Moving Abroad Plans Up in the Air? Here’s What You Can Do

To say that a lot has changed since my last post would be a gross understatement! But it’s true. Life as we knew it is on pause; our new normal is evolving on a daily basis.

mona lisa face mask
Photo by cottonbro

My family was planning to fly to Europe for the summer once the kids finished school in late May. We want to settle down there eventually.

But the EU has closed all Schengen borders for at least 30 days beginning March 17 to non-EU nationals to slow the spread of the COVID-19. The State Department issued a Level 4 Global Health Advisory recommending U.S. citizens avoid all international travel.

Stay Home. That’s the message. Not a big deal if you were in the talking and research phase of planning a move abroad. But what if you bought plane tickets, mailed in visa applications, put down a deposit on your new apartment in X country or worse yet, recently sold your home?

What Can You Do???

First, try to relax, don’t panic. The U.S. and Europe are essentially on pause right now so time is on your side. Handle one issue at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Plane Tickets – Contact the airline(s) or third party you booked your tickets with to see if you can get a refund or allow you to change the travel dates at no additional charge. It’s the least they can do since travel to Europe is restricted.

Visa Application(s) – If you used VFS Global to process your application all visa operations are closed until further notice. Refer to the website for up to date information. If you used another company please contact them directly for status updates.

Lease Agreements/Home Purchase (Abroad) – Contact your estate agent or landlord to discuss your options. If you’ve changed your mind about relocating find out if your landlord is willing to cancel the contract and return some/all of your deposit. If you’re in the process of purchasing a property consult with a real estate attorney from X country to know what your legal rights are in terms of terminating the deal or extending the closing date. Flexibility is key for all parties involved.

Lease Agreements/Home Sale (Stateside) – If you gave notice to your property manager to leave by a certain date and need to change it, contact them to find out if can convert your lease to a month to month situation. Otherwise you may have to crash with family/friends or find a new place to live. If you’re about to close on the sale of your home, you’re obligated to complete the sale or risk being sued by the buyer and possibly the listing agent for breach of contract which could involve stiff financial penalties. Or maybe the buyer will be understanding about your situation and let you out of the deal. Again, please consult an attorney before making any decisions.

Anything Else – You should have noticed a pattern by now 🙂 Contact anyone else directly involved with your move abroad. Everyone is venturing into uncharted territory right now so don’t assume that your plans are dead in the water. Maybe all you need to do is adjust your timeline to make it all happen!

empty european streets
Looks eerie without people in the photo

When Will Things Get Back to Normal?

China’s first coronavirus cases began late last year and is now starting to reopen businesses, restaurants, and tourist attractions with strict virus control measures in place. Masks are worn everywhere, travel is monitored via smartphones, work areas are repeatedly sanitized and employees are subject to daily temperature checks.

There’s still fear of a resurgence of new infections in China but a complete lock down with no end in sight is not an option for economic survival either. Risking an infection to put food on the table is a balancing act no one should face but that’s the reality.

The U.S. hopes to follow suit over the next couple of months but we haven’t reached our apex yet. The United States leads the world in the number of reported infections and those numbers along with deaths continue to rise.

So for now, moving abroad is a delayed dream for many but hopefully not indefinitely!

In the meantime, continue to protect yourself and loved ones by staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask and gloves when you go out, wash your hands frequently and staying hopeful during these difficult times.

Take care! 👍

50 Companies That Will Pay You To Travel Abroad

Traveling the world can be a part of your job, not just a vacation goal. Below is a list of 50 companies with current job opportunities that offer international travel.

The jobs are not just for executive level employees; there are sales, consulting, tech, non-profit, manufacturing, etc. jobs up for grabs as well.

Some positions require several trips per year ranging from a few days to a few weeks at a time. If you want to stay a little longer, check out the bonus company at the bottom of the list!

So if traveling is your thing, why not get paid to do it? Freshen up your CV/resume and start applying!

