The first thing to do when you know you have an upcoming trip abroad is to book your flights. More often than not, you can get a better deal if you book in advance. If you see a good price, book it there and then rather than waiting for it to get cheaper, because the chances are, it won’t! It may be said that flight websites actually increase their prices with repeat visits. Travel insurance is often something that people deem boring, pointless and a waste of money. However, the point of travel insurance is to avoid a horrendous medical bill if you are unlucky enough to have an accident or fall ill whilst in another country so it may be dull but it is of paramount importance. It is vital to choose a policy which suits your personal needs. For example, it’s necessary to read the small print to ensure you are not paying a premium for something you don’t actually need. In other words, by removing options, you can lower the price you pay for travel insurance.
Some people choose to stay in a hostel while they look for permanent accommodation; others choose to visit the country beforehand to look for somewhere to live, others just take a chance and book their accommodation online. However you choose to do it, it´s important that you have something organized for when you arrive. Do your research as well: make sure you´re where you need to be (in other words not miles away from university or work). Also, check with the landlord (before you arrive) exactly what the accommodation includes and bear in mind that photos on a website can be very deceiving – photos can be taken cleverly to make a space look bigger than it is. One way to avoid being misled by money-grabbing landlords is to ask them for exact measurements.
If you are going to a country that speaks a different language, it would be a very good idea to learn at least a few basic phrases before you go. If you haven´t got time for language classes, you can buy a phrasebook at the airport or look up some simple, every-day phrases on your Smartphone and have a quick practice on the plane! Keeping in contact with loved-ones back home is often a major concern for people going to live abroad because calling overseas is expensive. Usually when buying a local sim card, you have to make a choice whether you want cheap national calls or cheap international calls. You can´t have both. If you choose to have cheap international calls for example, you are going to pay a lot for national calls and visa-versa. Therefore, it may be advisable to stick with a sim that allows you to call people in the same country and then use an internet café to contact home. Often internet café´s also have phone booths which are arguably the cheapest way of phoning internationally. Of course, Skype is a great way to stay in contact and has the added benefit of being able to see the person´s face – so great if you´re feeling homesick. Make sure you have it installed on your laptop before you leave!