How To Make A Smooth Transition From Tourist To Expat


Whether you’re moving for a new job, family, or to address your wanderlusting spirit to live a nomadic life, transitioning from tourist to an expat means you’re in for an exciting time.

You’re moving from your homeland to an entirely foreign place, and that means soaking up a new culture. You’ll meet new people, try new food, experience new traditions, and explore new places. 

However, being a tourist is entirely different from living an expat life. Even if your stint in the country is only a year or two, the big move is not without hardship.

You could feel homesick when staying in a new place for an extended period. And the move itself is more challenging because you’re uprooting your whole life.

Apart from packing your belongings, you assess if it’s better to work with the best car shipping providers to bring your own wheels, or maybe you’re better off buying a new car in your new home. 

There are endless things to do and certain challenges along the way. But fear not because the world is now a global village with many individuals constantly moving from one country to the next.

And if you speak with any expat, they won’t bombard you with their complaints or lament how hard it is to move. Instead, you’ll hear amazing stories about their journey and how they treasure this opportunity.

To make sure your relocation is smooth, check out these helpful tips. 

Study Ahead

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As soon as you discover you’re moving to another country, start studying about your new home. Learn about their culture and traditions so you can acclimatize yourself quickly.

This is also a huge sign of respect for the locals. If you know where your home will be, research the place as much as possible. Find out these details:

  • The nearest hospital, school, police station
  • Shopping facilities
  • Place of worship for your faith
  • Transportation options
  • Places of interest

It would also help to learn more about the accepted etiquette and social norms. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can also try learning the language of the place using online educational tools. 

Make a Moving Plan

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As soon as you find out you’re moving to a new country, make a plan and a moving checklist.

It would help to write down the things you have to do and when you intend to do them. For best results, create a timeline such as: 

  • Two months before the move
  • One month before the move
  • A week before the move
  • Actual moving day

This schedule may include preparing your passport, getting the correct visas, closing your utilities, gathering personal documents, getting appropriate vaccines, securing your kids’ school records, setting up a new mobile phone plan, and the like.

There are many things to plan for and prepare for. Moving to a new country cannot be done hastily, and getting a head start means you won’t forget anything or suffer delays.  

Organize Your Belongings

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Moving to the next town is already difficult, and moving to a new country increases the level of difficulty. Moving far away means you usually have to ship many of your things.

And the freight costs depend on the weight of your items. To illustrate, it could be cheaper to buy new furniture, sporting goods, cars, or seasonal clothes in your new home.

So, carefully assess your belongings to see which are non-negotiable. As for the rest of the items, you can do the following: 

  • Sell barely used items and appliances to make cash
  • Donate items that have received a lot of love but are still usable
  • Recycle or throw away what looks worse for wear

Packing smart means you will also have less stuff to organize once you get to your new home. Thus, it would help to bring only the truly important stuff and forget about packing non-essential items.

But, of course, you can still bring a chosen set of souvenirs from home to ease homesickness. 

Join Groups to Meet New People

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Many groups gather people with similar interests, so they are likely in the new city you will call home.

For instance, Internations is a popular expatriate group that organizes meetups and tons of activities. They also have information on moving abroad to ease the transition for you. 

Alternatively, you can also join local Facebook groups to meet new people. You can even try joining the group before your departure.

Once you get to the place, start by befriending your neighbors. Introduce yourself and invite them for wine night or coffee. They are your first resource to learn more about the culture of your new home.

On top of that, you can also join religious organizations or hobby groups with the same interests like dancing, cooking, pottery, etc. This would allow you to meet locals beyond the usual expat circuit.

Establish a Routine

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If you want a seamless transition with less stress once you move abroad, it will help to create a routine that somehow brings the familiarity of home.

Sometimes, you can get too excited to explore the place and pack as much activity as your schedule can accommodate that you forget to eat and rest, leading to low immunity, sickness, and burnout. 

Thus, having some sort of rhythm to your life is important as this lends a sense of normalcy. But don’t forget to leave room for surprises because you must be flexible to pave the way for new experiences that your new home has to offer. 

Explore Your New Home

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The most amazing part about being an expat is that you can play tourist in your new home. Since you’re likely not living in the city permanently, go out as much as possible.

Explore that place because you have a finite time in the area. Take tons of pictures and make memories along the way.

Having this chance to experience new things in a foreign land is an unforgettable educational experience that enriches your mind and soul.  

Get to know the various neighborhoods and cities nearby. You can also find time to travel to nearby regions or even neighboring countries.

Try different foods and learn about customs. When you learn more about where you live, settling in a new country will be much easier.

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