-locate in order to prevent problems in case of an emergancy (of course, that doesn’t mean you ever have to use it!)
In addition to the financial aspects of the move, you also need to consider factors such as - if you are travelling with your children, will they adjust to their new surroundings and environment? Remember they will still need to attend school – will your plans accommodate this?

Language Barrier

Living abroad for substantial periods of time is very different to your standard two-week holiday.  You will be expected to integrate into the community you find yourself in and make the upmost effort to respect their culture, and of course communicate using their native language. This concept has always excited for me but for some people this fills them with dread.

Before you go, it might be worth taking the time to learn basic elements of the country’s language that you are travelling to. There are plenty of online tutorials that will provide you with the basic language skills to enhance your expat experience.

Disclosure: All sources from CreditExpert
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