Emigrating? Should I do a look, see and decide trip?

Should we visit Australia before we immigrate Down Under?

Many people cannot get their heads around moving to a country that they have not seen. On the immigration forums, people often ask whether they should visit Australia first and then make their decision.

Expats call these visits, “Look, See and Decide,” visits, or LSD in short.

Granted, these type of visits are also quite expensive. It is therefore essential that you know the pro’s and cons of such a visit before you decide to make it.

We have moved countries a few times, and we have undertaken LSD trips prior to all those moves. Before moving to Australia from Beijing, China, we did three Look, See and Decide trips to various Australian cities, before making our decision.

Benefits to undertaking a Look, See and Decide visit

  • You get a “feel” for the country and city you are moving to and to cement your final decision to migrate or not.
  • It helps with putting your online search in perspective by actually visiting the school, workplace, shopping centres and recreational activities.
  • It provides an opportunity to meet and network with people in your new city and meet expats who have made the journey you are about to undertake.
  • You get the opportunity to experience the culture of your new country.
  • A LSD trip helps to prepare you mentally for the rollercoaster emigration journey which lies ahead.
  • You get to see the size of Australian homes, experience the climate(s) and availability of furniture, all which will assist you with your decisions in packing your container.
  • A LSD trip is much cheaper than making the final move and only to discover you made a “mistake”.
  • You will be able to gauge the reaction of all family members to your new intended city.
  • It is much easier to gather information when you visit a place rather than visiting it online.

The negative side of taking a LSD Trip

  • You will be on holiday and not be faced with the realities of daily life.
  • Holiday expenses, such as eating in restaurants, recreational activities and hotel accommodation do not give a true reflection of the actual cost of living.
  • There are many benefits and discounts which locals have access to, which do not apply to visitors.
  • You will be in a “honeymoon” phase and not be fully aware of the negative aspects of your new city.
  • The cost of a LSD trip might exceed the benefit, especially if you have already decided to make the move

What to remember when you do take a Look, See and Decide trip

  • Make sure all family members understand it is a “working holiday”.
  • Stay in someone’s home, by swapping homes or housesit for a family member or friend. This will give you the “hands-on experience” of daily living and what it entails.
  • Cook your meals at home and try to participate in local.
  • Activities, such as visiting local parks and activities and places of worship if you want to form part of a faith community.
  • Read the local newspaper and watch local television.
  • Do the weekly food shopping or join a friend on their trip to the local shops.
  • Attend networking groups and make as many connections as possible.
  • Rent a car and also use the public transport systems.
  • Have the whole family join in the trip, if at all possible.
  • Research and find opportunities for local discount and loyalty cards.

f you have made a Look, See and Decide trip to Australia, please share your experience in the comment section below.

© Chaleen Botha – All rights reserved

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