Mastering the Art of Moving Abroad Solo: Essential Tips for Expats  

March 19, 2024

Your guide to solo expat life: Quick tips for housing, culture, and beyond.

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge into the exhilarating world of solo expat life? Bravo! But hold onto your hats because navigating this wild ride isn’t all sunsets and sangrias. From navigating unfamiliar customs to finding accommodation and setting up a new life from scratch, there’s a lot to consider. Fear not! Whether you’re relocating for work or simply seeking a new adventure, we’ve got you covered.  

If you’re ready to embark on your solo expat adventure, keep reading. We’ll equip you with the knowledge and confidence you need to thrive in your new international home. 

Researching your destination: Understanding the culture, language, and legal requirements 

Before you jet off into the sunset, it’s time to do your homework. Dive into the nuances of your soon-to-be new home by immersing yourself in local customs, traditions, and maybe even picking up a few key phrases. Because let’s face it, knowing how to ask for directions to the nearest café is just as important as finding the best cup of joe in town. 

It’s also crucial to be aware of the legal requirements for living and working in your chosen destination. Research visa regulations, work permits, and any other necessary documentation well in advance. Your future self will thank you for it. 

Securing accommodation: Finding the right place to live in your new country 

Finding a cozy nest in your new stomping grounds is priority number one. Start by researching different neighborhoods and areas in your destination city to get a sense of the local housing market. 

Consider everything from safety, proximity to amenities, and accessibility to public transportation when choosing your new home. It’s also worth exploring different types of accommodation options, such as renting an apartment, sharing a house with locals or other expats, or even staying somewhere like Zoku temporarily until you find a more permanent solution. Pssst… we have lightning-fast WiFi. 

To streamline your search, start by checking out online platforms and tapping into the expertise of local real estate agents who specialize in helping expats like yourself. Before you commit, though, take a good long look at those rental agreements and make sure you’re crystal clear on the terms and conditions. And don’t be shy about seeking advice from expat communities or fellow solo travelers who’ve already made the leap to your destination. 

Managing finances: Setting up bank accounts, understanding currency exchange and budgeting 

Get cozy with your finances by setting up shop at a local bank. Look for banks that offer services in English or your preferred language to make the process smoother. 

Before leaving your home country, inform your current bank about your international move to avoid any potential issues with accessing your funds or using your debit or credit cards abroad. Keep those pesky bank fees at bay by planning ahead and embracing online banking. 

Understanding the currency exchange rate is also important for budgeting and managing your expenses. Keep track of exchange rates and consider using online currency converters to stay updated on the value of your home currency in your new country. 

Crafting a budget fit for your new life abroad is like laying down the groundwork for financial freedom. Think about everything from the cost of living and rent to transportation, utilities, and even healthcare. It’s all about keeping it real with your income and expenses, so you’re not left high and dry when those unexpected expenses pop up. Oh, and don’t forget to allocate funds for leisure activities and travel to fully enjoy your expat experience. 

Navigating healthcare: Understanding the healthcare system

Health is wealth, so they say, and ain’t that the truth! Navigating the healthcare system in a new country can be overwhelming, but it’s essential to prioritize your health and well-being as an expat. Whether it’s public healthcare or private insurance, make sure you’re covered for every sniffle and sneeze.  

If your home country has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with your new country, make sure to familiarize yourself with the fine print. Get to know those terms and conditions like the back of your hand to ensure you’re covered without blowing your budget.  

Look for plans tailor-made for expats like yourself, offering a buffet of coverage options in your new home country. And while you’re at it, consider the nitty-gritty details like access to specialists, prescription drug coverage, and even emergency evacuation services. Because when it comes to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? 

