Five Quick Tips for Moving the Family Abroad.
Moving from one city to another can be daunting experience for many people, more so if you have children. But moving from one country to another can sometimes lead to unforeseen nightmares.
There are some factors to remember when you decided to pack up the kids, put Fido in the kennel, and fly everyone over the great oceans and to a new experience. These are but a simple few I wish I knew before I stepped on the plane.
Know where you are going
If you are moving to Europe, know that one of the great things about Europeans is that they are eager to try their English on native English speakers. When you are going to restaurants, malls, and even pet shops there is always someone who knows just enough English to help you get what you need. However, it is considered respectful to try and learn some of the local language and customs.
Traveling with Fido
If Fido needs to be placed in the cargo hold, make sure to make reservations in advanced for you pet. Most airlines only allow a certain number of pets on any flight-usually 2 or 3 for the entire flight-and getting up to the counter with your pet only to be told there is no room for him or her, is not the best way to start a new adventure. Contact the airline to make reservations for your pet and to find out how the airline wants the kennel prepared. Remember also that an airline inspector will check your pet and inspect the kennel prior to allowing it to fly on the aircraft. Check the airlines website or call their pet hotline for more information.
If at all possible, have the current currency with you when you land. Many places will not accept credit cards from the United States and less will except debit cards. Taxi drivers will not accept American currency for the fare or the tip.
Experiment with the local cuisine
Especially in Europe and some countries in Asia, you will find many American eateries, but experiment with the local cuisine once you have your bearings. McDonalds might be great for the first week (especially for the kids) but do not be afraid to try out the local delicacies. You might be surprised with what you find.
If you bring a car or buy a car, one of the best tools for getting around in a foreign country are the GPS devices. Most countries do not have signs with street names, and getting around from one place to the other-well mouse in a maze comes to mind. My wife was against paying the $400 or so for the system, but after buying it, she has wondered how we ever lived without it. If your stay in the foreign country is going to be for a few years, invest in a GPS system that has the local and United States maps so you can take it back with you. Some systems will only come with the US maps. If you need local maps then expect to pay extra for them. Look for systems that include both sets of maps.
Living in a foreign country, be it as a student, military member, employee of a foreign company, is an adventure in itself. It will take some getting used it at first. Do not expect it all to be easy, especially if you have kids and pets, but it can be a great adventure. These are but a few simple tidbits of information from someone who went through all of this upon landing in Germany. There are many books available to help with the transition from one country to another. If you are traveling alone, not following any of these tips can in itself be a grand adventure, but if little ones depend on you, make sure you are prepared for the culture shock. The change to a foreign country is big enough itself without compounding to it.