Man walkout at gym


Staying healthy as an expat

27  January 2022

While expat life is exciting and a chance for adventure and exploration it is easy to put your health and wellbeing on the sidelines as you settle into your new location. Here are some easy tips to keep you healthy abroad while enjoying life to the fullest. 

Before traveling abroad, you should research your new destination to learn what vaccines and prescriptions you may need to travel there. Some countries will not allow you through customs without certain vaccinations.
If you need regular medicine, you should take at least a month’s worth of supplies with you along with your prescription and any other relevant medical history documents. Speak with your GP before you travel to ensure that your medicine will be available abroad.
Rather than driving or taking public transport from point A to point B why not consider using a bicycle as your mode of transport? Most cities provide cheap bicycle rental with numerous drop off points or you can invest in your own set of wheels - just make sure you have a good quality lock and always wear a helmet.
Meeting new people and socialising with your colleagues often includes drinking alcohol. Understandably you’ll want to make a big effort to make connections in your location but try to suggest other types of meetups such as going for coffee, hiking, the cinema or playing sports. Reducing the amount of alcohol, we take in can help you to feel happier and healthier as you settle into your new adventure.

Again, while socialising and networking is your priority you may find yourself in restaurants more often. When dining out try to choose healthier options on the menu such as grilled proteins, leafy greens, fresh vegetables, and filling carbohydrates such as potatoes and rice. 


With that being said, everyone should treat themselves once and a while - it’s all about balance. Aim to eat healthy for 80% of your meals and treat yourself for the other 20%.

Were you a member of a sports club or a gym at home? Try to seek out a similar community in your new location. Staying active is great for our health and joining a club or gym is a great way to make new friends too. Having friends and being around like minded will help to keep you motivated. 


There are so many fun activities to try that are also great for our bodies - swimming, walking, running, hiking, football, tennis, yoga… the list goes on. Find out what’s happening in your location.

Most people will experience some level of homesickness when they move abroad - it’s completely normal but sometimes it can lead to poor mental health and expat failure. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the effects of homesickness:

  • Catch up with friends and family regularly
  • Invite people to visit your destination
  • Plan trips home for important occasions
  • Speak with other expats in your location to share experiences

Taking care of your mental health looks different for everyone. Look out for ways you can be kind to yourself during this experience. Perhaps this could involve practicing yoga or meditation, keeping an organised and tidy space, reducing stress levels or seeking out a counsellor if you’re feeling down. 


Tip: check out the Allianz Care Happiness Hub and take our quiz for tips to feel happy as an expat on assignment.

A good night’s sleep is crucial for our health. Prioritise your sleep routine from the beginning of your assignment to ensure that you are well rested and ready for the day ahead. Aim to get 7 - 8 hours’ sleep a night and try to avoid caffeine, screens and eating late in the evening to help you slip into sleep a little easier.

An absolute essential for anyone living and working abroad. International Health Insurance differs from travel insurance. It is specifically designed for those living or working overseas for a prolonged period. 


It covers treatment for both emergency and routine healthcare and provides expats with flexibility in terms of choice of doctor and treatment facility, with the ability to receive treatment anywhere within their region of cover. 


When experiencing a medical emergency or even routine medical care in a country where you are not familiar with the health system or do not speak the language, international health insurance cover will ensure you get the medical attention you need. Get a quote today.