Expat Toolkit: Getting Health Insurance Overseas

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Let’s be honest: finding decent health insurance is difficult. As an expat, finding health insurance after you’ve moved overseas can be difficult. Every country has its own healthcare system and since your family’s health is at stake, you want to make sure you have the right care. To help you figure out the right coverage for your family, we’ve sought advice from the experts. Here are the top tips:

Jonathan Connelly
Cigna Global Communications Manager

  1. Be sure to check if the country you are moving to offers free nationwide healthcare insurance. If you are being relocated by your employer, be sure to check if they will be covering or partially covering your insurance.
  2. Be sure to check the health advice vaccination recommendations by organizations like the CDC before moving to any country.


Phillip Carey
Expacare Senior Marketing Executive
http://www.expacare.com/ Read more…

The Expats’ toolkit: Translation Apps

Kate  @goodmigrations

As a coffee lover, I always look forward to sipping a cup of java in the city I’m about to explore. My usual routine is to ask a local where their favorite cup of coffee is. Since I’m not multilingual, there were multiple times that I needed some help in order to ask the million-dollar question, “Where do I find the best cup of coffee around here?” Thankfully for my sleepy, non-morning-liking, caffeine-fueling self, I had my translation apps.

Gone are the days where expats rely on flipping through a 100+ page book of English translations, taking up precious room in their already tight backpacks. With a quick swipe, tap and scroll of a finger, Translation Apps have made it possible to communicate with just about anyone, anywhere.

Below are some of my favorite translation apps I recommend you keep handy in case, you know, coffee is your thing too.

Google Translate
Download on: iOS, Android, Windows
Google Translate- Goodmigrations

In my books, Google Translate is “the favorite” of all translation apps. Why? Because it’s: free, can be used on many devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone), translates more than 80 languages, works offline and can translate by using speech, typing text or taking a photo of a word or sign with the camera option. The simple layout and quick translation also brings this one to the top of my list. Read more…

6 Ways to Sleep Abroad – All Without a Hotel

Kate  @goodmigrations

If you’re feeling creative, there are lots of ways to feel comfortable and cozy while sleeping during your travels abroad – all without staying at a single hotel.

We’ve explored a few options to give your next morning coffee abroad a new view:

Sleep in a Swag

Swag (n): traveling with ones personal belongings in a bundle.

The term swag (often called a bedroll) comes from our friends in Australia and New Zealand. Essentially, a swag is a padded sleeping bag that allows you to sleep outside under the stars, safely and comfortably. Whether your travel plans take you exploring the Australian outback or hiking the grounds of a National Park, a swag is the closest you’ll get to sleeping face-to-face with nature. Read more…

Expat Toolkit: 6 tools for staying connected long distance

Adam Vagley @goodmigrations

6 tools for staying connected overseas

(Check out our latest article on How to Stay Connected and Keep Your Phone Number After Moving Abroad.)

Staying connected with your family and friends can be difficult when you move abroad. As an expat living in Sydney with family on the east coast of the United States, there were only a few hours during the day when talking was even feasible. We often had to schedule Skype chats using email. But there are lots of other great tools you can use to stay connected so I thought I’d share some of the ones I’ve found:


Rebtel is similar to Skype in a lot of ways — free computer-to-computer calls and cheap calls to phones. The big draw for expats is that Rebtel’s rates for international calls to phones are a bit cheaper than Skype.


Viber is a multi-platform app available for pretty much any smartphone. It offers a simple communication through free text messages, photo messages, and calling between Viber users over data connections. It also has a feature for communicating with non-Viber users for a price. The ability to have unlimited calls and messaging to anyone, anywhere in the world as long as you have a data connection is their standout feature.


Given Facebook’s blockbuster $19 billion price tag for Whatsapp, chances are you’ve heard of it. This app for your smartphone allows free texting and picture and video sharing to anyone in the world who also has Whatsapp. It also lets you message groups in case you want to text everyone at once. All you need is a data connection.


It only makes sense that one of the biggest mobile communication apps in the world would be born in the biggest mobile market in the world — China. WeChat is available for most smartphones, as well as through a browser. The app has chat and video calls that function like the others, though its voice chat is particularly different. Instead of having a constantly streaming conversation, you send short voice messages — definitely helpful if you have a limited data plan.


Bonfyre is like a private version of Facebook. You can set up groups (i.e. Family, Friends) and share posts, photos, and send messages — all for free.

What other tools have you found useful to stay in touch with people back home? Let us know in the comments.

Expat Toolkit: Comparing the cost of living

Adam Vagley @goodmigrations

3 ways to compare cost of living

One of the most important things to consider when moving abroad is the cost of living in the destination country. If your company is relocating you then you’ll want this information so you can determine how much compensation you’ll need to live the lifestyle you want. Or if you’re retiring abroad you need to know what locations you can afford on a fixed income.

When I moved from New York (the most expensive city in the United States and ranked as the 47th most expensive city in the world according to the most recent Economist cost of living index) to Sydney, Australia (currently number seven on the Economist list) I used some online websites to determine the cost differences. They all suggested Sydney was similar to NYC. However, when I arrived for the first time I learned it definitely is not. Since then I’ve discovered several better tools you can use and thought I’d share them with the wider expat community.

Expatistan  http://www.expatistan.com
Expatistan is a crowdsourced database of prices around the world that lets you compare one city to another. The prices are entered for six categories of consumer items: Food, Housing, Clothes, Transportation, Personal Care, and Entertainment. You can expand each category to see more specific information, such as the costs of a beer in a local pub, laundry detergent, and a haircut. Expatistan shows that NYC is 6% cheaper than Sydney overall, and that roughly matches my experience. One area where Expatistan shows New York being more expensive is housing — and again this is accurate based on my personal experience in both cities.

Numbeo  http://www.numbeo.com
Numbeo is another crowdsourced cost of living website. It breaks down prices into more categories than Expatistan but they essentially compare the same items. It’s not quite as user-friendly as Expatistan since it provides you a generic cost of living index number initially, but if you scroll to the bottom of the page you can enter another city to compare. Numbeo says Sydney is almost 20% more expensive than New York.

Numbeo is unique in that beyond just cost of living you can also compare property prices, traffic, health care, crime rates, pollution, and overall quality of life. This will give you a more complete picture of the city and country you’re moving to.

The challenge with both Expatistan and Numbeo is that they compare cities. Both New York City and Sydney are enormous and one neighborhood can have vastly different attributes from another. Ideally, it’d be great to be able to compare by postal code or neighborhood.

Humuch  http://www.humuch.com
This website makes you login with Facebook or Google or sign up with your email in order to use, which I dislike. It does let you be more granular than Expatistan and Numbeo — for example, even though I live in Sydney I technically live in a suburb called Bondi. Humuch made it possible to look up the cost of living suburb by suburb. I liked the potential of this feature, but unfortunately they didn’t have any data for Bondi so it wasn’t much use. Their city comparisons weren’t as easy to use or informative as the other two sites. You can, however, ask for price information if you can’t find it on the site, so if you have a specific thing you want the price for this site may help.

Whichever site helps you the most, it’s important that you properly understand what life is going to cost so you can plan accordingly.
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