Planning a trip abroad is hard enough (but also fun!). But planning a longer period abroad is a whole different animal. There’s a lot to think about, like finding a house, getting a job (potentially), moving all your stuff overseas. Here are 12 tips to help you plan your sabbatical abroad more easily.

Assuming your employer hasn’t arranged a house or apartment for you, finding accommodation will be a priority. Be sure to allow plenty of time to research areas where you might want to live online. Consider travel times, schools and other amenities. Local guidance will be needed here, unless you already know the locale.

Talk to real estate agents and ask for their opinion. Have a wish list of what you need from a home versus what you can afford. Ask your employer about any financial assistance programs they may offer. Decide whether you want to rent furnished or unfurnished accommodation.

Furnished might be easier in the short term, but if you’re living there for a year or more, you’ll probably want your own stuff.

Find an international moving company

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture that you can’t do without, like your trusty indoor swing? You will want your best items with you, such as artwork, books, etc. All of these items can be shipped overseas at a reasonable price. Instead of putting everything away, sort out what you want to take with you and pack it for the move.

These days, a number of UK movers and packers have a ton of experience in international removals to New Zealand, Australia, the United States and other countries around the world. 1st Move International is a reliable international shipping company who can ship your most needed and valued household items well in advance of your trip. They’ll even pack for you if you’re short on time.

Find your destination

You may not have much choice as to which city or where you move to, but you can always do some research, so you know what to expect once you arrive, and also to find a place to stay. live in an appropriate area. Do you need a place with lots of recreational activities? Or somewhere quieter with fewer people? Find locations that meet your specific needs. You can refer to reputable tourist guides such as Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveller, National Geographic, etc.

Open a local bank account

You don’t want to find yourself stranded in a new place with no cash or a viable debit or credit card. Research exchange rates and where you can withdraw money at short notice, but consider opening a local bank account. You also want reputable international credit and debit cards that work both in-store and online, so you can access funds at home. Ask your bank about the best way to plan your finances when you are abroad.

Pack the right items

When planning your longer stay, make a list of things you want to do while there. This will give you a more definitive direction for all the things you need to pack. Will it be hot or cold? Being clear about all of this will help you pack the right clothes and accessories. Of course, you can buy things once you arrive, but that’s an extra expense. Also bring your must-have electronics for leisure, including your laptop, iPad, headphones, Kindle, and more.

Check the validity of your passport and visa

Always make sure your passport and visa are current and valid. You will be away longer. So, check your passport to know when it is due to expire. If it’s about to expire soon, get it renewed as soon as possible. Check if you have the correct visa. You can also check what your visa allows and does not allow you to do. Speak to your employer if they are arranging your visa for you.

Sort out your culinary situation

Check if your dietary needs are catered for in the new country. If you follow a gluten-free diet, for example, will gluten-free foods be readily available? Research local restaurants and see what types of food are available. If you like something that isn’t available in the new country, consider shipping a large quantity so you don’t run out for a few months.

Access expat forums

Expat Forums have a wealth of information that can be just as useful to long-term visitors as it is to those who actually move there. Active expat forums can help you with tips such as how to get various services, best places to visit or shop, etc. already know each other.

Like the right questions and you should get the right answers. See if locals can offer you useful services or recommend areas to live in your destination of choice. Having local advice will make a big difference if you don’t have professional contacts you can ask.

Research laws and regulations

Check your destination’s laws and regulations regarding things like pet quarantine (if you’re taking your pet with you), your own and your pet’s immunization and vaccination records, authorized drugs, etc. If you plan to drive, check if you can get an international driving license in advance in your current city, so you don’t have to scramble to get one when you get there.

Study the culture of your chosen destination

Since your stay will be longer, it may be a good idea to research the culture and traditions of the local people at your destination. This can help you get the most out of your time there, as well as provide you with a richer and more authentic travel experience.

Make a list of places you’d like to visit and local experiences you’d like to try. It may not be a permanent move, but you can still make the most of your time there.

Prepare the children

If your family is accompanying you on this trip, make sure they are happy and excited about it. Children often experience a lot of anxiety about leaving their friends behind and starting a new school. Try to reassure them. Involve them in finding schools, so they don’t feel like all decisions are made without their input.

Make a shopping list for friends and family

No trip abroad is complete without shopping! Research what your destination is famous for. Some tourist spots have the best spices in the world. Others have much cheaper electronics. Others still have less expensive but intricate fine jewelry. You can make the most of your new home by shopping for friends and family. Pick up items they love and send them home as gifts.

Planning a longer stay in a foreign country doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right amount of care and attention, it can be as fun as planning a shorter vacation. Be sure to pack all your favorite household items so you never get homesick!

picture by Christine Wilson on Unsplash