If your expat dream of moving to Mexico was thwarted due to the COVID-19 pandemic then perhaps your hopes have remerged with the arrival of the vaccine. But the world has significantly changed since the pandemic began and there are serious and long-term consequences of people losing jobs, businesses closing and economies suffering. If you intend to move abroad post-pandemic here are 7 tips on how to live abroad responsibly to help the country of your choice get back on its feet and look after the planet.
7 tips on how to live abroad for expats
1. Less is more for global citizens & global nomads
The popularity of minimalism skyrocketed with Marie Kondo encouraging everyone to get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy”. Although some people will disregard the minimalism trend as vapid, there is enormous value in being discerning with what you pack when you move overseas. Millions of clothing items are thrown away each year and the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of carbon emissions. Packing light before your trip means you will invest in good quality items that you truly value.
2. Support your local and not a chain
When you move abroad, visiting chain stores such as McDonalds and Starbucks are appealing as it gives a sense of familiarity but supporting independent and local shops drives money directly back into the economy and gives back to the locals rather than the corporate giants. In fact, Entrepreneur magazine reports “that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city while only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer”
Supporting your local also allows you to build a good rapport with small companies and can help foster healthy relationships as you meet new people and make genuine connections.
3. Eat seasonal food
There is an array of benefits of buying fruits and vegetables that are in season. First, it is better for your wallet as seasonal produce is typically grown locally and will therefore be more reasonably priced as they don’t have the add-ons of transport costs and tariffs. Secondly, importing goods are transported by planes which contribute to greenhouse gases and is damaging to our environment. Lastly, shopping locally guarantees you are pumping money directly into the community you live in and towards local farmers.
If you’re interested to know the most “healthy” countries, then check this great article out here.
4. Adopt more eco-friendly household practices
There are many little changes you can make around your house to be more sustainable when living abroad. First, make sure you familiarize yourself with the recycling laws of your country. For example, Germany has stringent recycling rules and you can be fined hundreds of euros for breaching them.
Secondly, try washing your clothes at cooler temperatures and for shorter times as this will save money and use less water (30 minutes is ample for cleaning most clothes).
Lastly, use less plastic. Buy soap bars instead of plastic soap dispensers, wash and reuse containers from takeaway meals and turn off lights and gadgets when you’re not using them. All these changes are simple but make a big difference.
5. Venture from the beaten path
Trust your own travel instinct and venture from mainstream hotspots which will alleviate pressure from popular cities. This will help you find undiscovered gems that aren’t overrun with tourists and will mean you won’t have to deal with crowds, hiked prices and long queues. Another benefit is that you will be supporting businesses that don’t often get tourists’ money.
6. Trains over planes
Where possible, opt for wheels instead of wings. A train only produces 14g of CO2 per passenger each kilometre where a plane produces a staggering 285g. Train journeys also often work out cheaper because when you add the costs to and from the airport and extra baggage, the hidden costs of flights can quickly surpass train fares. Another major bonus of train travel is that it connects the city centre with the city center. Learn more on our expat destination pages.
7. Invest in good healthcare
Investing in good international health insurance means you won’t get caught out with a huge bill should you need medical care abroad. Although the country you move to might has a good national health program, global private insurance broadens your options and allows you to freely travel without medical restrictions.
A number of countries have also made having international health insurance mandatory before entry so make sure you are aware of that. Note that when you get your own global health policy, you are helping the local populous because you are not stressing their local health system.
Hopefully, travel will be possible in the near future but until then, satiate your desires by researching your dream destination and help make your future move easier by learning the local language and connecting with expats.