Zoku Amsterdam Rooftop

Building a support network: Connecting with local communities and expat groups 

Flying solo doesn’t mean flying blind. Building a support network of like-minded people can get you through the highs and lows of expat life 

Scope out local communities on social media, join group workout classes through ClassPass or OneFit, explore local events through websites like Meetup and Eventbrite, and don’t be shy about exploring your interests 

These connections can provide invaluable support, guidance, and friendship as you navigate the challenges and joys of expat life. They can also help you discover hidden gems, recommend local services, and introduce you to new experiences that you may not have discovered on your own. 

Overcoming language barriers: Tips and resources for learning the local language 

Sure, learning a new language might feel like climbing Mount Everest, but trust us, it’s worth it. Learning the lingo opens doors to a whole new world and helps you slide right into the local community like a pro. 

Start by enrolling in language classes or hiring a language tutor to give your language skills a turbo boost. Many cities offer language courses specifically designed for expats, which can be a great way to meet new people while honing your language skills. 

We also recommend immersing yourself in the local language by practicing with native speakers whenever possible. Whether it’s ordering your morning coffee or striking up a chat with your neighbor, every interaction is a chance to sharpen those language skills. 

Dealing with homesickness: Coping strategies for missing friends and family back home 

Missing home is par for the course when you’re globetrotting, but don’t let homesickness rain on your parade. While it’s natural to miss your friends and family back home, several coping strategies can help ease the transition and make your expat experience more enjoyable. 

Keep the homesick blues at bay with regular video calls, emails, or letters. Set aside dedicated time each week to catch up and share your experiences with those at home. If the going gets tough, consider planning visits back home or inviting friends and family to visit you in your new country. Having something to look forward to can be a big help! 

Adapting to a new lifestyle: Cultural differences and finding your routine 

Moving abroad solo means adapting to a new lifestyle and embracing cultural differences. Dive headfirst into the local culture and be open to new experiences and perspectives. 

Take the time to observe and learn from the locals. Understand and respect cultural norms, traditions, and etiquettes to avoid any unintentional misunderstandings. Embrace local cuisine, traditions, and celebrations as a way to immerse yourself in the local culture. 

Creating a routine can help you feel grounded and build a sense of normalcy in your new life abroad. Set goals, whether it’s learning a new skill, exploring your surroundings, or volunteering within the local community. Trust us, it’s the little rituals that make all the difference and turn your expat journey into a fulfilling one. 

Zoku Vienna Rooftop

Embracing the adventure of expat life 

Embarking on a solo expat journey is like stepping into a treasure trove of growth and opportunity. With these essential tips in your back pocket, you’re primed to conquer the challenges and turn your expat adventure into a triumph. 

Remember to dive deep into researching your destination, securing the perfect homebase, mastering your money, and cracking the code of healthcare abroad. Don’t forget to build your tribe, overcome language barriers, cope with homesickness and embrace the local culture with open arms. By embracing the unknown and following these nuggets of wisdom, you’ll thrive in your new home in no time! 

So, take the leap, embrace the adventure, and make your solo expat journey one to remember. Your new life awaits!


About Zoku
Zoku has invented a new category within the hotel industry with its home-office hybrid concept and award-winning Zoku Loft. Opened in 2016 by Dutch entrepreneurs Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius, Zoku is named after the Japanese word for family, tribe or clan. Zoku facilitates international living, working and conscious traveling for the growing population of globetrotting professionals, digital nomads and remote workers. Its multipurpose business facilities make it a hospitality frontrunner in the future of work, providing hybrid work solutions for employees to reconnect while working-from-anywhere. The bold concept, which goes far beyond the standard hotel proposition of “putting heads in bed”, has won numerous awards, received rave reviews from guests and is praised for its vibrant Social Spaces, sustainability initiatives and unique community that facilitates connections between residents and locals. Zoku achieved B Corp certification in 2018, becoming one of the first hotels in the world to receive this recognition, and was voted “one of the 25 coolest hotels in the world” by Forbes. Zoku recently expanded to include three new locations to its portfolio of European hubs: Copenhagen and Vienna in 2021 and Paris in April 2023.

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