We share our top 5 tips to keep in mind.
Believe it or not, some people never think of moving, packing or traveling as anxiety-inducing tasks; but those people also probably read Marie Kondo in their free time and think of washing dishes as “relaxing”. For the rest of us, the coronavirus pandemic has added to the usual stress of contemplating a move.
Whether you’ve been given the green light to travel or are officially ready to join the expat community, here are our top five tips on how to travel or relocate during the pandemic.
Be aware and ask yourself why you want to make a move or embark on ajourney during these times. Whether it is for a new job or any other major life changes, you must ensure that this won’t be detrimental to your personal and professional life in the long run. Does your country only allow essential traveling, and if so, is your trip necessary? If you’ve managed to get the green light, the next step is to be aware of what is to come and remember that there might be some difficult times. If you’re moving permanently, make sure that you know enough about the quality of life in a new place. Also, moving to a new location, or even travelling alone can bring feelings of excitement, fear, and anxiety; so keep some healthy coping mechanisms on the side just in case of a high-stress moment.
Be informed: Do as much research as possible on the place(s) you are going to. Your best bet in terms of updated information and recommendations would be on that country’s government website. It is essential to know about restrictions and regulations which can also help you adjust your healthcare plan accordingly. If all else fails, you can always find a lot of advice and information on social media or expat forums and online communities like GoExpat, InterNations, or Expat. The reddit expat board is also full of great insight from people all over the world. Also, if you have children, consider your options in terms of education and community services after the pandemic dies down and don’t forget about your own professional path and career down the road.
Be prepared: if you already have a ticket, be informed on what the airline is doing to protect travellers. You can even call ahead of time or go to their website to learn more about how preventive measures are enforced on board. For instance, British Airlines requires passengers to change masks every four hours. Pack normally like you would for any pre-covid travel- including your “just-in-case” medicine and toiletries along with some extra masks and a mask holder. The CDC recommends storing your mask in a clean zipped plastic bag in between uses. Also, make sure to have good and proper housing whether it is a hotel or rented housing (checking that off the list in advance is the best call) in case of another lockdown.
Be safe: don’t get lazy with basic protection and set realistic goals. On one hand, it is easy to grow tired of the restrictions and preventive measures, from wearing a mask on public transport to that highly potent rubbing alcohol hand sanitizer in every corner of the mall. On the other hand, it is unfair for you to put pressure on yourself and try to have new friends and everything figured out by week one. Remember that the pandemic isn’t over and take it easy on getting settled. If you’re permanently moving, keep it mind it can take up to a year (or longer) for you to fully arrange and decorate your space.
Be positive: always remember that all of this is temporary – take it from me; I had to wait almost a year to discover the city of Toronto after moving here but the wait was worth it! Chances are there is always something going on where you are going, and lots of activities (museum tours, aquarium visits) are still being carried out virtually online. You can still meet people virtually or from a safe (6 feet) distance and enjoy the outdoors and low-budget activities.
For more information on how to protect yourself and others while traveling outside of Canada, check out the government’s website and the latest restrictions, exemptions and advice.