Women are world travelers today more than ever before. In fact, over 60% of airline travelers tend to be female and women-only travel agencies are three times as numerous as they were only a few years ago.
But many women are also studying abroad, retiring, or just going on months-long vacations in places like Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and a host of other international destinations.
That’s great news. But life abroad can be as challenging sometimes as it is fun and intriguing at others. You hear a lot about packing checklists and the like, but what about once you’re there?
Here are 5 top tips to use to survive and thrive while living the life of an expat:
1. Collect Local Help Lines
If you’re living in Sydney, realize that Sydney offers many plumbers around you that can be on the spot for an emergency. Or wherever you’re staying, you might suddenly need an exterminator, need to call the police or fire department, or the overseas equivalent of 911.
Don’t get caught off guard. Have all these helpful numbers in both a physical phone book and on your smartphone for quick dialing. Actually sit down and think through the calamities that could befall you, find out who to call, and keep the number handy “just in case.”
2. Open a Local Bank Account
If you’re going to be living abroad for an extended period of time, seriously consider opening a local (foreign) bank account.
It can make bank to bank overseas money transfers possible, give you quick access to local currency without always having to go to the exchange, and serve as supporting evidence for things like marriage if you have a joint account with your spouse and need to prove your status to immigration.
3. Learn How To Get Around
To make the most of your stay overseas, you need to familiarize yourself with the most efficient forms of local transportation. But this will vary from situation to situation.
In Australia, you’ll need to travel by air to see the width and breadth of the country, for Australia’s major cities and tourist attractions are scattered all across a whole continent. In Singapore, car rental is usually quite affordable and will allow you to access the whole island plus nearby points in Malaysia.
In the Philippines, it’s most convenient to use a “jeepney” or motorized tricycle for short-distance public transport, a taxi for longer in-city travel, and a bus for anything outside of town but too close to merit a flight.
The point is, travel methods vary from place to place, and you’re losing money, wasting time, and missing out on new experiences if you don’t explore your options.
4. Always Put Safety First
Don’t ever think that since you’ve lived in a new land so many weeks or months, now you’re an expert and don’t have to take safety too seriously. Always put safety first, no matter where you’re at or what you’re doing.
Invest in travel insurance or in local health insurance, know where the nearest hospital is located, always keep your in-country address with you in written form, never walk alone at night, never keep all your money with you or in one spot, and always lock up – always!
5. Drink Deeply of the Local Culture
Living as an expat gives you the chance to encounter a whole new culture – food, entertainment, customs, relationships, and more; don’t let that opportunity pass you by!
Make a point of experiencing something new every single day. Keep yourself expanding your cultural horizons, learning and growing as you interact with a different way of life.
Women are traveling and living abroad more than ever before. To make your overseas stay as enjoyable, safe, and educational as possible, formulate a well thought out plan on how you’re going to adjust to and thrive in a whole new environment.