Are you thinking of living abroad? If you have the option to work remotely, moving overseas and working from a different location is a fantastic choice. You can immerse yourself in a new language, culture, and geographic location, while not having to give up your career. Making this transition can be intimidating, however, especially when it comes to figuring out where to go and how to set up your new work and living space in a new country. From figuring out where to go, to prepping details such as insurance and banks and getting used to a remote work life, here are a few tips to make your transition easier.
1. Weigh the pros and cons of your potential destination.
There is no “right” or “wrong” destination to move to but there definitely will be places that make more sense for you than others. Make a list of your top priorities, the things you just can’t do without. Maybe this includes language, climate, or cost of living. Perhaps it includes geographic proximity to a place you want to travel to or a region of interest for your work. Considering that you will be working remotely as well, you will also need to decide where your work environment will be. Are you going to be working entirely from home? Do you want a city or town with a vibrant cafe culture or co-working scene? Consider the wifi situation as well if you rely heavily on the internet for work.
2. Align your time zone with your work needs.
Time zones are an important factor to consider. If you’re constrained by work calls and meetings, then you might need to choose to live in a place on a similar time zone to your home office. Central and South American countries have a minimal time difference with the United States. If you’re on the east coast of the USA, then the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland only have a five hour difference. If you’re more flexible, you might be enticed to go further away from the United States, exploring Asian destinations, for example, as your new home base. Do you prefer cities with culture and nightlife? Or are you seeking solitude and envision yourself working from a beach or mountain town?
Another factor to take into consideration is cost of living. If you’re looking to save costs, then Australia, the United States, and Western Europe might not be the best moves. Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America, and South Africa are all places that attract robust remote working communities and offer decently reliable internet and low cost of living.
3. Pack the right clothes.
One of the the most challenging aspects of moving abroad is packing. You want to pack relatively light and minimize large luggage so you can easily move your bags and travel to a new locale if you wish, but you also need to know that you’re not forgetting essential garments. Do you want a polyester shirt, or one made of merino wool? This will depend on the climate of your destination and what adventures you have planned. Bring only what you need and that you won’t be able to access in the new place.
That being said, you will want to have sufficient clothing for where you’ll be living. Bring sustainable, easy to wash materials such as merino wool, that absorb sweat and moisture. Merino products are particularly useful to have if you’ll be living in colder climates. Pack everyday basics that can be worn on their own or layered. You might consider buying bamboo shirts for travel, since bamboo fabric is odor-resistant, soft, breathable, and wrinkle resistant. These multi-purpose bamboo shirts are lightweight and can transition well between climates, which is great for traveling to different areas. There are plenty of benefits of bamboo — it’s sanitary, comfortable, durable, and stylish for long periods of time. A perfect option for a long day of travel!
4. Find comfortable accommodations.
Even after you’ve selected your destination, you’ll need to find a room, apartment, or house to live in. Finding accommodation in an unfamiliar place can be daunting. Start by researching the city to familiarize yourself with neighborhoods. Consider your budget, the vibe you are looking for, and proximity to public transportation, grocery stores, restaurants, and bars. When you’re looking to actually secure a place to live, look into forums for expats and digital nomads, as well as local realtor sites. For example, if your next trip might be in South Asia, then check out Society maps in Pakistan, which provides detailed maps and information on neighborhoods in Pakistani regions, such as Kashmir or Sindh. You can also find information such as area guides that will be useful when choosing a place to live. Pakistan is full of gorgeous landscapes and a rich culture, so it’s definitely worth checking out for an adventure in the Middle East. Kashmir is particularly renowned for its gorgeous mountain views that, despite the presence of United Nations’ armed forces, even Pakistanis travel to from afar because of their unrivaled beauty.
5. Set up a working space
Since you won’t have an office, your living space will likely be your work space as well. It is important that you designate a separate space just to work from. Set up a desk, a comfortable chair, a lamp, and any other elements that may help you stay focused. Since you’ll be likely working at home most of the time, search for cost effective ways to set up your home office and save money on utilities. For example, if you’re in Belfast or anywhere else in Northern Ireland, run a search for the cheapest electric in Northern Ireland. This process can help you find the best rates and cheapest electricity providers for your new home and working space. You’ll want a reliable electric supplier, but you also want reasonable energy rates. That’s why it’s important to shop around.
Remove distractions and set boundaries for yourself (and others, if you’re not living alone). Make a routine, set a schedule, and stay connected to colleagues are all important steps to take when transitioning to working remotely (and abroad!). Once you’re settled in, find ways to connect to your new town. Join clubs, seek out interesting events, learn a bit about your new home, and make local friends.