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Expat Relocation Experience – Part 2: Preparing for Relocation

Demetra shares top tips on preparing for relocation as she continues her journey to Dubai

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Have you ever booked yourself a beach holiday and then spent the few weeks leading up to your departure getting ‘holiday ready’? You hit the gym, save money, shop for vacation outfits, and the list goes on.

That is exactly what this next phase of relocation feels like. In Part 1 of this series, I shared with you my 10 steps on choosing where to relocate. Now that you’ve found your next destination, you can use this time before your departure to prepare for the big move. How you spend this time will be crucial in determining how stress-free your first few weeks in your new destination will be.

Preparing for Relocation

The hardest part is over; you’ve chosen the place that you envisage will best meet your current goals and needs. Now, you must ensure your new beginning isn’t ruined by the chaos and stress of arriving unprepared. Here is my best advice, as a seasoned expat, on what to keep in mind and how to use this time productively:

1. Getting to know the area

In Phase 1, you will have familiarised yourself with your new destination, at least enough to know whether it would be a good fit for you. Now, you must dive deeper into your city of choice to discover exactly where everything is located to avoid feeling overwhelmed upon arrival.

Which neighbourhoods are good to live in? How far away are they from a grocery store? Where are your closest transport links? Where is your office located? How far is the gym? Are there restaurants and bars nearby? Where is the nearest healthcare facility?

To help you with this, you can use the same means I mentioned in Phase 1: searching on Google, watching YouTube videos and speaking directly to locals and expats.

2. House hunting

House hunting was probably the most stressful part of my relocation. Trying to choose, from afar, the best home in the best area can be very confusing. Fortunately, there are many websites to help you search for accommodation. Unfortunately, some of these websites are scams. To lower your chances of being deceived and scammed out of money, search for the most legitimate ones, ideally recommended by others.

However, even if you think you’ve found a home through a reputable website or agency, my advice would be to not pay any money before arriving in-country, seeing the property in person, and meeting the respective landlord or agent. Even those websites and agencies that seem to be trustworthy can be fraudulent. Trust me, I’ve learned this through experience!

3. Budget

As we discussed in Phase 1, relocation requires a budget specifically to aid your initial set-up in the new location. Some of the expenses that I anticipated included:

  • Temporary accommodation upon arrival until permanent accommodation is found
  • Flight to the new destination
  • Extra luggage to transport personal belongings
  • New home essentials (kitchenware, toiletries, etc.)
  • Agency fees
  • Rent deposit

Include in your budget some extra money as a contingency as unexpected expenses are guaranteed to arise.

4. Recommendations

It is very important to use suppliers/providers that have been recommended by others in order to reduce the possibility of being disappointed or, as mentioned above, scammed. During your research and through talking to locals and expats, look out for providers who have been tried, tested and recommended by others or have positive reviews online.

5. Delays

As with all big projects, from house renovations to business activities, it is rarely the case that everything goes according to the initial plan and timeline. Therefore, keep in mind that there may be many delays during this period; whether it be in your visa application, your offer letter, etc. Be flexible and build contingency plans so you won’t be thrown off when delays occur.

The Final Tip

Every relocation, no matter how prepared you are, will always be accompanied by a certain level of stress and unfamiliarity. Acknowledging and expecting this, in and of itself, is also a form of psychological preparation. Aim to reduce your anxiety as much as possible by preparing as much as one can before arrival. Since you cannot foresee, and thus prepare for every scenario, expect some things to go wrong, some plans to change and some level of stress, and adjust accordingly.

Finally, ensure to keep open lines of communication with your employer during this period as well as the initial period after arrival, so they can allow you some flexibility to settle in.

by Demetra Tofarides, Marketing and Events Specialist

Thank you to Demetra for sharing part two of her relocation experience to Dubai! If you are an expat, or an employer looking to relocate your worker and would like some guidance on relocating to another country, get in touch with us here. Mauve’s experts can help you find a solution bespoke to your needs with our extensive range of services. 

To stay up to date with Demetra’s journey, follow Mauve Group on Twitter and LinkedIn.