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Safety Tips For Expats: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need

5 min read

Safety Tips For Expats: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need

Making the choice to move abroad is a decision that demands careful consideration. As an expat, you embark on a journey fueled by a potent mix of excitement and trepidation. When you set foot on unfamiliar shores, the allure of foreign lands combines with the uncertainty of the unknown. 

Feeling like an outsider and a wanderer in a maze of cultures and streets might stir up a storm of emotions within you. Therefore, the question is, “How do you keep yourself safe in uncharted territories?” 

It’s natural to feel uncomfortable while navigating a new territory because you may not feel equipped to weave seamlessly into the fabric of a different culture while ensuring your safety. 

But fear not. In this article, I’ll uncover the tricks that helped me balance my desire for adventure and freedom with the need for security. So, if you’re ready to make the most of your expat journey while maintaining your safety, here you’ll find what you’ve been looking for. Let’s begin.

 

Even if you get the pronunciation wrong, thats fine, most locals will appreciate your efforts and might even teach you a few things

Even if you get the pronunciation wrong, thats fine, most locals will appreciate your efforts and might even teach you a few things

CULTIVATING CULTURAL ADAPTATION AND AWARENESS

Let’s face it: feeling like everyone around you should adapt to you makes no sense. You might speak English and come from an influential country like the US, and you probably want them to speak your language. However, now you’re an expat. It’s time for you to adapt. This is far from negative, though. You will not learn everything overnight, but I can assure you that trying to understand the culture will earn you tons of respect. 

 

EMBRACING THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

You won't necessarily be able to use English everywhere you go. The locals might be able to speak a few words, but you won’t integrate and enjoy daily life as much. Knowing a few phrases in the local language can make all the difference. 

It doesn’t matter whether you stumble or mispronounce. It’s fine. Most locals will appreciate the efforts and even teach you some phrases. Such a great opportunity to sharpen your language skills, right? Additionally, demonstrating that you’re interested in the language and learning is a fantastic way to show respect. 

Bonus tip: instead of moving to a whole new country without knowing a word of the local language, learn it before you pack your bags

 

BALANCING THE ART OF BLENDING IN

The dance of belonging without losing yourself is delicate. Perhaps you’re thinking of absorbing the rhythm of local life by carefully choosing your attire. Long story short, it’s uncomfortable to stand out too much.

 

Related content: 8 Best Countries For Expat Retirees

 

Navigating a new country without assistance is a risky undertaking, rely on the vast knowledge of the Expat Money team to find your new home

Navigating a new country without assistance is a risky undertaking, rely on the vast knowledge of the Expat Money team to find your new home

BUILDING A ROBUST SAFETY NETWORK  

“Network equals net worth” may be a cliché, but once you find yourself all alone in a new country, this quote hits differently. 

Perhaps you want to move abroad to pay no taxes, enjoy a more affordable cost of living and more – fantastic, but extremely hard to do by yourself. Navigating a new country without help is nearly impossible if you want to call it your new home. 

 

ENGAGING WITH DIVERSE COMMUNITIES

In the previous section, I talked about adapting to local culture as a sign of respect and a quick route toward integration. Now, this doesn’t mean you should just hang out with the locals – you can also meet fellow expats, build a network and know each other’s history. 

That’s massive wealth. They may become your safety net and valuable contacts that stand strong in the face of uncertainty. 

Pair your expat group with local friends to take your experience to a whole new level. As you explore the tapestry of your host country, the locals will offer insights and a sense of belonging. For example, they can help you avoid common tourist traps and dangerous spots. In short, locals can act as your guide in foreign lands.

 

THE ROLE OF INTUITION AND RESEARCH 

Intuition is a compass leading you through unexplored waters. When you step into a new neighbourhood and something feels off, it’s not accidental. 

Indeed, it might be a warning sign of unseen currents. Intuition is not a mysterious force – it’s the sum of your experiences and your primal survival tool. And then, there’s research. 

