Written by Richard Way,
Last Modified: 4th February 2019

For most of us, leaving family behind is the only bad thing about moving overseas. But today’s modern telecommunications, together with more plentiful and cheaper flights, mean you can emigrate without too many tears. Here are three reasons that starting a new life abroad can be a positive experience for the whole family. I’ve offered my own experiences too…

It’s cheap to chat

Staying in touch after emigrating

Staying in touch after emigrating isn’t hard these days

It’s never been easier, cheaper or more fun staying in touch with loved ones than it is today, wherever they might be in the world. Applications like WhatsApp, Skype and FaceTime make it easy not only to message and chat to your friends and family, but also video call them. It all gives a really personal edge to your conversations. Just imagine, wherever you are in the world, just take your smartphone out of your pocket and chat face to face. There’s no excuse not to blow kisses to the parents or grandparents on their birthdays these days. Regardless of how many thousands of miles are between you! And being able to chat over the internet means the cost is minimal. With email and other social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, keeping up with family news should be a cinch.

There’s no excuse not to blow kisses to the parents or grandparents on their birthdays these days. Regardless of how many thousands of miles are between you!

When my grandparents moved to Spain, I was a child. We used to write to each other, often waiting more than a week for our letters to arrive. For them, receiving mail meant a trip to the local Post Restante! We had the phone of course, but the lines weren’t great and calls were expensive, so brief. Today, as a homeowner in Spain, I use WhatsApp, Facetime and email to correspond with friends and maintenance people there, or communicate with people back in the UK when I’m out there. I use Wi-fi where I can – most bars have it – but mobile costs aren’t expensive anyway.

Easy trips home

Emigration without tears

The longer the distance the warmer the welcome!

Low-cost air travel and better aircraft are revolutionising the way we move around the globe. It’s made travelling to exciting destinations accessible to us all. We may grumble about hidden costs and on-board comfort, but when you can travel 800 miles in a couple of hours for £50, do we really have much to moan about?

It’s not just European destinations that are more accessible. The buzz in the travel industry is all about “low cost long haul”, while new aeroplane technology is making even a flight Down Under less of a slog. Direct UK flights to Perth in Western Australia are already available. Non-stop flights to Eastern Australia and even New Zealand could be starting within a few years.

One good way to make the goodbyes easier each visit is to have the next flights to see each already booked.

All this means that with a bit of planning, trips back to the UK should be easy and cheap, helping you feel closer to your loved ones back in the UK. You can easily book a flight home each month to see elderly relatives. Book a regular AirBnb and you’ll keep the cost of the visit down while not imposing on family members. One good way to make the goodbyes easier each visit is to have the next flights to see each already booked.

Being near a major international air hub – as opposed to a small regional airport – will ensure a good choice of flights. Remember to check the seasonality of the route so you’ll be able to get home for Christmas easily…!

I first started visiting the Costa Brava before low-cost airlines existed. Flights into Barcelona were expensive and the transfer was long and arduous because of the old road network. Sometimes it was easier to book a charter package deal into Girona airport. But those were often during the middle of the night, and not ideal for young travellers. Catching a flight and checking in took much longer too – you factored most of the day for travelling. Today, it’s so much easier, and much cheaper, thanks largely to easyJet’s half-a-dozen daily flights into Barcelona from Gatwick, my local airport.

Share the experience

Treat your move abroad as something that could in fact benefit everyone. Be inclusive when discussing your new life in the sun, encouraging loved ones to come and visit. Make them understand that you want to share with them all that your new country has to offer; the climate, the beach, the culture, the food and drink. It’s not uncommon for people to discover and fall in love with somewhere through visiting relatives or friends who have moved there.

Another tip, if you have the money, is for relatives to invest in a home nearby. We spoke to Janet Maynard, from East Sussex, who bought a home in Western Australia. “We wanted to visit our daughter and grandchildren every year. But we couldn’t stay with them for that length of time. They have their own lives. So we sold a buy-to-let property we had in the UK and bought one near to our daughter south of Perth instead. She rents the property out for the rest of the year on Airbnb and will one day inherit it. And we use it for ourselves for a month or two every year. It means we can escape the British winter too!”

The Costa Brava quickly became a second home for me, thanks to my grandparents living there and regular family holidays there. Trips always included a bit of exploring, finding new towns and local places of interest. Spain has been a constant in my life since I was aged seven. I’ve moved a number of times in the UK during my life, but one place I’ve always been back to is our Spanish home.



About The Author

Richard Way

Richard Way has been an influential and independent voice on all aspects of buying overseas property for over 15 years. He was editor of A Place In The Sun magazine, has edited books on buying in Spain, is a regular on the panel at Your Overseas Home, has appeared on the BBC and helped the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on expat matters. Richard is a property owner on the Costa Brava, Spain, and in Puglia.

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