Why and How to Plan a Scouting Trip: Discover Where to Live Overseas with Insider Expertise

by Last updated Jun 12, 2024 | Published on Feb 7, 2024Europe, Living in Spain Series, Spain

Are you dreaming of living overseas? Maybe you want to settle down in the relaxed culture of Spain or be at home in Italy or France. The allure of a new culture, language, and lifestyle can be irresistible. I know it was for me many years ago. The great news is, the thrill is still here and I continue to love living in Spain. But before you take the plunge and commit to a life overseas, it’s essential to embark on a scouting trip to ensure a smooth transition. In this guide, I’ll delve into why planning a scouting trip is crucial and provide you with practical steps on how to make the most out of this preparatory journey so you can confidently discover where to live overseas.

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Why Plan a Scouting Trip?

Above ImageThe Las Rotas beach in Denia, Spain.

Reality Check

While the idea of living in a foreign country may sound enchanting, the reality may differ from your expectations. A scouting trip allows you to experience firsthand what life is like in your desired destination, giving you a realistic perspective on factors like cost of living, healthcare, transportation, and cultural nuances. Can you find where to live overseas as a tourist? It can be a start, an inspired turning point, but it is not the same thing as visiting with the intention to live there.

Explore Neighborhoods

Every city has its own unique neighborhoods, each with its own character and charm. By visiting your potential future home, you can explore different areas, assess their suitability based on your preferences and lifestyle, and narrow down your options accordingly.

Network and Connect

Building a social network is vital when relocating to a new country. During your scouting trip, take the opportunity to meet locals, expats, and fellow travelers. Attend community events, join expat groups, and immerse yourself in the local culture to establish connections that will be invaluable once you move. In Spain, I recommend taking part in intercambio groups where you can practice conversational Spanish with native Spanish speakers who want to learn English.

Test Run

Consider your scouting trip as a test run for your new life abroad. Use this time to gauge how well you adapt to the local customs, language barriers, and daily routines. It’s an opportunity to identify any challenges or concerns and address them before making a long-term commitment.

How to Plan Your Scouting Trip

Visiting Asturias

Above ImageThe Cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain.

Set Clear Objectives

Determine the purpose of your scouting trip and outline specific goals you want to achieve. Whether it’s exploring potential neighborhoods, meeting with real estate agents, or networking with locals. Having a clear plan will help you make the most of your time abroad so you feel confident about where to live overseas.

Research Extensively

Prioritize research on your chosen destination. Familiarize yourself with the local culture, customs, visa requirements, healthcare system, housing market, and transportation options. The more you know in advance, the better prepared you’ll be during your trip. One of the most practical items to confirm how long you can be in your destination without residency. For example, in Europe’s Schengen Zone, Americans can visit for tourism or business for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

Arrange Accommodation

Secure accommodation that aligns with your budget and lifestyle preferences. Consider staying in different neighborhoods to get a feel for the area. Opt for options like vacation rentals or short-term apartment leases for flexibility and comfort.

Connect with Locals and Expats

Reach out to local communities, expat groups, and online forums before your trip. Seek advice, ask questions, and connect with individuals who have already made the move. Ask others about how they determined where to live overseas. Their insights and experiences can provide invaluable guidance and support during your scouting journey.

Document Your Experience

Keep a journal or create a digital record of your scouting trip. Take notes on your impressions, observations, and any important information you gather along the way. This documentation will serve as a valuable reference as you make decisions about your future move.

The Benefits of Having an Expat Travel Advisor Plan Your Scouting Trip

Above ImageSome of the fishermans’ houses in Denia, Spain along Las Rotas.

Navigating the intricacies of planning a scouting trip can be overwhelming, especially when it involves relocating to a new country. That’s where a certified travel advisor with experience living overseas can be your greatest asset. After all, I’ve had my own journey of exploring where to live overseas, and I know many other travel advisors who are similar. Here are some compelling reasons to consider partnering with a professional like myself for your scouting trip.

Insider Knowledge

Having moved to Spain in 2015, I have become a living in Spain specialist, sharing my insider knowledge and firsthand experience of the local culture, lifestyle, and nuances to help people bring about their living overseas dreams. I can provide valuable insights into the best neighborhoods to explore, hidden gems to uncover, and insider tips to enhance your scouting trip.

Professional Travel Resource

I am also a Fora Advanced Travel Advisor, which equips me with professional resources, skills and perks for custom trip planning that supports you before, during, and after your scouting trip. Combined with my experience and network living in Europe, you have the benefits of a dedicated professional that is taking care of the details so you can focus on deciding where to live overseas. Consider me your expat travel advisor!

Customized Itinerary

No two scouting trips are alike, and I understand that your needs and preferences are unique. By working with me, you’ll receive a personalized itinerary tailored to your specific goals, interests, and budget. From arranging accommodations to scheduling appointments with immigration lawyers and real estate agents, connecting you with local communities and more, I’ll ensure every aspect of your trip is meticulously planned and executed.

scouting trip transportation

Above ImageTaking the high-speed AVE train from Valencia to Madrid.

Time and Cost Efficiency

Planning a scouting trip requires extensive research, coordination, and logistics management. As your travel advisor, I’ll handle all the details, saving you valuable time and minimizing stress. My expertise in finding the best deals and negotiating on your behalf will also help optimize your budget, ensuring you get the most value for your investment.

Peace of Mind

Determining where to live overseas and relocating to a new country can be daunting, but with a knowledgeable expat travel advisor by your side, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re in good hands. From providing on-the-ground support to offering guidance and assistance every step of the way, I’ll be your trusted partner throughout the scouting process, empowering you to make informed decisions with confidence.

Access to Exclusive Resources

Leveraging my professional network and connections, I can provide access to exclusive resources and opportunities that may not be available to the general public. Whether it’s securing hard-to-find accommodation options, arranging private tours, or facilitating introductions to key contacts, my access to insider resources can enhance the quality and depth of your scouting experience.

Partnering with an expat travel advisor like myself ensures that your scouting trip is not just another vacation, but a transformative and enriching experience that sets the stage for your exciting new chapter abroad and helps you decide where to live overseas. With my expertise and guidance, you can embark on your scouting adventure with confidence, knowing that you’re making the best possible investment in your future and starting off your life overseas in the best way imaginable.

A Scouting Trip Beyond Spain and Europe

scouting trip - Monsaraz, Portugal

Above ImageThe charming Medieval village of Monsaraz, Portugal.

Living in Spain, one of my specialities is planning Spain scouting trips yet my experience also extends to scouting trips in other parts of Europe. If you’re interested in living in another part of the world, I have a great network of fellow expats and travel advisors who I’ll be happy to connect you with for a scouting trip that extends beyond Europe. Contact me today for help.

Take That Next Step to Living Overseas

Planning a scouting trip is an essential step in the process of deciding where to live overseas and relocating abroad, whether it be a move to Europe, settling down in Spain or elsewhere in the world. By investing time and effort into this preparatory journey, you’ll gain invaluable insights, build essential connections, and set yourself up for a successful transition to your new home. So, pack your bags, embark on your scouting adventure, and let the journey begin!

Take the First Step to Moving Abroad

Complete my Moving to Spain Questionnaire.

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Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego

Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego

Fora Advanced Travel Advisor & Content Creator

I love living in Denia, Spain and traveling worldwide. My idea of a great time is ‘eating and drinking’ my way around a new place and meeting the people. As a Fora Advanced Travel Advisor, I specialize in custom travel planning for trips throughout Europe, as well as scouting trips for moving to Spain. Here on you can enjoy our Europe travel resources to experience Europe and live in Spain.


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