There is nothing more exciting than making a final decision to move overseas. However with so many different options out there, how do you start the search for your next overseas home?

Since it is impossible to physically visit every single one of your potential destinations, the best alternative for you is to use Google Maps to help you begin your search

Shortlisting destinations

Firstly, you want to make an initial list of which countries you could potentially move to. However, there are many things you need to take into consideration when deciding on your shortlist.

1. Purpose

Think of the circumstances surrounding your decision to live overseas. Are you a student looking to study abroad? Are you relocating for work? Are you travelling with children? Finding the perfect destination means finding the place which coincides with your goals.

2. Familiarity

How far out of the ordinary are you willing to go? For example, if you are a European moving to Asia, there will be an abundance of cultural differences and language barriers you will need to be aware of. Establish how far from familiarity you are willing to venture.

3. Economic and political considerations

Going on a holiday is very different to actually living somewhere, and when considering a move to an unfamiliar area, always make sure you are aware of the political and economic climate as it will certainly affect you.

Another great place to start is simply hopping on Google and having a look at a list of the most popular places to live overseas.

Using Maps/Street View

Now that you have established your shortlist, you can then proceed to scope out these areas using Google Maps. Ensure you give yourself a lot of time dedicated to this search, as it will take quite a bit of time. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the ride along the way!

When you type in the name of a particular country, your screen should look something like this:

A map of the country is shown on the right while a brief description is shown on the left. In the right-hand corner, you should find buttons with options to zoom in and out and visit popular landmarks of that country.

When trying to decide which country to live in, you would obviously want to see not a map, but actual images of the area itself. You want to feel as though you are walking through the streets yourself, finding whether the nearest shops are, looking for schools for your kids, and shopping around for the perfect neighbourhood to settle with.    

If you are set on the country however not sure about any particular cities, you click on the little yellow man (as shown above) and drag it onto any spot on the map. As great as it is to suddenly find yourself immersed in a completely new area, it’s also amusing to see the little man flail around as you throw him around the screen.

Your view should then change to look something like this. You can use your mouse to rotate the view, and even travel along the street. It’s true that you never know how you’re going to like a place until you get there, but it definitely helps to have a vague idea of what to expect.

If you already know the names of the streets you want to have a look at, then that’s even better! You can do a simple search and the option of a street view should come up straight away. Not only can you see what the neighbourhood looks like, you can also see what the front of the property looks like. You might even find yourself beginning to daydream about how it would look if you added your own personal touch.

This process is easy, fun and allows you to explore the world and find a potential destination from the comfort of your own home. Ensure you familiarise yourself with each area that you like.

Make the next step!

Once you have made a final decision about your next destination, visit the Overseas Packers & Shippers website for advice on your next steps to your long anticipate move overseas.