If you’re planning a long distance move, you’re probably feeling a wave of different emotions. Starting a new life is scary and exciting but it also doesn’t need to mean leaving the old one behind.
Technology helps people to stay in touch despite the distance and can even act as a safety net following the move. For instance, when you take out a global health plan with AXA you can manage your international health insurance online and, with some of the plans, speak to a doctor by video. Anyone who has previously relocated will know how reassuring it can be to speak to a doctor in your own language, especially when you have children.
Perhaps best of all, technology allows you to easily keep in touch with friends and family, wherever you are in the world. So there’s no need to sit down and pen a five-page letter which takes three weeks to arrive!
Here are five ways to stay in touch with friends and family after the big move.
There are plenty of apps which allow you to speak face to face (via video call, not teleportation). If you’re in different timezones, it can help to schedule a regular time to talk - ideally when the whole family is together and there are no tired or hungry children to contend with.
Some of the most popular video calling apps include Skype, Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. If you’re connected to wifi the video call is totally free, otherwise you’ll be charged for the data you use. So there really is no excuse to not call your mum more often!
Send a letter
Expats no longer need to rely on snail mail to stay in touch with friends and family back home. That said, it’s still much more of an experience to send or receive letter. There’s something more personal about sitting down to read a letter someone has taken the time to write. If you have children, you could also ask them to draw pictures or write short stories to send with the letter - it’s a great way to get them to really think about the person they’re writing to.
...or a message
If you’re worried about things going missing in the post, send what you can over social media or email instead. You may already be speaking regularly by video call but so much happens throughout the day that you might want to share. Especially if you have young children! So get snap happy: take tonnes of photos and share them with friends and family on social media.
If you’ve moved abroad with your children, it’s up to you to make sure they feel connected to the people back home. Find ways to make grandparents part of your children’s everyday lives; set up a daily video call so they can read the bedtime story, tell your children stories about their family members or create a photo album that they help to organise. Distance doesn’t need to get in the way of closeness, you might just have to work a little harder.
Reconnect in person
Nothing beats a visit home but it can end up being quite tiring if you try to fit everyone in. Prioritise who you want to see and if you can, get them to come to you. Consider renting a holiday home somewhere central and inviting anyone who wants to see you to come there - it will save you driving up and down the country and tuckering the whole family out.
AXA’s global health cover can’t help you stay in touch with friends and family, but they can protect you and your loved ones every step of the big move. Find out more about AXA’s international health insurance and tick one major relocation task off your list.