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Resources For Families Living in Two Countries
Expat life can come with many challenges. Adapting to a new culture, language, home and timezone is just the tip of the iceberg! For many families living abroad, there is also a life "back home" that needs to be maintained to some degree. Whether there's mail to be sorted, money to be transferred or friends and family to keep in touch with, effectively living in multiple countries requires a lot of logistical coordination.
Luckily, as technology has evolved, solutions to juggling life's responsibilities across continents are much more accessible. Keep reading for a few resources we think could be of great help to your family!
House- and/or Pet-Sitting
Do you need to go back "home" for a bit but don't want to put your pup through the travel or quarantine process? Don't have a pet, but really don't want your houseplants to wither and die in your absence? Sites like MindMyHouse help to easily connect you to verified people willing and able to keep an eye on things while you're gone (sometimes at no cost!).
While many expats are fortunate enough to receive private health insurance through their employers and/or have access to national health insurance like in Japan, if you find yourself in need of healthcare while bouncing around the world, global health insurance is super helpful to have. Large insurance companies like Cigna and Allianz offer international plans that keep your family covered wherever you are.
It's, of course, possible to put your mail on hold if needed, but what happens if you regularly receive timely, important letters or packages for your business? That's where a virtual mailbox comes in handy! There are many services that will open, scan and send your mail to you digitally. In the States, US Global Mail is a popular option. There are several other options that cover other areas of the world suggested here.
International Money Transfer
Unfortunately moving to another country doesn't absolve you of paying the bills back home! If your paycheck is deposited into a domestic account, transferring funds to your accounts abroad can seem daunting. But with services like TransferWise, which charge a relatively small fee to send your money from account to account (at a timely exchange rate), it's actually really simple. Once your account has been verified, it can take as little three to four business days for the money to move, depending on where you're sending it.
Keeping in Touch
One of the most important parts of living life in two places is maintaining relationships with friends and family, especially for your children. We all know about Skype, FaceTime, LINE and WhatsApp, and they are absolutely invaluable tools in feeling close, despite thousands of miles of distance. In addition to those tech-savvy solutions, check out TouchNote! It allows you to create super-personalized cards on your mobile device that are then printed into actual "snail mail" to be delivered to your loved one's door. Perfect for the holidays, or just to keep them in the loop on what's happening in your lives, the tangible memories are a step above Facebook's.