Just the other day I had a conversation with a friend about starting over. About selling up and living abroad, about what it’s like to quit your job, pack up your life and move to the other side of the world. I’ve done that twice in the last six years and now, after 28 years of life, I can pretty much fit all of my possessions in one and a half suitcases. But if you’re thinking about taking the plunge, if you’re wanting to move overseas and immerse yourself in another culture, here’s what you need to know.
1. Where to go
Figure out where you want to go. Do you want to backpack around South East Asia for six months, or do you want to study and live in France, learning the language and the culture as you go? The first step is really knowing where you want to go, so you know how much time and money you need to make it happen.
2. Cash flow
Once you know where you want to go, it’s time to start saving. For six months to a year before you plan to go, make sure you buckle down and save. Instead of going out and buying your lunch every day, put that money into your savings account and watch the travel funds grow!
3. Buy your ticket
Buy your ticket early for optimum savings and also buying your ticket will make it all feel real. You’ll be more motivated to save and do your research. Until your ticket is bought, your travel abroad plans are just ideas. But once that ticket is staring back at you with a date locked in, you know it’s real.
4. Move in with friends or family
If you really want to make the most of saving for your big overseas escape, it might be an idea to cut down your expenses. If it’s an option stay with friends or family for a month or so before you go so you can save that rent money and put it towards your trip.
5. The trip logistics
So, the ticket is bought, you know where you want to go, but what now? Well, whether you are a planner or a bit more laid back, its a great idea to have at least the first two weeks sorted in terms of where you’re going to stay and where you’re going to visit. After the first two weeks you’ll feel more settled into your new country and will meet people which are sure to lead to friendship and travel plans.
6. Loose ends
It’s an idea to figure out what you’re going to do with things like you phone contract, your furniture and excess baggage you’ve accumulated over time. If you’re heading abroad for a long period of time, make sure you tie up all your loose ends so you’re not left worrying about them while you’re away.
7. Make connections
Do you know people from where you’re heading to? Get in touch with them, organise to meet up, see if you can stay with them for a night or two. If you don’t know anyone in he area you’re heading to, why not stay with a host family study at a language school to meet people or make connections on CouchSurfing.org
Once you’ve made all these plans, there’s no going back. So enjoy yourself, take heaps of photos, then tell us all about it later. Have fun!
What other tips do you have for people looking to live and travel abroad? Be sure to share them with us in the comments section below.