Christmas traditions around the world [infographic]

Going overseas for Christmas, or looking to expatriate in time for next December? With Yuletide celebrated across so much of the world, what festivities might you expect in your host country?

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Moving overseas this Christmas? Pickfords delivers our customers’ belongings to every country across the world. Request a quote today to avoid disappointment.

Travelling at Christmas: an expat guide [10 top tips]

Whether you’ve booked your move abroad for the holiday season, or are looking forward to coming back to the UK for Christmas, there are several  considerations for yuletide travel that will help things go smoothly at the airport and beyond.

Notify your bank

Your bank may interpret overseas charges as suspicious activity and deactivate your card. Prevent this by letting them know when you’ll be overseas.

Don’t forget your essential documents

Make absolutely sure you and your family have your passports, booking confirmation, travel insurance details and visas before travelling.

Keep presents unwrapped

Wrapped Christmas presents arouse suspicion, so keep them unwrapped and make sure they comply with the airline’s usual security and weight restrictions.

Keep liquid gifts in your hold luggage

Liquids in hand luggage carry a weight limit of 100ml, so most liquid presents will need to be kept in your hold luggage. If you do take liquids with you on the plane, make sure they are sealed in a small, transparent plastic bag.

Reconsider taking Christmas crackers

Most airlines have at least some restrictions on Christmas crackers, and some ban them completely. Better to leave them out of your luggage and purchase them in your destination country.

Check decorations before packing decorations

Christmas decorations made of organic material, such as pine cones, aren’t allowed into certain countries. Australia is particularly strict, prohibiting all foreign flora from entering their country to protect its environment.

Pack bags in layers

Packing in layers (e.g. a layer of clothing, followed by a layer of books then a layer toiletries) is much easier for security to interpret in their scanners than a hodgepodge of items, so will likely get you through screening much quicker.

Be ready to unpack your hand luggage

Pack electronics and sealed liquids at the top of your hand luggage so you can access them quickly and place everything in the screening trays.

Prepare for local weather

Choose a travel outfit that can be easily adapted to the local weather forecast. Pack any extra layers in your carry-on, or ensure they’re easily accessible from your main luggage.

Plan your onward journey

Pre-book any onward public transport well in advance. If driving, familiarise yourself with your route and plan rest stops for journeys longer than two hours. Use a satnav or smartphone app with rerouting options in case of traffic.

Moving overseas this Christmas? Pickfords delivers our customers’ belongings to every country across the world. Request a quote today to avoid disappointment.

What to do before you move abroad: 6 essentials [infographic]

Last week we looked at general tips for moving house, whether within the UK or further afield. If you are planning to live overseas, however, there are a few extra things to check off the list before you take the trip:

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Ready for your move overseas? For a complete removal and storage service from the UK, including expert customs and travel advice, click here to contact Pickfords or call 0800 019 8557.

Relocating employees overseas: meeting the challenges

Sending employees overseas can be a great opportunity both for them and your business as a whole. Assignees get to experience a fresh start in an exciting new environment and expand their professional horizons, while your company stands to grow your business across new international markets.

As the employer, once you’ve made the decision to send staff abroad, there are several things you can do to help your assignees prepare for their posting and integrate once they arrive:

Encourage pre-visits

For long-term or permanent relocations, encourage your assignees to visit their host country for pleasure before making the move for work. This is a great way to help them become familiar with their new surroundings and prevent culture shock.

Make sure they’re ready

Permanent travel plans should only be made once everything in the UK has been straightened out. As well as supporting assignees with the practicalities of moving abroad, make sure their colleagues are briefed on how the move will affect normal working patterns and responsibilities.

Ensure there are no surprises

Unfamiliarity with the local legal processes and requirements can be a major source of frustration for assignees. There may be certain rules regarding registering them or their vehicle, obtaining an ID card, etc, that are only more confusing if a language barrier gets in the way. Make sure the assignee is fully briefed before arrival, and has access to expert advice once in-country, to help them settle in without any avoidable drama.

Help assignees integrate

Living miles away from friends and family can cause feelings of isolation, so it’s important to ensure your assignees can quickly make connections in their host country. Provide your assignees with advice and assistance to help them integrate into their new community and establish a social support network.

…but give them a lifeline from back home

Even after an assignee has spent time assimilating into their new environment, the pull of home is likely to remain. Arranging periodic travel back to the UK and encourage them to use Skype or WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family.

If you’re looking to relocate employees Pickfords can help. Find out about our employee relocation service or request a call today.

Canadian culture: a British expat guide [infographic]

Canada’s open immigration policy, quality healthcare and multi-sector job vacancies makes The Great White North a high-sought destination for British expats.

As with any new environment, expats will face a number of cultural differences that may jar at first, but over time will serve as a positive reminder of why you originally decided to emigrate:

Canada expat guide

With partner offices in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to Canada every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expatriate dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

An expat’s guide to American culture [infographic]

Offering a range of work and retirement options, the US is one of the most popular destinations for UK expats. Brits destined for the Land of the Free will enjoy a largely familiar language and lifestyle, lower taxes, cheaper food and, often, better weather.

While all this can mean easier cultural integration compared to other popular destinations, Brits will inevitably encounter a degree of culture clash while stateside. Here’s a few things to look out for:

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With partner offices across the States, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to the USA every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expatriate dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

How to prevent the expat blues

There are many great reasons to move abroad. But like any major life decision, there are also potential downsides. Get ahead of these possible drawbacks by following our top tips to avoid the expat blues and make your overseas experience a positive one:

Video chat regularly

You will inevitably miss friends and family when moving abroad, especially in your first few months. Be sure to regularly catch up with loved ones on Skype or FaceTime, even if it means occasionally waking up early or staying up late to beat the time zones.

Take a few home comforts

It’s good to immerse yourself in the local culture, but make sure you have access to a some home comforts to prevent homesickness. These could be your favourite snacks from back home, some classic British box sets, or your entire iTunes library.

👉 If you’re already abroad, Pickfords unaccompanied personal effects service can bring a piece of home to you, whenever you need it.

Journal your experience

It can be easy to loose sight of why you’re abroad. Make a daily habit of documenting your time there, whether by video diary, a personal blog or paper journal. Read or watch back old entries every now and then to see how far you’ve come.

Practice, practice, practice the local language 

Learning the local dialect is the best way to feel at home in your host country, and constant practice is the best way to learn. Start with a tutor or a quality language app before your leave the UK. Keep up the lessons when abroad if possible, but more importantly, immerse yourself in the language every day by talking with the locals.


Handling a foreign currency and experiencing different living costs can become overwhelming. Make sure you understand the exchange rate, and keep a strict budget that covers everything you need, as well as the occasional treat.

👉 Whether you’re about to move or are already settled in, manage your money safely with Pickfords’ foreign exchange service.

Get involved

To meet new people with shared interests, join as many clubs and activities as you can. Hanging out with other expats is OK, but get to know plenty of locals to really help you feel at home.

Ready for your move overseas? Contact Pickfords for expert international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.