First things to do when landing somewhere new

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Article written by:
Leandro

You just landed in a new place and are hoping to stay for 3 to 6 months, or perhaps more. You're feeling excited but also a bit lost. Where to start? How do I navigate this new place? Not to worry.

I've moved more times than I can count and always begin by identifying the things on this list. Let it be your guide to getting a smooth start in your new place.

Money

Check if you have convenient access to cash. Locate the main banks in your area and see where the ATMs are. Look into the limits of cash you can take into the country without customs bothering you.

Rather than focusing on bringing excess amounts of cash, I always recommend to open a digital money account such as Wise or Revolut as you can save a considerable amount in withdrawal, conversion and transfer fees. I have both and they work really well.

Another option is to send cash to yourself with companies such as WesternUnion, MoneyGram and Remitly but bear in mind that they each have a process and fee.

SIM card

It's most likely you want to avoid roaming charges on your existing phone plan. Depending on where you're from and where you're going, you can freely use your SIM in the new place. Between a lot of European countries there is free roaming, and a Mexican Telcel SIM freely roams in the US and Canada, for example.

All of our guides have just been updated to include SIM card options per destination.

If you have a modern smartphone that support eSIMS you could opt for a service like airalo, which allows you to electronically switch between plans of different countries. This usually ends up being more expensive than using a local SIM, but you have the convenience of not having to physically switch.

Food

Some of you like to eat out. Some prefer to cook. Others do a combination of the two. I tend to eat home cooked meals most of the time, so whenever we land somewhere new, finding where to get good quality produce is important.

One of the quickest ways to find good places to eat out is to use Google Maps. Simply type "restaurants" into the search, in the area you want to see them. You'll also see a relevant button to do the same thing.

You can filter by food type, it has opening times, sometimes menus, and ratings which are usually quite accurate.

As for places to buy groceries, we've got you covered! All of our location guides include a list of where you can buy produce, whether you prefer a farmers market or supermarkets. Check out our free guide on Merida to see an example.

A popular supermarket in Merida

Technology

Most of us work from laptops, besides carrying phones and all kinds of adapters and cables with us. Whenever I travel somewhere I have a tech related checklist that looks like this:

  • MacBook
  • Charger for MacBook
  • iPhone
  • iPhone cable
  • Battery
  • Cable to charge battery
  • AirPods
  • AirPod cable
  • Universal Adapter
  • USB outlet charger

With tablets, smartwatches and more, for some of you this list is even longer. Since so much of our lives revolve around these items, it is frustrating when you forget one or some of them.

I go for convenience, so Amazon is usually my first port of call. This guide by Wise on buying from Amazon around the world is incredibly useful. Next I check Amazon equivalents. Here in Mexico that is Mercado Libre for example. If all else fails I check the local shopping malls, since they usually contain tech related stores.

A place to live

Usually it's easiest to go straight for Airbnb. Beware however, prices around the world vary wildly and in some places, it is so expensive that hotels are a cheaper option. Just check this search on Twitter to see what I mean. It all depends on where you go.

For hotels I use Booking.com except for when I travel to countries in South East Asia, where Agoda is mostly better. Our guides include useful links on where to find temporary as well as permanent accommodation.

A place to work

Most of the time I work from my home office. Sometimes, it's nice to find different spots to work from, just to get out of the house or be around people.

Workfrom is a great resource that helps you find good cafes to work from. It offers some coworking spaces too, but if you're specifically looking for that, then you can't go wrong with Coworker.

Want to stay inside and recreate the cafe vibe? Check out this site called "I Miss My Cafe". It's so cool!

Final touches

Once you've checked if Uber, or an Uber equivalent is in your new place, which is also part of our guides, you'll be able to get around quite easily. Depending on the city you're in you can also use Google Maps to navigate public transport.

You now have cash or at least access to it, a SIM plan with data which is a lifeline, a place to live, you can eat at great places and find a comfortable space to work.

You're off to a good start. The rest is up to you!