Should You Visit a Country Before Moving There?

updated on 16 March 2024

When you are thinking about relocating to a particular place, the first thing to do is research. You can do plenty of investigating online - the internet is a magical place that offers an opportunity to travel virtually. And any piece of information you could need about your new location is available in just a couple of clicks. However, there is no substitute for "boots on the ground" research. How else would you know if you like the feel of the city and if the vibe matches yours? To examine that, you will need to visit a country before moving there.

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels

Yes - you should visit a country before moving there!

To give you the answer the title of the article has promised: Yes, you need to visit the location you are thinking of relocating to. Unless extraordinary circumstances prevent you from traveling, the safest thing to do is pack your bags and spend a week at the new location. Moving to a new city, let alone a new country is a big deal. You are uprooting your whole life and leaping into a new adventure. To make sure you want to set up a new life at this place, we have some tips to follow before your move.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels

Stay for at least a week

As we've mentioned above, a weekend, even a long one, might not be enough to get a genuine feel of a country you are planning to move to. If you are feeling extra uncertain, we suggest staying there for a month to test the waters. Think about it as a trial period. However, a week should also suffice if a month is too long due to work and other responsibilities. Staying for a couple of days is great, but it can leave you in that naive state of excitement - you could be in for some surprises when you come back.

Go about it like a local

Touristic districts and downtown areas reveal a lot about a city's atmosphere. But, to fully get a sense of a place, you need to walk beyond the gleaming main avenues and into the neighbourhoods where residents actually live.

While it may sound dull and perhaps counterintuitive to what one would expect to do on a trip, our suggestion is to use your time to do regular activities. These would include going to a relaxed dinner at a local pizza place, having a beer at a neighbourhood bar, and shopping in a generic supermarket. Try running at a community park or hiking a route close to the city. These can be the best telltale sign whether you and the new location are a good match.

Photo by mentatdgt from
Photo by mentatdgt from

And, after all, it is a brand new country. So, we are guessing these everyday activities will represent something fresh and exciting for you.

Plan out what to do and where to go

There is no need to emphasize further how essential planning a trip is. While it is true that some people prefer spontaneity, it is typically better to have your trips planned at least in the most general sense. There is no need to go into details, but a general plan will help you use the limited time you have to the maximum. Also, you won’t have to waste time looking for places you should visit. You will know in advance what you want to see and do.

Our MiTravel Planning Board is a perfect virtual companion for travellers who love planning their upcoming trips. It allows you to visualize your trips and make the most of your visits by offering you more than a simple travel itinerary.

It allows you to search and add places you wish to visit, create polls so you can make decisions faster, and make notes to keep track of all your vital information and reservations bookings. You can also add your travel companions (like your significant other) to collaborate with you directly when planning the move abroad!

Sign up for an account via
Sign up for an account via

Check out different neighbourhoods

If you book your stay for at least a week, dividing your time between various neighbourhoods would be ideal. It is helpful to speak to people who live there beforehand or do online research to figure out which ones sound like neighbourhoods you would be interested in living in. Before you contact and check the moving quotes, start looking at real estate websites to determine what you can afford. Following that, consider factors like the location of your new job, schools, crime rates, leisure activities, etc. This should give you a clear idea of which areas would be the best fit - then you can rent a place in each for a portion of your trip.

Stay in an apartment

Unlike hotels, which are frequently located in tourist districts, staying at an apartment or house is an excellent way to gain a real sense of a place. Even simply stepping up to your building and unlocking the door can make you feel as though you lived there. You will get the real scoop, the insider info on what it is like to be a resident. It's a terrific opportunity to get a feel for what apartment life is like in the area.

Try using transportation

They say you never know a city until you've experienced the traffic during the rush hour. In keeping with the notion of trying to get as near to a real living experience as possible, you should try to use the same method of transportation that you normally would in a place you live. If that is public transport, check out how it works, how much it costs, and how easy it is to use. If you plan on driving, rent a car. Biking - review how bike-friendly the roads are. It might be tempting to call an Uber or catch a taxi since you are on a trip, but you should do your future self a favour and avoid that.

Photo by Gautam Krishnan on Unsplash
Photo by Gautam Krishnan on Unsplash

Connect with people that live there

Your new city and country might be beautiful and fully functional, but you can never know how you will fit in until you meet some locals. They can provide you with the best insider info on everything you need to know. The good, the bad, and the ugly - they are your best resource. You can spark up a conversation in a bar or a restaurant or even find connections using social media. And if you already know someone who is a resident - even better!

Prepare for cultural adjustments

While the physical elements of a city or country—like its transportation, housing, and neighborhoods—are crucial, it's equally important to understand the cultural nuances and etiquette. When you visit a place, immerse yourself in the local culture. Attend traditional events, visit local museums or cultural centers, and participate in local classes or workshops. This can offer a glimpse into the residents' lifestyles, values, and behaviors.

Experience the seasons (if possible)

Different seasons can bring out various facets of a location. A place that's wonderful in summer might have challenging winters. If you have the flexibility, visit during different times of the year or at least research the weather patterns and seasonal changes. This can help you better prepare for the year-round experience of living there.

Engage in community activities

Engaging in community activities is another effective way to understand a place's essence. Whether it's attending a local church, joining a community clean-up, or participating in a town hall meeting, such interactions provide an authentic sense of the community spirit. It's an opportunity to assess the general attitude and friendliness of the people and whether you can imagine being an active part of such a community.

Investigate job opportunities and cost of living

If your move isn't based on a predetermined job offer, take the time during your visit to investigate employment opportunities. Visit local job agencies or coworking spaces, and network with professionals in your field. Similarly, get a feel for the cost of living by visiting local markets, checking out utility and service prices, and even looking into tax structures. This will give you a clearer picture of the budget you'd need to maintain your desired lifestyle.

Wander around and get lost

The last on our list of tips for when you visit a country before moving there is letting yourself get lost. If you have the opportunity to visit the location you're contemplating, take some time to forget about the lists and maps and just wander about. Explore the area, take detours, and spark your wanderlust to see what you can find. You could come across a place, meet someone, or experience a moment that makes you realize that this is the place you would like to call home.

Good luck!

For more updates, feel free to check out MiTravel. We are a small team reinventing how group travel planning can be done. 

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