Sooner or later, you will travelling back home during your expat time . Whether it is to celebrate a local festivity, to attend to an important celebration or just to enjoy your favourite dishes; a visit home requires some planning. Your friends and relatives will be longing for your arrival, so you will have a lot of commitments in a limited time. Here some tips to help you prepare your home country visits and make the most of your time while you are there.
1) Book early
You might be amazed at how many expats say to their friends and colleagues “I will be going home for…” and they have not booked any ticket yet. Remember that if you are planning to go back home for a special occasion (i.e. Christmas, a wedding) and you cannot be really flexible with the dates, it is a must to book your ticket early. During peak periods, tickets can become really expensive or even worse, they can be sold out!
2) Check your documents
Every day we use our credit cards, we carry our ID cards in our wallets… but how often do we check their expiration dates? If you are planning to travel, one of the first things worth to do is to double check that your documents will be valid during the whole trip length. Imagine not being able to go back because your documents have expired…
3) Cash or card?
As in any trip, it might be worth to consider how you are going to spend your money during the visit and which payment method will be the most suitable for you. Which is the current exchange rate between your home currency and your destination currency? Does your bank apply any extra fees for taking money from an ATM in your home country?
Remember it is also important to inform your bank that you are leaving for a while and that you might use your bank card as well as the online services from abroad. Some banks might block some services if they notice unusual operations (i.e. withdrawing money from abroad).
4) Your phone
Fortunately or unfortunately, it is hard to survive nowadays without making use of our precious smartphones. However, if you are living abroad, it is highly likely that you cancelled your previous phone number. Before arriving at your home country for your visit, it is worth to spend some time considering the different options available to keep in touch with the people and the use that you will need. How are you planning to contact your family and relatives there? Will you need the internet to keep-up-to-date with any work emails? Will you have free Wi-Fi? Should you buy a temporary SIM?
5) Be open-minded
Avoid creating expectations about your trip! Time passes and the world is not static, so it is possible that you notice new things in your home country. Also, you might notice that some people have changed (for example, your nephews might have grown up). Be open-minded!