Preparing to go abroad includes securing important documents, making copies, and a lot of planning. Ideally, you should make 3 copies of your passport, visas, and other important paperwork. Keep one with you, one in an accessible, but safe place (i.e. safe deposit box), and one that is with a trusted relative or friend that can give you the information if something were to happen to you or the other copies.
A checklist of other things to consider:
On the home front, make sure all bills are paid or have a means of being paid. If you are retaining a residence while abroad, make sure the rent/mortgage is taken care of and that utilities are being paid while you are away. Insure that important institutions like your bank are able to reach you.
If you are retaining a bank in your home country, ask about fees for overseas transactions. If you have a credit card, find out if there are additional fees or any changes you need to make with your account. Inform banking industries that you will abroad so as to not arouse suspicious activity on your account as anti-theft systems can see this activity and put a most inconvenient hold on your account.
If you are intending to open a bank account in Thailand (presently there is a 150 baht transaction fee on any withdrawals from a foreign bank account) then you must have a valid work permit (except for Bangkok Bank), as well as a letter from your company confirming your employment.
Note: Take extra care when using ATMs in Thailand. Contrary to most Western countries, money is dispersed first from an ATM, then your receipt and then your card. Many foreign visitors have been caught out with this and have walked away after pocketing their cash, leaving their card behind.
It is best to inform tax offices regarding any change in residency. Some countries have mutual tax agreements, and others may require you to pay some form of taxes both in your home country and aboard. Most National Tax Administrations are a good resource for what you should do when moving away. For more information, refer to our section on taxes.
For example, UK nationals should refer to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for details of managing their taxation payments and National Insurance contributions in the UK while living abroad. Prior to deciding to pay voluntary contributions, you should think about the Government's proposals for simplifying the future State Pension. These will not affect anyone reaching State Pension age before the reforms are introduced. As long as certain conditions are met you can still pay UK National Insurance contributions voluntarily when you are abroad. Voluntary contributions will count towards your State Pension, and protect certain state benefits and allowances if you return to the UK.
Notwithstanding routine vaccinations (MMR, dip-tet and varicella), there are many other vaccinations required for Thailand. Tourists are only recommended to have some of these, but if you are a long-term expat it is firmly advised that you have Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies and Yellow Fever. Please note that some of these inoculations require more than one injection weeks apart, so ensure you begin your vaccinations well in advance of departure. If you overlook the time frame necessary for injections, it is possible to continue the in Thailand at any local hospital or the Thai Red Cross Society (located on the Chulalongkorn University grounds and best reached from Silom or Sam Yan MRT).
If you intend to travel during your time in Thailand you should always ensure you carry mosquito repellent with you. It may also be necessary depending on where you visit to take Malaria tablets, particularly if you are going to be close to water or sleeping outside. Dengue fever is on the increase in Thailand, even in parts of Bangkok, especially close to Chinatown and the River. By June 2013, 40,000 in Thailand had fallen ill with Dengue fever and the number of deaths has already reached 44 compared to 8 in the whole of 2012. About 50% of individuals affected are children under the age of 15. Make sure you wear mosquito repellent when outside to try and limit chances of infection.
Thailand has a high level of humidity and while it is very hot outside, the air conditioning in many public places is so low that you can feel quite cold. Therefore, it is common to catch more colds in Thailand. The food is also spicy, possibly more than you are used to, and can lead to some new comers getting stomach upsets. Ensure that you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and sun stroke.
For concerns about your health when abroad, the World Health Organization (WHO) publishes International Travel and Health which is revised annually and is available free online. Another excellent resource is MD Travel Health. It provides free, complete travel-health recommendations for every country and is updated daily.
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