Never Decide to Move Abroad on Vacation.

Your Holiday – A Time to Decide to Move Abroad?  No!

The weather is warm, the sights stunning, you’ve been testing your language skills and enjoying the local culture as you make your way through the markets and restaurants. You and your partner find yourselves saying to each other “Wouldn’t it be amazing to live here? You may have chosen your holiday destination on the basis that either you or your partner might have a work opportunity in that in that location. It all looks blissful and you think you want to move abroad! Think again!

Move Abroad


You may be reading this and wondering who would make such an important decision based on a holiday. Yet thousands of people do make their decisions to relocate overseas with their holiday experience forming the basis for their desire to move. Those decisions don’t always turn out the way they expected and they find their transition full of unexpected challenges and obstacles.

If you fall into the group thinking about relocating internationally after a great holiday, here are 5 reasons to stop and think a little harder before you decide to move abroad.

5 things to think about before you move abroad:

1. Your life and career deserve more thought

Moving abroad changes everything;Tweet this life, career, your children’s lives and education in ways you haven’t even thought of. Making the decision based on a romantic dream of living abroad sets you up for difficulty and disappointment as you encounter challenges that you haven’t anticipated. If you were taking a new job with a new company, you’d do your due diligenceTweet this. An international move deserves at least the same amount of consideration.

2. The things that make a good holiday don’t necessarily make a good life

The elements of a good holiday are often things that help you to feel more relaxed and to take the pace of life down a notch. But when you’re trying to build a real life that includes a schedule, work school etc. those things can make life frustrating. Hot temperatures are great when you’re sitting around the pool in swimwear but may not seem quite as appealing when you’re in a suit going to work. These are examples but the point is, it’s important to think about a location in the context of real life.

Read: Work-Life Balance – An Impossible Dream?

3. Charming on holiday may not be charming in real life

Strolling around the markets practicing your language skills may seem charming while you’re on holiday but when you have to squeeze a shopping trip into your normal schedule, negotiating your way around the market will quickly lose its charm. A charming relaxed local culture might translate to a frustratingly relaxed attitude in the workplace. Find out how the local culture translates to workplace attitudes and getting things done.

4. Your holiday exposes you to a very limited subset of experiences in a country

When you’re on holiday, you are unlikely to experience the full gamut of life in that country. Commuting, the education system, the legal system, the bureaucracy and many other elements of a place that impact your life when you are living in a country, are rarely experienced while on holiday. These and more are considerations when you are making a decision to relocate your life and career to another country.

Read: 5 tips expatriate women need to succeed

5. Holidays don’t give you a true perspective on the financial impact of moving

Your holiday may have been inexpensive; you’ve marveled at the low cost of eating out and activities. But the financial picture needs to be considered in its entirety. Are you both going to be able to work? What are salary levels? How much will it cost to rent a house or apartment you’ll be comfortable living in? Will you need to pay for your children’s education? And that’s all before you consider the impact on your medical benefits and pension. Cheap may not be so cheap in real life.

Read: 5 tips for Moving Abroad With Children

The one time making a decision on holiday is a good thing

Making a decision on holiday is not always a bad thing. If you’ve done your research beforehand, your holiday can be a great time for decision making.

You’re more relaxed and away from the pressures and stresses of your normal life. It can be a great time to talk through the pros and cons of a move and make a final decision. Of course, if you do that, it might not feel so much like a holiday.

Many people don’t start thinking about their careers until there is a problem. So take a few moments when you are relaxed, to understand what is important to you.  Have our Career Reflections Worksheets delivered right into your in-box.  Print them out in the old school way or keep them open on your phone. Use them as a guide to give your thoughts some structure.

Invest some time in yourself! Don’t wait until it’s too late!

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3Plus, Career, International Assignments, Personal & Professional Development, Stages of Life


  • Ali Meehan says:

    This post is so true. Its easy to get a romantic view of a country when you come on holiday, however the realities can be vastly different
    When you get back home, your research can start in earnest. With social media, it easy now to connect with “locals” who are living in your chosen location. Facebook has many groups for foreigners, or location based groups where questions are welcomed. Additionally, you can join some of the expat forums, or online networking to connect, seek advice and use as part of your research.
    Where practicable, I always suggest people rent for a year in their chosen country before they buy. Places change seasonably and what might be a thriving town during the summer, can be a quiet backwater during the winter.

  • Evelyn says:

    Some great suggestions there Ali. Thanks for joining the conversation

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