Home Search Part 1
Before you return, you should have visited your temporary home (hotel/service apartment) or even better, found your dream home. But chances are slim you will find one within the short time except when you are able to take over and fall in love with the home of your predecessor. Before you start home searching, you need to work through Home Search Part 2 to avoid common mistakes.
• In any case, you need to check the options of your transition home – the place you will stay until you have found a permanent home and the container arrives.
• You are better off if you book your transition home early. There are often specific times for expatriates to be transferred, like the end of school year and between terms, and good places are taken up fast.
• Look at various hotels/apartments and their different types of rooms. Decide only once you have seen them and received a written offer. Do not hesitate to bargain!
• You need a written confirmation of your booking (with your chosen room numbers confirmed!) which is to be accepted by your company before your transfer
Your Temporary Home
• Keep in mind that especially your children will get bored if there is nothing to do. They will only have a limited choice of toys and books available and might not be able to watch TV, as they do not understand the language.
•Apartments you book as a family, need to be spacious and there should be at least a pool and a playground. Ask if the hotel provides baby-sitters. You will need one sooner or later!
The standard of hotels in Southeast Asia is higher than anywhere else in the world. The rooms are larger and more comfortable and you often get much more for your money in comparison with your home country. But there are some features to consider:
• There must be enough space to keep your luggage (large wardrobes).
• There should be a connection door between rooms used by families.
• Ideally there will be an extra family room (suites) for the family to meet.
• There should be a safe, a fridge and a TV/Cable in the room and Internet facilities.
• The beds should be at least queen sized, if not king sized.
• A free mini van service to pick you up from the airport.
• A free space in the car park.
In many cases you will be able to negotiate a good rate if you stay longer than a week. Talk to the manager in charge and ask for corporate rates (via your company) and negotiate breakfast included (American style, not continental) and extra meal vouchers.
A rule of experience: the first rates offered are usually much higher than what can be achieved. Negotiate for half prices and portions on everything the children order. Ask hotels for extra large and empty fridges and the choice to purchase and store your own food and beverages from outside the hotel. Ask the hotel to provide cutlery, plates, glasses etc. This may not be appreciated very much but you should insist anyway as it saves a bundle.
As there will be a substantial amount of laundry once you live there, you should negotiate an extra offer or have the laundry done outside the hotel. There are pickup services in every city. But count the pieces every time (before and after) and check the quality of the service. Wash expensive clothes by yourself!
Many experienced expatriates opt for living in an apartment in order to have more space and privacy and the chance to cook breakfast and other meals. Apartments have very competitive rates and you should ask for the following:
• Large beds (in Southeast Asia Queen Size is regarded large!)
• Large wardrobes with many hangers.
• Fully furnished kitchen with oven and microwave.
• A living room with a desk, TV, telephone and a 2nd line for your PC/Internet connection.
• A large fridge with freezer compartment.
• A washing machine, a dryer and an ironing board with iron.
• Furniture for small children (beds, chairs, etc.).
• A safe in your room.
• A daily cleaning service.
• A free mini-van service to pick you up from the airport.
• A free place in the car park.
Refer to Serviced Apartments for more information.