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By Sabina Livia
You should expect the first few days after landing in a new country to be quite hectic. Add the effects of jet lag and you will pretty much feel like a fish out of water. But you’ll have to push through this and focus on what’s important.
First thing on your agenda: going from the airport to your accommodation. If you’ve decided on taking a taxi, make sure you see the fees upfront. Sometimes they’re written on the side of the car; if not, ask the driver firsthand. In this way, you will avoid any scams.
If you have arranged to stay at a hotel or hostel – then be sure to have the address details in your carry on luggage. Once at your chosen accommodation option then there will no doubt be plenty of information on hand at the reception and through the staff to help you begin to orientate.
If you are going directly to your new home – then after reaching your new household and receiving your keys, do a quick inspection of the place to ensure that everything is in order and that it is what you expected. Leave your luggage, take a quick shower and head on to more pressing matters. Discuss with your landlord about payment arrangements, for example via credit card, automatic payment or cash, and if you haven’t already arrange payment of any letting fees, bond and weeks rent in advance. Do read your rental contract carefully and request any alterations that you feel are reasonable to meet your needs. Remember to ask if the water and electricity bills are also up to you or if they’re already taken care of. The same applies to garden maintenance and mowing of any lawns. A great idea, if you can afford it, is to pay the rent for the entire duration of your stay up front. In this way, you will have one thing less to worry about every month. Next, contact your supervisor, overseer, or anyone else who is handling your situation abroad and let them know that you have arrived. Make sure to set up a meeting so as to discuss in person as soon as possible.
If you haven’t brought a map with you, this is probably the time to purchase one, as you will have to run quite a few errands. Head to a local bank (hopefully you have already researched this matter prior to your departure) and open a bank account. Even if you already have an international credit card, it is preferable that you get a local card, because the fees are lower. Alternatively, you can choose to pay most of the things by credit card, as opposed to withdrawing money from a cashpoint, as this is also cheaper. In some cases, you will be required to take out a few insurances, such a fire insurance on your home or a health insurance. If possible, try to take care of these matters on the very first day as well. Also, search for a currency exchange facility and get your money in order. In addition, try contacting your embassy and ask for further pointers and advice and inquire if there are any other formalities you should sort out.
Before heading back to your new home, be on the lookout for a grocery or a supermarket in the vicinity of your house so you won’t have to travel too far in case you need to buy something. Finish unpacking, sort your things and take a few moments to write an e-mail to your loved ones back home to let them know you have arrived safely. That’s it, you can call it a day and enjoy a good night’s sleep.