Joining the Expat Pack: 5 things you need to know

Joining the Expat Pack: 5 things you need to know

More than 5 million people born in the UK have emigrated. A quarter have been lured by the pull of year round BBQs, sunshine and scary spiders in Australia, whilst a large share of the remainder have fled to the USA, Spain and France.

It may be for a dream job, a whirlwind romance or just a bit of sunshine on an extended holiday – there are lots of reasons Brits pack up and flee, but what do you need to consider before you make the leap?

1. Cost of living

You may be earning an incredible new salary in which case feel free to go wild! Chances are though, you will need to weigh up the real costs of the move – taxes, rent, bills, food, and travel. Do some research into the cost of living in different cities – The Telegraph included Hong Kong, Zurich, Singapore and Geneva in its top five most expensive cities to live in as an ex-pat. Make a simple spreadsheet and list everything coming in and going out to get a true picture of whether your dream destination is going to work financially.

2. Accessibility

Maybe you hate all your friends and family, in which case run for the hills, the further the better! Chances are though, you will want to make visits home, or lure friends out to you with the promise of sunshine and cheap cocktails. If it’s the latter check out the average prices for flights – compare a number of airlines and costs month by month to get a true picture of how affordable it is to stay in touch with your nearest and dearest.

3. The paperwork

Once you’ve made the decision and you’re going through with the big move, there will be a LOT of paperwork to get through before you can bid adieu to Blighty and head for sunnier climes. Visas, insurance, property taxes, pensions… the forms will certainly mount up. To get your head straight, make a list and systematically work through it, allowing yourself plenty of time for delays, strikes, snail paced Royal Mail and any other uncertainties that could get in the way of you and your new dream life.

4. Keeping in touch with the oldies

Ideally you’ve picked a destination with frequent, cheap as chips flights. Probability is however, that no matter where you are, you won’t be able to see fam and chums quite as often as you’d like and you’ll rely on calls, emails or Skype to keep updated on the news from home. Before the off, make sure that any technophobes or oldies are equipped with what they need to keep in touch. Set up a skype account for them and do a couple of test runs to make sure they’re confident with it before the off.

5. Everything but the kitchen sink?

Working out what to take with you should not be left ‘til the last minute. Plan out what you’ll need in good time from clothing, to furniture and knick knacks. Chances are, you won’t be wanting to cart everything with you – shipping can be expensive and slow and you’ll feel more footloose and fancy free without all that unnecessary baggage. Whilst you’re gone, let Shurgard the self-storage experts take care of your prized possessions. With 25 stores across London and the Thames valley and 24 hour security, you can be sure your treasures are in safe hands whilst you travel to foreign lands.

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