The Sundial. Hampton Court Gardens, Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, England. Summer, 2013.
And yet there is so much I have to get done.
I’m waiting for my Visa paperwork to get processed (I sent it all out yesterday, so keep your fingers crossed for me), my housing confirmation, work research, and the next four weeks (give or take a few days) until I leave.
But in the meantime, let’s cover some of the day to day items and coverage that a person would need when moving (permanently or temporarily) to a new country… This could also be helpful to the average traveler who is hunkering down in one place rather than running about like most of us crazy American Euro-trippers.
While I covered a ton of temporary lodgings earlier in this travel blog, it wasn’t until I started this moving process that I realized the differences and similarities in looking for long term residences.
Just like when you are budgeting for hostels or hotels, when you are looking at long duration housing, you have to look at the numbers. When you see prices, what do they include? What is the time span covered by that price? What if you need to extend your stay? Is your contract flexible? Do you have to have a contract? Is it a fixed price? Do they have pricing exemptions that can give you a better deal (my brother in law has asthma so they get a discount on their electricity because he needs a breathing machine.)?
These all are things you have to consider no matter where you are looking, locally or not. The issue really arises when you are looking for somewhere to live when you aren’t even in the country you are looking at. So, here are some tips:
TALK TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN: Just like I talked about last week, the more people you tell, the more likely it is that someone (or many someones) will be able to put you in contact with people living in your destination. Touch base with co-workers, family, friends, and acquaintances; I really mean anyone. This will not only leave you with a good number of people close to where you are moving that you can contact in emergency situations, but they may be able to find people that have space or scope out places that you can’t. Just remember it means you will need to thank and really maintain those friendships.
USE YOUR RESOURCES WELL: again, like with works, using the connections your friends and family give you well is important, using the resources that are specific to your situation(s) will also give you a step up. For me, this was getting I touch with the housing resources my school has. This is campus housing, student Flat-share lists and facebook pages. All of these guarantee housemates that have aspects in common with you—like the need for quiet times because you have work to do.
MAKE YOUR OWN CONNECTIONS: Go through my list on housing. These are all temporary housing options which will wrack up so charges (for lower costs, focus on hostels and the like) while you find something once your boots hit the ground (there are a few short comings that come with this that we’ll cover further down.) You can also do searches on the internet; sites like Craig’s List have postings for just about everything including rooms for rent. Just check this stuff out or ask a connection to and never pay anything until you get eyes on the place (that’s how you get scammed.)!
Just like when planning any kind of travel that involves air travel, there are always sites that will give you deals and researching these sites are a great way to save money. As a student, I was able to get an even better deal through a student specific site. All I had to do is make a profile—they have the condition that they will not sell your information—and search. As a student, you can also get a great deal by shopping and booking a one way ticket rather than guessing at a final return date. Buy your second ticket closer to your exit date and see what deals you can get then. This allows you to mix and match based on the best deals at the time you need your ticket.
Most of the inner city transport I have covered before. Go take a look at the history if you’re interested.
When you are going to be out of your country for longer than a vacation, just extending you current plans features (data and international calling) can cost you a lot more than what is worthwhile. Instead, think about picking up a low cost phone when you get there; stop in at a market and get a phone you can update minutes on for when you absolutely NEED the contact in your new or temporary home.
Go ahead and extend your data if you think you’ll need it but more importantly, make sure you are using any and all WiFi areas you can get your phone on (there are aps that help find you hotspots so do your research!). The less data you use, the less chances to incur fees.
Get international phone apps. I’ve talked about WhatsApp! before and I know I talked about having some issues with it, but with a year (at least) in another country, I have a feeling this app will help get me through. Look at what these apps use before you ship out, because if they run off of data, this can add up just like international messaging!
Look for alternatives. If you have your computer, Skypeing or Facebooking from your computer gives you your connections and face-time with loved ones without using up your phone. For long story sharing, start a blog, a tumblr, a twitter, anything social media that can keep you in touch—just keep it off your phone! You can also use these as a way of keeping in touch with out of country friends if/when you get back home!
Of course, this does change if you are moving your residence permanently. Then, get your new phone for the country you have moved to and decide what to do with your old one (if you’ll be traveling back for work or the like, it may be worth it to hold on to your phone a little longer).
I’ll write more on student banking later, but even if you are not a student, if you are going out of country to a single place for a long period of time, opening a bank account can be a path you want to take. Again, this is for long term. Some reasons for this can be limiting the conversion fees, paychecks are easier to deposit directly, and as a student (we’ll cover more fully later), your loans will run from government to school to you through this account. This is where temporary housing can be an issue; to set up your bank account you need an address—talk to the bank if you can if there is no way around these issues.
Again, I’ll run through this whole banking thing in an upcoming post.
Thank you for reading and have a great week!
I’m Leave on the Wind, Helping you soar.