Are you an Out-of-Towner?

When I was a child, I remember my parents watching a movie called The Out-of-Towners and howling with laughter. Neil Simon’s comedy centers on an Ohio couple who come to New York City for the husband’s job interview. They plan to relocate there once the position is secured. But everything goes wrong, from flight diversion, transportation woes, transit and sanitation strikes to lost luggage, a vanishing hotel reservation, and armed robbery.

While Jack Lemmon’s character does eventually make it to his interview and is offered the job, he and his wife are so disillusioned with New York by then that they decide to decline it and return to Ohio. As luck would have it, the movie ends as their flight home is hijacked to Cuba.

To those of us in the relocation industry, this scenario likely makes us cringe rather than chuckle. It’s a small world in many ways, and we all work hard to counter the movie’s tongue-in-cheek tagline, “When they take you for an out-of-towner, they really take you.”  But the couple’s many mishaps do serve as a reminder of just how many moving parts there are when traveling to an unfamiliar place – whether it’s a few states away or on the other side of the globe.

Knowledge, preparation, and the right tools are key. With so many things beyond your control, it’s important to take care of the details you can manage. For example:

* Language and culture can alter the landscape dramatically, making a simple setback more complicated. Be aware of both, and keep a translation tool handy if necessary.
* Check in with local news sources to be apprised of issues – like strikes, weather, or security alerts – that could affect your movement.
* Learn safety precautions for the destination, including areas where caution is advised and how to avoid being a target.
* Find out your transportation options. You may even need multiple options, in case one becomes inaccessible.
* Inform yourself as deeply as possible about your host destination. Setting expectations is a huge component of success and fulfillment in the new location.

If you’re looking for a few other movies that involve relocating or moving, check out:

Under the Tuscan Sun
Coming to America
For the kid in all of us, Toy Story
And for the slightly older kid in us, Inside Out

If you’re looking for a less theatrical move, check out Living Abroad’s Exit Stage Left: Relocating Globally Without the Drama.  You’ll find a comprehensive guide – and insider tips – to setting the stage for your assignment’s success.  Exit Stage Left is written for all international assignees and families.  To Order One, Click Here!