The best relocation hacks for 2023

As thrilling as making a new country your home can be, that doesn't mean it's free of complications and frustrations. Fortunately, with a little thinking ahead, the process can be made a lot smoother.

The best relocation hacks for 2023
Moving to another country is one of life's great adventures. Photo: Getty Images

When moving internationally, the Boy Scouts’ motto applies: ‘Be Prepared’. A little research and planning ahead of time can not only save you valuable time but often a decent sum of money once you land.

Together with luggage-forwarding service, Send My Bag, The Local highlights some of the best relocation ‘hacks’ for 2023, when making your big move.

Use an eSIM

Establishing yourself in a new country means that you will need a local phone number to access many vital services. Some apps or websites won’t let you access them without one.

Fortunately, many modern phones support dual-SIM cards, meaning you don’t have to forgo your original phone number.

The current generation of phones even supports what’s known as an eSIM – an electronic SIM card. eSIMs are essentially virtual SIM cards that can be switched at a moment’s notice, depending on the plan that you require. All you need to do is use your phone’s camera to scan a QR code, and you’ve switched providers. Some  popular European providers that support eSIMs include Airalo and Holafly. 

eSIMS have the benefit of eliminating manufacturing and packaging costs, often giving you better deals. They also save you from having to go to a physical storefront to pick up an SIM card.

There’s a thousand things to do when moving abroad. Simplify things by sending your luggage ahead with Send My Bag 

Consider an online bank

As with phone numbers, you’ll often find there’s only a certain amount you can do to get established without a local bank account that has an IBAN number – the form of account number that the Eurozone uses, along with certain other countries. 

Online banks – that is to say, app-based banks without physical branches, such as N26 or Revolut – have made significant inroads throughout Europe in recent years.

The benefit of these banks for those moving to or within Europe is that most allow accounts to be opened from abroad, with a three-month window for a local address to be supplied.

Online banks often make it easier to link to overseas bank accounts back home and allow money transfers at current exchange rates, without extra fees. You’ll also likely be offered several sub-accounts within your primary bank account, meaning that saving for travel and other of life’s pleasures is easy.

Manage your utilities online

Unlike in some parts of the world, you will often find in Europe that you have the choice of a provider for electricity or gas. With a growing population of workers and students from abroad, utility providers have emerged to specifically cater to an international market.

With the understanding that few international students or workers have the time to deal with lengthy contracts in another language, they’ve taken their operations online, allowing customers to monitor their usage and control their tariff via an app, in English. A good example of this is Germany’s electricity provider, Ostrom. With much of the administration and paperwork costs removed, such utility providers can also deliver the savings to the consumers

It’s worth doing a little research before landing in your new home to identify which providers offer the best rate scheme, and the most control over what you use and how you pay. Some will require you to pay month-by-month, whereas others will ask for quarterly payments, and it’s good to know ahead of time.

The costs can pile up as you move countries. Know what you’ll pay when you send your luggage ahead with Send My Bag

Moving abroad can be overwhelming – but with a little forward planning, it doesn’t need to be. Photo; Getty Images

Save money on your shop with your phone

It’s very easy to pay far too much for food and everyday services upon arrival in a new country. You simply don’t have the ‘insider knowledge’ that years of living in a place can provide.

Many European countries have a broad variety of app-based coupon programs, such as LetyShops and Payback, that allow you to make considerable savings on your weekly grocery bill via cashing in points.

These programs often operate across different kinds of shops, from supermarkets to chemists, allowing you to make savings across your spending. A few even operate across national borders!

A few apps designed to reduce food wastage, such as TooGoodToGo, also allow you to pick up deals from local restaurants and cafes close to you, meaning that you can eat very well for very little.

Send your luggage ahead

One of the most painful costs associated with moving abroad can be those associated with your luggage. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself with substantial charges. 

One way to avoid considerable and unpredictable costs when it comes to moving abroad with your luggage is using a luggage-forwarding service such as Send My Bag, With flat rates for each piece of luggage sent, there are no unwelcome surprises and frantic repacking at the airport. You can even opt to send boxes, giving you more room for packing. 