“Do your due diligence.” Harsh words to hear, but as necessary as oxygen. Instead of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, you research the places you need to go to. And, of course, you can use the safety net we discussed in the previous sections. As you navigate a new country, let research light the way.

 

Related content: How Safe Is Brazil For Expats?

 

It is vital that you are aware of the data you share, your personal information is your currency and every click is a transaction

It is vital that you are aware of the data you share, your personal information is your currency and every click is a transaction

MASTERING TRANSPORT AND ONLINE SAFETY

The road less travelled exists for a reason. This doesn’t mean that you should just lose yourself in the process. As mentioned above, keep your individuality. However, don’t try to be so bold when exploring certain cities or neighbourhoods. Exercising common sense becomes paramount when navigating a new country.

 

NAVIGATING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION 

When using public transport, choose seats where you can have a wide view, avoid opening your bag and make sure it is closed tightly and keep it with you at all times.

Keep in mind that awareness extends beyond location. Adopt these practices while keeping your safety compass steady. Ride with the crowd, yet remain vigilant—a chameleon, attentive to your surroundings.

 

ONLINE AWARENESS AND SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE

The realm of the digital is a labyrinth with its twists and turns. Showing off too much can lead to negative consequences. That beautiful sunrise photo on your social feed could turn into a breadcrumb leading to your doorstep. Sounds terrifying, right? 

The solution? Master the art of selective posting. While others overshare, your restraint is your fortress. Feel free to share that scenic café, but do it smartly. Keep your private life private. 

Now, continuing with the technological realm, do not neglect cyber awareness. Your personal information is your currency, and every click is a transaction. Be aware of the data you share. A vigilant eye protects your virtual vault

 

Related content: How To Avoid The Biggest Traps For Expats

 

To avoid scams, stay informed with other experienced local expats and try not to ignore the power of your intuition

To avoid scams, stay informed with other experienced local expats and try not to ignore the power of your intuition

PREPAREDNESS FOR EMERGENCIES

You might be used to all the conveniences of your place of birth. You know where the best hospitals and clinics are or even who to resort to. In some cases, you might feel as if you’re a superhero because you never get sick and don’t need hospitals at all. But here’s the thing: when you move abroad, bad things often happen. 

 

CRAFTING A CUSTOMIZED EMERGENCY KIT

You might get injured, sick, jet-lagged, etc. After all, your body might need to adapt to a new climate. Just in case, it’s important to be protected against setbacks too. Therefore, preparedness becomes your ally. This doesn’t mean you’re fearful of anything, though. At the end of the day, “Health is wealth” is way more than a quote – it’s a law of success. 

Something as simple as an emergency kit will do wonders. Unfortunate events such as a twist or a power outage can ruin your plans. But your emergency kit shines—a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and essentials tailored to your destination's demands. Simply put a gesture of self-care in the face of uncertainty.

 

STAYING INFORMED ABOUT SCAMS

The threats can be physical but also mental and psychological. A friendly stranger offering help may have a hidden agenda. Scams can cloak themselves well, preying on the unsuspecting. But you can dispel those shadows with knowledge. 

Of course, scams aren’t always obvious. More often than not, they’re disguised, plate with your trust and exploit your weaknesses. A sneaky call from a “local bank” might sound legit, but skepticism kicks in. Remember the power of intuition. Embrace a healthy dose of doubt, seek insights from local and seasoned expats and overall, stay informed. 

 

Related content: Life As An Expat In Uruguay: Balancing Adventure And Security

 

Dont forget, as an expat, your path is unique and your history is a combination of experiences and cultures, so use all the tips to move forward safely

Dont forget, as an expat, your path is unique and your history is a combination of experiences and cultures, so use all the tips to move forward safely

CONCLUSION

With these insights, you're equipped to navigate the labyrinth of safety and cultural assimilation. The journey isn't just about reaching a destination; it's about savouring the steps, relishing the experiences. Remember, as an expat, your path is unique, and your story is a set of cultures, experiences, and your unyielding spirit. So, go forth with confidence now that you’ve got the tips to thrive safely no matter where you go. 



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I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.

 

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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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