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.

Budget

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.

10 reasons to work abroad

Working abroad is a big decision. It means being far away from friends and family, completely removing yourself from home comforts, and turning your day-to-day life upside down. But big changes mean big opportunities. As a working expat, little else will open so many doors, personally or professionally. Here are 10 great reasons to take a job overseas:

1. Improving your CV

Overseas work experience will help your CV stand out from the crowd. Companies will recognise the that you take initiative and are willing to step outside your comfort zone.

2. Learning another language

The best way to learn a foreign language is to live abroad, and doing so will open new doors in your personal and professional life.

3. Discovering another culture

Much like learning the language, the best way to understand another culture is to live in it. Each day will be a new opportunity to learn something about your host country.

4. New skills

Chances are your new employer has a different way of working than their UK equivalent. A new company culture means news skills to be learned, which in turn will open up more opportunities for your career.

5. A global perspective on your industry

Your host country will likely have a distinct way of working in your chosen industry; learn from their approach. When you return to the UK, your newfound international wisdom will help you stand out in the local job market.

6. Motivation

Such a big change will give you a new lease on life, at work and at home. Channelling this enthusiasm into your work will lead to a happier, more rewarding experience.

7. Prioritisation

Changing your environment helps you re-evaluate what’s important. What belongings, places, experiences or people will you miss, and what will you be glad to leave behind? Will you use your earnings to take trips back home, or take the opportunity to travel?

8. Personal growth

Similarly, navigating your host country’s culture, both in and outside work,  will challenge your way of thinking. This new perspective on life will encouraging you to grow as a person.

9. New friends

Whether you connect with other expats or befriend the locals, working abroad provides ample opportunity to meet new people and establish lifelong friendships.

10. Travel opportunities

Working abroad means you can make like a tourist during your time off. You can stay local and explore the inner city landmarks, or journey to your host country’s far flung natural sites.


Found your dream job abroad? Contact Pickfords for expert international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

The most visa-friendly careers in New Zealand

One of the most popular destinations for UK expats, New Zealand offers a spectacular scenery, a high quality of living and a wealth of employment opportunities in key industries. We’ve listed New Zealand’s biggest job sectors to help you decide whether this beautiful island nation holds the key to your next career move.

Construction

Auckland’s population surge and the ongoing recovery and rebuilding of Christchurch and Canterbury after the 2010-2012 earthquakes have led to enormous growth for New Zealand’s construction industry.

Roles in demand:

  • Quantity surveyors
  • Designers
  • Foremen
  • Site managers

Engineering

New Zealand’s government has invested heavily in infrastructure, creating great employment opportunities for the engineering industry. This includes a long-term national plan covering transport, telecommunications, energy and water.

Engineers are sought in the following areas: civil, construction, electrical, electronics, environmental, geotechnical, industrial, instrument and electrical, materials, mechanical, mining, petroleum, production, structural and transport specialities.

Health and social services

Population growth and an ageing population has increased the need for trained healthcare professionals. Among the targets are 380 extra specialists every year through to 2021 and an additional 25,000 nurses by 2030.

Virtually every discipline in health and social services requires offshore talent in both the public and private sector.

IT, electronics and telecommunications

ICT is one of New Zealand’s largest industries with over 10,000 businesses in the sector. Increased digitisation, particularly in business, means the industry is now growing at over 9% a year.

This has led to employment growth across the sector, in particular for the following roles:

  • Software engineering
  • Software development
  • Project management
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Administration
  • Business analysis

Science

Home to several research institutions of international renown, New Zealand competes globally in agricultural biotechnology, genomics, biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics and nutraceuticals.

Scientists are needed to support New Zealand’s primary industries, such as agriculture and forestry, particularly in research and development. Growth in oil exploration has also created demand for geologists studying oil and gas.


With partner offices in 12 key cities, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to New Zealand every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expat dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

Top tips for buying property abroad

 

Looking for a new home overseas? While navigating foreign real estate can be a daunting prospect, the best advice for buying a home can be applied to most international property markets. Read on to discover how to secure the best overseas property, whatever your destination.

Investigate building your home from scratch

Surprisingly, it can be more cost effective to purchase and build a home on empty land rather than buying an existing property. It’s normal to agree a price with a contractor upfront, sometimes as part of a land and property purchase deal. This way, even if the land price increases during construction, your costs stay the same.

Consider the location of the land

Another benefit of building your overseas property yourself is the potential for increasing its value. Look for land near water or in developing residential areas; you should get a good deal with either. Then, once built, your home will likely increase in value due to its great location.

Research neighbourhood property prices

If you do opt for buying an existing property abroad, investigate house prices in the surrounding area. If the local market has reached its high point, steer clear to avoid losing money on the property over time.

Know your property inside out

Estate agents won’t tell you about the dodgy plumbing or leaky roof. For any prospective overseas property, make sure the appropriate surveys are undertaken so you are aware of any building work required before or after purchase. Survey results will also help in price negotiations if any issues are identified.

Learn about the local area

Decide what you need out of your new neighbourhood and check your list against each prospective property or area of land. This could include:

  • Local amenities
  • Good international schools
  • Low crime rates
  • Access to public transport
  • No planned developments that could impact house prices

Discover property hotspots

Research  in property magazines or online to discover where house prices are predicted or starting to rise in your destination country. As developed cities expand outwards, many suburbs are undergoing rapid development. Invest now, and, market permitting, expect to sell at a profit when you repatriate.


Found your dream property abroad? Contact Pickfords for expert international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.