Another benefit of a luggage-forwarding service are the complex logistics networks that they use, spanning almost every nation across the globe. These allow a far greater degree of tracking, via an app, and mean that your luggage can be delivered to the front door of your accommodation – no venturing out to the airport to pick them up and managing them on public transport.

Make your arrival in a new country as painless as possible. Have your luggage delivered to your new front door with Send My Bag 

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What are the best apps for making new friends in France?

It can be difficult to make friends when moving to a new place - and France is no exception. But these days, there are a lots of apps you can use to make the process easier. Here is our selection of some of the best.

What are the best apps for making new friends in France?

When it comes to making new friends in France, it can be tricky to know where to start. 

In the past we have published guides on how to make new friends, tips on how to connect with other parents, and advice on how to become pals with your rural neighbours

But times are changing. There are a whole host of apps and websites out there which mean that making friends is now easier than ever before. 

Here is a collection of some of our favourites. 


Meetup is a website and mobile app where you can search for events based on your interests and/or location. 

Whether its a life-drawing class; language exchange meeting; lego-robot building workshop; wine tasting; or feminist literature discussion group, you are bound to find something for you and meet like-minded people. 

Many people in France and across the world use Meetup principally as a social platform for meeting new friends. 

The app is free and easy to use although you will need to pay to access some of the listed events. You will likely meet a mix of French people and other foreign nationals through this app. 


This French-made app and website is great for making friends with French people – its main users, who are known as Frimakers.

Frimakers propose events – like bowling, going for a walk, or going to someone’s house to watch PSG vs Marseille – with a single click, you can join the list of attendees. 

You can also propose your own events, giving a location, activity and the number of people you are prepared to host/meet. 

If you would rather chat with other Frimakers online first, there is also a feature for that. Each profile on Frimake has a profile picture and a list of hobbies and interests. If you hit it off online, you can then organise an activity together. 

Need Sporty

Need Sporty is an app designed to connect people who want to do sports together. Want someone to go for a run with? Or looking for a new tennis partner? Then this French-made app is perfect for you.

There are 39 sports listed in total and there are also options for disabled athletes to meet up too. 

Get the endorphins flowing and you will strike up new friendships in no time. 


The difference between UNBLND and other apps is that UNBLND doesn’t feature profile photos. You match with other users based on shared tastes.

The app automatically places you into ‘interest groups’ based on data you provide it about your favourite activities. 

It is then up to you to chat with members of the group and propose/accept activities. The app is mostly targeted at young adults. 

The app is widely used in the Francophone world but you will probably end up meeting some international users too. 

Bumble For Friends 

There are many dating apps that claim to also provide a platform for developing platonic relationships. But few of them do this as well, and with less ambiguity, as Bumble. 

In Bumble’s BFF mode, you can swipe left or right to decide who to match and start conversations with based on their interests and photos. The in-built algorithm will suggest the strongest possible connections within a radius of your choosing. 

When creating your profile, try to use photos that show you doing what you love; don’t share too much personal information (stick to hobbies and interests); and be honest. By verifying your profile, you will receive a little blue tick next to your name and prove to others that you are who you say you are. 

With Bumble BFF, you will likely meet a wide range of international and local friends. That being said, it’s relatively new in France and appears to be most commonly used among English-speakers.


Knockk claims to be the most downloaded app for making friends in France in 2022. Like Frimake, the emphasis is around planning activities with strangers based on your interests. 

The app also lists public events you can attend and features a useful interactive app. 

You will likely meet a mix of French people and foreigners through Knockk


There are myriad Facebook groups for all kinds of interests and demographics. 

If you want to make English-speaking foreign friends, you could either try searching through posts on big groups like British & Irish expats in Paris – Open group or Americans Expats in Paris or Americans in France. But alternatively, you could search for more niche groups that better align with your interests or identity, such as English-speaking Yoga in Paris or Expat Women in Paris.

If you want to meet a mix of English-speaking international residents and locals, you are probably best off scrolling through Facebook’s ‘Events’ section. You will be able to find all kinds of interesting occasions to meet with people – from language exchange events, to Cuban dance classes, to simple ‘make friends’ drinks. 

Do you have any other tips for making friends in France? Let us know in the comments section below.