Leonardo Da Vinci said,
"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there, you have been, and there you will always long to return."
The above can't be more accurate for expats. After leaving their home country to live or work somewhere else, most expatriates get a taste for the nomadic life and embrace it. In becoming "ex" patriates, they also become current travelers. So much so that traveling ex-pats are considered a separate class of travelers.
What does it mean to travel like an expatriate? For one, travel. A lot. Expats are known to move from town to town, either for business or pleasure. It's a lifestyle for them, which is why they have also curated a host of tips and tricks to travel efficiently and save themselves time, effort, and potential headaches.
In this article, we will share some of the boxes on their list that you need to check too. So that you too can travel like the savviest of expatriates and make the most of all your current and future trips!
Be insured to stay assured
It always begins and ends with insurance. If you're lucky, that is. When one is in an unfamiliar place, it's easy for things to go wrong. Even when they don't, it's very easy for the thought of them going bad to drive you into a fit of worry. In such a scenario, it's always best not to take any risks and insure yourself as much as possible. And when we say as much as possible, we mean it. Here are a few ways you can do that:
Did you know that you are eligible for compensation if your flight gets canceled? It's a little known fact, but it's true, and a handy tip to remember. Now there are a few conditions, at least in the EU, such as the reason for the cancelation cannot be "extraordinary circumstances." But apart from that, EU regulation EU 261 protects your interests in the case of flight cancelation. If such a thing happens, companies like AirHelp can help you receive compensation. Flying safe is important, but so is flying efficiently, and that includes looking out for things like this.
When things like car rental insurance and collision damage waivers get involved, one wonders if it's better to have just stayed at home. The entire thing is confusing on a lot of levels, but it's necessary. In countries where public transport just isn't cutting it for you, you need to rent a car. And if you rent a car, you must rent it with insurance. Trust us, you don't want the burden of dealing with the possibility of an accident in rental, especially on your vacation.
So it's important to be well-researched and well-informed when you're working with car rental insurance. You need to understand your pre-existing coverage, figure out what the regulations for the country you're traveling to are, if there are any hidden fees, and all that jazz.
Health comes first. Preparedness will always serve you well, and this is something all expatriates know. Since ex-pats live in another country and probably travel a lot too, they know to invest in international health insurance. Anything can happen while you're abroad, and your regular insurance might not be valid in another country. In that case, global health insurance has you covered in the event of a medical emergency or hospital visit. The best part? Certain health insurance companies give you the freedom to choose which wellness benefits you want to include in your plan. This way, you can customize your plan to fit your needs and your budget. Health does come first, folks, but health insurance comes even before.
Stay in touch
It's kind of a no-brainer to share your itinerary and travel plans with your family, but most of us tend to overlook another relevant party: the consulate. The country of your citizenship will most likely have an embassy and several offices in the country you are visiting. It is the responsibility of these consulates to help you with any problem you might be facing. Make sure you stay in touch with them, especially if you're going to a risky place.
Many countries like the UK have an official website that gives foreign travel advice that is helpful for ex-pats and other travelers. Such sites tell you where consulates are located and what to look out for. If it is a place you haven't been to before, going through these websites is a great way to prepare yourself for traveling there.
Apart from that, mobile and financial connectivity is critical. If you're an expatriate, it's a good idea to look into online banks so that you don't have to worry about how you will manage your money in a foreign place and accessing it if you need it. And of course, your regular provider probably won't be able to provide you connection on your phone in a different country. It would be wise to get a SIM card from a provider in the country you are going to so you can stay in touch on the go!
Go hard or go home
The ex-pat life is all about becoming one with the culture you're around. Sure, you can see the tourist attractions and do what everyone else is doing, but where's the fun in that? The essence of meaningful travel lies in learning something new, and the best way to do that is by immersing yourself in the culture, meeting new people and trying new things.
To do that, you probably need to have some way to communicate with locals in the language of the area. You're set if the language in question is English. If it's not, you need to be prepared. Either you could attempt to learn some basic phrases through language guidebooks and then dive headfirst into the culture and see where it goes from there, which is what most ex-pats do. Or if you want the easy way out or are only staying in someplace for a small period, you could use apps like Google Translate.
You don't need to walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, as Da Vinci said, any longer. Instead, you can be in the sky, traveling to wherever your heart desires! Being an ex-pat is a unique experience, and one should make the most of it by traveling as much as possible. For if not now, when? And if not you, who?