Things Every Expat Needs
Want to make the first few days living in a new city that little bit easier? Make sure you are prepared with the practical items that you will need at your beckon call as soon as you arrive. Having relocated ourselves on too many occasions to mention, we have prepared a list of the things every expat needs and just couldn’t live without during those first few days in a new country.
A Street Directory:
Almost as soon as you step off the plane this handy little guide to your new city will be of immediate use. You can check out the location before you get into taxis or on public transport and your chances of getting lost or conned will be immediately reduced. Studying a street guide will also help you to get to grips with the city layout and understand where you can find public amenities and how you can get to them. Finally, it’s a great resource to have with you when you are looking for somewhere to live. By reading through it and looking at the location of different landmarks and streets, you will really get to know the city and can understand where everything is in relation to where you are intending to live.rn
A Skype Account:
Skype is a voice over Internet offering that allows you to make local and overseas phone calls at a fraction of a price of those you would pay via a landline, mobile phone or pay booth. When you first arrive in a new country it is highly likely that you will have a lot of phone calls to make, to schools, property agents, utilities providers, government agencies and the new friends that you meet. Using a tool like Skype will dramatically reduce the cost of these calls. Furthermore, if your friends and family have Skype installed on their own computers, you can make voice and videophone calls back home absolutely free of charge.
Depending on where you are relocating to, you may find that many of the pharmaceutical products that you use on a regular basis at home are not available in your host country. Make sure that you research in advance what will, and will not be on offer and ascertain if your prescription medications are available and how you will access them. If medication upon which you depend is not going to be available in your host country, make sure you take enough supplies with you to last until you next intended visit home.
A word of warning though; make sure you research what drugs you are permitted to take into your host country in advance and, if necessary, ensure that you have a medical certificate that confirms your reliance on any medication that you will be bringing through customs. Always check that your prescription and over-the-counter medications are legal in your host country as many countries, such as Dubai, have strict regulations regarding the pharmaceuticals that are permitted.
No expat should leave home without first ensuring that they have full medical insurance in place to cover their stay in their host country. This should be prepared in advance of your move and available as soon as you step off the place. Read our comprehensive guide to expat health and travel insurance for more information.
A Pay-as-you-go Phone:
It is often very useful to get a local pay-as-you-go mobile phone as soon as you arrive. This will ensure that you can immediately make and receive calls on the move. Even if you are planning on arranging pay monthly contract phones, these can take time to arrange and make require paperwork that is not yet in your possession. The sooner you have a phone number that people can contact you on, the better and you will more confident that, if you get yourself into a pickle or find yourself lost, you have a phone that you can use to call someone who can help.
An expat city guide:
One of the single, most useful things that you can have when you relocate, is a city guide. A comprehensive resource on your new home will make the move much more straightforward and will remove the stress associated with tasks such as finding somewhere to live, locating suitable education facilities for your children, arranging basic utilities and making friends. Our expat relocation guides contain every single piece of information you will need to make settling in a breeze.
Name cards or business cards:
One of your top priorities when you first relocate will be to meet new friends. During your first few weeks abroad you will come across a lot of people in the most unexpected places and many may ask for your contact details. Having a name card to
hand gives you a great chance to share your information quickly and easily. You may not have a local phone number yet, but simply providing your name and email address will be sufficient for people to get in touch.
Contact numbers and email addresses:
One thing that many expatriates find useful is a one-page list of useful contact numbers, for both the host country and home. In the unexpected event that you have an emergency, carrying around your hotel or serviced resident phone number can be extremely useful. Other useful numbers may include your health and travel insurance provider, doctors at home, travel providers, next of kin, banking provider, spouse’s work, school etc.
Paperwork and important documentation:
You will be asked to produce many different forms of identification during your first few weeks of relocation. Passport, driving licenses, birth certificates, insurance documentation, visas, medical certificates for your children, pet vaccination details etc. should be carried in your hand luggage and kept in a safe place at all times.
If you are moving with your family you should also take a copy of your children’s education records and school reports where available.
It is always best to err on the side of caution and ensure that you have access to local currency in cash form. You may have already arranged a bank account and transferred funds across but it is always better to be safe than sorry and ensure that you have access to money in the event that something goes wrong and you experience complications.
Is there anything we have missed? What were your experiences of moving abroad? What practical items did you find useful? Please leave a comment and let us know.