„Come, look and stay“ – What is the value added of a „look-and-see-trip“?

Do you intend to move to another country (near or far) in order to pursue your career abroad – either alone or with your family? Whether it’s for a short or for a long time, migration always implies a pinch of “adventure”…! In this situation it is ideal when your potential future / new employer offers a “look-and-see-trip” before signing the proposed contract, or as part of an already existing expatriate contract. This trip normally takes 3 to 5 days, giving you enough time to explore and to get some insight into your soon-to-be country of residence.

From the mere idea to its implementation is often only a small step: it may help you to take that decisive step when you see a beautiful house or a nice flat, assess the standard of living, find a suitable school – or it may simply be the thrill of discovering another culture! All this will help you to make the right decision which, after all, entails many consequences – in particular if you move with a partner or a family!

Your employer will generally turn to a Relocation Agency, who will be entrusted with the task of organising this trip. It is important to communicate your expectations to the Relocation Agency, so that the journey can be tailored to your personal needs. Important topics include: daycare, schools (including international ones), accommodation criteria (living space, garden or not, with view, etc.), the frequency of your future business trips (proximity to airports or railway stations), your own interests (culture, sports, leisure, night spots…). The more you specify about your needs and your life style, the higher the probability that this journey will be useful to you and fulfil your expectations.

The date and details of your “look-and-see-trip” will be determined in advance. Whenever possible, please try to visit the location under “realistic conditions“, which means not during school holidays (in the foreign country) and not during the week-end (in order to find out how the traffic is during the working week).

Those few days can be very exhausting, both emotionally and physically: one visit one after the next, potentially jet lag or a different climate to adapt to, and many new impressions at once – all this can be draining.  Allow yourself some small “time-off periods“ in order to be able to relax and keep a clear head. At the end of this trip, you will have to make an important decision: Can I imagine working and living here? You may also get in touch with some expats, who already have experience of working there in the past. Their advice could be very helpful and valuable.

During your trip, the agent could provide the following service:

  • inform you about the everyday life in the new country, the cost of living, the cultural offer, useful websites and addresses (taxes and administration).
  • visit a few houses or apartments (rental charges and quality/price ratio and housing conditions) with you
  • show / visit daycare facilities / schools (including information about school fees).
  • provide information about buying or importing your own car (recognition of your driving license, etc.).
  • show you the daily focal points like supermarkets, shopping, banks, restaurants, sports centres and cultural centres …

A “look-and-see-trip“ provides an important added-value: it allows you to have a clear mind and focus on your new tasks upon arrival, as some of the uncertainty have been removed during the look and see trip. You also minimise the risk of disappointment because you see what to expect. As far as your employer is concerned he demonstrates his transparency and his consideration for you to have all the elements to make an informed decision

your story in paris has experience in planning and organising such “look-and-see-trips“. We advise you gladly personally, if you intend to move to Paris and surroundings. Please contact us directly or recommend us to your future employer. In the meantime, we say “À bientôt!”

Britta Sedemund and Natalie Nègre

About Béa Martin-Gehrig