When you’re heading to Australia, paying for a local to show you the best sites and organise your move can be cheaper than you think. Here’s our brief guide to finding a good relocation service to Australia.
Getting to Australia is the hard bit. Applying for visas, finding work, calculating your finances in Australia, filling in endless forms, enduring the envious comments from soon-to-be-ex-colleagues, waving goodbye to family and friends… Once you get there it’s all plane sailing then?
Your settling in service should be like an enthusiastic and utterly indiscrete friend, cheerfully gossiping about your area’s good and bad points!
Well, not exactly. Like in any fairytale, the real story starts with the “happily ever after”, as you consummate your long-distance love affair with Australia! The course of true love never did run smooth, and there are bound to be hiccups and minor disasters as you find your way.
Of course it will be fun, and exciting, but everything that you take for granted in your life in the UK will be different. And if you’re also trying to impress a new employer, you may not have the time to devote to all the little niggly problems. Like making the WiFi work, getting a bus pass, putting together the Ikea wardrobe!
Then there are the bigger issues, like finding a good local doctor and school. Get the wrong information here and your kids could wind up in the worst school in town or with the doctor that no-one else wants. So how can you make it all easier?
Outsourcing your problems
Everything will need organising, but you don’t need to do all that yourself. In fact all you really need to do is organise an organiser!
There are plenty of professional relocators and “concierge” services on hand to help. Indeed with this being a popular option for executives, you’ll be inundated with invitations for you to pay thousands of dollars for the service!
If you aren’t lucky enough to get a generous relocation package from your new employer, a basic hand-holding or “settling in service” can cost from just $400 (£225). This might include connecting utilities and the internet for your home. A package of local information, maps, bus routes and bus passes, taxi numbers and nearest supermarkets can be very helpful. Just making you feel welcome with a fridge full of food on your arrival all makes the transition easier. Most websites are distinctly cagey about listing their prices online, so you will have to request a quote online. You should be able to tailor the service to your own needs.
One very useful service is hiring furniture for you until yours arrives on the boat. More advice on removals to Australia here, by the way). A basic package for a flat (sorry, a “unit”) will start at around $300. An “orientation tour”, basically spending a day with a local driving you round, will cost from $200. This way you can chat about everything – from best places for a barbecue to the best areas to live – while you see the sights and brush up on your Aussie slang.
An honest friend
Your settling in service should be like an enthusiastic and utterly indiscrete friend, cheerfully gossiping about your area’s good and bad points! Don’t forget to take a notepad! They should also be local. There is little point in getting a relocation specialist in Sydney to help you relocate to Perth.
When you start looking into relocation services, you’ll soon find that it is a big business. There are branches specialising in property, recruitment and visas, as well as the more bread and butter issues such as schools, banking and removals. Look up Relocate magazine, or organisations such as the Association of Relocation Professionals to start your search.
Doing it yourself
With some relocation services costing thousands of dollars, another option is to take a trip over yourself. You can either see it as a reconnaissance trip well in advance of taking the whole family, or a quick trip to set up the house. Then you can pop back to the UK for the leaving parties. You’ll enjoy them more with the peace of mind that your Aussie home, car, school, doctor and bank card is waiting for you. Return flights are available at little over £500.