  1. Amazon Web Services
  2. APCO Worldwide
  3. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  4. Boeing
  5. Boston Consulting Group
  6. Brightwell
  7. Cisco
  8. Corning
  9. Deloitte
  10. DocuSign
  11. Duke University
  12. Edelman
  13. Facebook
  14. Five9, Inc.
  15. Gaming Laboratories International LLC
  16. General Electric
  17. Gett
  18. Google
  19. Groupon
  20. HelloFresh
  21. HSBC
  22. HubSpot
  23. IBM
  24. Johnson & Johnson
  25. Kendo (a division of LVMH)
  26. Kimberly-Clark
  27. Kronos
  28. Lego
  29. Lockheed Martin Cororation
  30. Mars
  31. Microsoft
  32. Nike
  33. Osram Sylvania
  34. Palantir Technologies
  35. Philips
  36. Relativity
  37. Siemens
  38. SquareTrade
  39. Tampico Beverages
  40. Teach English Abroad
  41. The Ames Companies
  42. The Walt Disney Company
  43. Uber (corporate)
  44. Ubimax
  45. US Department of State
  46. VMware
  47. Walmart
  48. WeWork
  49. Women For Women International
  50. World Vision International

***BONUS***

51. Jobbatical

Which Country Should You Move To? 7 Things to Consider

The question is simple enough right?

Well it depends…..

Moving across town is daunting enough, but moving to another country (yikes!!) is on a completely different level!

Before you move though, you have to decide which country will become your new home. Here are 7 things to consider (in no particular order) when making your decision.

1. Cost of Living

How much money do you need to live comfortably? Check the average cost for rent, food, utilities, health insurance, etc. Expect the costs to be higher the closer you are to major cities.

2. Climate

What kind of weather do you like? Singing in the rain in the UK, or getting 300 days of sunshine in Portugal? Weather may not be a deal breaker for you but if you have health issues affected by certain temperatures, then definitely do your research.  This site gives you weather and climate information for nearly every country in the world.

3. Transportation

If you want to live close to where the action is then you’ll probably use public transportation to get around. So look at countries with extensive transportation options such as trams, buses, trains, uber, etc.

If you prefer to live in a rural area then having your own vehicle is a must. Some people ship their vehicles overseas rather than purchase a new one so shop around for shipping providers to see if that may be an option for you. 

4. Education

This section is geared towards families with school age children. Every parent wants the best educational experience for his/her child, especially in a foreign environment so research is crucial. Should your child attend a local (public=free) or international (expensive) school? Is there a foreign language proficiency required or will classes be taught in English?  Do the schools provide extra curricula activities such as sports, art, music?

Most schools have websites but some are difficult to navigate so don’t be afraid to contact the schools directly with your questions/concerns. Email is best if you don’t speak the local language (yay Google translate!).

5. Language

Do you speak another language? Moving to a foreign country that speaks a language you already know will certainly make relocation easier. If you don’t then there are tons of apps and YouTube videos available to help you learn.  Even if your accent and sentence structure are terrible, the local community will appreciate your attempts at communication!

Fluency will come over time so don’t worry about making mistakes. We expect foreigners to speak English in our country so return the favor. 🙂

6. Employment Opportunities

Getting a job as a foreigner in countries like Germany and France is very difficult but possible. One option is to work for a U.S. based company that offers international travel. Or find an international company that will sponsor your work visa/permit and have a skill set that’s in high demand. If you’re a college student, you can work part-time while studying and look for full-time work after you graduate.

7. Political Climate/Safety

When you move to a new environment, whether that’s a job, apartment, house, city, etc.,  you hope for things to be better. The same sentiment applies when moving to another country.  You want to feel safe and not worry if the country is on the brink of civil war or has high crime rates. Is the country foreigner-friendly?

One way to find out about the political climate of a country you’re considering is to tune in to their local news stories for current issues. Learn about past political figures and historical events. Or look at the Global Peace Index for a ranking of the world’s most peaceful countries. 

If possible, visit the country on a scouting trip and talk to the local residents to get their perspective.

The links mentioned in this post are provided as a courtesy. I am not affiliated with any of the websites mentioned nor receiving any compensation.