Included in many relocation policies is a "home-finding trip" where the company will support the costs specifically related to getting to and from the destination to allow the relocating employee to get oriented to the new local housing market. While there, the employee can begin their search for the perfect property that meets their requirements and budget.

When offered in the policy, the home finding trip usually covers:

  • One trip that is typically up to five days/four nights for the employee and a spouse/partner
  • Mileage reimbursement or a round-trip airfare per the company's travel policy
  • Reasonable meals, lodging and local transportation
  • Destination services that typically provide for an area orientation and home search support for a specific number of days, aligned with the trip and often provided by a real estate agent, rental agent or destination service specialist

These trips allow a relocating employee and their family the chance to better understand the pros and cons to specific neighborhoods in the destination location. The chance to consider the qualities of specific neighborhoods, explore schooling options and get a better understanding of commute times is a huge support for most employees as they work toward putting their new life together. The right resources and support can maximize the time and cost of the services — and truly help an employee take a very positive step ahead in their transition.

While many people put relocation temporarily on hold, there have been some who have taken home-finding trips during the coronavirus pandemic. However, those who have ventured out on home-finding trips have shared that they have approached these trips differently than they have in the past. In recent interviews, relocating employees said that they have taken greater consideration in advance by spending a lot more time with planning and preparation than they were before the pandemic began changing life. Employees are spending more time prior to taking a trip to educate themselves on their new location, connect with experts and local resources, and to prepare for the travel and stay elements that are part of such a trip. 

This article talks about the typical list of things that relocating employees should consider prior to taking that home-finding trip. The items all apply to both the "old" pre-COVID and the "new" normal environments. Included are ideas such as creating a list of wants and needs, researching neighborhoods, touring homes online, making an itinerary and working with a local expert.

But in the COVID-19 environment, employees also need to consider the challenges that come with travel. Based on conversations with doctors and travel experts, this CNN article shares safety precautions that all travelers should take, and provides advice on what to pack and how to protect yourself and others. For additional insights, especially if a home-finding trip includes flights, try this article: "If you have to travel right now, here’s how to stay as safe as possible." In order to keep moving, stay safe and stay healthy.