Most people who want to move to Thailand in 2021 may not be able to
As is becoming more and more obvious in recent weeks as panic over Covid-19 in Thailand increases, the chances of the Thai government allowing most people who want to move to Thailand in 2021 to do so are dwindling by the week.
Several areas of the country are either in lockdown, semi-lockdown or heading there soon and, with panic over Covid-19 positive people arriving in the country, border restrictions are now back in place and likely to remain that way for a while.
That being said, while this may mean your plans to move to Thailand in 2021 are not likely to happen for at least the next few months, or even until 2022, that doesn’t mean you should stop preparing for it.
In fact, rather than sink down into a well of depression, carry on with your preparations anyway.
That way, once borders open and Thailand reverts back to the welcoming country it used to be, you will have your move planned out and can then start making flight reservations.
Start with the following things and, once you get to your new country, you could end up being one of the most well-prepared expats to ever arrive here.
Choose the area of Thailand you want to move to
While that might seem an obvious thing to do, you might be surprised how many people do want to move to Thailand but have not always narrowed down the area of the country they will move to.
Take me, for instance. When I moved to Thailand, I had no idea where I wanted to live, except that I knew I wanted to start out in Bangkok due to a TEFL course I was taking.
As it turned out, I loved the city and stayed. It could have easily gone the other way, however, and I could have found myself in a city I didn’t like and with no idea where I wanted to try next. Especially as I did little research on anywhere else in Thailand before I moved.
You might be the same.
If so, spend some time researching many different areas of Thailand — from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Phuket to Pattaya, Chiang Rai to Lampang, and Khon Kaen to Samut Prakan.
After all, you may think you want to live in Chiang Mai and then discover Khon Kaen sounds far more appealing.
Narrow down your options and that way, once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, you can book your flight knowing exactly where in Thailand you will be flying to.
Research required visas
Once you know where in Thailand you want to move to after the coronavirus pandemic, your next step should be to research the process you will have to follow to get the correct visas to be able to do just that.
Check out the website of the Thai Department of Consular Affairs and make a note of the paperwork you will need to furnish them with in order to get the visa you need.
You should also be able to contact consular staff if you have questions as, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, they are still staffed.
Research and apply for jobs
While it can be difficult to apply for jobs in Thailand during the coronavirus pandemic, if you are not moving to the country to start a specific job, you can begin to research the type of job you would like to do, as well as find out what a typical salary for that position would be.
Look at job boards, read forums targeting expats, and check out Reddit as that site has several sub-Reddits for Thailand that may be a help when looking for a job.
Then work on your international CV and cover letter (what is required in Thailand will probably be different than in your own country — All About Careers has hints on that).
If you want to teach in Thailand, you can also learn how to write a perfect CV/resume on Tasty Thailand.
Once your CV and cover letter are written, you are then ready to apply as soon as Thailand’s borders begin to open, and available job listings start to pop up online.
You can even take photos of yourself while stuck at home, so you have an appropriate photograph ready for any employer that requests one (and yes, in Thailand, it is often expected to include a photograph along with your CV).
Once you have decided on the city in Thailand you want to move to, check out specific neighborhoods in that city.
Every neighborhood is different as they offer varied prices for apartments and houses, have different atmospheres, tend to attract different kinds of people and even have completely different things to do.
Some are also much more interesting and attractive areas to live in than others, and some are closer to shopping areas, transportation and other amenities than others.
Make a list of things that are important to you when it comes to a neighborhood to live in, and then try to find one in that Thai city that hits most of your needs.
Check out apartments/houses
Of course, you will need somewhere to live once you arrive in Thailand, and having an apartment or a house in mind can be helpful.
Spend your time trapped in your home country during the coronavirus pandemic looking at apartments and houses in the city in Thailand you wish to move to. With many different websites all over the country, you should find hundreds of places.
From a couple of hours browsing them, you can learn what average rents on apartment or house prices are in the Thai city you are interested in (here is recent information on apartment prices in Chiang Mai), and what those places look like. You can also make a list of apartments or houses you would like to check out when you get there.
You may even be able to contact real estate agents to set up preliminary home viewing dates once the pandemic lockdowns are over, and you have finally arrived in Thailand.
Do not rent or buy an apartment or house before traveling to Thailand, however, as places can be markedly different than how they appear online.
Moving or shipping companies
If you will be moving a house or apartment full of furniture and personal belongings to Thailand, you will need to find an international moving company that can do that.
If you are just sending a couple of boxes, you will need a shipping company that can do it in the time frame you require.
Again, there probably is not much you can do as far as shipping boxes or arranging a house or apartment move during the coronavirus pandemic is concerned.
After all, there is so much uncertainty as to when international flights will resume, you cannot feasibly arrange a move or a shipment when you do not have a firm date of arrival in Thailand yourself.
That being the case, however, you can still research companies and ask for free quotes for the things you need to move or ship.
Then, when lockdowns are over and international flights have commenced again, you can make the final arrangements and finally kickoff your move to Thailand.
Narrow down schools in Thailand
If you have children that will be moving to Thailand with you, and you have not yet made arrangements for their new school, you will discover many Thai schools nowadays have a strong Internet presence.
If they do, they also have a huge amount of information about their school online.
Spending a few hours looking at several sites while you are in coronavirus lockdown will allow you to put some schools on a short list and eliminate some others. (This is Thailand’s best international school, for instance).
You should also be able to contact each school for even more information.
Travel insurance for Thailand
You will also usually need travel insurance for the journey and the first couple of months living in Thailand.
Most travel insurance companies have websites with different types of policies listed. Compare various policies before making a decision, and make sure any policy you choose would cover you for lost or stolen luggage, and for both medical expenses and emergency repatriation if injured or ill.
After all, while you may be desperate to settle down somewhere in Thailand, if you were to become seriously ill or injured, it is not likely you would want to remain here during the first few months. Particularly as you would not have the type of support system you probably have in your home country.
Just be aware, many travel insurance companies are not covering trip cancellations or medical problems due to the coronavirus.
If your trip could be canceled if a second/third/fourth wave of Covid-19 hits, or if other things could occur that would cause you to lose money, make sure you take out travel insurance with a company covering Covid-19-related problems.
Plan local trips
Once you have all the basic things researched for your move to Thailand after the Covid-19 pandemic, spend some time researching and planning trips in and around the city you will be moving to.
Every city has amazing and unique things to see, and it would be nice to already know what is in your new city and what are the top 10 places you would enjoy visiting first.
Keep up-to-date on lockdowns/ travel restrictions for Thailand
Finally, keep an eye on lockdowns and travel restrictions for Thailand, as this thing could go on for quite a while yet.
Also make sure you are familiar with any lingering restrictions that may still be in place when you arrive. (continue reading below…)
This could be the mandatory wearing of masks when entering shops and public transportation, strict social distancing, or even mandatory Covid-19 tracking apps, which Thailand is currently sadly toying with.
Lockdowns and restrictions are fluid and changing often, and likely to continue so for a while yet, so check every day.
By keeping up with the latest governmental mandates, you will know both when is the right time to move to Thailand, and how you will be required to behave when you get here.