We’ve lived in 4 different countries, some English speaking, some not. The first time you decide to start living abroad is always a big step. But we’re here to tell you that if you make the decision to change your life and live in a foreign country you won’t regret it. Here’s our guide to living abroad:
Benefits of living abroad
Living abroad can be a wonderful, life changing experience, whether or not your move is permanent. We’re passionate about helping people feel confident in making those moves for themselves. So if you’re considering a move, then start with our article on The benefits of moving abroad. In the article we cover:
- Cost of living
- Changing who you are
- Getting what you want out of life
- Getting away from the 9-5
Hopefully it’ll give you the confidence that you should go ahead and do it!
I suspect that it’s the moving abroad that puts most people off living abroad. First there’s the actual moving abroad. How many possessions will you take with you? Which possessions will you need in your new country? How will you get those possessions to your new home? How will you get to your new home?
The good news is that if you’re methodical about it moving abroad is doable.
In this moving abroad checklist we’ve listed all the things you need to think about when moving abroad.
Flying with children
Flying with children can be another thing that puts people off moving abroad, and even travelling. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to make it easier. It also gets much easier the more you do it. We’ve been to 15 countries and done nearly 60 flights in the last 3 years, all with children.
Long haul flight with toddler and baby
In this article you can read about our 11 hour flight to Thailand with a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 month old. It contains:
- Packing list
- Tips and hints on surviving a long haul flight with children
Travelling with babies is easier than you think
I’d also recommend you read this article. People worry about flying with a baby, but they really shouldn’t. It’s much much easier than people think.
Personally I feel that sleep is one of the main things that makes travelling with children hard. If you’re planning to fly with children, I recommend you read this article.
Becoming minimalist: A beneficial side effect of living abroad
One of the key benefits to living abroad is that it forces you to be minimalist. You have to choose which possessions to take with you. Anything you don’t take has to be either thrown out, sold or kept somewhere. Once you start travelling a lot you’ll find that doing anything with your possessions becomes tiresome. Especially once you also have children to manage.
When we moved to Germany we took a moving truck with 30 boxes plus stand alone furniture like our son’s cot. When we moved to Chiang Mai two years later we took 2 suitcases, 2 rucksacks and a carry on bag. We vowed not to repeat the palaver of Germany, so were forced into a minimalist move. We only kept the bare minimum (no more moving truck with 30 boxes!). If we didn’t need it for 6 months (or longer) then we probably didn’t need it at all.
Here are some articles on minimalism:
Minimalist travel for the modern family
Why declutter your home
Living in Chiang Mai
Thinking of moving to Chiang Mai, Thailand? Or just want to see what it might be like? Read on. We’ve pulled together lots of tips and hints that we wish we’d had when making our move.
Visas for Thailand
Anyone coming to Thailand will need either a visa or a visa waiver. For stays over 30 days everyone needs a visa for Thailand.
The type of visa you need will change depending on which country you come from. We recommend you visit the Thai Embassy website to determine the correct type of visa for you.
We were coming to Thailand as a family of 4 for 6 months and focussed on visitor visas. Here are some articles on our experiences:
Getting a multi entry visa to Thailand for families
First few weeks in Thailand
The first few weeks living abroad in a new country can be crucial. This is where you get to know the place that you now call home! Here are some articles on what we did when we first moved here:
Learning a foreign language
Part of the fun and challenge of living abroad is learning a new language. The good news is that in this age of digital media there are lots of things to help you. Here are some of our favourites:
Duolingo – A great little app that challenges you to learn for 10 minutes a day. They use gamification techniques to keep you learning. You can choose which sections to focus on (within reason), so you can tailor your learning to things you’re interested in. We used this to help learn German.
Memrise – A series of courses that use memes and other psychological tools to help you learn languages. Their Thai courses were some of the best I could find on the web.
Fluentin3months – An excellent, entertaining blog by Benny Lewis. He travels all over the world and picks up languages as he goes. It was this blog that gave me the confidence to start learning Thai.
BBC languages – Essential phrases in almost 40 languages
Internet polyglot – A resource to help memorise words and phrases from other languages
We set ourselves a 2 week challenge to get started. You can follow our progress of learning this amazing language here: